Tag Archives: Conservatism

Dennis the Menace

Embarrassed as I am to admit it, I was once an avid fan of Dennis Prager’s “Prager University.” This youtube channel — as much a university as “Trump University” — is the brainchild of Right-Wing radio host Dennis Prager, who apparently seeks to brainwash young high school to college aged Americans into pre-Trumpian conservatism with sleek, colorful cartoons narrated by prominent conservative academics. Of course, a great deal of these videos are informative and actually make sound arguments that answer ubiquitous Democrat talking points young people are bombarded with in schools and on television.

Despite a good deal of useful content, the overall tone and subject matter of the channel basically confirms my enduring view of conservatism as an ideological ghetto which shackles its adherents to anachronistic values and ideas whose time has long passed. If this were the “university’s” only sin, it could be forgiven, as being on the losing side of history is an intrinsic characteristic of conservatism. Several of the channel’s videos however, highlight a trend I’ve often noticed in countercultural movements, and should be avoided at all costs.

I’m referring to two videos in particular which were published last year — “Did Bush Lie About Iraq?” and “Why the U.S. Invaded Iraq.” There’s no real reason for them to exist. If you’re a Right-winger still defending George W. Bush and his disastrous neoconservative foreign policy in The Current Year, please stop. Aside from (probably) making terrible arguments, probably the only reason anyone would continue to defend an indefensible position is because it “fits your narrative.”

This is Prager’s mentality — “Republicans are good, and Bush was a Republican, therefore Bush is good, and we must defend him.” This is false — the Bush Doctrine was objectively bad for the United States and every other country involved, and it has objectively made the world a worse, more dangerous place. For this and many other reasons, zealous belief in the Iraq War is likely repulsive to anyone who isn’t already a Bush Republican. Indeed, the only takeaway I get from those two videos is that conservatives like Dennis Prager are too caught up in their own ideology to see the folly of its practical consequences.

Of course, mainstream conservatives like Prager aren’t the only victims of this phenomenon. Trumpists, for example, often take it upon themselves to defend every gaffe or blunder made by their “God-Emperor” — like defending “grab her by the pussy” as a legitimate, okay thing to say; or fawning over his many weak policy planks and decisions, even though there is substantial room for legitimate criticism; or deriding all of his critics (both on the Left and the Right) as triggered snowflake cucks, unworthy of debate or discussion. Trump supporters still can and should criticize their President, it’s not their duty to defend the stupid or indefensible things he’s said in the past.

This is a problem across the entire spectrum of the Right — Israel sycophants needlessly defend IDF war crimes and unlimited settlement growth, many in the Alt Right actually believe idiotic conspiracy theories like Pizzagate or deny the Holocaust, many Libertarians still feel they have to explain why we shouldn’t have roads, and so on. All of these arguments or ideas serve no purpose other than to repel outsiders from joining these movements.

If you’re on the Right, before making an argument or coming to a conclusion, ask yourself: “Would I still believe all this if I didn’t hold all of my other views?” If your answer is not an emphatic yes, then realize that you’re not objectively analyzing facts, you’re lazily substituting ideology for reason. You’re no different from the people who defend George W. Bush in 2017.

Tread on Them

Moments after President Trump’s historic inauguration last Friday, Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer was speaking to CBS News in a live interview when Suddenly a masked man — likely affiliated with the leftist terrorist group, ANTIFA — ran in front of the camera and sucker-punched Spencer, knocking him to the ground.

This attack, and its implications, inspired jubilation across the left wing blogosphere. The New York Times, for instance, published an article titled “Attack on Alt-Right Leader Has Internet Asking: Is it O.K. to Punch a Nazi?” The answer, unsurprisingly, from most of those interviewed was an unequivocal yes. One woman, who publishes a Tumblr blog called “Unequivocally Hilarious” wrote that “If you’re having a conversation about whether or not it’s okay to punch a Nazi, you’re having the wrong conversation.” Another interviewee, Twitter personality Kara Calavera, tweeted that “punching Nazis is the most [American] thing to do.”

The most noteworthy thing about this Spencer fiasco, however, was what was left largely unmentioned in this fountain of ink — on the other side of Washington, Republican commentator and pollster Frank Luntz was also attacked in a similar fashion, likely by members of the same group that attacked Spencer. Interestingly enough, Luntz and Spencer come from opposite ends of the right-wing spectrum — during the primaries, Luntz was a denizen of the “Never Trump” movement, and to my knowledge, didn’t vote for Donald Trump in the general election either.

Moreover, in counter-protests to the leftist demonstrations across the country, Trump supporters were met with similar violence. Live footage from Washington on the day of the inauguration shows counter-protesters being shouted at, threatened with sexual assault, beaten up, and one woman even being set on fire.

To ANTIFA and groups like it, there is no difference between moderates like Luntz and open white nationalists like Spencer, nor between the thousands of counter-protesters of every ideology in between. To the Left, the vast and diverse people of the Trump coalition are merely obstacles standing in the way of their political goals, and for that reason — in the eyes of many — violence against the Right is justified.

Even more emblematic of the current political climate is the counter-protesters’ response to this disturbing turn of events. As is not uncommon in any Republican gathering, you could find in the crowds of counter protesters at least one person proudly waving the Gadsden flag — a yellow banner with a snake printed above the words “Don’t Tread on Me.” If movements are defined by their symbols, then “Don’t Tread on Me” paints these conservatives as effete reactionaries.

Leftists agitators and groups like ANTIFA have figuratively declared war on the Right. To them, anyone on the Right is fair game, an enemy, and worthy of getting beaten up. The Right’s response is not to fight back or, God forbid, use the heavy hand of the government against these anarchists; but rather to just stand there, taking it, begging for mercy, waving their flag. “Please, please, please don’t step on the snake.”

This underscores a problem that has challenged the Right throughout all of American history, and has been particularly debilitating towards modern conservatives. A conservative, by definition, abides by their ideology, values and traditions that are perpetually on the path towards decline. If they were not declining, then the terms conservative — which derives from the operative “to conserve” — and liberal would not arise.

The Left, on the other hand, represents new, revolutionary forces which overthrow established (usually conservative) social and political orders — as such, the new invariably defeats the old, giving rise to new establishments. History belongs to those who change it, never to those battling to rewind it. This is why the (then) Leftist Puritans overthrew the Royal House of Stuart in 17th century Britain, why the Jacobins overthrew Louis XVI, why the Bolsheviks overthrew the Romanovs.

Of course, none of these examples work as an analogy for today’s ANTIFA because — without a modicum of doubt — the Left is the establishment in 21st century America. The entire culture is Leftist. The entire media (including ostensibly conservative networks like Fox) operates on liberal premises. Almost every Hollywood star is a liberal. All of the country’s largest corporations are Leftist and controlled by Leftist directors. The university system functions in a way that does not allow students to graduate as conservatives unless they entered as conservatives.

Absurdly, the masked men waving black banners of anarchy who attacked Richard Spencer and Frank Luntz could recite their ideology before a gathering of Fortune 500 CEOs and the managing partners of all their law firms, and their speech would offend literally not one person in the room. In fact, almost all would actually agree with them!

Indeed, it is the Right — particularly Trump supporters — who are the true heirs to the revolutionary mantle and the underground, punk aesthetic that would guide them towards a more compelling narrative. Yet they choose to reject it. They wave flags that beg for mercy. Their slogans can be summarized by the phrase “please leave us alone.” They behave like reactionaries losing their country, when they should act like revolutionaries taking it back.

Is there anything Trump supporters can do to make sure they don’t repeat the mistakes of past conservative movements? They can start by permanently excising the words “we just want to be left alone” from their parlance, and tearing up those accursed yellow banners of passive reaction. If they were to do this sincerely, their movement would cease to be “conservative” in its essence, and would evolve into a force capable of shaping history.