A “conservative” who admits he’s aligned with the left against traditionalist conservatives

Mark Richardson at Oz Conservative discusses a Jonah Goldberg column from September:
Goldberg … admits that right-liberals (whom he labels conservatives) and left-liberals (whom he labels liberals) are really part of the same family:

whatever our differences with American liberals may be, conservatives understand that our argument with them is still within the family. The fighting is intense, but we’re all trying to figure out what it means to live in this country bequeathed to us by the American Revolution and the Enlightenment.

He is being honest here. He recognises that left and right (i.e. the liberal left and right) share the same underlying commitments, regardless of how intense the debate between them might be. He would side with the left against a serious traditionalism.

- end of initial entry -

November 19

James P. writes:

I think left-liberals would reject the idea that right-liberals are members of their family. [LA replies: Yes. And isn’t Goldberg’s attitude toward the left-liberals who hate right-liberals like him a classically liberal attitude? Meaning, he regards his enemies as his friends, while they still regard him as their enemy.]

You asked, right after the election, if conservatives would accept the truth, or revert to their standard optimism. In Goldberg’s case, it is the latter:

Since the conservative movement was born, liberals have been insisting it was dead. In 1956, Murray Kempton wrote in The Progressive that the “New American Right is most conspicuous these days for its advanced state of wither.” At least Kempton acknowledged it was conservative. That same year, John Fischer of Harper’s insisted the founders of the new National Review were “the very opposite of conservative.”

In short, it’s always Götterdämmerung somewhere on the right.

That’s not to say that the conservative movement and the Republican party are doing great. They’re not. But whether fueled by left-wing glee or right-wing dread, rumors of the Right’s death are always exaggerated.

It’s true that conservatives are more despondent than I’ve seen them in my lifetime. But that’s in part because they’ve had things so good. There have been bumps, but the story of the conservative movement has been one of fairly steady growth and success.

… Total victories don’t exist in politics so long as the losing side doesn’t surrender. Just for the record, I see dismay, even despair, out there. But I don’t see much surrender.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 18, 2012 09:06 PM | Send

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