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Gottfried vs. Derbyshire: Not Even One Cheer For Conservatism Inc.!
In an eloquent address before the Council of Conservative Citizens, my friend John Derbyshire undertakes a difficult task: he wishes to make us more appreciate of what he calls “Mainstream Conservatism,” VDARE.com calls “Conservatism, Inc.” and I call “the Alternative Left”
John lists for our benefit certain “bullet points” specifically “mistrust of government power,” “respect for social arrangements centered on the biological family,” “patriotism,” “demographic integrity,” “respect for religion,” and “individual liberty with a willingness to accept a price in inequality.”
He believes that in “their promotion of those elements... Mainstream-Conservative publications do a good job overall.”
But John stints with his grades in one area. It seems that, in advocating “demographic integrity,” MC publications are “fatally weak.” John’s analysis: MC is “yoked to the Republican Party and its business sponsors.”
John does make an isolated reference to the neoconservatives: he makes fun of “aggressively internationalist types who didn’t mind multiculturalism and the welfare state but who wanted a vigorous capitalist economy to pay for it all..”
But he gives the impression that the pesky neocons don’t count for much anymore: “The term “Neocon” had its moment in the sun...I think that moment has passed, though.”
Reading these observations is like looking at a description of Soviet Poland or Vichy France that never explains who really ran these operations. We learn from the well-disposed interpreter that Generalissimo Stalin or Marshall Petain was good on commissioning macadam roads and signing off on housing developments. We’re never burdened with certain troubling facts: for example, that apparatchiks who fell out of favor were shoved into prison or that even less desirable people were unceremoniously turned into non-persons.
What makes this incomplete narrative in John’s case even more troubling is that he himself has been a recent purge victim of the manipulated bogus Right
The truth is the Establishment Conservative media are not just pro-Republican but flagrantly neoconservative. Neocon journalists pop up all over on FOX News and fill the pages of those MC publications that John lists with apparent approval. As a newspaper columnist, I’m avalanched with letters from irate Republicans scolding me for disagreeing with such luminaries as Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol. If there is something other than neocon talking points hammered into the heads of these Republican partisans, I’d like to know what it is.
To his credit, John does attribute MC’s “fatal” weakness only “in part” to business sponsors. Unfortunately he does not provide any further explanation. So I will. Conservative publicists are generally weak on immigration not only because corporate sponsors want cheap labor, but because they are also dealing with neoconservative gatekeepers, who just happen to be over-the-top immigration enthusiasts.
John and Bob Weissberg were purged at National Review not because Republican corporate executives had it in for them, but because the neocons have been destroying the careers of old-line conservatives who aren’t in sync with their leftward-drifting views on race and immigration since the early 1980s.
John and Bob have taken their places beside M.E. Bradford, Sam Francis, Pat Buchanan and others who were marginalized for expressing opinions on cultural issues that did not fit the neoconservative agenda. That agenda has entailed forcing the Right generally to the left, while pursuing an aggressive form of liberal internationalism abroad.
Needless to say, the neoconservative-controlled movement does take economic and other positions that are somewhat to the right of those taken by the Main Stream Media (MSM). It has also defined the traditional Wilsonian-New Deal foreign policy, aggressive liberal internationalism, as a conservative one, in a way that has pleased the military, Evangelicals and at least part of the Zionist lobby.
But on race and immigration, the neoconservatives have imposed on their subjects what is the standard leftist orthodoxy.
The silliest reason I’ve encountered for justifying this leftward drift is that “responsible conservatives” have no other choice. As my young friend Richard Spencer says, it would be less insulting and more accurate to point out that Conservatism, Inc. actually believes the leftist views they express on racial and gender equality, Martin Luther King, and the blessings of the Immigration and Voting Rights Acts of the 1960s, etc. etc.
They believe most of what Left believes, and they dialogue exclusively with leftists on FOX because that’s the element in which they feel comfortable. They’re with their own kind.
“Conservatives” now celebrate the key social legislation of Lyndon Johnson’s administration and find nothing incompatible between these government intrusions and John’s “bullet points.” On gay rights, anti-discrimination laws, feminism, and immigration issues, they and the rest of the respectable spectrum are well to the left of where mainstream Americans were fifty years ago.
These changes could not have occurred without the active cooperation of an “opposition” which over time has come to resemble more and more what they were supposed to resist.
It now appears that Ron Paul may be kept from addressing the neoconservative-guided GOP presidential convention in Tampa. Should we blame this on GOP corporate leaders, who are enraged by Paul’s lack of support for Israel and supposed insensitivity to the Civil Rights movement?
Or is there some other group that has blacklisted Paul and helped marginalize antiwar libertarians?
Indeed there is. This group has declaimed constantly against Paul and his followers, describing them as racists and anti-Semites?
I’ll leave it to my fellow- pariah to figure out who they are.
Paul Gottfried [ email him ] recently retired as Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA. He is the author of After Liberalism, Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt and The Strange Death of Marxism His most recent book is Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America