Cuckservatism: The Cuckoo In The Conservative Movement’s Nest
Recently, I discussed how the crude but effective portmanteau “cuckservative” has taken the internet by storm. But I did not spend much time defining “cuckservative”—in part, because a term popularized in memes, message boards, and social media is not likely to have a coherent definition. However, the cuckservative meme may be having a lasting impact by getting people hitherto unaware of Dissident Right views exposed to them and causing them to rethink their old assumptions. So it’s worth examining in more detail.
American Renaissance Editor Jared Taylor distilled many of the memes and snarky insults into a coherent and unified argument: that “the things you love about America–and I love them, too–are rooted in certain principles. That is your greatest mistake. They are rooted in certain people.” By refusing to acknowledge racial issues, cuckservatives end up losing every single non-racial issue they care about [An Open Letter to Cuckservatives, American Renaissance, July 30, 2015]
However, although Taylor made a strong and eloquent argument, as usual he did not attempt to tie the meme to the word “cuckold,” which seems to be what has gotten the attention of Conservatism Inc. and Main Stream Media
Needless to say, it’s completely hypocritical that the same Leftists who used the vulgar term “teabagger” now claim that a joking allusion to cuckoldry, a phenomenon found in the natural world and the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare, reflects unhealthy sexual obsession and/or insecurity. And indeed, Leftists have not been above making racial cuckold jokes about Republicans. After the 2012 Election, Bill Maher actually said that Republicans acted like they “just found out that their wife is f–king a black guy” [Newsbusters, November 10, 2012]
In reality, as Milo Yiannopoulos points out, the slur “cuck” originated on the internet to just mean a beta male or a coward in the same way that a straight man will insult another straight man as “faggot” or “homo” without any suggestion that the target is actually homosexual. [‘Cuckservative’ Is a Gloriously Effective Insult That Should Not Be Slurred, Demonized, or Ridiculed, Breitbart, July 28, 2015]
Yet many of the anti-cuckservative memes do imply that cuckservatives are less manly, if not literally cuckolded. One (top of this page) compares Trump’s wife Melania with Columba Bush and asks “Who do you want for president? The guy who married the hot white woman or the cuckservative who married the midget mestizo?”
While these sorts of memes were done with snark, Gregory Hood at American Renaissance—and I suspect in an attempt to reverse engineer the etymology—tried to define cuckservatives based on the sexual fetish:
There’s also the variety of cuckold who gets a thrill from watching another man mount his wife. Such a creature possesses the illusion of control. He can tell himself that he is directing this obscenity and thus remain, in some way, the dominant figure.
[What is a Cuckservative? July 24, 2015]
As someone who socializes with both Conservatism Inc. and the Dissident Right, I can say there are plenty of people who hold cuckservative views who are undoubtedly Alpha males in their personal lives. And not all of us on the Dissident Right are Taki Theodoracopulos,
There are different types of Alpha and Beta males within both groups (the Dissident Right is more likely to attract both strong personalities and social outcasts, while the GOP Establishment is more likely to attract frat boys and overly sheltered nerds.) Furthermore, a movement based on anonymous internet commenters trolling comment sections and Twitter is not likely to be filled with ideal masculine types.
Thus, while I chuckle at the Melania Trump/Columba Bush meme, I don’t think it’s useful to make a serious political/cultural argument based on it. If the cuckservative meme is to have lasting impact, it needs an important meaning beyond crude jokes.
And this can be readily be made. I doubt whoever came up with the term “cuckservative” was necessarily thinking of the cuckoo bird, which is where cuckold’s etymological roots derive from. But I believe it is instructive to compare cuckservative’ place in America and the literally cuckolded hosts in nature.
The common cuckoo is the most famous brood parasite—organisms that rely on other species’ to care for their young. The cuckoo will lay an egg in the nest of a host species. While cuckoos lay their eggs in almost 100 different species’ nest, they most frequently cuckold the Eurasian reed warbler. Once born, the cuckoo chick will eject its host’s other eggs from the nest. While the cuckoo’s eggs have evolved to look like the warbler’s, the cuckoo fledgling itself looks nothing like them. Nonetheless, the warbler instinctively feeds the cuckoo, which has mimicked its’ own fledgling’s’ call and gape. Even after the cuckoo has grown over twice the size of the warbler, the cuckolded bird still feeds it.
This relationship is analogous to the way cuckservatives waste all their resources appealing to blacks and Hispanics who will never support their values, and are in fact undermining them—just as the warbler gives food to the cuckoo that killed its biological offspring.
Yet this is unfair to the warbler. The cuckoo at least tries mimic the warbler. But cuckservatives persist in believing in minority conservatism even when the non-whites have explicitly disclaimed it. Thus cuckservatives pretend that Martin Luther King, a self-described socialist who attacked Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, was a conservative Republican. And even though Hispanics vote overwhelmingly Democratic and tell pollsters they support big government, cuckservatives blindly insist they are “natural Republicans.”
There is also the “Mafia Hypothesis” about warblers and cuckoos: that the warblers actually know that they are not raising their own young, but do so to avoid further damage. It was first proposed by Israeli evolutionary biologist Amotz Zahavi.
He suggested that if hosts removed parasitical eggs from their nests the cuckoos would respond by coming back and destroying all the other eggs as well. Birds living in fear of such retribution would put up with a having to feed an extra mouth.
[Cuckoos Use Mafia Tactics, And They Work, By Stephen Luntz, IFLScience, April 18, 2014]
The “Mafia Hypothesis” also applies to cuckservatives. They hope that if they accept various Leftist positions, the Left will not call them racists, extremists etc. and let them survive. The cuckservative’s implicit plea: “If I support gay marriage, Amnesty, and praise Martin Luther King, will you at least let me be pro-life, support tax cuts, and voice tepid demands for meritocracy and assimilation?”
Yet, again, this analogy is too kind to the cuckservatives. Under the “Mafia hypothesis,” the cuckoos are indeed willing effectively to give the warblers some room to breathe. But recent cuckservative capitulations on the Confederate Battle Flag and Gay Marriage were not met with any Leftist magnanimity in victory at all.
While the Cuckservatives surrendered on the flag in front of the South Carolina Statehouse—itself the result of an earlier compromise with the Left—the Left immediately went on to trashing other white icons, such as Andrew Jackson, while engaging in ISIS-like removals of any vestige of Confederate Heritage, from Dukes of Hazzard to calls to dig up the grave of Nathan Bedford Forrest and sandblast Confederate figures off Georgia’s Stone Mountain.
Moral: Each cuckservative capitulation leads to more Leftist demands. Unlike the brood parasites and their hosts, who eventually reach equilibrium, the cuckservatives continue to lose ground—to the point when they will eventually become extinct, along with the culture they purport to defend.
But note that warblers are not completely helpless against the cuckoo. They slowly evolve defenses to recognize the cuckoo eggs and eject them.
I don’t expect the anti-cuckservative memes to wake up your average Conservatism Inc. lackey.
But I hope that this type of trolling—no matter how crass and juvenile—will help develop a similar defense among patriotic but misguided Americans, who have been duped by cuckservative mouthpieces.
Alexander Hart (email him) is a conservative journalist.