Our Mission Is to Reawaken the Genuine American Spirit . . .
Conservatism Is Soiled by Scowling Conservatives
Barry MacDonald — Editorial
The purpose of conservatism is to promote a humane society. Conservatism is no good otherwise. If conservatism doesn’t uplift Middle America, conservatism is worthless.
The uniqueness of America from its Founding was that ordinary people had the opportunity to exert themselves and make their dreams reality.
Conservatives should tirelessly promote the virtues of the free market, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the separation of powers, the rule of law, property rights, the sanctity of contracts, freedom of religion, and assimilation.
The culture war we are fighting with progressives has reached a frightful state, and American traditions are in peril. One has only to watch American colleges to see the rule of law, the free market, and the freedoms of speech and assembly threatened — colleges are imparting poison.
Donald Trump has given America a gift. His rise as people react has allowed us to discern among American leadership who are patriots and who are parasites.
George Will has written an essay that drips with contempt, titled: “Conservatism Is Soiled by Scowling Primitives.” Will doesn’t say who the “primitives” are but we can assume they are Donald Trump and his supporters.
Will writes about the life of William F. Buckley and his “high-spirited romp” through America’s political and cultural controversies. He writes that Buckley infused conservatism with “brio” and “elegance.” He writes that liberalism not only dominated mid-century America, it was the “sole intellectual tradition” before Buckley founded National Review. He cites Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s opinion that the Republican Party became the party of ideas because of William Buckley. He quotes Lionel Trilling who wrote that before Buckley conservatism was expressed in “irritable mental gestures.”
Then Will writes “Today, conservatism is soiled by scowling primitives whose irritable gestures lack mental ingredients” meaning I suppose that Trump and his supporters are crude, rude, and stupid.
He remembers Buckley saying he would rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone directory than by Harvard’s faculty. And he says that Buckley walked a “tightrope between elitism and populism” and never resolved the tension between them. Will writes: “If only he had.”
George Will comments on Whittaker Chambers, whose autobiography, Witness, “became a canonical text of conservatism.” Will writes that Chambers infused conservatism with a “sour, whiney, complaining, crybaby, populism”:
“ . . . It is the screechy and dominant tone of the loutish faux conservatism that today is erasing Buckley’s legacy of infectious cheerfulness and unapologetic embrace of high culture.”
“Chambers wallowed in cloying sentimentality and curdled resentment about ‘the plain men and women’ — ‘my people, humble people, strong in common sense, in common goodness’ — enduring the ‘musk of snobbism’ emanating from the ‘socially formidable circles’ of the ‘nicest people’ produced by ‘certain collegiate eyries.’"
George Will is impressed that William Buckley was a
“. . . Bach aficionado from Yale and [an] ocean mariner from the New York Yacht Club, was unembarrassed about having good taste and without guilt about savoring the good life.”
What I remember from reading and listening to William Buckley was that he was a decent and humane man who was very much concerned with the promotion of American traditions and freedoms because he cared about Middle America and ordinary Americans.
George Will is an articulate writer and has done “yeoman’s work” for conservatism. But it’s a curious fact that when writers are off base they sometimes infuse their writing with unintended irony.
Donald Trump is confronting the entire Washington establishment almost by himself (with the support of his loyal voters). He is taking on the snobs of the left and the right. He’s doing a good job of defending American traditions, and rolling back the excesses of the bureaucratic state.
George Will is offering “irritable mental gestures.” He is “sour, whiney, complaining, [a] crybaby.” George is “screechy.” He is expressing a “loutish faux conservatism” while patriotic Americans are looking for leaders. *