The Ugliness of #NRORevolt

Related Post Roulette

139 Responses

  1. Avatar Autolukos
    Ignored
    says:

    Lord Humungus is, presumably, a Road Warrior reference. So about penis size, but at second hand.Report

  2. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    For decades now the right in general and NRO in particular has been winking or overlooking or no true conservativing about this segment of their base while simultaneously dog whistling at them and then later throwing them red meat hyperbole to enable NRO and their right wing media siblings to furiously grift the further right for money and votes.

    What this is, to borrow the cliché, is chickens coming home to roost and I am here with my popcorn enjoying every second of their writhing frustration. *crunch*munch*Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      Again, I wish I could share your glee and optimism @north

      My pessimistic side makes me wonder if we are going to see a real right-wing backlash fueled by resentment and physical violence.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        That’s not pessimism though Saul, that’s verging on delusional. The rabid right is plenty belligerent on the interwebs but how many of those keyboard warriors have actually indulged in some old fashioned blood and steel violence in meatspace? Virtually none of them. Even the gun posturing militia types haven’t mustered up much in the way of an actual throw down with the gummint authorities. I see no reason to believe this will turn into actual widespread violence. Hell, I haven’t been convinced that it can translate into fishing votes for Trump in an actual election yet either!Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Oh, we’re going to see a race war in Europe years before we have to worry about one here in the states.

        Start worrying about that sort of thing once people over there start pointing out that the domestic help they imported has all sorts of retrograde ideas about women and whether anything should be done about that.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          This is one reason why I find the moral panic over Hispanic immigration weird. Muslim immigrants and their descendants have a much more contradictory values system to the European countries they immigrate to than Hispanic immigrants have to American values. There have been several documented incidents that occurred because of the conflicted values system between MENA immigrants in Europe like the Theo Van Gogh killing, numerous attacks on Jewish institutions, and more. The cultural values of Hispanic immigrants line up a lot better with American values.Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    All of Donald Trump’s fear-mongering has been about immigrants in general and Latin American immigrants in particular. He hasn’t really talked about any other foreign policy issue and hasn’t done any fear-mongering about African-Americans, Jews, or LGBT people as far as I know. The ability of people to project their personal bigotries and obsessions on Donald Trump’s rather specific form of fear-mongering is a real demonstration of the power of projection. It happens on the liberal side of the aisle to. Obama was very definite that healthcare reform was not going to be single-payer during his 2008 Presidential campaign. Lots of people who really should have known better thought Obama was going to expand Medicare to cover all Americans.

    Most people are going to hear what they want to hear rather than think deeply and accurately about what a politician says. There isn’t anything you really can do to change this. I stopped going to protests because I simply paid too much attention to the speeches. I could never get into the cheering people saying things you generally agree with mentality. I’d listen and differentiate between things I’d like and did not like in my mind.

    One argument for constitutional monarchy is that it allows people to have a figurehead they can project their love and loyalty on while paying closer attention to the actual politicians running things. This seems to work most of the time. Politicians in the United Kingdom seemed to get a more thorough drubbing than any American politician. Thatcher and Blair were made fun of in ways that Reagan and Clinton never would be in America. Even some of the most unpopular or decisive Presidents like Johnson, Nixon, and George W. Bush get off with kid gloves. The downside is that while people in Constitutional Monarchies do not form deep emotional attachments to particular politicians usually, they do to particular political parties.Report

  4. Avatar Morat20
    Ignored
    says:

    A 68-year old man named Brian McCormack said “I’m not convinced that Trump is a true conservative, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I judge him in part by all the people he antagonizes.”

    Cleek’s Law strikes again.

    No policies, just angering the right people. Governing by spite, I guess.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Morat20
      Ignored
      says:

      Government by spite is a proud American tradition.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        Spite is a cultural universal.

        It also guides half of my sports viewing. “You see that assistant coach right there, honey? He was on a team that beat a team I was rooting for in 1992, and I have hated him ever since. I hope his team loses by 50.”Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
          Ignored
          says:

          If it wasn’t for schaden, I wouldn’t have any freude at all.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chris
          Ignored
          says:

          Spite might be culturally universal but it manifestly in a uniquely political way in the United States. Political spite exists elsewhere but not in the same way that it does in the United States. A lot of Europeans do not like the immigrants but they aren’t voting in anti-welfare state parties that will make things worse for them simply to make things worse for the new immigrants. In America, people willingly vote and endure for politicians that implement policies that make things worse for them simply so another group they do not like can be worse off. Welfare helped more White Americans than African-Americans but it still got reformed because reasons.Report

    • Avatar LWA in reply to Morat20
      Ignored
      says:

      Cleek’s Law is what convinced me of how accurate Corey Robin’s thesis is.
      The mysterious rage felt by conservatives toward anything call “liberal” isn’t mysterious when you note how much it overlaps with the desire for masculinity and traditional family structure.
      Liberalism is a vast and hydraheaded threat, not to some abstract political goal, but to their very intimate identity.
      The theory explains a lot of the seemingly unexplainable hypocrisy and contradiction of conservatives.

      Corporate welfare doesn’t threaten fatherhood but SNAP does; Big Government is fine when it shields women from making a bad decision about abortion but terrible and intrusive when it demands a warning label on cigarettes. Police are jack booted thugs when they intervene in family law but heroes when they stop and frisk.

      Conservatives aren’t stupidly unaware of the contradiction. For them the logic is impeccable even if only intuited.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        And Lord(Lady?) knows that the far left views conservatives/libertarians in the same demented way. BSDI, I grant, but also very true.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        I think you’re assuming far too much deep/theoretical thought on the part of the commenters discussed in the op than is likely to actually be occurring. They’re coming from the part of the political spectrum that compares the Obama administration to Mao or Stalin, seemingly without any concept of history or political philosophy. Suffice to say I don’t think they’re thinking hard about something like gender roles and how the state does or does not validate them through different policies. More likely these messages are a statement about tribal and cultural loyalties.Report

        • Avatar LWA in reply to InMD
          Ignored
          says:

          That’s kind of my point.
          No one forms their political allegiance because of a deep analysis of Burke and Keynes.

          Trumpism appeals to the most primal themes, that liberals want to emasculate Real American men. Robin’s theory is that conservatism is and always has been, really about the preservation of this patriarchal white privilege.
          And the more economically anxious people become, the more fiercely [some] cling to white identity, since it offers them the safe “next to the bottom rung” status.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LWA
            Ignored
            says:

            @lwa

            I would say most people don’t form their political allegiance because of a deep analysis of Burke and Keynes.

            People who do exist but they are very weird. There was a discussion on Slate Star Codex about whether the media was biased left or right, why each side thinks the media is biased against them, and whether variety of publications are mainstream or not.

            My view is that it is kind an organ like TNR and NRO or the Nation can be both mainstream among the political set and not mainstream because all the small political mags are basically supported charities. Neither the NRO or The Nation could survive if they needed to make a profit.

            Sports Illustrated and US Weekly are mainstream. The Nation and NRO are not.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to LWA
            Ignored
            says:

            I think there is probably some truth to that, at least in certain demographics in the Trump zone of appeal. I just prefer not to speculate given that what we’re talking about is a bunch of racist and obscene comments on social media where it’s hard to know much about the posters and why they’re saying what they are.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
          Ignored
          says:

          Ahistorical conservativism is somewhat dangerous.

          But ahistorical anything is somewhat dangerous.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
          Ignored
          says:

          Suffice to say I don’t think they’re thinking hard about something like gender roles and how the state does or does not validate them through different policies.

          Huh? The entire motivation for preserving traditional marriage is based on a conservative conception of gender role assignments (made by Gad!), as well as the resistance to feminist progress thru the years. Heck, even the abortion debates reduce to, often enough, policy preferences based on gender roles. So, no, I hve to disagree that this stuff is best accounted for as merely signalling tribal identity. The ones on their hind legs yelping? They really believe it.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            I think those things are probably true about some opponents of those policies. I just think it’s impossible to read that into a bunch of rants and insults on social media, many of which don’t seem to even talk about particular policy preferences. As Saul noted some of the posts imply that people think Trump was criticized by NR for not showing sufficient fealty to Israel (and that lack of fealty to Israel is a good thing). However a quick Google search shows Trump to have only spoken positively about Israel during the campaign and has said Obama is abandoning Israel by making a deal with Iran. I just don’t see how anyone can be so sure in any assumptions about the views of people who are relatively anonymous and, assuming they’re being serious, have such a poor grasp of the facts.Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        Have you ever considered the possibility that it might be caused by the fact that most upper middle class urban liberals are snobs? I’m mean your theory makes you look very good but that doesn’t make it true. It’ not just white voters that act this way Rob Ford’s strongest support came from minorities.Report

        • Avatar LWA in reply to Dand
          Ignored
          says:

          Yes, you make a very good point.
          When I was a conservative I held the totebaggers I knew in the highest scorn, and still view them with wary skepticism.

          Because while they may be socially liberal and mouth the correct platitudes about economic solidarity, when they get tired of playing Che Guevara in college they end up wanting a nice home in a white suburb with good police protection and low taxes.

          In my direct experience at least.
          YMMV.

          None of which challenges Robin’s theory, that conservatives value the hierarchy of white male dominance.

          If conservatives were just angry at the snobbery of the totebaggers, why are they so indifferent to the snobbery of the Wall Streeters?

          Maybe its because the near enemy is more hurtful than the distant one. No one is ever going to be in contact with a real live robber baron, but everyone knows some priggish college coed who shrieks about microaggression and the patriarchy.

          And Trump shows that “conservatives” aren’t actually all joined at the hip; He can embrace a populist message about CEO pay that would be beyond the pale if Bernie Sanders said it, yet none of his supporters give a rip.

          I suspect that for the So-Cons and Hawks, the union-bashing and plutocracy is just the stuff they accept to get what they really want. And right about now they are willing to take an axe to the third leg of the stool.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LWA
            Ignored
            says:

            Not to nitpick, but it seems to me Robin’s thesis is that conservativism is (or can be!) defined as a desire to maintain a hierarchy of already-existing (slowly eroding…) privileges, which obviously includes White male dominance but includes other types of privileges as well (we’re a Christian nation, bro!).Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              Pretty much. Rather he seems to argue that conservatism’s press about small government and protecting freedom/liberty is really about preserving privilege. Same with their favorite Burkean quote about the wisdom of legislatures.

              There has been a long American right-wing tradition to see any and all discontent as being prompted by foreign agitators. Hoover thought that the Civil Rights movement was caused by the Soviet Union and their allies. Plenty of white Southern reactionaries had the take of “Our blacks wouldn’t rebel if it weren’t for these damned Northern blacks and college students coming in and agitating.” Needless to say this is idiotic and it often goes straight to crazy town.

              I’ve pointed this out for years with how Republicans and some libertarians seem to think freedom and liberty is all about business rights and not about say being able to fully participate in civil life in a country.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                If you’re going to argue about “Robin’s thesis,” I think you ought to re-state it as clearly as you can. In my reading, its self-serving reductiveness and the further reductions of its reductions are open to familiar counter-reductions. For instance, if conservatism is “really” about maintaining power/privilege/hierarchy, etc., then the conservatives may reply that left-liberalism or anti-conservatism is about jealousy, envy, and, perhaps most of all, the false pretenses of those who invariably end up seeking to replace one form of domination (somebody else’s), with another (their own). I wouldn’t want to go much further without having the particular exhibits before us, however.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                Wouldn’t it be easier to say you think his thesis is false? 🙂Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I wouldn’t find that illuminating, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to find it persuasive or interesting.

                There are multiple problems associated with the thesis and variations, with how they are stated and with how they are used, and with different embedded presumptions. To my mind what descriptive value they retain tends to be outweighed by the encouragement of familiar left-illiberalism, or the conversion in their minds and statements of the “conservative” from fellow citizen with a different, potentially legitimate point of view into an enemy to be combated, and if possible to be destroyed.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, that’s why you do what you do! 🙂Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                I found it to be persuasive because it explained all the phenomena I have witnessed.

                Conservative doctrine isn’t the issue- it’s that innocuous ideas are being pressed into service to awful ends.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                @ck-macleod

                I will give an example. Here is an essay about adjunct professors. It describes the typical plight but the twist is that this former adjunct is conservative and is writing for the Federalist:

                http://thefederalist.com/2015/05/27/adjunct-professors-rodney-dangerfield-problem/

                The author claims that Russell Kirk saw this problem coming in the 1950s when he wrote against state funding for higher ed. The piece is quotes Russell Kirk as writing:

                One way to persuade Congress, the state legislatures, and the public of the righteousness of the cause is to advance the demagogue’s argument that everybody has a right to be in college,” wrote Kirk. He then illustrated: “Who are you, you old reactionary, to say that Joe Milligan, who got D’s in high school, won’t become another Albert Einstein after Dismal Swamp A. & M. has finished polishing him?” This “democratic dogma” is then joined with “the ambitions of certain anti-intellectual presidents, who dream of ever more professors and students within their own imperial systems.”

                Kirk’s example is false and hyperbolic. The D kids never went onto university except at for-profit schools later. Even California’s famous Master Plan had community college for the C students first. They needed to prove themselves before going onto the CSUs or UCs.

                Yet Kirk doesn’t seem to think that there is anything between straight A students and D students. He doesn’t seem to account for the rise of new middle class kids whose parents wanted them to know more than dangerous and back breaking phyiscal labor. Nor does his anti-funding rant account for a new economy that needed more trained workers and less general workers. To me, there seems to be a snobby and elitist belief (that Kirk believes he is calling out) but he is really calling a strawman. |

                Kirk and the Federalist author seem to think that most people are undeserving of college and the fruits and rewards of a middle class life seemingly.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                @saul-degraw

                I asked for a statement of whatever it is you and LWA mean by “Robin’s thesis.” Best would be Robin’s actual words in context. An argument about education policy, or an argument about Russel Kirk’s or anyone else’s argument about education policy, is something else.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                CK,

                If you re-read upthread, you’ll see that Saul effectively agreed with what I wrote regarding Robin’s thesis. So why not just take that as his view of the thesis? (I mean, it IS Robin’s thesis, after all.)

                More to the point, tho, some people (like LWA and Saul, it appears, but myself also) think that the merits of the thesis ought to evaluated on two levels: justification and explanatory power. Robin is presenting an explanatory account of what shapes conservativism and conserative political thought currently and over time. As I said, it may be false, but not because you attribute to him assumed assumptions or because your analysis of the logic you attribute to him is faulty.

                THe view is out there in the world, dude.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Why should we settle for an, according to you, “effectively” agreed upon “view of the thesis,” rather than a re-statement accepted by all participants to be a fair and adequate rendering of it?

                You wrote the following upthread:

                Robin’s thesis is that conservativism is (or can be!) defined as a desire to maintain a hierarchy of already-existing (slowly eroding…) privileges, which obviously includes White male dominance but includes other types of privileges as well (we’re a Christian nation, bro!).

                Forgive me, but if I were Corey Robin I wouldn’t want to have that statement treated as a fair rendering of my argument, but maybe he’d be just fine with it, and maybe Saul and LWA and you are ready to adopt that statement as your consensus definition, or maybe a coherent discussion on this question is too much to ask for.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, if we’re at a stalemate, then we can either a) agree to disagree about what Robin’s thesis actually is, or b) you can express your own view of his thesis (not the assumed assumptions expressed by that thesis!) and say why you think we’re wrong.

                And then we can talk about that!Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I may be speaking out of turn, but FWIW I agree with CK.

                My reading of Corey’s thesis from The Reactionary Mind was more that conservatism as political movement is fueled entirely by the energy of the Left, and that when the Left has no energy conservatism as a political movement withers rather than strengthens. One of the best examples, I thought, was how the importance of business interests has largely been abandoned as a core principal of conservatism because the Other Side now fully embraces it.

                Which isn’t to say that LWA’s comments about white hierarchy isn’t directly related to COrey’s thesis; I think it absolutely is. I just don’t think that was the book’s actual thesis.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                I picked these up from a quick Google search.

                [Conservatism is] “a meditation on — and theoretical rendition of — the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back.”

                Alsotoo,

                “[w]hat conservatism seeks to accomplish through that reconfiguration of the old and absorption of the new is to make privilege popular, to transform a tottering old regime into a dynamic, ideologically coherent movement of the masses”

                He talks about a lot of things in that book, but the unifying theme is the loss of power – individual power! – entailed by the erosion of privilege.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s Robin’s response to a question about the genesis of The Reactionary Mind:

                I’ve come away from all of this convinced that conservatism is not really about conservation at all – except in one sense: the conservation of established relations of hierarchy and privilege.

                Adding: The interview in which he says it is here.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Just to be clear, he does not in that interview utter the “definition” presented as his by Isquith, Krugman, and others. I do not know whether others here would be content to treat that abstraction as “Robin’s thesis.”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                I do not know whether others here would be content to treat that abstraction as “Robin’s thesis.”

                Hmmm. If only there was a way to find out…..Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                You mean, like read the book?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                Heh. No, I was thinking more along the lines of asking them, but now that I think about it you might have just scored a point…Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, to be clear I think that is something he believes. I just don’t think it’s the thesis of his book.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                Now I’m puzzled. What would the thesis be if not that? Everything else he writes is either a justification of that thesis or the application of it to explain conservative political actions and beliefs.

                My reading of Corey’s thesis from The Reactionary Mind was more that conservatism as political movement is fueled entirely by the energy of the Left, and that when the Left has no energy conservatism as a political movement withers rather than strengthens.

                My own take on that dynamic, which he talks about quite a bit, is that the “reactionary” part of it requires an explanatory account which goes deeper than Cleek’s Law. That is, conservatism coopts creative tools and practices from the left in order to mitigate the erosion to privilege which, when used by the left, erode established relations of power based on privilege. So, sure, in one sense, it’s true that he says conservatism is fueled by the policies, beliefs, practices and arguments of the left, but only because it perceives those policies, beliefs, practices and arguments as presenting a challenge to the cultural order conservatives would like to preserve.

                That said, I’m willing to agree to disagree about what the overall thesis of the book actually is just so long as we agree that, in Robin’s view, as expressed in the book, conservatism reduces to the desire to maintain established hierarchies and privileges.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I can get on board with that.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                Cool. Course, it’s worth pointing out that no one in this debate has actually argued for the truth/falsity of his view. That type of thing just isn’t meta enough for the OT, I guess. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                No, it’s not that it’s not meta. I think it’s that saying “conservatives are for keeping traditional hierarchies” isn’t particularly novel, interesting, or indeed in dispute by anyone I know — conservatives included. It’s like trying to have a debate about whether or not you can get pregnant having sex; we can debate it if you want, but who are we going to debate it with?

                It’s why I think saying that is the thesis of his book is selling it short.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                Yet another thing to agree to disagree about!Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                Social scientists have been saying that since Adorno came to the States, if not longer.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Chris,

                Surely some ancient Greek dude said the same thing, ya know? I mean, one of em MUST have.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                ????? ?? ????????? ???? ?????????? ??????? (If that doesn’t work, Xenos oon akolouthei tois epikhiriois nomois*)

                Tie it with “the past is another country” and you’ve got something.

                * We still use a similar phrase when we say “when in Rome, do as the Romans” but the original is more like “when in a foreign country, follow the laws there”.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Or the people who continually refer to the thesis – not just you – could explain what they mean when they refer to it. It’s not a complicated request.

                There’s too much room, unfortunately, for slippage and confusion, and not just here. In an attempt to apply “Robin’s thesis” to current events, ex-OG Elias Isquith recently quoted Robin in the following way:

                Conservatism, Robin says, is “a reactionary movement, a defense of power and privilege against democratic challenges from below, particularly in the private spheres of the family and the workplace.”

                Isquith links to a Robin’s own THE REACTIONARY MIND web page, but in fact the above statement appears nowhere in the book, which I have on Kindle. (There are, for example, six occurrences of the phrase “from below” in the text, but none from passages that approximate the above passage.)

                The passage does appear in a column by Paul Krugman that also links to Robin’s book, and that presents the words as though they are Robin’s. The passage appears in many other places as well, but, as far as I can tell from the first few pages of a Google search, they all occurred subsequent to Krugman’s unclearly attributed statement, suggesting that bloggers and writers like Isquith are either trusting Krugman or trusting each other, but not actually working from the book that they cite. Maybe Krugman was referring to a statement Robin made somewhere else, or maybe he was accidentally treating his own re-statement as Robin’s original statement.

                I think if we’re going to pretend to discuss Robin’s thesis, we should know what Robin’s thesis is, and where it comes from.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                Why not just go right to the source, Robin hisownself:

                conservatism is not really about conservation at all – except in one sense: the conservation of established relations of hierarchy and privilege.

                Now, we can get into a big discussion about werds as a text and all that, but can we at least agree on the thesis Robin presents in the book?Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                As above, that statement reduces “Robin’s thesis” to an abstraction, and leaves anyone interested in critiquing it to examine what is meant by “established relations of hierarchy and privilege.” In such a generalized form, the opposing view would be anarchism and pure egalitarianism (or what once upon a time was called “Leveling”). “Established relations of hierarchy and privilege” would necessarily include inherited property rights, all forms of authority, and a vast range of “privileges.” Maybe that’s the ground you and others would like to fight on. On the one hand, I think Robin has something more specific and interesting to say, and on the other hand I think his assumptions are questionable or deserve to be questioned from a political-philosophical point of view, as may in fact become easier to show if we begin from that extreme form of the thesis (as radical democratic anarchism) and examine why you and others would not, in fact, accept it, thus making us all, or almost all of us, at least a little bit “conservative.”Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                Ah, I’ve solved the magnificent mystery. The statement quoted by Isquith and Krugman, et al, appears nowhere in THE REACTIONARY MIND, but does appear on Robin’s TRM page. It reads in full as follows:

                From the French Revolution to the Tea Party, conservatism has been a reactionary movement, a defense of power and privilege against democratic challenges from below, particularly in the private spheres of the family and the workplace.

                One limitation of this perspective as applied to the American context and in any further attempt to extend it to a critique of libertarianism (as a defense of established power masquerading as a defense of liberty) is that the American Revolution and the birth of the American Idea as defended by American conservatives, including the Tea Party prior to its co-optation by “movement conservatism,” occurred prior to the French Revolution (as did the original Tea Party itself, of course!).

                The idea of critical differences between the two revolutions is not just an odd notion of American exceptionalists, but a commonplace in political theory and history from Burke to Marx and well beyond. Hannah Arendt treated the distinction as fundamental when she described the French Revolution as a revolution driven by physical need (a revolution of the empty stomach) and the American revolution as one driven by ideals or preferences, akin to the distinction frequently heard from those who seek to differentiate “wars of choice” (supposedly Iraq) and “wars of existential necessity” (possibly WW2). It was her notion that revolutions of the French type – the Russian Bolshevik revolution, various “3rd World” revolutions – took the relatively extremely violent and eventually self-contradictory forms they took, replacing oppression with oppression, as a realization of this very fundamental difference. For the leftist radical, the distinction has instead been a reason to diminish the significance of the American revolution – as a “bourgeois” revolution merely expressing and realizing the interest of a particular class, rather than a universal radically democratic interest embodied, of course, by and in the proletariat, for Marx.

                From the American conservative perspective, however, Marxian democratism is or would be another form of the same despotism or tyranny against which the bourgeois revolution remains a movement authentically and democratically “from below,” whether in 1776 or 2015, making Robin and his epigones equally reactionaries along with monarchists and others, and thus helping to explain why the rightwing species would, as Robin delights in pointing out, mirror the radical left: From the American revolutionary perspective, they always were two sides of the proverbial coin, and always were destined to appear on “both sides, doing it” in the political life of the American republic.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                There are only 2 factions, those wanting to rule and those not wanting to be ruled. The blood flows from how extreme the desire is for either power or freedom. The fact that factions build along those lines in mirroring magnitudes is no accident.

                How do you disassemble faction?Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                I think we mostly know the answer to that: You don’t. Or can’t. The most you can do is reduce the ability of factions to get their way, and also reduce the incentives for faction formation by reducing the ability of government to do anything at all – in other words work within the Madisonian system, or what it has become, what Fukuyama calls a “vetocracy.” It works well enough as long as you do not require great things of government, as has been the American situation for most of American history. When we do require great things of government, or seem to, a consensus may be generated sufficient to overcome the vetocracy’s veto points, but in the meantime it generates massive frustration and, in recent times it seems, an intensification of factional attitude or ideology, making the veto points even more resistant during the normal course of business. We don’t, of course, know how committed to impossibilities people would remain in the face of a widely felt extreme provocation or threat. So, we stay tuned, looking forward to the next crisis and perhaps, eventually, to the final irrecuperable failure or loss of belief in the system as it is.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                A very thoughtful response to a fundamental question. A considerable thanks to you.

                I also think to disassemble factions you subtract the reasons for their formation. Church, state, corporation, whatever drives people to go at each other in groups.

                In the end each person is a faction into their own preference, to think otherwise is most often a lie or sacrifice to the gods of altruism.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Morat20
      Ignored
      says:

      Alsotoo, Atrios’ Axiom: Conservative’s support whatever pisses off liberals.Report

  5. Avatar LWA
    Ignored
    says:

    I share a bit of Saul’s pessimism (ugly violence is pretty common in American history) but maybe the silver lining is that we may be witnessing the splintering og the famous Three Legged Stool of conservatism.
    Notice how swiftly the Trumpistas turn on anyone who stands between them and their rabid nationalism- McCain, Fox, Wall Street.

    It may be Trump who exposes the vast disconnect between the economic policy preferred by the base and that preferred by the GOP establishment, aka the NRO cuckservatives.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      Look I think it bears remembering that the AGE of this segment of the electorate is… advanced… to put it mildly. This is not a young angry group of people, it is an old frightened group of people. Hispanics have plenty to fear from the policies these people would like to enact but I do not think minorities have much to fear from the people themselves. They could outrun the mob (walkers, canes and wheelchairs don’t allow for a good turn of speed) or simply duck through an Old Country Buffet to lose them.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        Yes and no. There are plenty of young or youngish conservatives out there and they will be around for a while. The youngest people in elected politics generally seem to have R behind them. It isn’t hard to go tripping down the rabbit hole to some ugliness.

        There was an essay at the Federalist with a conservative professor bemoaning adjunctification. She ended up tracing it to Russell Kirk bemoaning more state funding for universities in the post-WWII era. Kirk’s quote on the subject was pure elitist snobbery and it seemed quite clear that the subtext of the message is that most of the population cannot and should not aspire to anything more than low-wage and unpleasant work. There seems to be a barely hidden but never said conceit that the right-wing considers a natural order of a large class that is working poor.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
          Ignored
          says:

          You aren’t going to get a wide spread violent movement with a severe minority of the youngsters coupled with a whole slew of geriatric fear-mongers Saul.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            Most of trumps supporters seem middle aged rather than old. They aren’t in the prime of life but they aren’t in steep decline either. If you look at pictures of old lynch mobs, a lot of the people who attended them didn’t seem to be in the prime of life either.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq
              Ignored
              says:

              The ones you see bouncing around at rallies on television seem middle age. That strikes me as selection bias there. We know that the younger generations skew heavily Democratic. We know that the younger generations also skew heavily more libertarian/liberal on immigration questions. So we’re talking about a pretty small slice of population to make up the constituents of a hearty healthy angry mob.Report

            • Avatar LWA in reply to LeeEsq
              Ignored
              says:

              Part of my, lets call it sober assessment of racism, is that it is eternal, so deeply embedded into our humanity as to be hardwired.

              I recall how it was my generation, the late Boomers, who were supposed to move past it, we were going to hold hands with black people on a hilltop and sing about buying the world a Coke.

              We aren’t fated to surrender to hatred, but I think its truthful to acknowledge how enduring and universal it is, and never grow complacent about vanquishing it.Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to LWA
                Ignored
                says:

                My take is that modern racism is the direct result of the introduction of New Coke. I arrived at this through rigorous analysis which I am not going to show you, but will defend to the utmost comment thread.Report

  6. Avatar trizzlor
    Ignored
    says:

    I still can’t figure out why NRO went gaga over Palin but is now so concerned about Trump. I read through Goldberg’s essay and there’s hardly any criticism that applies to one and not the other. The main difference seems to be that Palin was sincere whereas Trump is telling people what they want to hear. Is that really it? I thought people don’t make it past their twenties before they realize that no politician is actually sincere and the political process is not actually about sincerity.Report

    • Avatar LWA in reply to trizzlor
      Ignored
      says:

      Palin didn’t go after Wall Street.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to trizzlor
      Ignored
      says:

      Not exactly… a couple things:
      -Palin was not exactly warm and fuzzy on immigration but she was not reaching Trump levels back then
      – The GOP elite had not yet internalized how badly they were doing with Hispanics. The realization didn’t truly sink in until after Romneybot blew his fuses. Trump started out basically firing round after round of lead into the GOP’s hopes of at least moderating their losses with Hispanics. That doesn’t earn him love from the establishment and NRO is very much the mouthpiece of the GOP establishment.
      -Palin rose to prominence during the end phase of the 2008 presidential election. There was flat out no time or space to do anything but rally around her in desperate hopes of helping their election chances.
      -Palin was, at the start, a politician. Yes she chose to turn into an entertainer and rake in the bucks from the right wing media grift machine but at the start she was a politician and thus one of the GOP’s own. Trump is nakedly an outsider and has been a blatant entertainer from the get go.
      -Palin’s conservative bona fides were/are strong. There were areas where she slightly deviated from conservative orthodoxy but for Fish’s sake Trump has been a Liberal, abortion supporting, Clinton contributing lefty in the past. That ain’t the same thing.

      If you look at what Palin has diminished to now there’s definitely some parallels with Trump now, but if you compare Trump now to what Palin was then (2008) it’s not even remotely similar.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        Well-stated, @north – though Palin was not only not as illegal-immigration-restrictionist then as Trump is now, she was Senator Shamnesty’s running-mate. Immigration had shown its divisive potential already in 2006-7.

        As for your other argument, however, the potential for violence from and involving the “alt right” that Saul fears is real, I think, even if likely in the short term to remain lone crazy wolf or voluntaristic: Dylan Roof or Jared Loughner, but, then again, one step over were Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Whatever else you want to say about them all, they didn’t keep their radical rejection of the establishment at keyboard level only, while the borders between anti-social psychological disorders and political extremism can be blurry and the connections complex. The possibility or even the likelihood of new left-associated versions of the same thing is also real.

        In general the potential for violence and disorder in the U.S., and for a combative rhetorical style to be converted into real combat or to be aligned with it never goes away, but the resources of the state and reservoir of support for order are also easy to underestimate.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to CK MacLeod
          Ignored
          says:

          Granted, CK, lone wolf attacks are always a possibility and they are no laughing matter. That said I interpreted Saul’s fear as more of a concern about a wide spread violent movement and for that I think the age of the majority of the GOP base in this matter is deeply salient. You can get your fringe locos out doing violence in the name of any given ideology but I don’t see widespread violence arising on this matter unless the anti-immigrant faction gains a lot more traction and makes deeper inroads with the younger cohorts.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        Thanks North, this is a good list. I agree that some of the other NRO-niks against Trump (e.g. Kevin Williamson) complain about his anti-immigrant stance and populism (by which they mean non-establishment positions). But Goldberg’s column is primarily about how Trump is crude and dumb and panders to base instincts, which I find to be a strange criticism. The same establishment that thought “What newspapers do you read?” was a partisan gotcha question is now throwing a tantrum because Trump confused the Kurds with the Quds Forces … give me a break.

        I also think you’re overstating Palin’s establishment cred. Being the mayor of a one horse town and a half-term governor isn’t exactly a deep political career. I think the reason Palin got so much leeway was because she seemed to be passionate about the things that people associate with being conservative – pro-life, hunting, dropping g’s. And I get why that works for the average voter, but I’m shocked that this act was all it took for people like Goldberg to have her back.Report

        • Avatar LWA in reply to trizzlor
          Ignored
          says:

          Palin had Main Street Conservative cred (being the mayor of a small town helped not hurt in that regard) but she also signaled very clearly that she was entirely comfortable with Wall Street Conservatism. Her attacks on “elites” always and only meant educated liberals, not bankers.

          Trump is a true outsider to the Republican Wall Street/ National Review clique. He is as rich as any of them, but operates in a different sort of circle, and his bitterness towards them is palpable.
          He isn’t an egalitarian, but I sense he has a long list of 0.1% ers that he would happily line up against the wall, come the revolution.Report

          • Avatar trizzlor in reply to LWA
            Ignored
            says:

            Yeah, I think there’s a lot of truth to this, especially since Trump can still run a pretty hefty self-funded campaign. I guess I just assumed that if Jonah Goldberg doesn’t like Trump because of his Wall Street animosity, then Jonah Goldberg would write an essay about Trump’s Wall Street animosity, and not about how Trump is dumb and full of resentment.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to LWA
            Ignored
            says:

            LWA:
            Palin had Main Street Conservative cred (being the mayor of a small town helped not hurt in that regard) but she also signaled very clearly that she was entirely comfortable with Wall Street Conservatism. Her attacks on “elites” always and only meant educated liberals, not bankers.

            Let’s not confuse what Palin was with what Palin became, nor who was doing what in 2008. Palin’s claim to fame *in 2008* was taking on the oil companies. Conservatives *in 2008* were revolting against the bankers, hence Hank Paulson had to literally go on his knees to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to get TARP passed after the House of Representatives rejected it the first time.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to trizzlor
          Ignored
          says:

          Well 75% of this was desperate need. They really really needed someone to inspire them and counter the Obamania; McCain sure as hell wasn’t doing it. When you have less than 6 months to the election you do not start sniping at your own teams Veep choice with any vigor.Report

          • Avatar trizzlor in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            That’s fair, but I recall the NRO Palin fanclub continued well into 2011, and still hasn’t entirely abandoned her now that she’s thoroughly been revealed to be a media opportunist rather than a political one.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to trizzlor
              Ignored
              says:

              Yeah well first rule of internet punditry is that once you chose your position you change it only when absolutely necessary. The positive/supportive position they assume out of necessity prior to the election then was their starting point post election.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to trizzlor
          Ignored
          says:

          But Goldberg’s column is primarily about how Trump is crude and dumb and panders to base instincts, which I find to be a strange criticism.

          You’ve never heard of projection?Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to trizzlor
          Ignored
          says:

          trizzlor: But Goldberg’s column is primarily about how Trump is crude and dumb and panders to base instincts, which I find to be a strange criticism.

          National Review’s self-image has always been as erudite elitist. This slid a bit under Lowry’s and Goldberg’s tenure (especially in the on-line world), but still, even as a ‘slouch on the couch’ (a bit mostly stolen from Norm Chad), they thought themselves as the smartest dudes at the grown-ups table. That’s why they tolerated, for lack of a better term, ‘intelligent racists’ like Derbyshire for so long, and didn’t suffer Ann Coulter for more than a month after 9/11.

          it’s ok to speak in code all day, but speaking in plain text is not only unwise, it’s unseemly.

          edit – also, more than anyone else, National Review has been the standard bearer for all three legs of the conservative stool, and wants more than anyone else to keep them together.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to trizzlor
      Ignored
      says:

      Re: Sincerity

      You are seemingly wrong. I’ve noted before that politics is often a battle between the romantics/true believers and the pragmatists and romantics loathe the pragmatic. This is something that exists all over politics. Look at Will’s thread on Corbyn. Creon Critic bemoaned the victory and think Blair did good for the Labour Party and that the Corbynites are heading back to the Longest Suicide Note in History. This is the possibly pragmatic view. “The British Electorate might like the Welfare State but they don’t want Clause IV socialism.”

      Brit said that maybe Blair took the Labour Party out of the wilderness but wondered if it was at the cost to the soul of the Labour Party. There are even a lot of right-wingers who seem sincerely impressed by Corbyn’s plain spoke and sincere manner.

      I think lots of people are looking for the Real Deal. Part of Sanders surge in popularity seems to come from the fact that he is of relatively modest means, he is willing to speak is mind and not him and haw. So he told Liberty University students in no uncertain terms that he was unapologetically pro-choice and that Government should not intervene in a woman’s personal decision. He was also very pro-SSM. What people didn’t like about Corbyn’s rivals and HRC is how they sometimes or often hem and haw before delivering an answer and seem too polished. Corbyn and Sanders are anti-polish and people seem heartened to see Sanders fly coach and sit in the middle seat.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        There are even a lot of right-wingers who seem sincerely impressed by Corbyn’s plain spoke and sincere manner.
        It’s very easy to have good emotions about the waiter you expect to serve the next election up to you on a silver platter.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I understand that identity politics works on voters. What I meant to say was that I didn’t think it worked on establishment journalists. I assumed that journalists had completely internalized the view that politicians will tell you what you want to hear and were specifically trained to filter it out. Goldberg fretting that we can’t trust Trump to be pro-life is like someone worrying about the outcome of a pro wrestling match without realizing the whole thing is staged. To the extent that we can predict what a politician will do at all, we know Trump will be pro-life because he said so up on the big stage and because he’ll pay a huge political cost with zero gain for reneging. And this is no more or less than we know about Jeb Bush or Scott Walker. If Goldberg honestly believes that Bush or Walker are more likely to do what they say just because they project a thoughtful and sincere image, then he’s a bigger fool than I thought.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to trizzlor
      Ignored
      says:

      trizz,

      I agree. I don’t think we’d have Trump leading the polls right now without Palin greasin those wheels. At a political level, they’re almost indistinguishable, seems to me, in terms of content, messaging, tone, red-meat panderizing, trolling, antagonizing the enemy!, etc. If there’s a difference between them, it’s the context they exist(ed) in. Palin came as a (conservative!) breath of fresh air, a truth-teller who wasn’t afraid to blah blah blah, but wasn’t ever (short of McCain’s death) gonna hold real power. That’s not the case for Trump, who’s bullshit in a post-Palin conservative world, has earned him a huge lead in the national polls.

      Course, now that I think about it a bit more, one substantive difference between them might be that Palin’s views and actions prolly wouldn’t have ever deviated from the True Conservative Line. So she was, politically and policy-wise, safe. Trump may not be (in fact, is not!) so safe on either score.Report

  7. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    “The Donald” isn’t a “Conservative”, and by “Conservative”, I mean “Neocon”, which is what Goldberg is actually talking about. But neither is Donald really a “Conservative” in the non Neocon term either. He’s an opportunist.

    And to the comments above about people projecting their views onto him in the absence of a public position on that topic, BINGO. That’s a lot of the support he’s getting. The other support is that they are tired of the same old idiots that the Rs have been throwing up for contention the last few decades. Hell, I’d vote for him in a primary just to spite the rest of the party because THEY DESERVE IT. This is not to say the the Dems don’t either. On one hand I truly want this guy to win the presidency and I can enjoy the gnashing of teeth from both the left and right. On the other, I know he’d probably suck and might even screw things up more than anyone from the “approved” list.Report

  8. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    If anything, you’re soft pedaling the ugliness of NROrevolt. (i.e. references to ovens and gas and shit like that). NRO has been one of the few outlets (besides, of all people Glenn Beck) that has been openly hostile to the idea and the person of Trump.

    Hotair was also like “seriously? y’all want to talk about Trump?” at the beginning of the summer, and has just let their comments sections go feral (that is moreso than before) by linking to something he says or does every damn day. I suspect Red State has done the same. Talk Radio has cleverly triangulated and been harping on the immigration issue (which they always have) and cast Trumpocracy as anti-establishment while completely ignoring all the RINO phentotype characteristics that Trump has – that they would call out on everyone else.

    based on something I heard today about Trump’s speech yesterday, where Trump talked about putting a 35% tax on companies (Ford, I think) that put production in Mexico (by executive order, no less), while Trump is getting support of the so-called alt-right, the people that are giving him 30% in the polls are the old Perotistas (which back in the day, Limbaugh shit on, when Limbaugh was the only game in town)Report

    • Avatar LWA in reply to Kolohe
      Ignored
      says:

      I am beginning to wonder if Trump is resurrecting that long extinct species of Populist Southern Democrat, the William Jennings Bryan/ Huey Long/George Wallace type who hated Wall Street almost as much as they hated nonwhite people.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t know if Jennings belongs in that bunch. He wasn’t Southern and as far as I know did not make any racist statements.

        I am kind of sad that Bryan is mainly known as a religious fundamentalist who opposed evolution. He seemed to have ideals and was willing to live by them. He was also a deep pacifist who resigned as Wilson’s Secretary of State because he felt Wilson was gearing up for War too much.Report

      • Avatar Roland Dodds in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        @lwa I am not sure if he fits that exact mold, but he has stirred a form of populism that has its roots in that movement.Report

        • Avatar LWA in reply to Roland Dodds
          Ignored
          says:

          True-
          Trump the individual is not nearly so notable as Trumpism.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LWA
            Ignored
            says:

            Two questions: “Why Trump?” and “why Trumpism?” can be asked, but only one of them is interesting. I mean, this is the third GOP presidential primary in which the base, and the favorable ratings from the base, are completely inexplicable according to the conventionally accepted highfalutin pinhead logic of electoral support: that candidate’s expression of policy positions resonate with voters who then “support” them. But the last three GOP primaries have pretty much obliterated that theory, seems to me. Beginning in aught 7, the GOP base has been primarily moved – ephemerally, perhaps, until now! – by candidates who are viewed as not only outside the mainstream political establishment, but convincingly present themselves as openly hostile to it. So the selection process seems to be result from a candidate’s ability to show how they’ll tear the current structure down more than, and sometimes to the exclusion of, the content of proposed replacement policies.

            Trumpism is just a more persistent, more consolidated, instance of what’s been happening over the last three primaries, seems to me.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              Or shorter: the “base” is moved more by candidates who give the impression they’ll tear the whole structure down than candidates who propose “fixes” within the existing structure.Report

              • Avatar Roland Dodds in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                @stillwater at its core, that is what Trumpism is all about. Republican voters seem to feel that the system is so rotten, that they are willing to go with anyone who appears to be willing to smash things up.

                Now, if their desire for a different nation were to be put in motion, would they still stand by the forces they unleashed? If a trade war were to actually happen, would they still be talking about wanting a firebrand in office to mess with the system? I am pretty sure many would not.

                It is always easy to say you want a revolution in times of peace and prosperity.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Roland Dodds
                Ignored
                says:

                Roland Dodds: Now, if their desire for a different nation were to be put in motion, would they still stand by the forces they unleashed?

                Yes. A good deal of Trumpistas are unreconstructed confederates that literallyjoebiden wanted a different nation and stand by that decision even after getting their asses kicked.Report

  9. Avatar Lurker
    Ignored
    says:

    This is just like the fact that many Bernie Sanders fans are racist, misogynist bigots. Both sides are equally radical and equally racist and misogynist. We should vote for a centrist like George Bush again.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *