The Odour of Honeysuckle

One of the more entertaining aspects of the Trump Effect is watching members of the so-called conservative media throw around the word “conservative” like a magic spell. Some utter the word within incantations intended to make Trump disappear. Others use it to ward off the hordes of Trump supporters they fear are about to break their beloved party.

The word “conservative’ has lost all meaning, which is what you see in this post on NRO the other day. Jim Geraghty is no Genius T. Coates so you have to look past the logical fallacies at the beginning, but you’ll note that what Geraghty thinks of as “conservative” is just a shopping list of Republican proposals with a healthy dollop of social engineering.

The panic among the chattering classes is obvious and the Geraghty piece has the feel of someone bargaining for his life. The only thing missing is the “I’ll give you anything you want” line that Hollywood imagines everyone says when facing death. A year ago, they were sure that one of the guys from central casting would be the nominee and now they see it all falling to pieces. The dirt people have breached the walls.

Whenever I read these columns, I keep thinking of the bit from Braveheart at the first battle. This was before Mel shows up to give his big speech. The troops are about to split after seeing the English forming up and one of the nobles pleads with them, “Do not flee. Wait until we’ve negotiated.”  That’s GOP Inc. these days. They want one last chance to surrender negotiate.

The problem for Conservative Inc is they conceded a critical principle a long time ago that puts them forever at odds with traditional American conservatism. That is, they surrendered on the fundamental right of association, which is the bedrock of American conservatism. Once the state can dictate to you with whom you can associate or disassociate, you are no longer a citizen. Every conceivable right depends on the ability to band together or walk away, as necessary.

The remedy was to grasp about for ways to gain the ends that naturally flow from freedom of association, without upsetting the Left over the issue of race. The trouble is that it was always a matter of time before the Left could close the loop and make everything about race. They even made the weather a racial issue so anything of consequence was going to be easy pickings for the Cult.

Long ago, the official Right came to an accommodation with the other side of the Yankee ruling class. A movement that fundamentally stands outside the traditions and instincts of Public Protestantism is forever trapped in that framework. Public intellectuals of the Right spend their lives trying to make their movement, their philosophy, comport with the ethics and aesthetics of the Progressives.

Once the Right gave into the Left on association, equating it with racism and therefore off-limits, the Right stopped being an opposition movement and became a partner. One side wants to use the power of the state to compel certain behavior, while the other sides either counsels caution or argues for different goals. Whether or not the state herds the people around is no longer an issue up for debate.

That’s what has the official Right in a panic over Trump and the growing resistance to immigration. If the people can debate who is and who is not allowed in for settlement, then freedom of association is back on the table. That means the average American can decide with whom he lives and, by extension, with whom he refuses to associate. More important, it calls into question the modern Right’s place in the ruling consensus.

In the novel The Sound and the Fury, Quentin Compson is the son of a once prominent Southern family who is at school at Harvard. Quentin wishes to reject his father’s antiquated philosophy, but the world he lives in seems constantly to affirm that view of the world. Eventually, unable to reconcile his place in the cultural timeline with the world in which he lives, he throws himself off a bridge and drowns in the Charles River.

The official Right finds itself in a similar dilemma. They desperately want to find some way to reject the past without succumbing to the present. The Bill Buckley experiment has been a generational attempt to accommodate traditional American conservatism with the dominant Public Protestantism that we now call Progressivism.

For a long time they were sure they unridddled it, but now here they are facing what they see as the Snopes clan. They look at Trump and his supporters as vermin who threaten the great project. Instead of strolling the ivy covered walls of elite institutions, the official Right is about to drown in the odor of honeysuckle. Like Quenton Compson, they see no way to resolve the past with the present.

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Member

EXACTLY SO. The “religious freedom” argument used when defending bakeries, florists, photographers and the like forced to accommodate homosexual couples is failing everywhere it’s tried, and that’s because the “Civil Rights” movement, once the vote had been secured*, turned out to be all about access to other people’s stuff. Reopening the debate about who may or may not be permitted to settle in our nation is a vitally important step; but doesn’t, until the homosexualist lobby is shown the door of a more willing business, do anything in particular to restore freedom of association, though. The right at issue is… Read more »

Kathleen
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Kathleen

This stuff continues until people stop putting up with it.

Mark Matis
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Mark Matis

This stuff continues until people recognize that it is the Blue Wall who FORCE it upon them. Not until they are willing to rise up and kill EVERY “Law Enforcement” officer who enables this will anything change for the better. Meanwhile, the Elite stand behind their Blue Wall and laugh. For they recognize that the Only Ones will do WHATEVER they are told. As long as that paycheck keeps comin’ in.

guest
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guest

It fits perfectly if you spell it CONservative!

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[…] Z-man nails it: […]

Andy Texan
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I have read all of Faulkner (although it has been year ago). My recollection is the smell of verbena rather than honeysuckle. Of course this is a minor quibble on a very perspicacious essay.

Fuel Filter
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Fuel Filter

“Freedom of association” ultimately comes down to the threat of, or the application of violence. Without that threat any notion of that freedom gets flushed. That’s why the Left is so entrenched in their stance on eroding, and then eliminating, the 2nd amendment. Once that happens here, or once it’s negated enough, only the government and the criminals (I repeat myself) salted within our nation will have a monopoly on coercion. Then even property rights will bite the dust (EPA, BLM, HUD).  See what’s happened to the countries within the EU. Merkel, with the not-so-backdoor help of the globalist Soros,… Read more »

Nedd Ludd
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Nedd Ludd

Diversity is our Strength.
Race is just a Social Construct.
Arbeit Macht Frei.

“We’re not taking away anybody’s right to do things,
we’re simply forcing you to understand.”

– Ex NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg explaining the large soda ban.

After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed…
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts.
Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
– Bertolt Brecht

Stephen Carter
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Dinesh D’Souza is convinced Hillary will win, by hook or by crook. If somehow the USA survives 2016, then 2017 will very likely be worse. Before the escalation begins, it would be advisable to put yourself mentally in that place and devise a plan. It may very well be that the US will become one vast unlivable place. That’s the endgame the Left always visits on every country where their will dominates. At some point after Reagan the Republicans abandoned their principles lock stock & barrel. It’s all just going through the motions now. Speaking from January 2017, ‘If Trump… Read more »

Coldwarvet
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Coldwarvet

Take it back to the beginning: The slippery slope was actually lost in the War Between the States when the industrial northern states and their vile “leadership,” needing more wage slaves to fuel the burgeoning oligarchic/industrial combine, used the chimera of “Southern slavery” to mobilize, militate, and violate “free association” at the most fundamental level – our legal Constitution of these several united States.

“You can check out, but you can never leave…”

Member

You may or may not have a point in there somewhere; but how does pushing for the abolition of slavery violate freedom of association principles? Wouldn’t being held as a slave violate one’s freedom of association? The slavery problem was never going to be solved peacefully. It was impossible: The North was right, inasmuch as slaveholding is incompatible with Constitutional principles. House divided, and all that; the South was right, because they faced not only being deprived of property having been lawfully acquired, but upon manumission, by being surrounded by hostile, bitter, violent, unassimilable former slaves and their descendants in… Read more »

Rick
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Rick

Slavery was resolved without bloodshed in Europe! Not easily but without killing people…..the US war against the south was about destroying the south as a political force…..and that was honestly reported in the US CONgress by a northern congressman from Mass. in a resolution approved in 1861, if I remember correctly (Charles Sumner(?)).

Coldwarvet
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Coldwarvet

I think you missed the point. Freedom of association principles were violated FUNDAMENTALLY, at the level of the constitution itself, when the North said, “You can’t quit us.” I’d have thought that was pretty obvious, but guess I mustn’t assume reading comprehension. As to the chimera of slavery as a casus belli, slavery would have solved itself in short order as the mechanization of farm industry made human labor obsolete. Many have written about this. So I reject your contention that slavery would not be solved peacefully; it would solve itself. And, don’t forget, even the vile Lincoln had enough… Read more »

Dutch
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Dutch

Freedom of association–that’s it! You have penned a huge essay here, on the means by which the powers that be, the “one world” types and the 0.1%, bind the rest of us to their world view. It is not freedom of speech, or the right to bear arms, it is the freedom of association. Not only a physical freedom to live with and transact with the people of your choice, but also the freedoms of political association, personal “wrong-thinking”, and the sharing of that “wrong-thought” (such as this blog). Trump personifies that wrong-thought, and awakens dormant wrong-thinking in others. His… Read more »

L. Beau Macaroni
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L. Beau Macaroni

Dutch wrote: “It seems that the truth is being slowly revealed as if by peeling away the layers of an onion. Z-Man is one heck of an onion peeler.

Hear, Hear!

Paul Bonneau
Guest

No, I think this is backwards. The Right has always been about centralization of power and control of the lives of the peons, going all the way back to Alexander Hamilton (with only a short detour from their usual path during the FDR regime). It’s the left that has more completely strayed from their initial Jeffersonian roots of “live and let live” to the current form of fascism-flavored socialism. It’s a hard sell to suggest the Right has always been about freedom of association, since things like anti-miscegenation and anti-homosexual laws are generally considered a conservative thing. The 1964 Civil… Read more »

Buckaroo Banzai
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Buckaroo Banzai

Z-Man, lots of great stuff in this article. Really made me think.