Why I don’t like Buchanan
A reader sent an article with this note:
Pat Buchanan on America’s and the West’s problemLA replies:
This is a typical piece of Buchanan writing, and as such I don’t like it. He just puts a bunch of negatives together. He has no point of view, except apparently the pleasure he gets from predicting the ruin of America.
I am a paleocon, yet your descriptions of paleocons does not describe me.LA replies:
When I speak of paleocons, I speak of the people who are the publicly known representatives of that position, not of every individual who calls himself a paleocon.N. writes:
Years ago a cranky right-wing guy told me this joke:Ray G. writes:
While I’m not the biggest Buchanan booster, I don’t have a visceral dislike for him either. So I think I should (gently) point out that in many of his columns and especially in his latest book (“Suicide of a Superpower”), he points out very methodically what policies we should try. For example:Daniel F. writes:
I somewhat disagree with you about Buchanan, although I don’t wish to be considered a defender of his, given some of the things he’s written about World War II. Nonetheless, what comes across to me from his writing is that he genuinely loves the America that existed before the advent of the Great Society and mourns its loss. I do detect in his writing some satisfaction about the downfall of the high-flying America of the ’80s and ’90s, but he still is moored in an attachment to America as it existed when he was young. This is quite a bit different from paleos who pine for the antebellum South or some other remote period of history long out of living memory, or Rothbardians who believe in some sort of libertarian utopia of the imagination.LA replies:
Good point.Mark Jaws writes:
I am going to disagree with you somewhat, and say that Pat Buchanan provides the very necessary first and second steps of the problem solving process. He identifies the problem and analyzes it. While he leaves identifying possible solutions and selecting and evaluating the best solutions to someone else, he is moving the ball somewhat forward. As an experienced and battle hardened conservative community organizer, I can tell you and your readers it is no easy ballgame to develop an action plan to defeat the left and to implement a solution - even at the local level. Pat Buchanan at least challenges the PC mantra of diversity being a strength and puts some scary thoughts into the minds of his readers. There is some value in that.Max P. writes:
I could not disagree more with you on Pat Buchanan. I find him to be the most competent conservative in the public eye. If I were going to produce a debate between a liberal and a conservative, I’d choose Pat to represent our side. Buchanan has a quick mind, an encyclopedic grasp of history and is able to pull analogies from the past seeming at will to describe current conditions. He has the gift of being able to describe events from America’s past that make it seem like he was actually there. As one who reads his columns and books, and eagerly listens to his appearances on radio and TV, I find him to be a highly patriotic man who is upset at what he correctly sees as the loss of his country. To paraphrase him, he has witnessed the downfall of the greatest, most self-sufficient republic in history.LA replies:
I disagree with you about Buchanan’s grasp of history. I find his constant historical references to be show-off-y and specious rather than substantive and solid.May 16
I do like Pat Buchanan. He is certainly a phenomenon. He’s difficult to turn away from, not exactly in the same way that car crashes are compelling, but something like that. I wonder what his effect has been on America, and what would be different if the car hadn’t crashed into the telephone pole. I used to seek to read him, but it’s been years. Now, I only stumble upon his writing, and I’m left with a vague sense of lost time. He’s been a culture warrior for sure, but what has he accomplished beyond keeping many peculiarly informed? It seems like he’s been there on the front lines forever, but after he peaked with his presidential candidacy, he seemed to be fading away even as he remained fully active. I love a lot of what he says and certainly the way he says it. He’s much more than Ann Coulter’s unauthorized mentor (sort of), but he doesn’t seem to have the brigades organized into a productive force. Seems like they’ve all gone home. It’s confusing or near impossible to articulate a certain value to his long body of work, other than to reference certain elements of it and to point to his actual history as a man in the room with the real figures of history. I don’t mean it in a “Forrest Gump” way, because I think that he is brilliant in a way. He’s actually been listened to by historical figures for decades. It’s just hard to put my finger on something solid that all of his efforts have accomplished. I’m often left to ponder the crazies that he’s uttered instead.James R. writes:
I used to be a fan of his. In fact I was a fan of his before I was a conservative because I admired his sharp debating skills. I can’t say I admire him anymore, but I do think your post was a bit unfair. Not to be too pointed about it, but you don’t have a solution either. Neither do I. None of us do. We’re all in effect waiting for some sort of deus ex machina—that’s the only hope remaining for people in our fairly powerless position. Unfortunately, such a deus ex machina will be something bad. But few of us believe that, if things continue along, someday liberals and progressives will wake up and realize they were wrong, the general populace will rouse in a sustained manner against them (rather than episodic, inchoate risings that soon peter out as the initial sense of outrage subsides). Buchanan—and, for that matter, Steyn—both have solutions, they just don’t think any of them will be tried, are within the realm of the politically possible, until some sufficiently strong shock wrenches enough people from the death stupor they’re in.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 15, 2012 05:16 PM | Send