Note: The Monday Takis post is up. Not all that related to this post, but not entirely unrelated either. I like the Taki post this week. The Sunday podcast is up behind the green door for those on the side of angels. I was on for two hours last night saying bad things about lots of people. You can find the replay here.
One of the great innovations in American politics introduced by libertarians is the ability to turn the sidelines into the moral high ground. In order to avoid taking on the Left, especially with regards to morality, libertarians became expert at finding a neutral position that worked like a cloaking device. Because the libertarian position offered no threat to the Left, the Left ignored it. This allowed libertarians to pretend to oppose radicalism while never threatening it.
This cloaking strategy took the form of them finding some “principled position” that was often so unrealistic that it did not bear considering. A good example is the homosexual marriage debate. Normal people understood that what the crazies were doing was attacking the very concept of the family. The exclusivity of family offends the core concepts of the open society. Reducing marriage to a handshake agreement open to anyone eliminates its exclusivity.
Instead of confronting the reality of this, libertarians took the position that the state should have no interest in marriage at all. In other words, the libertarian answer to the assault on the institution of marriage was to advocate the elimination of the legal concept of marriage entirely. This allowed them to subtly agree with the Left while claiming to stand on some abstract principle. The libertarian moral high ground was just a way to stand on the sidelines and do nothing.
This habit of mind soon infected Conservative Inc. A strategy that allowed them to tell well-meaning rich people that they are fighting the good fight, while never upsetting their friends on the Left was manna from heaven. One manifestation of the this is the “conservative case for…” strategy where they find a way to make the left-wing position into a right-wing principle. Another is the agree and amplify approach. The Democrats are the real racists is the most popular example.
Over the weekend the so-called conservatives were trying to pair the Andrew Coffee case with the Kyle Rittenhouse case. Coffee is a drug dealer who was involved in a gun fight with cops at his drug den. His girlfriend was killed in the gun fight. The state charged him with her murder on the theory that he initiated the gun battle, so he was culpable for her death. He was acquitted on the grounds that he had a right to defend his drug den from the cops and black lives matter.
Now, the Coffee case is interesting for a number of reasons and one can argue that his acquittal was justified. It is in no way analogous to the Rittenhouse case. Comparing the two is a way to defend some abstract principle of self-defense while not taking on the reality of the Rittenhouse case. It was a purely political prosecution. If he was black the Left would have made him a hero. Because he was white and his attackers were antiwhite, they wanted to murder him.
Another example of this is the CRT business. It is explicitly antiwhite and the people pushing it are not afraid to make that point. The response from so-called conservatives is to claim that it was an assault on black people or Asians. They scoured the land for examples willing to play along. Christopher Rufo, the guy turning the issue into a career, went out of his way to beat back the antiwhite angle. The reason he opposed calling it antiwhite is it offended the Left.
Conservatives have been hiding under their beds for the last five years as the Left has run various antiwhite pogroms. First the excuse was Donald Trump made them sad, so they had to stay in bed. Then they not-so-subtly blamed the people who voted for him, those insurrectionists white supremacists. Now that Biden is as popular as rectal cancer, they feel the coast is clear so they can crawl out from under the beds to pretend they are leading a political movement.
House mouse Rich Lowry has a post wagging his finger at “woke culture” in which he, wait for it, says the Left are the real racists. You see, the response to the antiwhite pogroms of the last half dozen years is not a rigorous defense of white people, but rather a declaration of race denialism as a conservative principle. Meeting the Left head on would be wrong. Instead, they will find some comfy place on the sidelines where they can smugly pretend they have the moral high ground.
It is tempting to think this stuff is intentional, but guys like Rich Lowry lack the intellectual agility to think this way. He is just an obsequious dullard. Instead, the reason behind this approach is instinct. To be a conservative in the modern sense of it is to assume the Left is the moral superior and they are on the side of angels. This is the starting assumption on the so-called Right. Therefore, to oppose left-wing morality is to become the bad guy in the political drama.
Since the conservative ecosystem selects for the soft and the cowardly, it is full of people unwilling to look their superiors in the eye. That has been the great gift the libertarians have bestowed upon them. It was the entry fee for libertarians to join the coalition of cowards knowns as conservatism. Whatever the Left proposes, the Right will find some morally ambiguous space from which they can pretend to be standing on principle while offering no resistance.
While frustrating, events of the past few years have made this clear to most people and this trick is losing its magic. The odious David French, a man so soyish he makes Rich Lowry look butch, condemning Kyle Rittenhouse in a far-left website is now met with howls of laughter. Current events are providing much needed clarity. In this time for choosing, the cowards who choose the sidelines can be condemned and ignored while the business of beating back the darkness can begin.
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