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Conservatism and ideology

Where to begin?  This piece is in response to a lengthy discussion here, and as I can’t usually get a blog comment published on Blogger, and as a blog comment can’t cover the subject, I’ll say my piece here.

Recently I wrote a piece about the necessity of some countervailing force to the ‘progressives’ who are demolishing our country. Especially is this true in our decaying society wherein the Left has been careening out of control, unchecked, so that our society is unrecognizable from what it was even 20 years ago. If those who say that ‘conservatism’ per se is useless and must be destroyed offer no alternative to it as a preserving force in society, what will check the hell-bent-on-change ‘progressives’?

Firstly, the comments I linked above seem mostly to agree that conservatism is useless because it has ‘no ideology’, being based only on ‘feelz’. But is this true? Is it true that conservatism has no ideology? The paleocons (are there still any surviving?) would say conservatism has no ideology, because ideology is opposite from conservatism and vice-versa. I’ve never encountered an old-time conservative who said otherwise. It is only the neocon, present-day Republican faithful who always rattle on about “conservative eye-dee-ology“, insisting that it’s what new immigrants (and black Americans) must adopt to succeed. I’ve had my share of disputes with such typical Republican, neocon, pro-war ‘conservatives’ over this ‘conservative eye-dee-ology’ which is a sine-qua-non. In my experience it’s only those now labeled ‘cuckservatives’ who yammer about ‘conservative ideology‘ and its paramount importance. It is the Cruzbots and the Never Trumpers who are the ones who always go on about the ideology of conservatism. Cruz was their guy because he is a ‘strict Constitutionalist’, a devotee of the Ideology.

As they believe in the ‘proposition nation’ they have to believe in ideology; that’s after all what holds a ‘proposition nation’ together, however tenuously.

An ideology is needed where there is no natural, organic bond and consensus among a people.

By contrast, most paleocons (who, for the uninitated, were the conservatives who are most closely akin to the Alt-Right, being racially aware, noninterventionist, against open borders, and anti-free trade and globalism) disagree.

I’ve said that conservatism is an instinct — a gut instinct, nothing to do with feminine-type feelings, or ‘feelz’, but visceral and bred-in-the-bone. Certain peoples are more conservative by nature, just as some individuals. Some seek change for its own sake, seeming to crave novelty and the exotic, loving risk and danger, while some are innately averse to such things. I believe this because it comports with what I’ve observed in my years of living and working, not because a psychiatrist says it and invents pseudo-scientific labels for it. Needless to say, liberals are often risk-taking types with all the ‘dysfunctions’ that implies. Conservatives are people who prefer order and stability over thrills and unpredictability. And though there are exceptions there is still a general rule. And we as a people (even ”conservatives”) show evidence of the risk-taking, thrill-seeking temperament, compared to our forefathers. (Yes, they took risks and braved dangers beyond the endurance of today’s coddled thrill-seekers, but that’s not the same impulse.)

Conservatism is a temperament. But ideology? It’s a systematic set of beliefs codified by some person or persons, not an organic set of principles that grows amongst a  people based on shared innate tendencies. Some modern dictionaries give more liberal definitions, implying that an ideology is more of a spontaneously-arising group consensus.

The word ideologue, for most people, implies rigid beliefs, dogmatic and doctrinaire tendencies. Notice that leftists by whatever name had purges of their peers who are found guilty of wrong-think, violation of the Sacred Ideology which must not be questioned. ‘Correct’ ideology is a must with leftists. And lately we’ve seen ”conservatives” or cuckservatives doing this as Trump and his supporters have been ‘read out’ of the conservative ‘movement.’ Personally I hate that term ‘the movement’ because I associate it with the radical left. The Sixties left always referred to itself as The Movement.

So the conservatives being condemned in the discussion thread are really liberals or ‘neocons’ in conservative clothing, not people who would have been by any measure considered ‘conservative’ in previous eras. They simply subverted the Republican Party (and that was one of the stated ‘Goals of the Communists’ as reported by Cleon Skousen in his writings) and proceeded to destroy it from within and discredit the very label “conservative” by polluting it with their own un-conservative policies and, yes, “ideology.” The neocons are ideologues par excellence, as are their leftist brothers.

Part of the neocons/cuckservatives ideology is the idea that everybody everywhere is capable of ‘democracy’ and that if we only send our armies in and ‘give’ them democracy, they will be good Jeffersonians in no time. Another tenet is that blacks and all immigrants can be real Americans if they salute the flag, wave the Constitution (like Khizr Khan, that good American) and thus celebrate Conservative Eye-dee-ology.

Obviously, their “conservative ideology” shares the blank slate, magic dirt tenets with leftist-liberals.

One of the better conservative thinkers, Russell Kirk, was adamant that conservatism is not an ideology, though I see that the commenters on the VP thread don’t like Kirk for the most part, lumping him in with today’s  ‘cuckservatives’. But if you read Kirk, which I have, he was very opposed to multiculturalism, globalism and political correctness, and he was racially aware, though in the context of his time. I recommend reading his work if you haven’t already, though he must be read with an open mind, not a mind already made up against him.

Kirk, while not ‘perfect’, perhaps, in the eyes of today’s impatient Alt-Righters, could be seen as a forerunner of Neo-reaction. He was not a ‘neocon’ by most measures.

In the earlier years of this blog, we had some lively discussions among the then-regulars; hard to believe, I know, but true. Many were young, and there was kind of generalized clamor among some of them that ”we need a manifesto.” I disagreed with that sentiment. I find the clamor for an ”ideology of the Alt-Right” to be the same, and while it’s understandable to a degree, I think it’s unnecessary and wrong-headed. There would no doubt be many different opinions as to what would constitute a codified set of Alt-Right principles or beliefs. There would be squabbles, considering that the Alt-Right or Neo-reaction includes some very different groups, groups who do not play well together. There are so many divides, even among American Alt-righters, for example the pro-Confederate Southrons vs. many Northerners who still blame slavery on the South, or consider Southrons ‘traitors’ for seceding. Then factor in religion or lack thereof, the divisions based on sex, ethnic nationalists vs. WNs or pan-Europeanists, Identitarians, and so on. Could such disparate groups with so many inter-group grievances work together and agree on much of anything?

It has to boil down to making survival a priority; what is good for us at this point in history — this very crucial point.In essence, our gut instincts have to take over;  our natural, God-given affinities, not some set of abstract principles. People who put abstractions and disembodied human reason above gut, natural instincts are what I call ideologues.

People won’t naturally sacrifice for abstractions; will not defend abstractions to the last man. Ideas cannot unite people, not for long anyway. Our country worked as long as it did (and yes, it did work, for a good while) because it was founded by a people with a common origin, sharing common ancestors, and a common religion — paraphrasing John Jay.

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One thought on “Conservatism and ideology

  1. Excellent article VA. I remember possibly a discussion of words like ethos and ethnos at your old blog? In any case, searches on this pair of terms and adding conservatism or ideology bring up some interesting hits.

    Deconstructing the Ethnos – Nation Distinction
    By Papastephanou, Marianna

    “The other sets them in drastic opposition, associating the ethnos with apolitical collective affect based on biology or culture and the nation with contractuality and statehood.”

    The Alt-right and your article are on the first pole. The magic dirters are on the second.

    “America and demos, Conservatism and ethnos”
    Majority Rights blog

    Posted by Guessedworker on Sunday, 10 September 2006 23:58.

    “Daedalus made the point, with which I wholly agree, that American politics appends to neoliberalism the title of Conservatism. Actually, American neoliberalism is the perfect progeny of the Enlightenment and as much a product of the left, in the general sense, as was Marxism-Leninism. ”

    “Neoliberalism offers Man nothing more organic or life-affirming than open markets and free choice.”

    Also

    Taking Multiculturalism Personally: Ethnos and Ethos in the Classroom
    Gregory Jay
    American Literary History, Vol. 6, No. 4. (Winter, 1994), pp. 613-632.

    Front Porch Republic

    “November 16, 2009 Politics & Power 22 Comments
    Overheard last night at the American Spectator Gala.

    “Conservatism must remain a movement. If it ceases to be a movement, it will become nothing more than an ethos.”

    –R. Emmett Tyrell, Jr.

    Does this mean, conversely, that if conservatism is a Movement, it ceases to be an ethos? Recent history may suggest an answer.

    One could also substitute ethnos for ethos.

    This came from the search conservatism ethos movement.

    I think it is possible on the old blog you had an article or two on exactly these points or something very close.

    Like

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