The Company Men

Since the major news outlets are run by the Cult, all of the focus has been on how the Cult is dealing with the calamity of November 8, 2016. Even two months on, members of the Cult are throwing tantrums in order draw attention to their grief. For example, two degenerates had to be removed from a plane because they objected to Ivanka Trump riding on the same plane. Unfortunately, the plane was still on the tarmac when they were removed. Then there are the daily hoaxes, which are part of their grieving process.

Less noticed is the ongoing collapse of the Conventional Right into irrelevancy as it copes with the sudden realization that no one cares what they think. National Review, for example, has seen its traffic collapse since they went NeverTrump. The ridiculous person they have running the joint these days is out begging for money to redesign the site again. The implication is that bad technology is the reason no one reads National Review. The fact that they publish nonsense like this gets no mention at staff meetings, I bet.

While it is amusing to watch silly people like Charles Cooke struggle with the reality of his situation, there are some intelligent and thoughtful people in the Conventional Right trying to make sense of things. They correctly see the rise of Trump, and the emergence of a counter culture on the Right, as a dire threat to their thing. After all, why bother consulting the grovelers at National Review when they are always wrong and there are alternatives out there getting it right?

This long piece by Matthew Continetti the other day is a good read for a number of reasons. Continetti is married to a daughter of Bill Kristol and he is a true believer in the neo-conservative faith. Take that however you like. This is the first bit of interest.

I have been thinking about Gavin lately because his life and thought so perfectly capture the conservatism of Donald Trump. When you read Gavin, you begin to understand that the idea of Trump as a conservative is not oxymoronic. Trump is a conservative—of a particular type that is rare in intellectual circles. His conservatism is ignored or dismissed or opposed because, while it often reaches the same conclusions as more prevalent versions of conservatism, its impulses, emphases, and forms are different from those of traditionalism, anti-Communism, classical liberalism, Leo Strauss conservatism in its East and West Coast varieties, the neoconservatism of Irving Kristol as well as the neoconservatism of William Kristol, religious conservatism, paleo-conservatism, compassionate conservatism, constitutional conservatism, and all the other shaggy inhabitants of the conservative zoo.

Like most of the box-tickers in the managerial class, Continetti is largely unaware of what constitutes conservatism in English speaking countries. For men of the Conventional Right, conservatism is a list of policies and poses that define their relationship with Progressives. The idea that conservatism is a temperament, rather than a laundry list of policy proposals is alien to these guys. They are men of the multiple choice exam. Their options are always bounded by the number of choices provided to them.

Moving along, this bit offers a glimpse into the mind of the neo-cons as they face the dustbin of history.

Trump has always been careful to distinguish himself from what he calls “normal conservative.” He has defined a conservative as a person who “doesn’t want to take risks,” who wants to balance budgets, who “feels strongly about the military.” It is for these reasons, he said during the campaign, that he opposed the Iraq war: The 2003 invasion was certainly risky, it was costly, and it put the troops in a dangerous position, defending a suspicious and resentful population amid IEDs and sniper attacks. The Iraq war, in this view, is an example of conservative writers and thinkers and politicians following trains of logic or desire to un-conservative conclusions.

One of the things that never gets discussed is just how spectacularly wrong the Conventional Right was about the response to 9/11, particularly Iraq. Everything the neo-cons said about the Muslim world in the Bush years turned out to be wrong – disastrously wrong. There was a prohibition on pointing this out for a while, but Trump said it, in South Carolina of all places, and paid no price for it. Pretty much the only refuge for the neo-cons is to pretend that everyone was wrong and that Trump was just lucky in his opposition to the “invade the world” portion of neo-conservatism.

This bit is comical because it highlights the foreignness of the neo-cons and the Conventional Right.

The conservatism of Donald Trump is not the conservatism of ideas but of things. His politics do not derive from the works of Burke or Disraeli or Newman, nor is he a follower of Mill or Berlin or Moynihan. There is no theory of natural rights or small government or international relations that claims his loyalty. When he says he wants to “conserve our country,” he does not mean conserve the idea of countries, or a league of countries, or the slogans of democracy or equality or freedom, but this country, right now, as it exists in the real world of space and time. Trump’s relation to the intellectual community of both parties is fraught because his visceral, dispositional conservatism leads him to judgments based on specific details, depending on changing circumstances, relative to who is gaining and who is losing in a given moment.

What he is alluding to here is the deeply held belief, among Conventional Conservatives, that the true leaders of society are the men who manipulate ideas, not the men who manipulate other men or manipulate things. The great revulsion for Trump among our betters is they see him as a man that makes his way managing people things. He is not a man who operates in the realm of ideas. Therefore, he is disqualified from leading society. Continetti sees himself as Trump’s intellectual and moral superior.

This bit is laugh out loud funny.

His is a blunt and instinctive and demotic approach arrived at after decades in the zero-sum world of real estate and entertainment contract negotiations. His are sentiments honed by immediate, knee jerk, and sometimes inelegant reactions to events and personalities observed on Twitter or on “the shows.” And the goal of his particular conservatism is not adherence to an ideological program so much as it is to prevent the loss of specific goods: money, soldiers, guns, jobs, borders, national cohesion.

Guys like Continetti would not last five minutes in the world of real estate or the world of fast food, for that matter. If he were to get a job with Trump’s organization, it would be as a doorman or desk clerk. Maybe in a decade or so he could be in a position to make a decision, like selecting a cleaning contractor or a building maintenance vendor. The reason the Conventional Right is in crisis is that normal, conservative people, have grown weary of the smug condescension from useless know-it-alls like Continetti.

In fairness to Continetti, he does seem to be figuring it out a bit.

It is this specificity of attachment rather than adherence to a program that explains the divide between street corner conservatives and their political brethren. Many of the conservatives in Washington, D.C., myself included, arrived at their politics through study or experience at university, by encountering a great text, the coherence of natural law, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, or the economics of Smith, Ricardo, Friedman, and Tullock. That is not the case for the street corner conservatives.

Continetti cannot bring himself to contemplate how the people he labels “street corner conservatives” arrived at their positions. That would require a degree of self-awareness that he lacks. He is far too concerned with distancing himself from these people, because Conventional Conservatism is nothing more than a buffer between the dominant ideology of Progressivism and the rest of us. In their heads, they are standing athwart history yelling “stop”, but in reality they are standing in front of you yelling “stop.”

I’ve gone way too long so I’ll circle back to this another day, but the whole vibe from the Conventional Right is of a collection of middle managers after a takeover. They are still wrapping their heads around the fact that the guys coming in are now in charge. The old company men will have to demonstrate their worth or be tossed out like obsolete furniture. In the end, they will come around, because they have no choice, but there will be plenty of moaning and complaining along the way.

98 thoughts on “The Company Men

  1. “The reason the Conventional Right is in crisis is that normal, conservative people, have grown weary of the smug condescension from useless know-it-alls like Continetti.”

    Exactly. This election was the total refutation of the eggheads. People like Continetti proudly rely on their credentials, even to the extent of citing their intellectual precedents. Normal people, whether or not they recognize it, operate on the principles of Thomas Aquinas (and therefore Epictetus and Aristotle) – “Observed Truth.” Not difficult, is it?

  2. “Continetti cannot bring himself to contemplate how the people he labels “street corner conservatives” arrived at their positions. That would require a degree of self-awareness that he lacks.

    I think this should read, “That would require a degree IN self-awareness that he lacks.”

    He readily admits that his beliefs are academically based. Maybe if he had instruction in the way the real world works, he might get it. Maybe a real job, wrapped in a diploma so that it has legitimacy?

  3. It has always astounded me how great an effort is made by so-called thinkers to avoid bending the knee to God Almighty. For example, the vast contortions of String Theory to avoid the obvious implications of The Big Bang findings. Or, more recently, the intellectual movement to describe the universe as a simulation without recognizing that if it’s a simulation, then someone has written the OS and that simulation must be running on somebody’s processor.

    Likewise, we are here discussing the great intellectual contortions of the last 250 years to hold on to upward directionality in history while simultaneously avoiding admitting the obvious logical need for a director outside the process. Otherwise history is random and there is no need for anyone to pay them to explain it. It just is.

    The great Thomas Sowell sort-of finessed this logical dilemma with what he called The Tragic View of History in which he stipulates the elements of the Christian doctrine of human depravity without copping to it. IIRC, it is his effort is to explain the obvious and consistent failures of progressivism to actually create non-economic (i.e. social or moral) progress.

  4. I find all the “conservative” angst about Trump very revealing. Even before his inauguration, he is without a doubt the most conservative President since Reagan. His Cabinet picks are so far beyond what I had hoped for I’m almost bracing myself for a let down.

    The Bushes never inspired these kinds of liberal tears because they were always big-government guys posing as conservatives.
    “Donald Trump’s wrecking crew: A cabinet of zealots who yearn to destroy their own agencies”

    • Reminds me of the old joke about a scientist (idea guy) and an engineer (practical guy).

      Trigger Alert: Sexist Content! (Women: simply reverse genders to make it to your taste, if you like)

      Both “men” are placed in front of a beautiful naked woman and told they can advance towards the woman but at every step must cut the distance in half. The scientist throws up his hands and exclaims “Impossible. Why bother? I will never get close to her as it would take me forever to reach her.” To which the engineer replies “Well, that’s fine, I will get close enough … for all practical purposes!”

      The difference between those who live in the world of ideas and those who make things happen. “The forest through the trees … the forest through the trees.”

  5. No neocon has ever been right on anything.
    No neocon has ever acknowledged error.
    No neocon has ever apologized for the slaughter they instigated.

    Come the revolution, who should the tallest lampposts be reserved for?

  6. Z man, your final paragraph is spot on. People like Continetti are, indeed, trying to reconcile themselves with the Trump phenomenon.

    But, it is more than a Continetti choice. It is not a Rupert Murdoch choice, either. He was the man that provided Kristol with the start-up capital and kept subsidizing TWS until a few years ago.

    The man who keeps TWS alive now, and Continetti employed, is Phil Anschutz. He is likely richer than Murdoch.

    I don’t know, but would be willing to bet, that orders have come down from Mr. Anschutz to his journalists that they should treat DFT with respect.

    I think TWS will be around in a few years. But NR and Commentary are dead men walking.

      • I have it on good authority that the number of (really) rich Jews who keep Commentary afloat is now just two. The younger one is 72.

        2-3 decades ago, there were 6-8 such benefactors.

        And the demographic profile of Commentary’s subscribers looks a lot like those of their two big givers.

        I am amazed that National Review has made it this far.

  7. Jesus, a guy who thinks that “real estate and entertainment contract negotiations” is zero-sum, is pig-ignorant about business, and more important, the theorems of “value”. He is just as stupid as Marx and his followers.

    The fundamental increase in wealth caused by trade escapes him. If I spend $10 on a thingamajig, it’s because I value the thingamajig more than my $10 and its former owner valued it at less than $10. We have both increased our wealth.

    Crikey, I explained that to my teenage boys years ago and they understood it immediately, it’s blindingly obvious when explained.

    I knew I was right to refuse to renew my subscriptions to both NR and the American Spectator, years ago, when they were still paper.

    • Yeah, that line struck me immediately, too. “You give me $250,000, I give you a house. Deal!” “You give me a performance in a movie, I give you $2 million. Deal!” This he calls zero-sum? What’s been zero-sum has been the relationship between Conservatism Inc. and its base. “You give us your vote, your money, your time and your support, and we give you nothing.” Have we been led by economic illiterates all this time? No wonder globalization turned out to be such a disaster!

  8. “His conservatism is ignored or dismissed or opposed because, while it often reaches the same conclusions as more prevalent versions of conservatism, its impulses, emphases, and forms are different from those of traditionalism, anti-Communism, classical liberalism, Leo Strauss conservatism in its East and West Coast varieties, the neoconservatism of Irving Kristol as well as the neoconservatism of William Kristol, religious conservatism, paleo-conservatism, compassionate conservatism, constitutional conservatism, and all the other shaggy inhabitants of the conservative zoo.”

    Posted on November 17, 2009
    Sarah Palin Discusses “Common Sense Conservative Solutions”

  9. There is a website I like to visit, The tag line is “because it’s important to maintain the collective memory”. Blogging is done by mom and her adult daughters. It covers things like how to dress children warmly in winter, the moral life of a child and how to nuture it, how to support your husband and how to keep house. It has a Catholic point of view and I find a lot of excellent advice there, even though I don’t have children.

    The point is that the “true conservatives” mentioned do not understand what conservatism means. It should mean maintaining that collective memory. It should be about preserving and being proud of our culture, maintaining community ties, and building strong families. It has nothing to do with nation building, flooding the country with cheap labor and shipping our manufacturing base overseas. These “true conservatives” engage in a form of mental masturbation, nothing more. And that is why they are now marginalized. The Trump supporters, being practical folks, realize what has been lost and how our culture is being destroyed. That is what is important.

  10. I don’t think the “old company men” will come around, though they may try to fake it. Trump would be a fool to trust any of them, and Trump is no fool, as Christie found out. We are looking at an upheaval that, unlike Reagan, will turn the Republican Party inside out in the next four years.

  11. There was a comment on Vox Popoli yesterday, discussing that Gerlernter piece from NRO you highlight above. Cail Corishev responded to a poster who said that people like the writer aren’t “real conservatives” with this: “Vox isn’t defining conservatism, conservatives — defined as those who call themselves conservative and are recognized by most people as conservative — are defining it. They currently define it as egalitarian, anti-racist, pro-democracy, pro-free-trade, pro-war, Israel-first, and they idolize personal liberty so highly that it’s impossible for them to resist the latest radical changes of the left for long.”

    I realized that that was exactly right; it was EXACTLY how I thought 10 years ago, when I too believed the Bush Wars would bring the blessings of Democracy to the people who dwelt in the darkness in the Middle East. And today, I don’t believe in ONE of those things, except that I’m still a loyal friend of Israel. I was a NR subscriber as far back as the late 70s. I truly believed that those writers were an outnumbered band of plucky brains who knew the truth and I was ready to follow wherever they led.

    Z-man is right when he says “Everything the neo-cons said about the Muslim world in the Bush years turned out to be wrong – disastrously wrong. There was a prohibition on pointing this out for a while, but Trump said it, in South Carolina of all places, and paid no price for it.” It was a moment of liberation. I didn’t have to pretend that George Bush was some beloved hero. He was a deluded loser, and I couldn’t believe I’d ever wasted a minute on him.

    • Good points, but regarding the Iraq/’Stan and the Bush years… they were wrong in not seeing how everything they thought was attainable would be undercut or undermined by the very State Department that was tasked with making things work. The State department and their mindset completely screwed the pooch on all of the initiatives and to me, it was really poor awareness on behalf of Bush and his, to understand just how the Clinton State department would completely mess everything up. Then add on , no defending the decisions, allowing allies to be undercut and deals to be made here and there, graft, and then the Democrats brazen decision to undercut the whole affair for politics. It was foreseeable, and yet, Bush didn’t, and neither did those around him… nor the machine in conservative circles that wrote about it all.

      I’m right there with ya. I supported all of it at the time and couldn’t be more disgusted with it all now… but I do think it’s clear now that there was deliberate sabotage by folks in places that would do critical damaged, either based on spite, politics, or vaunted , State Department views… that are really anti-American and ruinous. I have no respect for any in that agency and a good case can be made that it’s rouge and has been since the 70’s. Too harsh?

      • No question, but that just leads us back again to what Continetti likes to call the “conservatism of ideas” versus the “conservatism of things”. It seems to me that Bush and his defenders were content to be right in the non-material world of the former, and if it didn’t work out in the actual flesh-and-blood-and-dirt-and-stones world of actual people, well, that’s regrettable but not sufficient reason to abandon their ideals. Bush even went so far as to refuse to explain and defend his plans, as if the mere fact of their existence was all the justification required. They were so self-evidently right, any explanation would be superfluous. What with all the churchians involved, I felt as if they were simply certain that they’d receive their reward in Heaven, and didn’t much care or expect to find success on Earth.

        • Yeah, I am kinda bitter about how Bush didn’t follow through and defend his actions when attacked, and he and his didn’t seem to “get it” that the whole policy was being undermined and undercut, in real time. There was no ” history will judge”… The opponents undercut it all, made money on the side; State set up the worst practices of paying money out the gazinga in fraud and waste, and it all went to crap due to a partisan press and opposition by the Dems in the most craven way. Thankfully, our M.E. adventures are over. There is housework to do and it should be easy enough to focus here at home for awhile.

          • Those like Continetti who stress the “conservatism of ideas” are very similar to the old-school purist Communists, who insisted that what was important was the plan, no matter what the results to the human beings experiencing it. It’s equally hard to get neo-conservatives or “true conservatives” to recognize that damage has been done to people because of their plan. Finally, this year, we started to see some “admissions” in places like NR that Americans have suffered because of closing industries, leading to skeletonized towns and overstressed families that have lost their livelihoods. Even then, they couldn’t resist some jeers at the unfit who dropped by the wayside on the economic Trail of Tears they’d been forced to march (q.v. Kevin Williamson).

            Now here comes Donald Trump, with his “conservatism of things”, and they can hardly contain their disgust at this contaminating intrusion into the sterile laboratory of their principles. Just like the hardline Communist in the old joke, who scoffs at some capitalist success story, “Oh, sure, it works in practice! But does it work in theory??

          • Unfortunately, the ME adventures are not over Dear Uncle. It would be nice to think so, if we allow ourselves to be deluded. However, the truth is with the aid of the globalists, the ME adventures have now spilled over onto the streets of western civilization and we cannot just “get back to housecleaning.”

            The job, as Trump, correctly assesses, is to protect our people and country from the infestation that has insinuated itself in all parts of the country and infrastructure as part of the governments efforts (think Obama, Holder, et al) at diversity, tolerance, and fairness.

            The first step is to stop the rise of the infestation. The second is to do a thorough fumigation of the rats, roaches and other vermin who live among us … the domestic enemies whom we know, in many cases, very specifically. With a reconstituted Justice system, we need to bring the fury of the People down upon those who threaten us. Justice, swift and proportional. No deals. No plea bargains. If not citizens, no free legal representation. Let their Mooslum Bros. pay for their defense. Or if lawyers/attorneys choose, they can do their pro bono work but not at tax payer expense. Fu*k’em!

          • “If not citizens, no free legal representation.”

            Yep, agree 100%. Here in brainwashed-blue L.A., the liberals are helping themselves to even more tax dollars to defend illegal immigrants who lower our wages, raise the rents and dumb down the population. (You won’t find a published literacy rate for the U.S. any more. After poking around a bit, the best I could determine was the U.S. literacy rate was in the same 70%-ish neighborhood as Central African Republic and Guatemala. We’re going down, guys.)

            The elected leaders supporting this insanity should be prosecuted for acting against their own people in this way as well as having sanctuary cities. Unfortunately, many of L.A.’s residents support their own demise after being indoctrinated with lies 24/7 from media and schools. Even when there aren’t enough jobs and good enough pay to sustain good living, Americans have been dumbed down and don’t connect the dots between this and illegal immigrants.

            “Los Angeles is creating a $10 million fund to provide legal aid to residents who face deportation under a Trump administration. The announcement of the legal fund, one of a number created by Democratic strongholds in recent days, pits cities like Los Angeles and Chicago against President-elect Donald Trump’s promises to build a wall and deport undocumented immigrants.”
            “‘I’m not a hater,’ said Nicholas Sposato, an alderman from a Chicago district with strong Trump support, during the city council vote. ‘Any given day, 1,000 homeless veterans [are] out there. What are we doing for them?'”


      • Yes, well, the fight after 9/11 turned into something else. But never forget that the elections that gave us “W” were choices that also included alternatives of “algore” and “iservedkerry”. What followed was not due to our misguided judgements so much as domestic enemies combined with a “compassionate conservatism” that did not fight back or stick to first principles at all.

        • Recalling 2000 election: issue defending the Culture and stopping job theft, Pat Buchanan said, George Bush won’t fight and Al Gore is on the other side. Ring a bell anyone?

    • Doc;
      With you in being suddenly ‘woke’ from increasingly tepid support for GW Bush as the Clintonoids he stupidly refused to purge in January of 01 were busy busy termites eating away at his GWOT (global war on terrorism) policy over his two terms. And as Z says, SC primary was when I re-evaluated.

      Thing is, one big reason for the surge in support for GWB after 9/11 was that, unlike the Cloud People, he actually proposed to DO something about the Moslem Menace instead of writing think pieces about ‘why they (rightly) hate us’. And he DID something, again unlike the Clintonoids of the previous 8 years, who hated him for it. More accurately, they hated him for the popular support he gained for so doing: Made for some uncomfortable conversations at Aspen and Davos, after all.

      Now, what he did (choosing the neocon option*) was disastrously wrong, as Z rightly says, but this was not so obvious on 9/12. IMHO, the tragic aspect was W & Co.’s failure to recognize the likely course of the utterly despicable Progs., namely initial support while convenient and spittle-spattering opposing rage just as soon as the predictable push-back from Saudi-supported Islamo-Fascists whom we were forbidden from crushing by the usual Sunni embedded suspects (CAIR, etc).and could never be conciliated.

      *Courtiers always present 3 options and, absent steely resolve, pols usually pick the middle one (and courtiers know and structure it this way). In the instant case the 3 we’re likely a punitive expedition (sometimes worked in the historic past – might have worked this time; Really bad press, though), the neocon one (attractive in theory; Good press likely initially) and the State Dept. one (costly handwaving involving lots more money for the Cloud but no action – political suicide for GOPe)

      • I agree, this wasn’t obvious on 9/12. I was still unwoke until Trump spoke the magic words in SC and broke the spell. But we should have been more suspicious. There were signs that Bush wasn’t really one of us Dirt People, even at the beginning. Letting all the top-level Saudi royals slip out of the country and scurry to the safety of their desert rat nests was a tell. It meant that he saw them as part of “his” class – oil royalty, and club loyalty overrode anything as trivial as the blood of mere Americans. The latter were his people through an accident of birth, but the oil royalty were a privileged caste, and he was intent on protecting them.

  12. These were my great texts: parents who fought like crazy but who raised five boys on little money to become self-reliant men; growing up on the streets of Newark, NJ when it was changing from white to black and heading toward a major race riot; working 60-70 hours a week to raise three kids and put them through college. I have been beaten up in bars, knocked unconscious on the football field and seen the soldier next to me on the range commit suicide.

  13. The biggest worry all these people have is what happens when people just stop listening to them altogether. You can only be so wrong for so long before people stop listening. I’d have to rate “pointing out how stupid their commentary is” as one of my top 3 hobbies of the 2016 election cycle.

    Or, to the extent people pay attention to them at all, they have to worry about “customer terrorism”. I remember back in my b-school days hearing a phrase I hadn’t heard before, but immediately understood: customer terrorists. These are people you so hack off, that they go on a crusade to ensure everybody knows about how terrible your product or service is. Now, you might be tempted to say “They don’t care. They beg for money, so they don’t need customers.” But their customers are the deep-pocket types, and those financiers want to know that their paid-for ideas will be seen. Hence the emphasis on optics instead of ideas at NRO that you mentioned. They’ve got to make it look like “presentation” or the money dries up.

    Places like The Weekly Standard and National Review haven’t just alienated a lot of their readers, they’ve turned many into customer terrorists. The comments they get on their social media sites is brutal…basically people going in there and reminding anybody who might come along that TWS and NRO were default Hillary supporters because of their Quixotic nevertrumperism. That has the effect of reminding financiers that the outlet isn’t going to get a free pass, and it has a way of poisoning the well down the road.

    The internet never forgets. They will whine and moan, but when they try to jump on board, there is going to be a very long list of people sitting back re-posting the Greatest Hits of NeverTrump (among other things). That’s going to make for a very long slog.

  14. I haven’t read the Beacon since they were unfriendly to Trump in the primaries, but somehow stumbled upon this article in the last couple of days. Immediately recognized it for what it was– a walk-back. I had to ask myself if the guy was a Jew. Z answered that one. Married to Kristol’s daughter. Part of the pozzed, inbred Conservatism, Inc. Actually uses the word “ideology” and implies that one can become a conservative by reading philosophy. How one is or becomes a conservative, or a man of the right, as Whittaker Chambers would put it, is more akin to being saved, so to speak, in the Christian faith. Allow me to explain. The fact of the matter is that no one has a completely good handle on how this occurs; I consider it one of the mysteries of the faith. Some say it is by faith or belief, some by works, some by grace, some by predestination. I do think that some of us are born this way, just like the homos (heh), but there is some nurture to it as well. I think that some get there experientially, but that the grounding for that experience to have the particular effect must be there already, somewhere. The idea that you can take a blank slate and have that person read the right books in order to get saved by conservatism is tripe.
    About thirty years ago I bought Edmund Burke and the Natural Law by Peter Stanlis. Stanlis goes through the writings of Burke and tries to prove that Burke was a natural law philosopher, and that this aspect of his personality was what led Burke to be a conservative. It is the most awful mishmash of a book I have ever read outside of Capital by Marx (Try reading The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by Keynes sometime. It’s a wonder his theory ever got application). Burke was obviously a well-educated man of his time who had a perspective aided by his origins and his experiences. He also had a predisposition to thinking in particular habits of mind. He took what he saw as being useful in philosophy and applied it as needed, just like Cicero. One thing he was not was a man guided by ideology. Some would say that lack of ideological guidance made him inconsistent. Here’s what someone who knew a thing or two about constancy said of Burke: “What I most envy Burke for is his being constantly the same.”– Dr. Johnson, Tory, of Burke the Whig. Burke was grounded. He just wasn’t bounded (by books).
    One could say he was one based dude.

    • An interesting statistic I saw recently was about how Jews of Russian Jewish heritage tended to support Trump, unlike their brothers who have a Western Euro background. They have fresh memories of what a totalitarian regime is like and value what we have here.

      Interesting that you talk about being “born again” and I think there is another analogy her between born agains and, for example, cradle Catholics. To cradle Catholics, the religion is internalized. It’s second nature. They don’t relly need to read the bible or sweat evey word or ritual because they grow up with the basics and it was acquired by osmosis. I’m not saying this is right, but to me it’s good enough.

      I think this is also the difference between cradle conservatives and official conservatism.

      THAT SAID, official conservatism can serve the same purpose as evangelical Christianity. To reach out to people who didn’t have the benefit of learning conservatism from the cradle and teach. They just aren’t as good at this as they need to be.

      • I have worked with several Soviet area Jewish refugees over the years and they remind me of the Cubans I grew up with. They suffer no illusions about leftists promising utopia. One colleague, who came over from the Soviet Union at age 12 told me a story about his mother, on her first visit to a supermarket in NJ with their host family, literally falling on her knees sobbing. After an entire life waiting on line for everything (and the Soviet propaganda promising them that this was better than the West), she could not comprehend walking into a store and simply buying what you wanted. Yeah, haven’t met a Democrat yet among these folks.

  15. I recall a Z-essay around the summer of ’15 about the inevitability of Jeb and Hillary. I drew my Peacemaker and shot those two critters right out of the saddle, although further experience showed I was too confident of killing Hillary. But a foretelling of a Trump Presidency would have knocked me down with a feather. This has been a long process of learning Trump, of Trump himself learning, of generally keeping up with things we little knew and did not anticipate. It;s been fun, it is fun. This is the first site I visit to get my thoughts in order.

  16. Interesting that Continetti and others boast of their earnest search through the literature to arrive at their very principled positions. My conservatism started at 22 when I saw the mine fields and guard towers on the East German border (from the good side). It was reinforced a few weeks later when I experienced the no-man’s land and wall from the bad side. I assume others on this board had similar encounters with political reality.

    Having said that, the worst mistake made by the Weekly Standard crowd is about the same one as the lefty climate fanatics; they believe that their model is real and whatever we can take in with our sense is false to some degree (“these aren’t the guard towers you are looking for; cattle really do graze in those beautifully plowed fields; you don’t need to steal my razor blades” Yea, they really did that, apparently commie razor blades were awful). I say this as someone who has spent a lifetime in this mathematics simulation business for oil and other energy companies. Modeling is powerful and useful, but if you think your model is real then there is no evidence that can change your mind. We see this in climate debates, where a weak empirical finding is compared with catastrophic simulation modeling results to declare reality wrong.

    Severian got to this point in discussing the similarities between the Continetti-Weekly Standard crew and the Platonic dicatators. Plato also believed that the model (the forms) was real and senses unreliable.

    • Grew up with the children of the first Cuban refugees and most of my fathers partners were Cuban engineers and architects that rebuilt their lives here after fleeing from Castro (and leaving more than a few relatives shot and buried in ditches). Funny, but similar to your experience in the energy business, spent my whole career in the insurance business, where we bet billions in capital using catastrophe models. And have seen just how wrong and sensitive to seemingly small input changes the modeled outputs can be. But since real money is on the line, the models have gotten progressively better as model v. empirical result is relentlessly deconstructed. See none of this in the climate business. BTW, we see none of the outcomes predicted by the climate hysterics actually taking place. In fact, often have seen the opposite. However, climate hysteria is good for business. Governments are bought in, so much easier to defend rate structures based on “climate change”.

  17. “They are men of the multiple choice exam. Their options are always bounded by the number of choices provided to them.”

    With all the derision multiple choice exams get, don’t they more closely mirror how real life operates? You are given a series of options and you choose the most correct option, often by means of deductive reasoning. Decisions in life usually don’t get made by giving an essay answer to an exam question.

  18. You call them the “Conventional Right”.

    The writers at have been calling them “Conservatism Inc.” for years.

    I think the second one hits the nail on the head better than the first.

    Than, again, Sundance coined the term “GOPe” which is pretty good as well.

    Continetti fancies himself as a “young gun”, Cooke as the snotty oh-so brilliant Brit as the “conservative” import telling us what to do from afar with his foreign (yet always fetching) accent. 

    Then there’s that worthless Piece Of Shit Williamson writing a column  the other day equating Trump with the murderous sons of Saddam Hussein who put their own people in plastic shredders for fun.

    NRO could well be out of business by the end of the first Trump term or else be propped up by the likes of Soros. I could even see them being supported by OFA or the like with Barry Soerto’s and Mooch’s dirty hands all over it. Throw in Brock and the transformation would be complete. (BTW, have you seen that rabid #nevertrumper Dana Loesh hawking her magic beet juice in those neverending commercials?  Talk about a quick slide into irrelevance. Heh.)  They may go the way of Glen Beck’s Blaze and not give a damn so long as they could continue to trash and snipe at Trump day in and out. Whatever their fate they will be ignored by the voters who put Trump into office. 

    Fuck them all.

    • I’ve used Conventional Right, Professional Right, Official Right, Conservative Inc., Buckley Right and maybe some others. It just depends upon my mood at the moment.

  19. “The Iraq war, in this view, is an example of conservative writers and thinkers and politicians following trains of logic or desire to un-conservative conclusions.”

    This is either dishonest or an example of cathedral doublethink. Logic? Absurd. Desire? Euphemistic at best. Perhaps there was a small nation in the Middle East that cares nothing for our conservatism whose interests were served by our destabilizing the region? A small nation with a big lobby?

    I’m looking forward to watching the company men adjust to the realization that Trump better represents some of their interests better than anyone.

  20. There are not words I know of adequate to exemplifying the meaning and scope of the great fuck you, the revolution which has begun, and the subsequent disgust I have for the scale of derision showered upon us dirt people for our audacity and rightful primal right of resistance in defying the estabilshment. It lays bare the corruption and arrogance of these mandarins and perfumed princes.
    To me, that is political science of profound proportions, and that not a single voice in the realm of political science of the day has risen above the collective and the cathedral in defense of us dirt peoples revolt is the very proof the establishment is full of shit and the greatest collection of con artists and grifters the world has ever seen.
    The neocons, cucks and cultural marxists share something fundamental: they dance shuck and jive to incredible lengths of cognitive dissonance in order to exclude us dirt people in their lurid deceit, their screeds of political diarrhea of the mouth, and heinous political equations, at all costs, even to their profound irrelevance and eventual political extinction. Possibly to their physical extinction if they don’t cut the elitist crap.
    The one foundational key to the equation is the truth we dirt people are up stream of them, our culture and it’s traditions is upstream of their poltiks. It is reason in itself and no justification is required, a point of truth of the first order: that Trump was in no uncertain terms, an impossible president without the blessings of our consent, and most profound of all, is their irrelevancy is exactly because of our withdrawal of consent for them and their truly ugly nasty destructive politics and motives.
    That it is cautionary the above is a reality of penultimate truth of us dirt people which they studiously ignore with malice and forethought is proof positive we dirt people chose correctly, that our will as the governed, as the sovereign, as the self determined, is the only true and legitimate power, everything else is lies and an illusion of unmitigated bullshit.
    They ignore this truth of us at great peril to themselves.

      • It is difficult to convey something here. You are right, their allegiance is not to the governed. But there is something here that outweighs everything. It is betrayal. It is exactly because we as dirt people are not represented is what is at stake, it is the first thing. That it goes far beyond absence of representation, that have been played for suckers, our vulnerability as we trusted these self appointed gate keepers of the conservative faith, and systematically disenfranchised by such traitors via their use of guile and malice to shine us on and sirupticiously lead us down a path of our own destruction.

      • “Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want to be controlled and those that have no such desire” – Robert Heinlein

  21. Z-man, I’m confused. In the link you provided, Charles Cookie says that:
    “We’ve had record traffic to the website since January, with both October and November representing the two busiest months in our history.”

    I also looked at the Alexa graph but I don’t understand it. Please elaborate a bit on NRO traffic.

    • I was going to comment on the Alexa graph anyway. The top graph indicates that NRO’s global site ranking has fallen from ~#3800 in January to ~#5600 today. They have far fewer visitors than they did before going full never-Trump.

      What I was going to add is that the graph a little further down the page shows the percentage of clicks coming from search engines has nearly doubled. For a regular small-time business, that would likely be a good thing, indicating that search engine optimization was proving effective. For NRO, when combined with the plummeting page ranking, it means they’ve lost their loyal readers: the people who simply type “” into their address bar every morning instead of stumbling across NRO after googling a particular new story. This means that the NRO either a) completely misjudged their readership or b) didn’t ever consider their readership in the first place. Probably a mix of both. A lack of self-awareness will just continue making this worse and I’m betting that nobody at NRO has/will/can look at and fully comprehend those numbers.

      That whole thing is so beautifully emblematic of what the “right wing” press has been doing for the last year or two in going full never-Trump. I’ve seen quite a few right wing opinion writers/talkers swing 100% from never-Trump to pro-Trump because they had an “oh shit” moment after the election and realized that all the people they had been talking down to were actually their own readers/viewers. Just further proof that these idiots live in a bubble. Some of them still haven’t gotten the message.

    • I can’t really elaborate on what Cookie was trying to say there. He could’ve just been lying. More likely, he was using some arbitrary metric to exaggerate how “busy” their site has been. By “traffic,” he may very well be citing the number of search engine clicks they have gotten.

      According to Alexa, the number of articles their visitors look at in one visit is down and the amount of time one reader spends on the site in one visit is down. Again, they’re losing the loyal readers. Loyal readers don’t care about the site appearance, or else they wouldn’t have been there in the first place. They care about the content. Redesigning the site and driving traffic through search engines is the first stop to clickbait-ville. Couple this with the beg-a-thon mentality and I’m betting that’s exactly where they’re headed.

    • Sorry to spam like this, but one last thing. Checking on Breitbart’s site statistics, it’s obvious what’s going on here. A ton of old NRO et al. readers have migrated to Breitbart. Especially look at the uptick July-October. That’s where NRO’s readership really took a hit. The uptick doesn’t look as big for Breitbart as the downtick looks for NRO, but higher-ranked pages have far more visitors, skewing the ranking stats. Take into account that Breitbart’s loyalty metrics are generally up whereas NRO’s are down and the picture becomes crystal-clear.

      A lot of factors contributed to this. To me, the most interesting question is: did Trump change minds and push people Breitbart’s way? Certainly some. Just don’t know how many…

      • I see the Alt-Right as an insurgency of thinking and as a zeitgeist as responsible in part. Many facets of the Alt-Right is what conservatism could have evolved into and conserved.

    • Charles can say he is a unicorn, but that does not make it so. The Alexa data is useful because it is relative numbers. In an election, political sites should see a spike in traffic. In the case of NRO, they did not get much of a bump at all, while other sites saw a big upward swings in traffic.

      The collapse of NR has been disguised a bit by the fact they had an active comment community until they nuked it and put Facebook in charge of their comments. The fact is, their print circulation evaporated years ago and their on-line content has declined steadily. Look at their roster of writers. It is a who’s who of people no one has heard of or cares to hear of.

      • Not to mention that they got rid of anybody there who had a little bit of edge to their writing. In other words, authors who were interesting like Derbyshire, Coulter and Steyn. And they got rid of the authors for the same kind of reasons that the left tries to use to censor them.

        A podcast from a couple weeks ago, where Cooke ( filling in for normal interviewer) talks with Victor Davis Hanson, who has had some excellent observations on his NRO fellows going full retard regarding Trump. This interview is painful but lovely. VDH tries to carefully talk about Trump and Cooke repeatedly gets gently swatted by VDH. It’s a never Trumper talking with a man who clearly sees in Trump, what is genuinely a pivotal moment. I highly recommend the VDH Hoover podcasts whenever they post ( almost weekly), and VDH has done a couple of excellent recent talks regarding Trump’s election and they are on youtube.

        • I second the recommendation on Victor Davis Hanson. I was particularly struck by his compilation of views regarding “PE Trump” and what makes up the man. He goes beyond the tired MSM cliche’s used in their character assassination efforts and really delves into understand what makes him tick.


          And while I’m at it, another good piece on Trump, his negotiating style and the sweet taste of victory is


          • +2 on VDH. He combines the humility of 3rd gen dirt farmer and the elegant, incisive and lucid writing of a greek classics and military historian. You need to watch him in person to grok the man, and his intellectual integrity.

        • VDH really need to repudiate (and leave) NRO, for his own standing and legacy’s sake,

      • Yep. I was a long-time NRO reader who was pretty pissed at their behavior over the last year – and let them know it regularly.

        When they destroyed the comments they lost me for good.

      • The “comments section in charge by Facebook” observation is interesting to me. I personally refuse to use Facebook on principle for privacy reasons, and the sjw-led censorship during this cycle only validated that.
        I used to read the excellent Powerline daily, but gradually quit once they went with Fakebook. 50% of a thought provoking site’s value is smart commenters. As more avoid commenting for similar reasons, length of time per viewer goes down, demonetizing ad value. So, you could say FakeBook is slow death to smart content.

  22. there is no future for people like Kristol and Contteneti; they have been passed by. Not that they were ever effective, but at least they could get a few sheckels from their masters by doing cute writer tricks.

    • Are they Lennin’s useful dupes? Or just how interrelated is the cathedral and it’s cucks to the cultural marxists? That old saying politics make for strange bedfellows comes to mind. How much of this unholy axis serendipity and how much conscious malicious treason against the natural and born conservative America of us dirt people? Did Alynski’s marxist’s strategically infiltrate the conservative after McCarthy’s purge, with the intent of never again? Looking back, what is the pivotal event that signifies the corruption of American conservatism politics? Is there even a defining event act or moment?

  23. Don’t fall for it. All the faux “naval gazing” and finger pointing is just a distraction to 1) take any edge they can off the Trump win, and 2) plan and begin implementing their Plan B agenda to push back, defeat, delay, any advances that Trump and the Deplorables might intend to rack up.

    These vermin never quit. They might cry in their Chardonnay or Pinot Noir for awhile, but they will come after us with a vengeance. They are many. They are legion. They are despicable.

    But we are the Deplorables and know how to get shit done.

    • For the first time in their pathetic careers they got a real fight on their hands. In some ways I can’t but help have the suspicion they are fighting back against their own denial they are toast as much as any aspect of the bumrush of their irrelevancy and illegitimacy the election of Trump signifies.
      Political irrelevancy served up cold by consent and withdrawal of our dirt people consent is tantamount to political assassination, aka impeachment, that Benjamin Franklin said was far more effective a political device against treason and tyranny than physical assassination.

  24. Heh heh heh. “[Continetti et al] arrived at their politics through study or experience at university, by encountering a great text, the coherence of natural law, the philosophy of Plato…” Would that be the Plato who urged a dictatorship of philosopher-kings? And who tried to practice what he preached in Syracuse, with predictable results? Just out of curiosity, what’s the body count up to in regimes with eggheads in charge? 100 million? 150? Tl;dr: Blow it out your cassock, Your Holiness, I’ll take real world experience every time. There’s less genocide, for one thing….

  25. They yell at history to stop, but what have they actually stopped? It’s just empty, self-serving, virtue signaling. It doesn’t matter that we have to live in the world that they failed to protect, as long as they can feel superior.

    • i posted a comment on DailyCaller (maybe Breitbart) “congratulating” the conservatives for preserving our freedom of association, and it was too funny. a bunch of pinheads jumped all over my comment, and it was pretty clear they had no idea that freedom to associate also means freedom to not-associate. so of course they had no idea how much the conservatives had given away. i am collecting all the numb skull replies and will go back in for a laugh tonight.

    • Maybe that was always the point: just like King Canute standing before the ocean, they can yell all they want, but History won’t stop. Maybe Buckley’s “Conservatism” was never expected to actually accomplish anything. it was just a becoming pose and busywork for people who didn’t want to get their hands dirty.

    • History TT? Oh yes, you hit the nail on the head buddy. History is circular. Whats the difference between this below and what Donald Trump and the rest of us face today?

      Ronald Reagan on behalf of Barry Goldwater during the 1964 Presidential Campaign:

      “This idea — that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.” – Ronald Wilson Reagan, from A Time for Choosing, October 27th, 1964

  26. You need never worry about going too long . Great post as usual.
    I have a very dear friend that is a flaming liberal. Karma, the universe, Oprah, yada yada. As a rule we try to avoid politics and religion, but I couldn’t help myself. Her remarks were, unkind at the very least. I had to ask if she had felt the same about Trump when he was a democrat. Of course she did not have a lot to say.
    Will they eventually fall into a wait and see mode, or will lifetime friendships just fall apart?
    It’s a pity.

    • No, it is not a pity. It’s a cleansing that is long overdue. For far too long, upper-class and upper-middle-class Goodwhites have embraced liberalism in no small part because there have been few economic or social consequences to them. Stated otherwise: Goodwhites have successfully shifted the economic and social costs of liberalism onto working class whites. Last I checked, they are still not building Section 8 housing in Chappaqua.

      Your “very dear friend” is not a very dear friend in any meaningful sense of the term. She maintains the pretense of a friendship, but she will cheerfully throw you and yours under the bus in exchange for an opportunity to virtue signal to other Goodwhites. People like this are not friends; they are sociopaths.

      I’ve applied the SHTF test to my friendships. If I can’t trust someone to have my back in the event the SHTF then they are off the list. Unsurprisingly, all my liberal friends have been relegated to acquaintances. Good riddance.

      • Guest; Of course you are probably right. My sister also has liberals in their neighborhood group. She says they are absolutely losing their minds on face book, etc
        Well….I am extremely pleased with this election and to those who aren’t please don’t whine where I have to hear you.

    • Right now they are still following their old training. They expect everyone to say, “we’re sorry” for following Trump. They think the world will go back to what they’ve always experienced. They are the dogs whose master has died. No one is coming to pet them or tell them good boy. Their world has fundamentally changed they just don’t know it.

  27. Continetti is writing comedy, right? He and his kind arrived at a conservative philosophy “through study or experience at university, by encountering a great text, the coherence of natural law, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, or the economics of Smith, Ricardo, Friedman, and Tullock.” Few things are truly jaw-dropping stupid, but that conclusion certainly is. Calluses on hands? Not for him. A shovel handle? Ditto. Marching through dust, rain and snow? Oh, no! His take is scripted liberal/progressive – You street corner people are too dumb to know what is good for you.

    • That is the same impression reaction I had to that passage. My conservatism didn’t come through any of those texts. My conservatism came by growing up in a family of working class Eastern European immigrants who watched every penny that came in like a hawk, were mostly religious (though not necessarily church-going) and had an abundance of common sense!!! In other words, real life!

      • And then… seeing half your paycheck seized by self-righteous idiots who squander it on the stupidest programs they can think up. And being told to shut-up when you complain.

        I’ve seen many a young liberal converted to a street-conservative when s/he gets the first real paycheck.

    • Continetti is selecting his life the way he selects an automobile, by reading the dealer brochure. I select my next automobile, by looking at the vehicle and taking a test drive.
      Actually, I think Continetti gave a very good description of the line and the barricade, In that sense he got it exactly right, he just took his stand on the wrong side of the issue. Growing up, I was a Goldwaterite before Goldwater.and later I have read many of those ethereal Conservative ur-documents. I was brought back to instinctive conservatism when I returned to grad school after Viet Nam, You can gain instinctive conservatism in an academic seminar, just look at your fellow students and professors.

  28. These guys are the right wing of liberalism. The fatal flaw of liberalism, in the classical sense not the modern usage, is they believe every problem can be solved intellectually. In particular, they believe evil can be reasoned with, like when Neville Chamberlain negotiated with Hitler.

    Having the right ideas only goes so far, you have to make them real.

    • Something I forgot to add to the above: every time liberalism(this included official conservatism) tries to negotiate with or reason with Marxism or the modern left, they lose. It doesn’t work.

      • Can’t reason with something and it’s collective that isn’t based in reason to begin with. It’s purpose is to destroy reason so it can as we see every day destroy us dirt people.
        You have to destroy it, before it destroys you.

    • That is interesting. Because when I read a piece by someone like Continetti, I’m often struck by how disconnected from real life they seem. It is like I am reading a New York Times book review, or an academic article in that has been peer-reviewed. I have better things to do than to push myself like a pretzel thinking about and writing about conservative theory like these people do. Does any of it matter? I think the answer they are getting lately is that it does not matter. It doesn’t matter because it doesn’t resonate with people anymore.

      • That’s because when you get down to the crux of it, they are degenerate liars who have made a career and industry out selling lies.

    • It’s the law of the lowest common denominator which makes such a fatal ideology possible, or is that collective insanity. Hard to differentiate sometimes, maybe that is because of the similarity between the two.

    • Chamberlain gets blamed a bit much. At the time the British military was in no position to challenge Germany but the build up started right at that time.

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