The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution. – G K Chesterton
I saw earlier today a bit of a Blue Check Never Trump True Conservative discussion, the gist of which was a division between those True Cons who say they want to keep fighting in the realm of practical politics and those who are throwing up their hands and will just observe from the outside, as it were. To be clear, this is different from those True Conservatives who have now become mere Democrats (Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, etc). These people still argue in favor of at least some conservative ideals (though I’ve noticed in all of them a softening on issues such as gun rights and abortion) but they simply hate Donald Trump and they despise his legions of supporters. Some, like Jonah Goldberg, have now given up – they’ve written us off, you see? We’re not just Deplorable, but Irredeemable. Others, like Dan MClaughlin haven’t quite given up on us, but they still hate Trump and figure their job – their duty! – is to ween us away from Trump so that a pure, clean Conservatism can revive and… and…
Do what? I mean, what really?
The quote above tells you what: this clean, pure Conservatism will merely ratify what the Progressives did a few years ago. It is all Conservatism has ever done ever since it first arose in response to the enormities of the French Revolution. What the Goldbergs and McLaughlins are aiming at, if anything, is their idealized version of Conservatism circa 1977. If you recall (and some of us are just old enough to remember) it was going to dismantle the New Deal and restore the old American ideal of rugged self reliance. It was going to restore order in the streets, discipline in the classroom and the rule of law in the country. It was led by some very high intellects and, of course, in Ronald Reagan it had a leader who could articulate the ideology in a way that regular folks responded to. And, of course, for all the things that had happened from, say, 1967 to 1977, we were still living in the America our grandfathers would recognize. The seeds of social disintegration were firmly planted and being vigorously cultivated in popular culture, but it hadn’t fully taken hold. Most people were still living in families and there hadn’t been a divorce. Most wives still stayed at home. Most jobs included a nice pension to retire on. We still were a manufacturing powerhouse.
This old Conservatism swept very famously into power in 1980 and here was the big chance – we had the White House, the Senate and a shell-shocked Democrat House majority which still contained a fairly large number of center-right Democrats. We had our matchless Ronald Reagan to lead the charge. And what did we get? Tax cuts and a defense build up.
That’s it. We didn’t even get rid of the Department of Education which had only been created the year before Reagan came in. We couldn’t even dispense with that boondoggle for the teacher’s unions. There was no push back against the social disintegration and no effort was made, even on the smallest level, to stop the hard left’s march through our institutions. But this is still what the Never Trump True Conservatives want us to go back to – to something that ultimately failed.
I’m sorry, guys, but you had your chance. The True Conservatives of 40 years ago messed up. They lost. They conserved nothing. Now its 2021 and there are no rules or norms or even an agreement on basic things such as what is right and wrong. We’ve got a Democrat party enthralled to whomever is the most woke at the moment on the Left. They are pushing programs which will disenfranchise us and force us underground. They are striving to set up an electoral system where no matter what, we lose. Led by whomever is most lunatic at the moment, the Democrat party is leading us, step by step, into a Bolshevik future. It doesn’t matter if Pelosi or Biden don’t mean to lead us there – it is where we’re shoved because inside the Democrat party are hard-left, anti-American, hate-filled lunatics who ultimately set the agenda. At best, the most insane proposals get pushed to the back of the line for a while – but they never get rejected and a few years down the road, they are brought back up to be implemented as if it were common knowledge that they had to be implemented.
We won’t ever go back to the Old America. It is done. Finished. Kaput. A nice memory of days gone by, never to return. What sort of America we will have is what the argument is about – and we are here deciding if it will be a Bolshevik America, or a non-Bolshevik America. It doesn’t matter that you don’t like Trump. It doesn’t matter that you don’t like his most ardent supporters. It is either Trump and his people, or some purple-haired radical activist getting you fired because you didn’t say the correct words fast enough. I mean, seriously: take your pick. Whatever Trump and his Trumpsters are up to, they aren’t going to force you to say things you know are untrue. The left will. They’ll make it a condition for you to be able to hold a job, carry out financial transactions, own a home. You can try to fool yourself – but I don’t believe you can, really – that they won’t go for the most radical of the current proposals, but you’re stupid if you do. You know they will. What was insane on the left a mere five years ago is dogmatic Party Line today.
Anyone who wants to be free has to get in line here. I don’t like a lot of things. But there is only one side which wants to force me to say things I know aren’t true in order to live. I already can’t say a hundred things I know are true – as in indisputable, scientific facts – because if I say them I risk social destruction. The next step is to force me to say lies. I don’t want to go there. I just want to live my life free of coercion. I’m not asking for much. But I can only get that – I can only possibly get that – by signing on to Donald Trump and his supporters. Only they have the chance of stopping the imposition of totalitarian dictatorship in the United States. It isn’t what I would have preferred. I can think of lots of better possibilities. But the only thing I got his him and them so, I’m in. Because I’m not stupid.