One of the curious things about conservatism, as in Buckley-style conservatism, is that it never examined its failures. Even today, when asked about why they were unable to muster a defense against the homosexualization of the culture, a guy like Charlie Kirk is poleaxed by the question. He’s standing in front of a sign that reads “culture war” alongside a homosexual and he is baffled about the question. Even the more thoughtful and honest among conservatives have a huge blind spot for their past.
One reason for this is an assumption by Buckley-style conservatives that the things they oppose cannot “work” and therefore must eventually fail. Socialism, for example, is just assumed to end in failure. That’s why even now, they howl like lunatics about the empty shelves in Venezuela. It is proof that what they fear cannot withstand contact with reality, so they ignore all the other stuff going on in Venezuela. That means they also ignore all of the prosperous countries that make socialism work.
You see that in this Victor David Hanson piece on the 2020 election. He has a section on the troubles in California and mentions the power outages. He asks how it is possible for the tech giants to function in land with power outages. There is that assumption that what should not work will eventually stop working. The massive homeless problem in the state is another example he uses. The assumption is that the open borders, multiracial future is unworkable and must fail.
The trouble with this thinking is that it assumes things about the ruling class that has never been in evidence. That is, they have the same standards for civilization as a conservative like Dr. Hanson. In other words, their definition of what works is the same as his definition of what works. Therefore, unless the rulers wake up to what is happening, the system will collapse. On the other hand, if only someone can get them to see the error of their ways, they will change course to avoid disaster.
Conservatives never stop to think that maybe California is what the ruling class wants for all of North America. After all, the people running those tech giants are living great lives. In fact, they live lives no mortals have experienced in the history of man, so from their perspective, the system works. It’s not just the plutocrats at the top. All the way down the line, the managerial elite is now living as aristocrats. Sure, there is rot down toward the bottom, but that’s true of all ruling elites.
Another thing that conservatives have always gotten wrong is in the same post, where Hanson discusses national character. He laments the radical authoritarianism that is now the campus culture. He wonders what sort of politics that it will produce on the national stage. He wonders how the breakdown of order will alter politics and if this new politics will replace the national character. That is, the cultural revolution from the top will produce a response from the bottom, the victims of this assault.
This fear is rooted in an assumption that has never been true. The United States was never a nation in the tradition sense. It was always a federation of nations. The structure the Founders created was an explicit acknowledgement of it. The regional difference in the colonies at the time of the founding were not superficial. Those regional differences are still with us today, despite the migrant wave unleashed on many parts by the ruling class. America was always a house with many mansions.
Therefore, to speak of national character, other than in the most general terms, is to misunderstand the country and its people. More important, this concept of the national character is one dreamed up by the Right long ago to adjust to the triumph of Norther Progressives over the rest of the nations. It is an entirely fabricated concept with no basis in reality. It’s simply something that worked for the people in charge as a propaganda device. They can easily abandon it for something else.
That’s the thing conservatives have never grasped. For as long as anyone today has been a live there has been a ruling class. They may not have official titles and a formal role in government, but there are people in charge. Like every ruling class, their primary interest is in remaining in charge. When America was 90% white, the national character stuff that resonates with Victor David Hanson was what they used to perpetuate their rule. In other words, that sort of civic nationalism was a big lie.
Now that America is non-white, the people in charge are searching for a new moral construct to control the population. They also seek a rationale for their position as the ruling elite. Without the traditional forms of legitimacy, they have to search in their ideology for a reason to justify their position. As the long reign of Robert Mugabe showed, vengeance for past sins is a powerful tool of control. The national character, if we allow it, will be a blood libel against white people.
Finally, what remains of Buckley-style conservatism, and certainly of its mongrel variant you see from people like Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk, is a weird, fatalistic romanticism for a past that never existed. What draws crowds to these people is the hope that they will make it all better and that things will return to normal. That’s what makes this stuff so insidious. It prevents decent people from facing the reality of what’s coming and most important, it prevents them from preparing for it.
There will be no confirmatory collapse of the Progressive order. There will be no sudden realization of their errors and a great retreat from radical multiculturalism. There is no returning to the America of the past, real or imagined. The old white America where civic nationalism was enough to maintain regional cooperation will not work in a land of hostile strangers. In a land of tribes, many hostile and many encouraged to be hostile, something else will be used to maintain control.
For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!