Alas, Regardless Of Their Doom, The Little Goldbergs Play!

July 29, 2004

[with apologies to


Thomas Gray
]

[Recently
by Paul Gottfried:


France`s Anti-Hate Hysteria: Facts Need Not Apply
]

Jonah Goldberg claims (NRO,
July 19

Baby Cons in the Mist
), in his response to the
article on “young conservatives” published in the
New York Times, that author David Kirkpatrick had
been insufficiently aware that “disagreements among
conservatives have almost nothing to do with when
they were born.”
[Young
Right Tries to Define Post-Buckley Future
,
By
David D. Kirkpatrick, July 17, 2004]

Kirkpatrick had grouped together
several self-identified conservatives, between the ages
of 18 and 35, because of what he believed to be their
shared generational experience. In contrast, Goldberg
argues that two very odd “conservatives,”
Andrew Sullivan
whose conservatism is “influenced
by his views on homosexuality and the war”
and Pat
Buchanan, who is “opposed to

free trade,
opposed to

immigration
, opposed to

homosexuality
,"
cannot be viewed as products of
their ages.

Thus, says Goldberg, Buchanan
“would take his ideological chimera and call it a more
authentic conservatism—and yet virtually no critiques of
Buchanan have much to do with his place on the secular
zodiac…”

 But is this generalization, which
strains for rhetorical effect, founded on facts?

I believe there is a clear
generational effect among conservatives. Most of the

young “conservatives” interviewed by Kirkpatrick

are recognizably

neoconservatives
or simply Republican propagandists,
for example Eric Cohen and

Ramesh Ponnuru.

The dominant issues for these
“conservatives”
are reelecting President Bush,
supporting his agenda and being for the “market”
(which is more or less whatever economic arrangement we
now have).

What these youngsters couldn`t care
less about, and what even authentic conservatives cited
in the New York Times article, Dan McCarthy and
Jeff Nelson, did not get around to discussing (or
perhaps weren`t quoted on), are issues like immigration,
and

dismantling
the federal anti-discrimination

“affirmative action”
apparatus. 

After all, these issues could hurt
their

social career
inside the

Beltway.

This is why, from my perch outside
the Beltway, I have argued that what these operatives
represent is not conservatism but Goldbergism—the
ideology (or, more accurately, rationalizations) of the
right wing of the permanent government party.

Goldberg`s attempt to treat

homosexual activist Andrew Sullivan
as a
“conservative”
shows how far to the social Left the
“Right” now extends— at least in Goldberg`s mind.

Goldberg`s contrasting Sullivan`s
bid for conservative respectability with Buchanan`s
“ideological chimera”
is, of course, yet another
disgraceful insinuation that Buchanan, who was working
for a Republican president before Goldberg was born, is
not a “conservative” but a fascistic weirdo.

Unfortunately for this attempted
taxonomy, Buchanan may actually be to the left of where
conservatives once stood on social issues, e.g., where
the editorial board of Goldberg`s magazine

National Review
had

stood on race
, before being completely taken over by
its present neocon hijackers after the firing of John
O`Sullivan in 1997.

In fact, most of these “young
conservatives
” today appear to be well to the left
of where conservatives and many liberals were situated
in the fifties and sixties. The social spectrum in the
last fifty years has lurched leftward throughout the
Western world. The issues on which Goldberg and his
companions are now “moderate,” such as

homosexual marriage
, would have seemed tasteless
jokes even to an earlier generation of

Democrats
or

English Labourites
.

However, the neoconservatives, who
as Sam Francis correctly observes in

Chronicles
(August 2004) would not have been

considered conservative
in any sense in the

1960s
, have taken over the infrastructure of a
Zombie Right. This takeover has decisively shaped the

permissible ambits of conservative thought
for the

ambitious younger generation.
It explains why most
of the interviewees presented in the New York Times
sound as they do.

Another curious point that Goldberg
makes, in a syntactically garbled way toward the end of
his ramblings, is that American youth is becoming more
conservative because it is becoming healthier. And this
correlation is related to another one: “America is
getting healthier as it becomes more conservative.”

Goldberg bases these undocumented
assertions on the

Pollyanna
pep talk given by James K. Glassman in
“Good News! The Kids Are Alright”
(Tech
Central Station,
July 16).

Glassman`s remarks in turn depend,
in a typical piece of neoconservative back-scratching,
on an article published by Kay S. Hymowitz in the
Manhattan Institute`s City Journal.  This
purports to show that Generation X (born between 1965
and 1979) is less casual about sex and more favorably
disposed toward marriage than the preceding generational
cohort. [It`s
Morning After in America
, Spring 2004
]

My view: Whether or not Hymowitz`s
conclusions are correct, it is wrong to read too much
into them. Hymowitz is examining not ideology but the
possibility of the younger generation forming stable
marriages. Glassman concedes, contrary to what Goldberg
suggests, that this younger generation of voters have
actually moved leftward and will in all likelihood cast
their ballots for Kerry. Indeed it is hard to see how
Glassman arrives at his contradictory statement about
the rightward march of American youth, particularly if
one

factors in
the growing proportion of young

Latinos.

What Hymowitz and Glassman do agree
about is that immigration has helped to create the
“healthier”
America they fantasize about.

In Glassman` words:


Immigration which has produced what
[Hymowitz]
calls a "fervent work ethic—which can raise the bar for
slacker American kids, as any high schooler with more
than three

Asian students
in his algebra class will attest.

Are we to believe that those

Asian mathematical whizzes
Glassman and Hymowitz
pull out of their multicultural hats typify the vast
masses of Third world immigrants?

Do the

Central American immigrants
, both legal and illegal,
who account for almost half the enriching “New
Americans”
now arriving here, drive up the

mathematical competency
in our

high schools
?

It would be remarkable if they can
manage this while contributing disproportionately to

criminal violence
, unemployment, and

illegitimate births.

Of course, the notion of a
mentally,

morally healthy youth
now building a

conservative America
incorporates multiple
fantasies. It might be unfair to single out this
particular stupidity. One can only marvel at how the

neoconservative dogma
of

unlimited immigration
finds its way into a subject
that would seem to have no relation to it.

One is reminded of Charles
Dickens`s

childlike character Mr. Dick,
who

could never forget
while addressing anyone about

Charles I and his untimely execution.

But Mr. Dick had a charming and
quite harmless fixation. The delusions of the
neoconservative

hijackers
of the once-great American conservative
movement, echoed by their GOP lapdogs, have
consequences—

abroad
and at home.       


Paul Gottfried
is
Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA. He
is the author of


After Liberalism
.