Why traditionalism is not a big tent
The below comment by me was posted in the thread, “Richard Spencer’s neo-pagan, anti-Christian readers,” but as it is highly relevant to recent attacks on me, I’m copying it here on the main page.
The reason I annoy so many people (look at the two recent anti-Auster manifestations, a.k.a. blog threads, at Dennis Mangan’s site, here and here) is that I draw definitional lines between what is a legitimate part of conservatism and what is not. I say, for example, that anti-theism, anti-Christianism, anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and the material reductionism that leads to moral nihilism are both wrong in themselves and not a part of conservatism. But many people on the right today are “big tent types”—or rather “big website types.” They want to include in the discussion anyone who calls himself conservative or right-wing, or, for that matter, anyone who posts a comment. Therefore someone like me who draws lines—who says that there are certain things that are both wrong in themselves and not a legitimate part of conservatism—is committing the worst sin. The fundamental premise of the big tent types is liberal and relativistic: they nonjudgmentally include everyone. By contrast, I say that there is no chance of a viable conservatism unless certain things that ought to be excluded from the outset, are excluded from the outset.
Clark Coleman writes:
The self-contradiction of the “tolerant” types who are intolerant towards others is not the only problem here. The big-tent conservatives draw lines on political issues. If someone were to self-identify as a conservative blogger, but then posted entries over a month’s time supporting (1) government-run single-payer health care, (2) higher taxes so we can reduce the deficit without having to reduce spending, and (3) more gun control laws, then you can bet that the big tent conservatives would declare that this fellow is not really a conservative.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 15, 2010 02:58 PM | Send