One of the things few notice is the level of coordination in the media. The writers and talkers are often conspiring with one another to push some agenda, usually on behalf of moneyed interests or one of the political parties. The most recent example is the Michelle Fields hoax, facilitated by Ben Shapiro, who is a kept man of the guy financing the Ted Cruz campaign. The whole thing was a setup by “reporters” with an agenda, one purchased by the Ted Cruz campaign.
The Fields hoax is an exception, but there is a lot of media coordination. The JournoList scandal a few years ago revealed that many left-wing writers and reporters were coordinating their efforts via a secret e-mail list. They would promote each other’s work and coordinate how they would cover certain people and events. They imagined themselves as the guys meeting at Rue Saint-Jacques, except they were working on behalf of the king, despite imagining otherwise.
It looks like Buckley Conservatives have learned from their betters on the Left. This article appeared on the collaborationist website The Federalist, yesterday. Today, National Review has a different version of essentially the same article. Ian Tuttle feels no shame in plagiarizing the Federalist piece, suggesting this is a coordinated effort. Then again, there are only so many ways to hoot the word “racist” in a column so plagiarism is probably not the right word here.
Tuttle can be forgiven for not understanding the material, but still trying to please his bosses. He is a child trying to start a career as a chattering skull. Children do what they are told. The old fat guy from the Federalist is just a nobody so this is a way to make some money. We can expect more from the Buckley Right, as it finds itself decreasingly relevant and increasingly under assault.
Ideological movements enter into decline at the same point they turn inward and focus on a narrowing set of doctrines that define the cause. That’s the point they lose faith in the future, their future. They turn their tools to the task of maintaining the status quo, often at the expense of the movement and the benefit of the leaders. Today, Buckley Conservatism is mostly a Reagan Mystery Cult with a gift shop for their books, magazines and television programs.
There is some continuation here with the tradition of Buckley, as far as the war on the people to their Right. That has always been an essential element of Buckley Conservatism. Like Progressives, they hate the people to their Right and curry favor with those on their Left. By casting the people on their Right as unacceptable, so the theory goes, they position themselves as the sensible alternative to the Far Right and the Far Left. Buckley cut his teeth purging Burchers and Randians.
The whole point of Buckley Conservatism was to fight the Soviets so this strategy of self-legitimization made some sense. The Left was hoping to emulate the Bolsheviks, not counter them. In order to prevent that from happening, the Right had to be a legitimate counter argument. So, Bill Buckley was willing to throw anyone over the rail if it made him and his cause look good. A lot of people went over the rail as a result.
The Cold War is over. What’s left of Buckley Conservatism is the weird half of Frank Meyer Fusionism and the purging. Over the last 25 years the list of people purged reads like a who’s who of important writers of the American Right. What’s left of Buckley Conservatism, as an intellectual movement, is the sophomoric libertarian nonsense and angry tantrums about the traditionalists of the Old Right, who refuse to play along anymore.
The Buckleyites still run the Reagan Mystery Cult and the adjoining gift shoppe, the latter being the critical piece. Jonah Goldberg lives in a million dollar home in the Washington suburbs. To maintain that lifestyle means keeping the gift shoppe open. Even if he wanted to entertain alternative opinions, he has a mortgage to pay and a college fund to finance. He lacks the talent of a Mark Steyn and the courage of Ann Coulter so he cannot go it alone. He has to remain a clerk in the gift shoppe, writing copy about the wonderfulness of Buckley Conservatism.
The problem for Buckley Conservatives is they have nothing to offer. People see 25 years of failure and naturally begin to look elsewhere for answers. The alt-right has loads of problems and parts of it are a bit like heroin, offering momentary relief at the expense of long term happiness. To the person suffering in the present, however, the momentary high from joining a white identity group, for example, feels like salvation.
The alt-right, in all of its manifestations, is not growing in number and confidence because they made a pact with the devil. There is nothing supernatural at work here. It’s not a coherent intellectual movement, but simply a refuge from the endless assault on ordinary people, who see their traditions, their customs, their ancestors and their progeny being ground up in the meat grinder of technocratic managerialism. The alt-right is not offering anything but shelter from the storm – for now.
Mass movements are always attractive to the disaffected, which is why responsible people must always work to limit the number of disaffected. It’s this failure of Buckley Conservatism, and the failure of the managerial class as a whole, that has grown the number of disaffected. The whole reason to be loyal to the Left or the Right was always patriotic interest. Neither side bothers to make patriotic arguments, thus leaving patriots with nothing.
When people who have been loyal to conservative causes and conservative politicians their whole life find themselves being called racists and bigots by those people they supported, they start to feel like they have been conned. When ruling class organs publicly argue that vast parts of the culture must be destroyed, that traditional America must be wiped out, people hear a declaration of war. The response is not going to be “yes sir, may I have another.” The response, to quote the late Andrew Breitbart, is going to be “Fuck you. War!”