by Kevin DeAnna
In my view, the graying boomers who run and staff the current “conservative movement” probably represent the last generation of the Right that can justifiably call itself conservative. The constitutional and laissez-faire republic is long gone, a victim of the world wars, hot and cold. And the traditional Protestant and upright culture that once characterized American society as a whole, as well as the United States’ identity as a Western nation-state, won’t last much longer if present trends continue.
More than that, at a core level, we should ask ourselves seriously, What is there going to be worth conserving in the America of the next generation?
I’ve often thought that we got here because the conservative movement’s fetish about “the state” and the size of government fatally compromised its ability to challenge the left-wing ruling class. Who is a more important question than what, and a political movement that has as its chief concern what level of bureaucracy should handle policy can not accomplish anything important.
In contrast, Daniel McCarthy has argued, in the September 2008 issue of New Guard, that there is an anti-state Right and a national Right concerned about American identity, virtue, and culture. He points out the stupidity of trying to protect American through the government since, “[t]he state is the indispensable means by which the Left carries out its transformation of the country, and government in 21st century America cannot be turned into an instrument of virtue or nationhood.” I’d first counter that there hasn’t been much of a “national Right” in this country to begin with; those “conservatives” most interested in using the state for their ends have been social gospel types, who are as equally invested as the Left and the neocons in the idea of America as a “universal” nation.
But in the end, this debate actually doesn’t matter much—conservatives lost the battle against the state and the Left. Progress is not possible on either front without dismantling the current managerial regime.
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