Derbyshire, Weissberg, And Dog-Whistling: Conservatism Inc`s Uneasy Balancing Act
It’s become numbingly predictable. The Cultural Marxist Left “investigates” a selected individual working in the Establishment Conservative movement—what has been called, all too accurately, Conservatism Inc. Finding impermissible unPC deviationism, the Left demands the termination of the offending employee.
The employee`s life and career are destroyed more completely than it would be if he or she committed robbery or an assault.
But Conservatism Inc. receives no credit from the Left. It learns no lessons. It continues to be smeared as “racist” as ever more “links” are exposed. It continues to sacrifice its own, preferring humiliation and even political defeat to being seen as white advocates, or, in Left/ Main Stream Media parlance, “white supremacists”. The Left/ MSM call them this anyway. And the boundaries of acceptable discourse continue to shrink.
Let me look at this ignominious ritual a different way. I believe that there’s a sense in which the multicultural Leftoids are right when they say the entire conservative movement is purely a product of white privilege.
Regardless of whether you are a “fiscal conservative” who emphasizes tax cuts and slashing welfare, a “social conservative” worried about cultural collapse and Christophobia, or a “defense conservative” who spends sleepless nights agonizing over the Iranian Army preparing to invade New Hampshire, the fact is that all of the various factions and constituencies within what we call “the conservative movement” are almost entirely white.
Moreover, American conservatism as it has evolved is, in effect, an elaborate justification for appealing to a white voting base without identifying it as such, or actually representing its interests as a race and people.
Conservatism as a force in American politics was pronounced dead after Barry Goldwater`s crushing defeat by Lyndon Johnson in 1964. But in 1980, it materialized this report had been greatly exaggerated. Ronald Reagan, conservative hero and current Republican demigod (although the Republican Establishment bitterly resisted him at the time) was President. The so-called “Conservative Movement” had achieved power.
Reagan`s election was only the culmination of a long process by which Republicans harnessed white alienation against elite progressives who pushed desegregation, forced busing, set-asides for blacks, anti-white discrimination, and state-driven multiculturalism. Kevin Phillips, a strategist for Richard Nixon`s successful 1968 campaign, predicted that these resentments would shore up future Republican majorities in his seminal 1969 book The Emerging Republican Majority.
Thus, after receiving the Republican nomination in 1980, Ronald Reagan launched his 1980 campaign in Mississippi with a fiery speech. Liberals called it a thinly veiled attempt to rally Southern whites, deliberately using an inflammatory phrase (“states’ rights”) near the site where civil rights workers were murdered in 1964. Conservatives replied that the location of the speech was a coincidence and the substance of the speech focused on economic issues, mostly inflation.
Both were right.
Leftists believe that conservatives past and present are cynically using “dog whistles” to disguise their appeal to white identity. But Conservatism Inc. operatives, and even activists in the country, really do believe their own propaganda.
Their “Conservatism” is not about repackaging the white working class economic populism of George Wallace—or, heaven forbid, Pat Buchanan. It is about exploiting white racial solidarity by harnessing its anti-Left sentiments to a pro-corporate agenda. Most conservative operatives really do believe that such an agenda is in the best interests of all the people of the United States. They believe “a rising tide lifts all boats” and wealth created at the top will “trickle down” to workers.
Nonetheless, Leftists have a point when they charge that Conservatism Inc. is dependent, not just on an almost entirely white constituency, but on appealing to a watered-down version of white interests.
In White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism, Princeton history professor Kevin Kruse [Email him]shows how whites organized to defend themselves following desegregation and the delegitimization of explicitly white racial resistance.
The key tactic: mass white withdrawal from public institutions and even entire neighborhoods. With white mobilization no longer seen as ethically or politically palatable, an entirely new vocabulary was developed that emphasized cutting taxes, allowing families to opt out of public schools or community institutions, and privatizing infrastructure and institutions that were once seen as common property.
The root cause of this (which Kruse, a liberal, obviously does not argue): given a multiracial society, the kinds of services that white Americans could otherwise take for granted—in areas such as public transportation, education, basic infrastructure, and competent local governance—become impossible.
Furthermore, such public institutions as do exist abandon even the pretense of impartial administration. Essentially, they become an excuse to reward those non-whites who can exercise collective political power with state-sanctioned preferences. Rather than fulfilling their ostensible functions, the primary purpose of government bureaucracies is to transfer resources from whites to non-whites.
The price of this is paid by the white working and middle classes, who actually used these public services. But they have delegated their political power to the Conservative Inc. elite, who can afford (or intend to afford) to avoid “diverse” areas.
As Charles Murray points out in his latest work Coming Apart, the result is not only a decline of societal standards, but the absence of anything that can really be called a society at all. In John Derbyshire’s words, in his brilliant post martyrdom interview in Gawker, most of the upper classes go by their own rules. [`I May Give Up Writing and Work as a Butler`: Interview with John Derbyshire, April 9, 2012]
An authentic American conservative tradition exemplified by the writings of Russell Kirk, Eric Vogelin, Robert Nisbet and other scholars combined with the insights of former Marxists such as Whittaker Chambers and James Burnham did provide a framework of ideas capable of providing genuine insight into the American crisis. As a popular political movement, the American Right championed traditional symbols of military, flag, and pride in heritage with such success that the American flag itself is now seen as an inherently conservative symbol.
Unfortunately, vague populist resentment against “liberal elites” never fully meshed with the more promising ideas that these thinkers developed. Instead, Conservatism Inc. promotes a wholly new “conservatism”, almost purposely vague about what it is trying to conserve—understandable, as it seems to change with each new electoral cycle. This “conservatism” has created a vocabulary, a system of rationalizations, and most of all, a list of “values,” that provide a colorblind, deracinated justification for political action. Rather than defending a particular community—or any kind of concrete community—it now claims that a series of timeless principles (limited government, free markets, individualism etc.) held true in all places and at all times. America is “Exceptional” because it serves as the purest exemplar of these ideas.
Needless to say, Conservatism Inc. has failed to accomplish its proclaimed aims of limiting government power, significantly reducing spending, and maintaining traditional “Judeo-Christian” culture. Its one success, not coincidentally: slashing tax rates for the highest income tax brackets.
But it has developed a system of slogans that objectively defend the corporate elite—who themselves pursued anti-white policies of affirmative action, mass immigration, official multiculturalism, and vast donations to non-white racial activist groups.
Still, even those whites who do not benefit from pro-corporate policies have remained loyal to Conservatism Inc.— because it is preferable to the even more overt anti-white hostility of the post 1960`s New Left.
As we know from our learned friends in academe, even these deracinated “conservative” values are expressions of white privilege—because they don`t challenge the “institutional racism” of a society that was created by and for whites.
Again, these academics are, of course, right—but not in the way they think. America was created as a white country—and at its core, it still is.
American conservatism, even in its most degraded, deracinated form, fundamentally depends on the cultural preconditions and institutions created by a white society. The Constitution, property rights, federalism, the military, tax cuts, the “free market,” and even national symbols such as the flag are creations of white Americans and ultimately depend on a white majority for their perpetuation.
Non-whites, particularly blacks and Hispanics, ultimately must have a large, activist federal government to re-engineer America’s society, culture and economy into guaranteeing their economic status and a cultural order that they can tolerate.
In the real world, this translates into “Racial Socialism”—ever-increasing government power, the redistribution of wealth along racial lines, and the continued delegitimization of cultural symbols seen as “white”—including of course, the Confederate Battle Flag, the American flag, the Founding Fathers, and the founding documents of the country.
The central tenet of “Critical Race Theory” is that whites can be consciously ignorant or unconscious of race, believing themselves colorblind. Nonetheless, they are still dependent upon a system of values and institutions that were built by (and for) whites.
But Critical Race Theory can be inverted, accepting the premise but taking it to a more logical conclusion: People who want to defend values and institutions built and sustained by a specific racial grouping cannot practice colorblind politics. They must defend the racial group itself.
An authentic American conservatism must recognize that there is a necessary and obvious link between the people of the country and the kind of society they produce.
And, occasionally, this has indeed surfaced in conservative thought.
Russell Kirk, widely celebrated as the intellectual father of modern American conservatism and the man who made the term itself popular, defined conservatism as “the preservation of a particular people, in a particular culture, at a particular time.”
(Significantly, Kirk’s sole political action was to serve as a part of Pat Buchanan`s insurgent 1992 campaign—which was also supported by the racial realist Paleolibertarian Murray Rothbard and the much-missed columnist Sam Francis.)
Similarly, James Burnham, in his Suicide of the West, called liberalism “the ideology of Western suicide” and designated civil rights and racial egalitarianism as essential components of the American death wish.
“The civilization that we as whites created in Europe and America could not have been created without the genetic endowment of the creating people nor is there any reason to believe that it can be successfully transferred to a different people.” [Why Race Matters, American Renaissance, September 1994]
However, as a movement and a force in the real world, Conservatism Inc. depends less on a system of principles than on economic concrete interests. The interests of both the professional leadership of the conservative movement and of the business community that funds them ultimately depend on the white base never viewing itself as having a racial identity.
In White Flight, Kruse reveals that the political and business leadership of Atlanta were less concerned with the larger implications of the racial revolution in the South than on with the possibility that a “bad image” hurting profits. Paradoxically, rather than the Marxist caricature of reactionary capitalists oppressing workers of color, in reality the largest business interests were even more hostile towards populist white appeals for continued segregation and white unity.
This anticipates the contemporary attitude of Big Business. It gives millions to race hustlers like Jesse Jackson but punishes with an iron fist unapproved talk about race in the workplace. The open borders Occupiers have it precisely backwards—capitalists are their best friends.
Partially, this is simple cowardice: businesses want to avoid protests and bad publicity from a hostile MSM.
However, there is also an objective benefit for many businesses in a large multicultural society with a welfare state. The government covers much of the externalities of multiracialism, through publicly-subsidized health care, food, and education. And, as we know from the now-familiar riots over basketball shoes, blacks and Hispanics are in many ways ideal consumers, rushing out to purchase whatever advertising instructs them to buy.
Above all, this explains Conservatism Inc.’s determination to suppress the immigration debate. Not only would patriotic immigration reform infuriate the ethnically-motivated Left/ MSM cartel that controls the culture, but it would stop the redistribution of the 2%-3% of national income that immigration transfers, by Harvard economist George Borjas’ estimate, from labor to capital a.k.a. Conservatism Inc`s funders each year.
Ultimately, the attitude of the corporate elite is that they will be able to ride the tiger of the multiracial society, counting on the political influence provided by Conservatism Inc. to check any government attempt to make the costs fall on them.
But Conservatism Inc. itself has a more complex problem. It relies on the votes and activism of an essentially white constituency. It has a subtle balancing act, channeling white frustration and discouraging conscious racial activism. As much as the conservative movement is driven by fear of the multicultural Left, it is driven far more by fear of its own base.
As with most all irrational cults, human sacrifice is a necessity for conservatism to be sustained. The list of casualties is ever growing and the room for dissent is shrinking.
The Republican Party from President George H.W. Bush on down enthusiastically campaigned against David Duke when, running as a populist, he won the GOP nomination for governor in Louisiana. This resulted in the election of a notoriously venal Democrat who went on to be imprisoned for corruption. Sam Francis was purged after speaking up for white preservation when Dinesh D`Souza triangulated against him in order to publish his book of pieties about a “colorblind” America. Most astonishingly, the Establishment conservative movement turned with savage fury on Pat Buchanan in 1996, even after his lifetime of service to the cause. Rather than embrace even a moderate (and non-racial) identity politics, Conservatism Inc. enthusiastically chose defeat with Bob Dole and the Open Borders champion and absurd racial truckler Jack Kemp.
The recent purging of Professor Robert Weissberg is particularly revealing. National Review’s editor, the castrati Rich Lowry, [Send him mail]claimed that Weissberg gave a “noxious” talk about the future of “white nationalism”—and thanked the cultural Marxist commissars who alerted him. But Weissberg’s talk was actually about the complete non-future of “white nationalism”, going so far as to deride the concept altogether. Instead, Weissberg discussed various subtler strategies by which whites can maintain some semblance of civilized communities.
From housing and commuting patterns, to bar mangers trying to control their clientele, to fashionably liberal SWPLs in Portland trying to maintain the character of their neighborhood, the single greatest repeating theme in contemporary American life is the desire of white Americans to live and work in peaceful, orderly establishments without having to connect their way of life to racial identity—even within their own heads.
Of course, the single greatest example of all is the proclaimed desire of the Conservatism Inc. to maintain “Western values”, standards of decorum, limited government, patriotism, and at least a modicum of respect for the American past without making the essential connection to the people who created all of it.
When Bob Weissberg pointed out what whites were actually doing, he struck uncomfortably close to pointing out exactly what the conservative movement itself is all about.
While I doubt Lowry actually read the speech, if he had, Weissberg’s termination would have been all the more assured.
The cost, of course, is that Conservatism Inc. is deliberately and systematically sacrificing the movement’s most intelligent and dedicated activists. This results in a movement that is mediocre, demoralized, and doomed to failure. Of course, that may be the point.
Eventually, a true Alternative Right or Right Opposition will develop its own organs and institutions. But right now, Conservatism Inc.’s gatekeepers still control funding, MSM exposure and access to a mass political constituency.
But there is a ground for hope. Conservative sites such as the Daily Caller, Breitbart.com, The Blaze, and the Drudge Report, have defined themselves almost solely by channeling implicit white racial resentment, for example in response to the Trayvon Martin case.
And this search for traffic is dangerous—it creates increasing cognitive dissonance among a conservative base that is beginning to realize that the hoodie wearing denizens of Sanford, FL don’t want or need a tax cut.
A simple glance at the comments sections—even at National Review—shows the natives are getting restless. The conservative base’s attachment to folk, faith, nation, and tradition is at odds with Conservatism Inc.’s telling them the solution is to vote for the guy who has an elevator for his cars.
Conservatism Inc.’s promise of redemption is becoming more and more hollow as the Left Elects a New People and implements a soft totalitarianism that will make its conventional electoral defeat impossible.
A “conservatism that can win again” will be a conservatism that simply stands up for the people who support it.