Richard Lowry: a confused liberal? … neoconservative? … paleoconservative?

In one of his replies to Andrew McCarthy about Iraq’s sharia constitution today at The Corner, Richard Lowry said: “Lots of Iraqis are secular. Lots aren’t. That’s why there has to be a compromise, and one that might not be entirely palatable to Western liberals like ourselves.” Ok, so in addition to going along with a sharia constitution, Lowry, the editor of America’s flagship “conservative” (but now neoconservative in all but name) magazine, sees himself as a liberal. Fine. A little later, John Derbyshire, sounding a traditionalist conservative note about constitutions similar to what I’ve been arguing at VFR for the last couple of days, said:

Isn’t it a commonplace of political science … that a state may have a very liberal constitution, and yet be a tyranny, and contrariwise? … I won’t go so far as to say constitutions don’t matter, but they surely don’t matter half as much as the temper of the people, and their customary ways of getting along with each other. The US constitution has served us so well not because we got all the words exactly and precisely right, but mainly because it affirmed centuries-old understandings among (mostly) British people about how citizens get on with each other, arrange public affairs, and settle their disputes. It has worked, in short, because we are Americans, of largely British-Celtic-North European origin.
Lowry then came back and said he agrees with Derbyshire’s point. Which means that Lowry believes that the inherited culture of a people, which (as Derbyshire clearly and unapologetically indicates) stems in large part from its inherited racial/ethnic character, matters politically. This is the same Richard Lowry who on taking over National Review in 1997 promptly eliminated all discussions about immigration from that magazine for several years, only relenting in the aftermath of 9/11, when he would occasionally publish articles criticizing illegal immigration, while continuing to ignore the much larger problem of legal mass Third-World immigration. The latter topic remains taboo at the neoconservatized NR because the idea that race and ethnicity matters is taboo to neoconservatism. But if, as Derbyshire says and Lowry now agrees, our constitutional system “has worked … because we are Americans, of largely British-Celtic-North European origin,” how can Lowry support an immigration policy that is rapidly destroying America as a country of predominantly British and European-stock people and so, among other things, destroying the basis of the U.S. constitutional system that Lowry believes in?

I suspect the answer is that, just as Lowry is willing to accept “compromises” in Iraq, i.e., a sharia constitution, he’s also willing to accept “compromises” in America, i.e., the mutation of America into a wholly different people, culture, and constitutional polity due to the massive racial and cultural changes in the country that NR under his editorship has said nothing about for the last eight years. In other words, just as he would prefer a non-sharia constitution for Iraq, but under the force of political necessity will go along with a sharia constitution, he would prefer that America maintain its historic constitutional system, but—if the price of maintaining it is to exclude Muslims and other non-European immigrants from America—he’ll accept a compromise instead. Ultimately, he’ll accept a compromise that includes sharia.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 23, 2005 01:02 PM | Send

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