Conor Friedersdorf [Email him]is an editor for The Atlantic and a self-proclaimed man of the Right, though not of course so disreputable as to call himself part of the conservative movement. On his inevitably PC pontification on L’Affaire Derb, [How John Derbyshire Perceived Racial Attitudes at National Review, Atlantic Blog, April 9, 2012] Friedersdorf interpreted the departure of the self-described “mild and tolerant” racist as part of the inevitable marginalization of the “retrograde faction” of the conservative movement. Apparently, what Friedersdorf calls the “limits of ‘standing athwart history yelling stop’” are reached right about when one dared to question the merits of transition to a majority-minority society.
Friedersdorf noted that, some years ago, Derbyshire himself had described the generation gap over race at National Review in these words:
The kind of thoughtful and intelligent young people that NR would like to have as readers understand that there are problems and absurdities connected with race in our public life, and are happy to hear arguments pro and con about racial profiling, affirmative action, and so on. They laugh with us when we lampoon the more outrageous kind of black race hustler—a Sharpton, a Farrakhan, a Johnny Cochran. They are, however, determined to make the multiracial society work, they believe it can be made to work in spite of the hustlers and liberal guilt-mongers, and they are unwilling to read, say, or think anything that could be construed as unkind towards people of other races. The pessimism and cynicism on this topic that you rather commonly find among conservatives—including NR readers—born in 1930, or even 1950, are profoundly unappetizing to these younger conservatives. Highest common denominator: An interview with John Derbyshire, By Bernard Chapin, Enter Stage Right, May 19, 2003 (Emphases added)
Friedersdorf gloated that the termination of Derbyshire has brought National Review
“a step closer to relying on the younger rather than the older generation of conservatives. On subjects related to race that’s a good thing.”
Why is refusing to “read, say, or think” a good thing? Friedersdorf doesn’t say, of course. But we can assume he thinks that the never-ending dispossession of whites is so self-evidently virtuous it doesn’t require defense.
Well, I am significantly younger than Friedersdorf (he’s over the hill at 30-something) and I’ve worked extensively with college students on behalf the Beltway Right. He has a point: as I myself have argued on VDARE.com, campus conservatives and libertarians are typically broken to Politically Correct orthodoxy and even eager to serve as enforcers. However, a deeper look shows that that circumstances that underlie this system of control are shaky, and may not last much longer.
If every movement starts as a cause, becomes a business, and ends as a racket, the conservative movement, or what can now more properly be called Conservatism Inc., has passed into its terminal stage. Its success in achieving nominal political power, in the 1980 Reagan and 1994 Republican Revolutions, has created a genuinely new profession, that of a movement functionary.
Whatever else one can say of William F. Buckley and the founders of the conservative movement, none had anything to gain materially beyond what they could have gotten as conventional liberals. But that is simply no longer true. Young “conservatives” can dream of being pundits, columnists, or (shudder) “strategists”—and even the ultimate apotheosis, becoming a Token Conservative in the Mainstream Media.
But these career ambitions absolutely require that they must avoid saying interesting or challenging things. If these “conservatives” want to make a living shadow boxing with liberals on TV, it’s all very well to talk about fighting entitlements, but they know they must toe the line on the issues that really matter to liberals, namely, race, immigration, and culture. Conservatism Inc. collaborates in not rocking the boat and keeping debate within the approved parameters.
But the same time, the American Right is straining from within. Young conservatives may avoid certain topics out of conformism or raw fear—a factor that must not be discounted—but a minority of young activists will actively resent the ever more ham-handed repression. The tributes to the late Andrew Breitbart reflected this desire to attack Political Correctness, even if Breitbart himself never quite transcended the usual territory. And the ever more obvious “dog whistle” politics practiced the by major conservative news outlets, trying to rally supporters with no intention of actually doing anything for them, will lead a minority of activists (as well as readers) into forbidden territory despite themselves.
As young conservatives age, have children of their own, and confront the realities of 21st century post-America, at least some will wander off the reservation. Ultimately, the brutal reality is that the premise of absolute racial equality is simply not true. The collapse of entire communities like Detroit or even entire states like California will be harder and harder to ignore.
Racial realism, opposition to multiculturalism, and patriotic immigration reform may well be driven out of Conservatism Inc. None of the figures or institutions within the official movement has anything to gain by promoting these ideas, regardless of truth or benefit to the country. Nonetheless, all of these issues will outlive “conservatism” itself—as what’s left of the American nation is forced into a corner.
Conservatism Inc. requites access to power and place within the existing system to serve its Big Business backers. But this access is endangered by the continuing demographic transformation of the country. Other “retrograde” figures, such as Pat Buchanan and the yet-to-be purged Mark Steyn among others, have accurately pointed out that “conservatism” cannot appeal to a majority non-white country where vast constitutiences are dependent on racial socialism—the government-orchestrated redistribution of wealth, jobs, and educational benefits. Libertarians who spoke glowingly about the promise of their movement to win over minority voters have to confront the fact that Hispanics favor programs, such as Obamacare, even more than they favor immigration. And the black vote is solidly Democratic by margins usually not seen outside Turkmenistan or pre-invasion Iraq. Social conservatives who dream of a rainbow moral majority have some apparent grounds for hope, but while a few black pastors condemned Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage, racial solidarity, party loyalty, and economic priorities will ultimately trump any possibility of black churches joining forces with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Richard Land and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins.
Conservatism Inc. believes that, in a post-American America, victory at a national level depends on convincing at least a sizable minority of blacks and Hispanics to vote Republican. Somehow, this will be done in the name of conservative “values” —as opposed to the left-wing programs that objectively benefit these minorities. Of course, Newt Gingrich, Jack Kemp, and George W. Bush all failed in this quest, as did a parade of great black hopes like JC Watts. Whatever the propaganda, and despite the cowardly or even counterproductive nature of Conservatism Inc’s favored policies (think amnesty), the Republican vote is becoming ever whiter and ever more dependent on whites. It’s the Sailer Strategy by default.
The Republican Party has become more partisan and more confrontational, although carefully frames its rhetoric in terms of limited government and federal spending. The Republican base has also become more self-contained, closed minded, and isolated in the information it seeks out, the issues it cares about, and the figures that it trusts.
Out in the country, the white Republican base knows it is being dispossessed and replaced. After all, the Main Stream Media is constantly cheering the process on. But GOP voters lack even the vocabulary to understand what is being done to them. Their rage and impatience is looking for a program.
Conservatism Inc. has a vested interest in making sure they don’t find it. For example, The Blaze’s Mytheos Holt absurdly criticized John Derbyshire for using “progressive talking points” because he acknowledged the fact that only whites vote Republican and that the conservative movement is composed mostly of whites. The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis sniffed that he had no sympathy for Derbyshire because “he has done more harm to the conservative cause than any liberal ever could”—presumably by challenging the liberal ideological hegemony and Conservatism Inc’s comfortable accommodation to decline.
The problem here: however enthusiastically Conservatism Inc. trumpet their castration, the voters are simply not there and never will be, as long as Conservatism Inc. is acting PC. Nor will the media give them any credit for their self-abasement, as the New York Times is too busy writing breathless articles about the sinister ramifications of Mitt Romney’s evil white family. In Romney's Campaign, What's Race Got to Do With It?, by Lee Siegel, January 14, 2012
Simultaneously, repression is increasing under Obama, as Leftists have moved from targeting evil racists to smearing long-established Beltway groups such as the Family Research Council, Establishment conservative figures like Rush Limbaugh, and even Republican donors, with the aim of destroying them personally and professionally. We’re all Jared Taylor now.
A glance at the comments at The Blaze, the Daily Caller, WND, or Breitbart.com shows that, while many readers still accept the rules of this game, others are beginning to sense that it is rigged and that the whole table should be kicked over. The cognitive dissonance within the American Right is becoming impossible to maintain as an increasingly frustrated white conservative base is testing the limits of the controlled opposition.
While such tensions always existed, what has changed is that, in a short time, Conservatism Inc. will be incapable, literally incapable, of delivering national political victory and the benefits that go along with it.
Progressives will rejoice, but they may regret getting their wish. The conservative base a.k.a. the historic American nation will still exist in sufficient numbers, concentrated in key areas, and will have every motivation to challenge the system, unconstrained by the rules that Conservatism Inc. has imposed. Harbingers of the conflicts to come can be seen in President Obama’s war on Arizona, Mississippi, and Alabama. A significant portion of the electorate now regards the Obama regime as an occupier. As in the lead-up to the last War Between the States, a huge portion of the country will have local power while being cut off from meaningful input at the federal level. The conservative base may be overwhelmed and dispossessed—but it is not going away.
Conservatism Inc. has failed to conserve America at the most basic level. In response, the conservative rump will radicalize. Conservatism Inc. will try to moderate it. Its goal will be a collaborationist party like the U.K. Tories under Cameron or the German Christian Democrats under Merkel, while clinging to the symbolism and rhetoric of the Reagan glory days.
But even in Europe, this center-Right is already collapsing. Rather than try to prop it up, what is falling should be pushed.
Friedersdorf is right when he taunts that Conservatism Inc. is becoming increasingly PC. But it’s also becoming increasingly irrelevant and disconnected from the people who support it. As Leftist repression takes off the mask, and the federal government increasingly admits that mass immigration is not policy failure but policy, conserving the system is beside the point.
When the accumulated filth of their corruption and failure foams up around their waist, the Beltway Right will look up and shout, “Save us!” We have to be able to whisper: “No.”