The emaciation of conservatism

RedState is a prominent Republican group blog. On consecutive days this week, it featured:

  1. A post interpreting the graying of the conservative movement as an opportunity for the young’uns of RedState to advance in that movement.
  2. A post conditionally supporting Ben Domenech on the occasion of his resignation under pressure from the Washington Post.

Ben Domenech is a hollow man, notable for glorifying the military without serving and marriage without wedding. His writings (the parts that were not plagiarized) are exemplars of a style of punditry that treats the different as inferior, the exotic as risible, and the uncomfortable as perverse; a style suited for the immature, the inbred, and the inexperienced.

I started to leave the conservative movement in the mid-’90s because so much of what passed for thought and discussion within it was done in this style. Almost everyone cited the same canon and came to the same narrow range of conclusions. Few were willing to engage (as opposed to mock) non-conservatives and their ideas.

And that’s the fatal flaw of the conservatives of my generation: They talk only amongst themselves. The graying conservatives who built the movement had to appeal to all kinds of people in order to build it. Conservatives in their 20s and 30s — the Jonah Goldbergs and Ben Domenechs — simply can’t do that, and I would guess that they don’t see the need to do that because they take for granted the power and permanence of the conservative movement.

RedStaters are not going to inherit the conservative movement. RedStaters are going to watch helplessly as the movement recedes back to the fringe from whence it came.

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