Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Beginning of the End of American Conservatism

  With the rise of the Trump movement, we are starting to see the beginning of the end of the old postwar American Conservative consensus. This consensus was the brainchild of political philosopher Frank S. Meyer and its main publicist was William F. Buckley Jr. Back then in the early 1950's it was called Fusionist Conservatism and its home was in the pages of the National Review. Fusionist Conservatism was the marriage of moderate elements of Libertarianism  to a, then, mainly Roman Catholic Traditionalism. The resulting ideology had its stresses and problems from the beginning. The then king of the Traditionalists,  Russell Kirk, saw many of the contradictions between the Traditionalists and the Libertarians whom he referred to as "chirping sectiaries". Still, Kirk was a fairly strong believer in Capitalism and stayed within the Fusionist fold, albeit with reservations.

   Well into the seventies and eighties the awkward alliance held. By the late seventies, on the purely intellectual level, the alliance was showing signs of strain. The first generation of conservative intellectuals began to die off or enter their dotage. They were largely replaced by Neo-Conservatives, a bunch of ex-Trotskyite Jews who caught religion of a kind with the rise of the State of Israel. The Neo-Cons promoted Nationalism, not White Nationalism but Israeli Nationalism. This development, along with the end of the Cold War began what was known in the late eighties as the Conservative Crack-Up, a minor rebellion that created a small movement called Paleo-Comservatism. The Paleos were mildly Nationalistic, traditionalist, sympathetic to the Old South, Isolationist, suspicious of big business and they loved the tariff. The main organ of the Paleos was Chronicles Magazine and its promoter on the political stage was Pat Buchanan. The Paleos never gained much traction among the conservative faithful, who were oblivious to some of the finer intellectual distinctions and stayed loyal to the Fusionist paradigm. Apart from the brilliant Samuel Francis, most of the Paleos had an aversion to political activism. The Neo-Con Jews kept a tight grip on the main organs and donors of Movement Conservatism. The Paleo rebellion was essentially defeated.

  What we are experiencing with this man Trump is a kind of revolution from the bottom. He was mildly anti-immigration and found this resonated with the voters. He wasn't a big tariff man, but felt that some of the "trade deals" were lopsided against the interests of American workers. His positions on these issues got a lot of working and lower-middle class voters excited. Donald J. Trump didn't found a movement, a movement found him. I am hopeful that the seeds of Euro-American renewal may now be sowed.      

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