Conservative as an Idea?

The Heritage Foundation accepted the resignations of two members of its leadership team last week.

This prompted to write a piece wondering “What is the future for conservative ideas?”

Notice conservative and ideas bonded together in a symbiotic relationship as if “conservatism” is an ideology.

The Staussian neoconservatives think to. Lincoln created this myth with the Gettysburg Address in 1863 and his acolytes have run with it ever since.

And if “conservatism” is an ideology, a set of beliefs that can be manifested into a systemic philosophy of action, then R.L. Dabney was entirely correct when he suggested in the postbellum period that American conservatives were simply tardy leftists who would eventually adopt whatever progressive trend the left discarded twenty years prior.

The neoconservatives haven’t found a 1960s leftist or ninteenth century reformer they don’t admire, at least to some extent.

This is why they consider Frederick Douglass or Martin Luther King to be “conservatives.” That would be news to both men.

Most of these “intellectuals” can’t understand that by championing “equality” and the “proposition nation” they are conceding the field to the left.

Which is why Franklin Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights” in 1945 became the American political Bible for both the left and right in the post World War II period. Thomas Dewey wasn’t going to destroy the New Deal, just soften it. Dwight Eisenhower’s “Dynamic Conservatism” strengthened much of the program, and Richard Nixon try to outleft the left during much of his time in office.

Did any “conservative” president of the last forty years roll back the New Deal, the Fair Deal, or the Great Society? Did they dismantle Obama’s expansion of government?

Nope. And they won’t, because you’ll get to the outdated leftist Utopia if you just vote for an American “conservative,” at least those that run places like the Heritage Foundation.

This is why the left has won and will continue to win. Calhoun properly defined American conservatism in the 1830s. I discuss that a couple of weeks ago. These establishment buffoons who run “conservative” think tanks wouldn’t know real American conservative views if they smacked them in the face. Most admit they haven’t read anything but the op-ed page at the Washington Times or the Wall Street Journal.

Trump caused these people to expose themselves as faux conservatives, even if Trump shaded too far toward the Straussian position as well.

But this battle has been waged for over one hundred years, and new leadership at the Heritage Foundation won’t change how stupid American “conservatism” has become.

I discuss the issue in Episode 421 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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