One of the defining features of the managerial class is how it uses rhetoric to shape the debate in order to eliminate the need for debate. They are not in the habit of debating their ideas and fads, mostly because they don’t want to debate those things. It is a soft-authoritarianism where they seek to shame and cajole their opposition out of the public square, so they don’t have to debate them. A good example of this is a piece on the debate between young activists and the racketeers.
The author of the piece is an editor of First Things, a publication that used to bill itself as a conservative religious journal aimed at “advancing a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.” As in the case of Buckley conservatism, establishment Christian organization set as their goal to fit themselves into the Progressive moral order. As a result, First Things is a thoroughly house-trained operation that offers no threat to the prevailing moral order.
Putting that aside, it is a great example of how the establishment, broadly defined here to include all the subgroups on the other side of the great divide, first seeks to shape the debate so as to exclude those seeking to debate them. In this case, the writer has no interest in addressing the actual core of the fight between the groypers and the racketeers of Conservative Inc. Instead, he claims the debate is between white nationalists and classical liberals over the issue of free speech.
There is a word for what he is doing here. It’s called lying. For starters, there is no definition of “white nationalist” that includes Nick Fuentes that would not also include the founders of Buckley conservatism or the Founders of the United States. If that is what the author intends, then he is the extreme radical here, claiming that the very founding of the nation is immoral. After all, the term “white nationalist” is currently defined to mean immoral, as in a heretic or blasphemer.
Calling Charlie Kirk and the other racketeers of Conservative Inc. “classical liberals” is a revealing bit of rhetoric. Within living memory, Buckley conservatives would have avoided such a description. Religious conservatives certainly would not have used the term positively. Up until the last generation or so, no right-winger would claim that society is no more than the sum of its individual members. After all, the Buckleyites called themselves Burkeans, not Hobbesians.
Once he redefines the sides in the dispute, he then gratuitously characterizes the nature of the dispute. On the one hand, he claims the sides disagree on Israel and homosexuality. On the other hand, he claims both sides agree on the value of free speech and debate. At best, this is a superficial analysis that suggests the author is unfamiliar with both sides of this battle. At worst it is an effort to frame the issue in such a way as to make it easy to defend Conservative Inc.
The claim is that Nick Fuentes is the bad guy, a white nationalist, who is not a real Christian, while Kirk is just a secular libertarian. The reason the “white nationalists” are attacking the classical liberal is Kirk foolishly embraced free speech. The writer spends the rest of his post on a rant about the dangers of white nationalism, a rant that is part of the stock rhetoric of the Left. In other words, in typical Progressive style, it’s all about the good guys and bad guys, the white hats and black hats.
Of course, you never debate the bad guys. To do so, as the Left always reminds us, is to legitimize them. Giving white nationalists a platform could lead people to think that their claims have legitimacy. In order to avoid that, the bad guys must be destroyed, which in this case means anathematized as social pariahs. Mr. Schmitz is doing exactly what dissidents have been accusing Conservative Inc. of doing for generations now, acting as a gate-keeper for the establishment.
To be more accurate, they are not just gate-keepers in a passive sense. That’s another lie they like to promote, as if they are just defending the status quo. In reality, so-called conservatives like Mr. Schmitz are skirmishers, running ahead of the main battle line in the culture war. In this case, the job is to anathematize the critics, so they can be more easily dismissed by the main army of the Left. The whole setup of the post is as a vehicle for pointing and shrieking at the dissidents.
It is rather ironic that the groyper’s actual complaint, the real dispute between them and the racketeers, is exactly what Schmitz is doing in this post. It is not a dispute over speech or individual liberty. Those things play an ancillary role, but they are not the primary issues. The issue is that allegedly conservative outfits like First Things have conserved nothing but their position within the Progressive establishment. They spend all of their time defending their alleged adversaries.
That is why Conservative Inc. has embraced left-wing rhetoric to defend itself against the dissidents. They have no choice. They cannot defend their behavior morally and they cannot defend their record. Like common street walkers, conservatives have been willing to jump into whatever car pulls up to the curb. In order to avoid admitting this, they have to shift the focus from themselves onto some bad guy. After many long years getting into lefty’s car, they have taken on his habits.
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