Whither the conservatives?

Concerning the blog entry, “Bush critic canned,” Paul Gottfried writes:

This essay is on the money. There is no way that what is called the “conservative movement” can liberate itself from its neocon benefactors or its Republican affiliations. Such a misnamed movement has no identity nor possibility of surviving as anything but a free-floating collection of hangers-on without its current points of reference. The neocons by contrast do have serious options. They can ditch their present mentally challenged dummy in the White House and latch on to someone else for 2008. I’ve heard David Brooks praise Hillary to the skies in the presence of a largely neocon audience, and it is possible that neocons will support your beloved junior senator, providing she looks like a winner, stays good on the Middle East, promises them something in her administration, and offers more than Giuliani or McCain.From the agitprop on FOX, provided by the repeated appearances of windbag Dick Morris, it would seem that some neocons are lining up behind Condy but that may be smoke and mirrors. PG

To which I replied:

If there is a breakup of the pro-Bush conservative movement, that could lead in two directions:

(1) Mainstream conservatism, as you predict, comes to an end as a political force, in which case we could end up with something like Europe, with two left-liberal parties (one of which would be pro national defense and the other anti), and with no mainstream conservative party.

(2) The more genuine conservatives, freed from the burden and delusion of their marriage to Bush, try to re-group. Many of them may realize the fallacies of the hopelessly compromised mainstream “conservatism” they have been following and be ready to form a stronger conservatism. The results could be something like what I was arguing for in 2004: a Bush loss, liberating conservatives from his death grip.

Prof. Gottfried replies:

Larry has presented the two possible outcomes of a real movement-conservative meltdown and it seems to me the first is the more likely. Like England and even more ominously Germany, the U.S. has a “conservative” intellectual movement that has been closely identified with a leftward-moving national party, for which it has eagerly shilled. It has also produced the shifting “conservative value” rhetoric that the “right of center” party has used to win electoral contests. In all three countries conservative intellectuals have contributed to the demise of conservatism (really bourgeois liberalism) [LA: which I call right-liberalism], but turning it into a value choice geared to the needs of opportunistic politicians. They have also sought respectability by being inoffensive to the media and by making their conservative values and statements sound sensitive and anti-fascist. The effect is that self-described conservatives have done at least as much as the Left to rid the West of an effective Right. And at this point I’ve no idea from whence will come the infrastructure to change this situation.

Howard Sutherland comments:

I think we’ll have (1) as the mainstream, with (2) as a fringe, at the risk of legal suppression by the (1) establishment. It will be sadly like today’s EU.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 19, 2005 02:06 AM | Send

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