NeoCons – Or Vichy Cons?
John Zmirak writes:
This talk was given in Washington, D.C. on July 9 to
an America`s Future Foundation symposium on “What the
Heck is Neoconservatism?” My fellow-participants were The American Conservative editor Scott McConnell; American Enterprise Associate Editor Eli Lehrer; Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review.
The event drew almost 100 mostly young conservatives,
evenly divided between men and women, full of enthusiasm
and intellectual curiosity. Most of them seemed quite
unacquainted with arguments for immigration control or
other populist/traditionalist perspectives—but excited
to learn about them.
Scott McConnell`s talk contrasted the quite reasonable principles laid out
by Irving Kristol, in his essays defining neoconservatism, with the utopian imperialism displayed by his heirs. Eli Lehrer defined “paleoconservatism” as the “blood and soil” school of the American right, which he declared “intellectually interesting but totally irrelevant” to the public debate. “Reading the work of paleocons is like reading Cicero,” he said.
Ramesh Ponnuruemulated David Frum`s well-known jeremiad “Unpatriotic Conservatives,” making his speech a compilation of every ill-tempered mention of race he could find in the archives of Chronicles magazine and The American Conservative. He focused particularly on articles that mentioned him personally—ending with the declaration: “We reject the idea that conservatism should form a kind of identity politics for white people.”
I replied by citing Steve Sailer`s analyses in VDARE.COM showing that the GOP`s “Southern Strategy” was an implicit version of precisely that—identity politics for white people. This strategy made the Republicans a majority party once again. But the neocons` spurning of immigration reform, affirmative action and the social issues now threatens to undermine that achievement.
On reflection, I think what makes Ponnuru`s assertion interesting is the double standard it betrays. Neoconservatives take for granted that every other ethnic group in the world—especially American minorities—develop “identity politics.” From the Congressional Black Caucus to the Israeli Likud Party, neocons accept as normal group-based politics based on a sense of ethnic kinship. The only groups to whom they`d deny this form of micro-patriotism are the (vanishing) majority groups in Europe and America—as if white people should somehow be “above” that sort of thing.
This curious form of masochistic racial elitism deserves further examination in another article.
[Previously by John
The Brogue Wears Off: Why The Catholic Church Is
Addicted To Immigration]
Ladies and Gentlemen, I`d like to begin by asking you
to synchronize your watches: It`s Midnight in America.
Like most of you, I`m sure, I was shocked by last
anti-constitutional decisions by the Supreme Court.
But I was equally appalled by something I`d read the
column by media-savvy neocon Jonah Goldberg, in the June
20 Washington Times. Anticipating the Supreme
Court, Goldberg declared that on “the gay issue”
the conservative position had been trounced, thanks to
the proliferation of loveable gay characters on TV.
Goodbye, he said, to conservative public morality, and
our legal efforts to distinguish
same-sex couplings from the sacrament of
marriage. The best we can do is to
surrender unconditionally and hope for magnanimous
treatment by the victors.
In other words, and I use my words advisedly—to
Collaborate. You know, like in France.
It`s nothing new. In 1940, thousands of French
conservatives chose to work with their occupiers. Some
tried sincerely to promote conservative goals, and
preserve French interests, such as the
Empire in Algeria.
Neocons also care about preserving our colonies in
the Middle East. I fear that America`s involvement in
the Arab/Israeli quagmire is quite parallel to the
doomed attempt of the French Right to hold onto that
settler colony. I hope I`m wrong—because the end of the
state of Israel would be a humanitarian tragedy—just
like the end of most Western colonial regimes, from
South Africa to
As you probably know, the Vichy regime achieved none
of its positive goals, and ended in disgrace. It did
prove pretty good at one task: repressing the authentic
French Resistance, whom they labeled “unpatriotic
conservatives.” In the end, Marshal Petain even
signed a death warrant for Charles de Gaulle.
Likewise, neoconservatives have proved far more
effective at purging the American Right than at
promoting any real conservative values. I would argue
that since the end of the Cold War, neocons have
accomplished almost nothing, except to liquidate key
conservative principles, and marginalize valuable
conservative thinkers, in return for a crack at
administering Leftist policies a little more
For surrendering on the legal status of marriage, the
basic unit of society, Mr. Goldberg was not fired from
previous editors have been for their right-wing
opinions. Mr. Goldberg has not been forced to start from
scratch, running a
special interest website, or publishing his own
newsletter, like paleocons purged from the
“movement,” when they opposed immigration too
forcefully, or criticized the policies of Likud—many of
which I personally support—or wrapped themselves in the
I guess gay marriage is not beyond the pale. It seems
that National Review now stands
athwart the march of history calling out “Halt,
halt! Wait for me…”
Why does National Review`s star pundit make
room for gay marriage? Because, as he admits, the other
side has won – and we don`t want to look like losers.
Here is the very heart of neoconservatism, which I`ve
decided to rename “Vichy conservatism.” The Vichy-cons`
world view, apart from sheer jingoism, amounts to a
statist, egalitarian reading of the Declaration of
Independence. It`s a Leftist creed, designed to
accommodate the victory of the Left in America`s courts
and the culture wars.
All this takes place under the benign eye of a
beloved elder statesman, the hero of the last war,
William F. Buckley—our very own
Marshal Petain. In his beloved, nimble publishing
William Kristol, the American Vichy has found its
Pierre Laval. Their governing principle, as Max Boot
put it, is to become the kind of “conservative
whom liberals will feel comfortable inviting to cocktail
parties.” To which I would add, “at the German
Oh come, on, you might say. Things aren`t that bad.
At least Gore isn`t president. Wouldn`t that be worse?
To which I ask—how exactly would things be any
As it stands, the definition of
marriage, the meaning of
citizenship, the civil rights of the majority
population of the country—and the sanctity of life of
helpless unborn children—all these have been wrenched
away from the voters. America`s governing elites
increasingly rule the American people as if they were an
occupying army, dictating its ideology and imposing its
raw power on a defeated, prostrate nation.
Vichy-cons, and the movement which they`ve captured,
exist mainly to manage and channel voters` initial
outrage, while negotiating an unconditional surrender.
Their greatest fear is falling out of step with
“respectable” opinion, of being relegated to the
“fever swamps” where the cocktails do not flow.
A Supreme Court composed mainly of Republican
appointees has just
ruled that European-Americans may be treated as
second-class citizens indefinitely. This, in pursuit
nebulously defined public good nick-named
“diversity.” Even this
Republican administration`s brief affirmed the value
of “diversity” and did not attack the principle of
anti-white discrimination. So we know
what to expect from future Bush appointees to the Court—more
Kennedys, more O`Connors, more Souters.
The Bush administration neglects our
borders and refuses to re-examine the irrational
basis for most legal immigration—so-called “family
reunification.” (This policy, by the way, was
invented by Teddy Kennedy.) And it plans more amnesties,
rewarding illegal aliens for breaking the law, and
inviting in their distant relatives.
Given current immigration figures, after 2050
European Americans will be just another minority in a
country with no majority.
as a Catholic, I have no use for racist ideologies;
there`s nothing intrinsically superior about white
people that grants them the right to remain a majority
in America. But surely conservatives ought to worry
about what will happen when we create a nation that has
Multicultural states show an uncanny tendency to
collapse, as groups that refuse to intermarry
instead fight each other for power. Perhaps I`m biased
because my family comes from
the former Yugoslavia (Croatia, actually). Before
they shatter, these multicultural states tend to bloat
into bureaucratic tyrannies, as they try to
“manage diversity,” lashing together what will not
That is why real libertarians, such as
Lew Rockwell oppose mass immigration. Big business
lobbyists such as The Wall Street Journal favor
it—in part because they want to import
cheap labor, and in part because they prefer docile
immigrants to restive, socially-pathologized American
Put three martinis in a Vichy-con and he`ll start
how much more “cooperative” Mexicans and Koreans are
than African-Americans. Never mind that we owe
anything to our black fellow citizens, whose ancestors
slaved for this country, and who
disproportionately enlist and fight our wars today.
In closing, I`ll pose this question: Do we have a
Charles De Gaulle? Is there anyone trying to rally the
scattered forces of genuine conservatism, to refuse
collaboration, and rouse a genuine Resistance? To fight
the Leftist elites who are taking from us the most basic
attributes of sovereignty, who have defined the unborn
as meaningless tissue, marriage as the equivalent of an
S&M slave contract, and the
First Amendment as the legal guarantor of
pornography? (But not of free political speech—thanks to
“campaign finance reform.”)
Any names come to mind?
There is such a movement, and it has a leader. In
1992, he gave
one of the great speeches in American political history
at the Republican National Convention; at the next
convention, I was privileged to serve as his alternate
delegate; and today I am proud to write for
Mr. Buchanan`s lonely, underfunded magazine,
The American Conservative.
And since there is such a man leading such a
movement—which some call “paleoconservatism”—I`d
like to revise my estimate of the time of day in
In fact, I`d like to suggest that it`s high noon.
him] lives in Astoria. He is the author of