The British election offers a good opportunity to see the detachment of official conservatism from the people they pretend to represent. Most of the conservative chattering class was quietly hopeful of a Labour Party victory. They would be justified in opposing what they sneeringly refer to as populism. Boris Johnson is a boorish loudmouth, who has an uncanny appeal with working class people, despite being a man of privilege. He’s the sort of guy conservatives think should not exist.
What baffles conservatives about Boris and Trump is that neither man goes in for the dorm room libertarianism that has come to define conservatism. They proudly talk about spending money on things like infrastructure projects and government services. They think the government should make the lives of the citizens better. The economy, as far as they are concerned, is about serving the people, a concept so alien to modern conservatives they confuse it with socialism.
Of course, what baffles conservatives most about these types of politicians is they don’t seem to care very much for the cosmopolitan types, who decorate the salons of modern conservatism. Johnson won on the strength of his appeal the sort of native Britain, who no longer goes to London, because London is full of foreigners now. Similarly, Trump won on his appeal to whites in flyover country, who worry that their country is being turned into Brazil. Conservatives are baffled by this.
So much so, they just assume it is an illusion. Andrew Stuttaford, writing in National Review recognizes the facts of Johnson’s victory, but then says, “If the Conservatives are to repeat last night’s success in the next general election (currently scheduled for 2024) they will want to claw back some of those London voters.” In other words, despite the results, he remains convinced that the path to victory is chasing the non-white cosmopolitan vote in the cosmopolitan areas.
This is the same psychosis we have seen in America with conservatives. They demand the GOP bankrupt itself chasing a few black votes, at the expense of the vast number of white votes it can easily gain. It is a form of Stockholm syndrome. Conservatives have been captured by the Left for so long, they have now completely internalized the morality of the Left, to the point where it is natural for them. They just assume one sacred black vote is worth more than every single white vote.
Of course, people in cults cannot process disconfirmation, so they look for ways to explain the contrary results within the context of their beliefs. Quickly after the results were known, the so-called conservatives blamed the results on the antisemitism of Jeremy Corbyn. Also in National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty claims “Under Corbyn’s watch, Labour became a party in which anti-Semitism started to have free rein.” Yeah, that’s what caused millions to vote Tory.
Not to be outdone, the neocons are blaming magic miasmas that brought with them a foul odor of socialism. The Trotskyites at Bill Kristol’s new Persia-based outlet are blaming it on their old enemies in the party. Charlie Sykes writes, “And make no mistake about it, Corbyn’s Labour party platform was a progressive, democratic-socialist fever dream.” You see, according to these guys, Brexit and nationalism are wildly unpopular, but the scary socialisms is even more unpopular.
Another point here is that the so-called conservatives were completely taken in by the last-minute campaign by the mass media to claim the election was tight. One reason is they really wanted to believe it. Another reason, a more important one, is that they always trust the Left. They instinctively trust the left-wing media, despite having been lied to so often. It’s not an institutional trust or a desire for it, but a natural comfort for the sorts of people who control the left-wing media.
That is because conservatism in the English-speaking countries has become nothing more than right-wing cosmopolitanism. These are people who live in cities as strangers to everyone around them. Community is not based on history or tradition, but in a shared ideology. Ben Shapiro made this clear when he said “And by the way, I don’t give a good damn about the so-called “browning of America.” Color doesn’t matter. Ideology does.” This is the essence of cosmopolitanism.
It’s also not conservative. The reason conservatism exists is people naturally attach to their kin, their land and their traditions. This is the bulwark against radicalism, which seeks to replace normal human relations with ideological ones. Most people, as the saying goes, are conservative about what they know best. That means in the English -speaking world, most people are naturally conservative. It is this vast majority of whites that is now alien to the cosmopolitan conservatives.
This is why the first project of an authentic alternative is to claw back the mantle of conservatism from the cosmopolitans. Let them drift back to their kind in the party, to wrangle over false consciousness and the finer points of ideology. The authentic alternative to this is not a slightly different ideology, but the rejection of ideology as the foundation of politics. In order for there to be a genuine alternative politics, the cosmopolitan conservatives must first be driven from the temple.
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