Learning From Present Reality

A regular topic of debate on the Dissident Right is whether or not gentry conservatives know they are just props for the Left. Some argue that they know and have always known, but they like the lifestyle that comes with being on the receiving end of Progressive beatings. There’s no getting around the fact that guys like Jonah Goldberg live fabulous lives while being nothing more than stooges for the Left. The sheer volume of losing by gentry conservatives should be enough to wake even the dumbest and most naive.

Others are more generous, arguing that the boys and girls writing for official conservatism are simply naive or mistaken about the nature of the Left. They come out of orderly upper middle-class suburbs where the rules makes sense and everyone abides by those rules as a matter of courtesy. That makes gentry conservatism and Reason magazine libertarianism attractive to them. After all, their Progressive friends are great people, the best people, so they can surely be persuaded. It just takes the right argument.

Reading Kevin Williamson’s latest retelling of his firing from the Atlantic, those arguing in favor of gross stupidity get a boost. At the start of his piece, he claims to have predicted what would happen to him if he took the Atlantic job.

In early March, I met up with Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor in chief of the Atlantic, at an event sponsored by the magazine at the South by Southwest conference in Austin. He had just hired me away from National Review, the venerable conservative magazine where I’d been a writer and editor for 10 years.

“You know, the campaign to have me fired will begin 11 seconds after you announce that you’ve hired me,” I told him. He scoffed. “It won’t be that bad,” he said. “The Atlantic isn’t the New York Times. It isn’t high church for liberals.”

My first piece appeared in the Atlantic on April 2. I was fired on April 5.

Assuming this is true, he took the job knowing it would result in a mob of angry liberals calling for his death. His decision to go through with it could be seen as just part of the Progressive passion play, with Williamson gladly playing his part. The trouble is he rather clearly thought the very liberal Jeffrey Goldberg was some sort of honorable guy, rather than a typical fanatic. More important, he thought Goldberg would stand up to his coreligionists when they came to haul away the heretic. That’s remarkably stupid.

Of course, for gentry conservatives, being remarkably stupid about the nature of motivations of the Left has been a badge of honor for as long as anyone reading this has been alive. The hallmark of gentry conservatism for generations has been the insistence on playing by a set of rules the other side refuses to respect, a set of rules that guarantees failure by the so-called Right. Even the allegedly hard-boiled realists of Buckley Conservatism, like Williamson, can’t seem to grasp this obvious bit of reality.

Then there is this tidbit later in the column. Williamson writes “If you want to know who actually has the power in our society and who is actually marginalized, ask which ideas get you sponsorships from Google and Pepsi and which get you fired.”  No doubt he was thinking of the internet meme, probably thinking the quote is from Voltaire. The line is actually from an old white nationalist named Kevin Alfred Strom. Dumb people tend to believe what they see on the internet, without making sure of the source and accuracy.

At the end of his column, Williamson writes this.

Where my writing appears is not a very important or interesting question. What matters more is the issue of how the rage-fueled tribalism of social media, especially Twitter, has infected the op-ed pages and, to some extent, the rest of journalism. Twitter is about offering markers of affiliation or markers of disaffiliation. The Left shouts RACIST!, and the Right shouts FAKE NEWS! There isn’t much that can be done about this other than treating social media with the low regard it deserves.

But when it comes to what appears in our newspapers and magazines, some of the old rules should still apply. By all means, let’s have advocacy journalism, but let’s make sure about the journalism part of it: Do the work, ask the questions, give readers a reason to assume that what’s published adheres to some basic standards of intellectual honesty. To do otherwise is to empower those who dismiss the media as a tangle of hopeless partisan opportunism.

Without credible journalism, all we have is the Twitter mob, which is a jealous god. Jealous and kind of stupid.

Conservatism, at its root, is the acceptance of reality. The man of the Right accepts the world as it is and acts accordingly. Williamson looks out at a world overrun by Progressive mobs, egged on by our Progressive rulers, and concludes that the only proper response is to pretend it is otherwise. He’s nobly walking in front of the speeding train, because trains should not speed. That’s not principled conservatism. That’s suicidal stupidity. Williamson is the example for the side arguing that these guys are morons.

In the end, it probably matters little if gentry conservatism is dying from subversion or stupidity, other than as a cautionary tale. The lesson that Williamson is unable to learn is not lost on the others hoping to get on the big Progressive stage. They will be sure to scrub their time lines and avoid saying or writing anything that could offend their Progressive paymasters. The golden rule is immutable. The man with the gold makes the rules, which is why the Dissident Right needs to build its own institutions.

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73 Comments on "Learning From Present Reality"

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Member
It’s a pretty short walk from “you can’t work here because some people don’t agree with you” to the Chinese Government’s policy of social-credits and “you can’t buy that house because your views do not reflect offically State policy”. A VERY short walk. Pretty much ANYBODY who is not a Progressive will require a separate set of institutions and platforms in the next few years. A lot of Conservatives get by on the old, “Well, they’re not doing anything to me. I’m just going to go about my business.” They (we?) don’t always understand that we are going to be… Read more »
Saml Adams
Guest

Funny, your statement about social media. My spouse just had that experience with a supposedly old and good friend who is also a whack job Progressive. She told my wife she was blocking her on Facebook because when you “disagree with me it upsets my friends and I constantly get DMs complaining about why you are on my “friend” list”. Mind you, my wife’s “disagreements” have been of the mildest sorts. But that is the mentality. It can’t be reasoned with. It can’t be satisfied with anything but utter compliance the Hive.

Karl McHungus
Guest

That person is not your wife’s “friend”, she is a zombie.

Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest

Disagree. She is afraid, and she explained herself. It’s terrifying and disheartening, but you can see the difficulty. Being “hurled into the void” is truly terrifying to the smartphone generation. It can last forever.

Saml Adams
Guest

And a simple thing to do electronically. Used to be you considered whether or not you really wanted to pursue a beef with another person since that required getting up in their grill and presenting your case

Saml Adams
Guest
Have known this person for twenty years. What’s fascinating is watching how fanaticism has gradually taken over every fiber of her being (and that of a substantial number of others in the same demographic) Increasingly this is all they live for and there is no separation between personal and political. The latest jihad these folks have is a “comprehensive” set of “common sense” local gun control laws. Completely untethered in reality, but it is clear the thought that someone, somewhere, might actually enjoy a day on the range, own more than one firearm and a half dozen cartridges is utterly… Read more »
Member

Guys like Williamson are lower than Judas. Not only have they sold us out for their 10 pieces of cotton candy but they continue a charade of noble angst and supposed great courage while they do so. When the revolution comes he’ll find himself up against the wall with his masters. The humorous thing is that he’ll be genuinely surprised; he’ll have thought that he would have been king of the pile due to his previous ‘credentials’.

joey junger
Guest
“The Atlantic” took its precipitous plunge after Michael Kelly got killed in Iraq. Jeffrey Goldberg (the guy currently running it) was in the Israeli Army (like the son of David Brooks over at “The New York Times”) and even worse, he was a prison guard. Moral pedigree-wise, he’s somewhere down there well below used car salesman and crack dealer. Like almost everyone else, I was trained to regard things like racism and antisemitism as déclassé, but what should ultimately matter is not whether something is tasteless or bad form to say, but whether or not it’s true. David Frum (cousin… Read more »
Member

“What the hell did he think would happen?”

I’ll tell you what he thought. He thought what might happen, actually did happen, and at no loss to himself. He gets fired from the Left. It creates a big story. He’s sort of a novelty hit. So he gets re-hired by the NeoCons. All you have to be is a pretend-good writer. Just don’t talk shit about the Jews and you’re gold.

Al from da Nort
Guest

Frip;

Re “…what happened is what he thought might happen..”

If we’re looking for evidence on the ‘cynical vs. stupid’ controversy a check of Williamson’s employment contract, hiring letter, etc (if available). would be instructive.

– Employee at will = Stupid

– Play or pay, minimum guaranteed payment, severance beyond state law minimums; etc. = Cynical if large, Prudent if small. If prudent sized, jury’s still out but leaning towards cynical.

joey junger
Guest

The strange thing is that in the Wall Street Journal article Z-Man links, Williamson comes very close to saying the reason he got axed was that he was from Texas and not New York. He even mentions Goldberg saying he couldn’t get away with it because he wasn’t “part of the club.” WSJ gave Kevin MacDonald right-of-reply in some recent exchange, and Williamson is basically saying (for anyone who is not incredibly dense) that he would have survived this if he was Jewish. Interesting times.

Member

Yes, after Kelly was killed the magazine died with him.

Toddy Cat
Guest

Yet another baleful consequence of that misbegotten war.

Member
Just a few things. –Clarity of writing is honesty. Zman has it in spades. Williamson is always overwriting and overthinking. Like Zman used to call it, “golden tongued bullshit”. Or something like that. What a fake. They’re not naive. They truly get off on the charade. Weird fuckers. –And as for you guys here who gleefully predicted that Williamson wouldn’t get another job after The Atlantic…”NO ONE WANTS HIM NOW!” That was always just stupid wishful thinking. There’s about five major Neocon magazines that would gladly take him. And so, he’s at the WSJ, or Commentary now. Or both. Guess… Read more »
TomA
Guest

The Spartans selected their leaders based upon tangible merits like physical strength, courage demonstrated in battle, and an indomitable spirit expressed under existential threat. Those were the days. The top of the pyramid in our current society is inhabited by pussies and poseurs.

Member

And homosexuals.

Peter D. Bredon
Guest
Plutarch openly states that when Spartan boys reached puberty, they became available to older male lovers (Life of Lykourgos 17.1). There are several examples of famous historical characters who were once either lover or beloved in pederastic relationships (such as the fourth century BC king Agesilaos). Modern scholars do not doubt that man-boy love was very common in Classical Sparta. It has even been suggested that the only way to become a member of one of Sparta’s tent groups upon reaching adulthood was to be the beloved of one of that tent group’s existing members, making pederasty a fundamental element… Read more »
Karl McHungus
Guest

Just like the Spartans!

Max
Guest

I bet you spend a lot of time thinking about homosexuals.

Member

Tge deciding factor driving most decisions nowadays is fear.

LineInTheSand
Guest
Speaking of the foolishness of conservatives and their inability to learn from reality, I have tried to subdue my irritation and contempt for all these conservatives who are ecstatic that Kayne West and a few other rappers have made some MAGA noises. This twitter feed is one example: https://twitter.com/lyndseyfifield/status/989269146201358336 “They’re setting fire to the plantation.” “I truly never thought I would see this day. The Culture War has truly begun.” “Maybe Black America will finally realize the Democrats are still the same ol slave drivers” I will bet my retirement that whoever the GOP nominee in 2020 is, he will… Read more »
Saml Adams
Guest

It is simpler than that…no different than the Goldberg “conservatives”, they will stick around for a few crumbs on the table until the Left has fully replaced them with Hispanic immigrants. All the while convincing themselves they are “winning”.

Alex
Guest
The statement “But when it comes to what appears in our newspapers and magazines, some of the old rules should still apply” indicates pretty clearly he’s operating as a stupid person and not as a collaborator with the Progs – a collaborator wouldn’t even acknowledge this. The challenge the Dissident Right will face is that as success comes to the movement, and I believe it will come, it will attract both idiots like Sloppy Williamson as well as grifters looking for a payoff. How the movement handles these people (include them as half-witted children or drive off like rage zombies)… Read more »
Member

“Progressive passion play”

Nice

Glen Filthie
Guest
You have to understand who guys like Sloppy and Goldberg are: They aren’t conservatives; they’re classical old world liberals. As the left became progressively more insane, they all got run out of their troop on a rail. They are now desperately searching for a new tribe, because even the cucks now are losing their minds – or being red pilled. Sloppy saw a chance at reconciliation and redemption and jumped at it. That is ultimately the difference between us and guys like Sloppy, Goldberg and the other turds at the NRO – being minority dissidents scares the hell out of… Read more »
Darth Curmudgeon
Guest

I sometimes wonder about the large media institutions going bankrupt. I just assume some future president or congress will declare the NYT and CNN to be too vital to the nation’s well-being and just outright subsidize them with taxpayer money, either quietly or overtly. Roll it all under NPR and PBS and declare anyone who doesn’t like it a Nazi.

Glen Filthie
Guest
Oh – guaranteed! In Canada, the CBC has ratings that are literally in the single digits – and that’s AFTER excluding the American programming. Their budget literally still runs in the billions every year and they are basically the propaganda arm of the liberal party and sometimes the further-left NDP. Without massive gov’t funding, it would be done next week. But even with all that gov’t pork – nobody is watching. Increasingly furious Canadians, from the right and the left, are demanding that it be shut down. The Canadian version of the NYT is The Globe And Mail. They are… Read more »
Darth Curmudgeon
Guest

My biggest concern is the DNA. Gizmos can be reinvented but when we wipe out the best genes it could take thousands upon thousands of years to “reinvent” those.

Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest

The best genes are the ones that aid survival and procreation – that’s ‘biological realism’. There are no “best genes” except measured against this fact.

Or am I missing something?

The giant sloth was a weird and impressive animal, but it lacked ‘robustness’ in changing times. Well, what about us? Are we robust? Or are we like the giant sloths, too finely-tuned to a specific ecosystem to weather a crisis?

It won’t take another glacial irruption to answer this question. It will take another 20-40 years.

Ortega y Gasset: Man doesn’t have a “nature”, he has a “history”.

Rod1963
Guest
It is a issue. England and Germany both lost the creme of the crop in terms of manhood in two senseless wars. They never recovered. What little exists of their martial traditions is found in the lower classes. A nasty civil war could do a lot of damage. Sadly the Left is doing tremendous damage already by poisoning the mind of our your in college kids. White girls get f**ked mentally and become undatable or worse pursue the “meaningful career” only to find it’s really meaningless and end up living alone with a cat. We’re basically taking our most brightest… Read more »
Member

My presumption is that some of them will survive as they are useful tools for folks like Bezos and Carlos Slim, regardless of whether they are profitable.

Slovenian Guest
Guest

Hemlock conservatives indeed, via kakistocracy:

“The point is that America’s future won’t be forged by process, but results. The Court’s left-wing understands this as clearly as men like Gorsuch do not. His four confederates in this case did not vote to overturn the law because it was vague or unconstitutional, but because it did not advance their primary agenda of white disembowelment. The rational counter is not panting Gorsuchian pining for blind lady justice, but rather ruthless prejudice in favor of your own results.”

Tim
Guest

Kakistocracy is a good blog, like Zman, worth going to and spending some time reading

Ace Rimmer
Guest

Beyond politics, this is a case study in “be careful what you wish for.” The need to walk into the ring of fire and sacrifice yourself to the wackadoodle bunch in charge of the virtue culture these days isn’t going to make the scales drop from anybody’s eyes at this point. The culture crossed that Rubicon about thirty years ago. This was just stupid.

Dutch
Guest
At some point, it is very important to step aside and let the culture warriors have at it amongst themselves. Pay close attention to what Remus constantly reminds his Woodpile Report readers—stay away from crowds. Is one more or less person—you—thrown into the ring going to make a difference? We all know the SJWs and their fellow travelers will turn on their own, they always do. Just be sure you are around to salt the graves and give it a good start on beginning anew in the right way. It is the most important thing we can do. In the… Read more »
Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest
Best comment. Smile and say nothing about anything in the papers, pursue interests, behave like a well-meaning gentleman of education and sensitivity. And guard the remnant – by being part of the remnant. If an SJW yells at you, you smile and say, gently, “Right you are!” and then go about enjoying life. Nothing annoys and confuses the SJW more than someone enjoying life. So you make chairs, watch birds, learn French, play the bass, study astronomy, or just drink beer, while they carry placards and shout slogans in the streets. In the end they’ll come to you, to your… Read more »
Member

Speaking of firings, what happened to Sailer over at Takis?
Two weeks in a row and no column.

Mike@Mike.Mike
Guest

I just asked him on his unz blog about that.

Member

I hope that he’s dumped them because they dumped their loyal (well, sorts) followers.

Member

Maybe the editors got tired of him starting nearly every paragraph with “As I predicted”.

Member

It ain’t easy being Cassandra.

Kentucky Headhunter
Guest

“To do otherwise is to empower those who dismiss the media as a tangle of hopeless partisan opportunism.”

Which it is. Too bad that’s how you earn your money, Sloppy.

“Without credible journalism, all we have is the Twitter mob”

Only if you pay attention to Twitter, which is completely up to you. Same with Facebook and the rest of social media.

Member

We can also apply the same logic to our progressive “friends” by asking whether they are evil or gullible. Increasingly, I’m beginning to hold that they are evil…and treasonous.

Member

They just want to be good people.

Member

Some do, some don’t.

james wilson
Guest

Adolf and Mao were just trying to be good people. Seriously.

Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest

They weren’t grifters, I’ll give them that.

Nohbody
Guest

For certain definitions of “good”, anyway

Member

I know it is a small point of pride but I have never read anything written by Williamson. Come to think of it, .01% of anything from NR.

There is not much to be positive about being on the Right as far as our views becoming dominant where it counts, but I do enjoy seeing our Quislings being fed to the lions, even if they still come out ahead financially.

Blanco
Guest

Williamson has always been a token hire his entire career.

the sooner he realizes that truth, the better he will be.

Toddy Cat
Guest
Yes, it’s really remarkable how far downhill NR has slid in the last thirty years. I mean, I know all the things that can be said about Buckley Conservatism, and most of them are true, but NR did start out as a serious journal run by serious men. Buckley may have been a horse’s ass, but he was erudite and well-read and genuinely loved America, at least in the beginning. James Burnham and Ernst Van Den Haag were deeply thoughtful men who verged on being actual philosophers, and Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn was an actual monarchist reactionary straight out of a… Read more »
Issac
Guest

The class differential is everything here. Gentry conservatives desperately want to be gentry and though they may be suicidal idiots, they do instinctively respect hierarchy and authority. This may be what is short circuiting the naturally right-inclined in most of the population. When vested power becomes uniformly left wing, the orderly con simply chocks that up to the new order of things and modifies his views to get on.

As I’ve noted before, I can think of no historical reform or revolution that didn’t have any upper class components. Until one emerges, cons will have to be stupid or silent.

Member

agreed

Al from da Nort
Guest
Z Man; Another factor: The ‘lure of significance’ (aka Pride) plus money (aka Avarice) accounts for a lot of anybody’s behavior. Cuck’s are no exception. As an extreme parallel example, consider the history of Stalin’s NKVD big shots. They were smart guys so they all knew that Communism was gilded b*llsh*t, that it was a false religion + terror that held the USSR together. They’d all *personally* shot ‘wreckers & saboteurs’ in the back of the head at the edge of some pit in Siberia or in some basement cell in some city or other. They all knew that some… Read more »
Member

The single most damaging thing for small-c conservatism is supposed capital-C conservatives who think that tut-tutting and shaming a Progressive will make him admit his shenanigans and concede that he was wrong. Progressive play to win, they play to win for keeps, and they play dirty. Conservatives who insist that they would never dream of violating Marquis of Queensbury rules are our generation’s “useful idiots”.

Drake
Guest

HW Bush thoroughly disabused me of the idea that the Gentry conservatives were just honest and dumb. Bush was a Trojan Horse who supervised an adversarial transition in ’89. He and his country-club cronies purposely set about undoing everything Reagan accomplished. He had absolutely no intention of keeping his “read my lips” promise and was talking to Ed Rollins months into the administration about raising taxes. Rollins was stunned at the casual betrayal.

The know exactly what they are doing and don’t care one bit if it angers “the base” or costs them elections.

https://spectator.org/65551_why-bush-dynasty-fell/

Member

I felt so betrayed by HW and the gentry conservatives that it turned me into a Perot voter for the next two cycles.

Drake
Guest

#Metoo

Din C. Nuffin
Guest

Interesting. No matter who you voted for, Syria got bombed.

Member

I only wish that they were morons. Unfortunately, many of them are clever and articulate. They can weave some wonderful visions of how the world might be if only they were in charge of things. Those visions have the power to deflect the attention of many well-intentioned people from the fact that we are engaged in a take-no-prisoners war for the soul of the Republic.

Member

The hallmark of gentry conservatism for generations has been the insistence on playing by a set of rules the other side refuses to respect, a set of rules that guarantees failure by the so-called Right.

They want it to be one way… but, it’s the other way.

https://youtu.be/PwuckTkE7T4

Severian
Guest
I don’t think he’s stupid per se; he is just — like all members of the Uniparty — a virtue-signaler uber alles. For guys like him, self-identification as a “conservative” is *almost* as important as “writes [however briefly] for a respectable middlebrow publication.” Given this, I’d bet good money that getting fired was actually the whole point of the exercise. He’s good enough to write for them, damn it!, but they just can’t handle his Real Conservativeness. (Andrew Sullivan used to play this game well, back when people cared who he was (is he still alive?). For whatever reason, “being… Read more »
Member

Sullivan writes for New York magazine and still looms large on the Left with his think-pieces. He’s a squid but at least he’s an interesting read, even if one disagrees with him.

“Denying Genetics Isn’t Shutting Down Racism, It’s Fueling It” – Andrew Sullivan

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/denying-genetics-isnt-shutting-down-racism-its-fueling-it.html

Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest

The “troubled Catholic” is a personality type nowadays, and they crack me up. Not so long ago, a “troubled Catholic” was like the Prodigal Son, so ashamed of his lifestyle and conduct that he avoided the Church out of shame. Graham Greene illuminates such people in ‘The Power and the Glory’.

But now, the ‘troubled Catholic’ is one who, like Sullivan, sees the Church itself as the ‘prodigal son.’ He “loves” the Church, despite its erring ways. If only his beloved Church could stop in its errors and follies, and come back to him!

Christopher S. Johns
Guest
Sloppy deluded himself because deep down he’s an arriviste hick who just wanted to prove what a good poodle boy for the left he could be – he really, really wanted to be the next Ross Doucehat because all the right people are always praising Douchey for being such a bold, principled sellout – and Sloppy wanted in on that action in the worst way. But poor Sloppy went and crapped on the carpet as soon as he was brought inside, and never had a chance to show what a good housebroken pet he could be. Fuck that guy with… Read more »
Member

That was great.

Karl McHungus
Guest

he tracked dog poop in on his (worn) shoes…

Pimpkin's Nephew
Guest

You obviously don’t like KW; nor do I. But don’t get carried away.

If KW deserves a ‘sideways screwdriver fuck’, then what does somebody you really hate deserve?

I hope I never get on your ‘bad people’ list, Mr Johns.

Lee
Guest

You write that “The sheer volume of losing by gentry conservatives should be enough to wake even the dumbest and most naive.”
With all due respect, you give far too much credence and intellect heft to the gentry conservative. They are, apparently, willfully blind to the fact that the socialists amongst us are not playing by our rules. True Fascism, evidenced by the shout-downs of conservatives and the instant full-throated attacks upon anyone in Twittery or Fakebook for even the slightest deviation from their fanatical goal, make it apparent and obvious that we are in a war.

Member
Zman: “No doubt he was thinking of the internet meme, probably thinking the quote is from Voltaire. The line is actually from an old white nationalist named Kevin Alfred Strom. Dumb people tend to believe what they see on the internet, without making sure of the source and accuracy.” It’s really kinda bogus of you to assume what a guy thought, then call him dumb for supposedly thinking it. The way Williamson used the popular formulation was pretty creative and effective. –I thought Williamson would have the balls to own his “hang the women” opinion on abortion. Since he’s supposedly… Read more »
Jimmy
Guest

“Conservatism, at its root, is the acceptance of reality. The man of the Right accepts the world as it is and acts accordingly. Williamson (cuckservatives generally) looks out at a world overrun by Progressive mobs, egged on by our Progressive rulers, and concludes that the only proper response is to pretend it is otherwise. He’s nobly walking in front of the speeding train, because trains should not speed.”

This is among your very best passages at explaining the current predicament.

Bravo.

Mark Matis
Guest

By and large, Mr. Goldberg et al are merely continuing the long tradition of giving people a reason to hate Jews. Just as Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Biden and Mr. Kerry and Bergoglio give people a reason to hate Catholics.