April 10, 2010

Noah Millman on "The Closing of the Conservative Mind"

Noah Millman writes:
... assuming one agrees (as I do) that the American right-wing is, these days, substantially more closed-minded than the American left-wing (as represented not so much by ordinary people as the intellectual, political and media leadership), why should we have come to this pass?

I'm not sure if that is true in the absolute sense, but it is true in the relativistic, opportunity cost sense. Because, for example, 92% of Hispanic elected officials are Democrats, the Democrats can't afford to have an intelligent debate on immigration. They just can't. The Republicans can, but the Republican Establishment (e.g., George Bush, Karl Rove, John McCain) has striven hard for the last decade against all intelligent discussion of immigration.

Noah goes on:

- Blame the money. Is there a major patron of conservative intellectuals who is a patron primarily because he or she wants to generate new ideas, insights, works of the spirit that do not already exist in the world, as opposed to advancing arguments for ideas that are already well-established in defense of interests that are well-entrenched? If there is, please let me know that person’s name. Ron Unz is the only person who comes immediately to mind, and honestly I don’t think he’s quite in the wealth category one would ideally want.

Nobody, of course, is just going to hand out money willy-nilly. But there is an enormous difference between bankrolling a person or organization because you like what they think, and bankrolling a person or organization because you like the way they think. If a multi-millionaire says: I am interested in education, and I believe that vouchers are the answer, so I’m going to give $100,000 per year to a think-tank to produce pro-vouchers research and advocate for vouchers, well, that’s not really intellectual patronage. If, on the other hand, that same multi-millionaire says: I am interested in education, and I am skeptical of the way the system works now, how we train teachers to how our schools are financed, and impressed with some of what’s been achieved following new models. I’m going to find the smartest, most informed, most independent-minded people I can, who are also skeptical of established practice, and give them money to do whatever research they want. If they can impress me with their independence and intelligence, then I want to know what they can learn with a bit of money to work with – and I want other people to know as well. That second millionaire might wind up funding Diane Ravitch – and getting a very different report than he or she expected. And why would that be so bad? If Diane Ravitch has lost faith in a certain kind of school reform, that’s a hugely important fact – her arguments are ones that any advocate of school reform needs to know and grapple with. Even if she doesn’t change her patron’s mind, he or she should be glad to have funded her work.

Ultimately, you can only have an intelligentsia if you have patrons who are interested in learning things they don’t already know. And so, if you want a conservative intelligentsia, you need patrons of a conservative temperament who want to learn things they don’t already know – things that may unsettle them. If all the patron wants is advocacy for established views in defense of established interests, then you don’t actually have intellectual patronage at all, and pretty soon you won’t have an intellectual establishment.

I have never been a movement conservative, and I’ve never worked for a conservative institution, so any impressions I have are from a considerable distance – second-hand impressions at best, generally third-hand. Having declared that caveat, I will say that my general impression is that the money going to purportedly intellectual conservative organs is vastly more interested in advocacy than in developing intellectual talent or generating new insights. If I’m right, then that is something that has to change if you want an open conservative mind.

But if I’m right, the question that must next be asked is: has this changed? Were things different in 1975, and if so – why? I think it would be highly instructive to see a study done on the sources of funding for conservative organs and see how these sources have changed over time – is the money coming more or less from individuals over time, from more or fewer sources, from the same or different industries, is the age of donors changing, has the place in American life of donors changed over time, etc. I don’t know much of this information is in the public domain, but if it is, it would be interesting to see if anything can be gleaned from this kind of aggregate data. But, you know, I’m an elitist. My own inclination is to think that single individuals who are determined to shape history can make an enormous impact if they have the wherewithal. You don’t need a whole generation of intellectually-minded plutocrats to sponsor a renaissance. If he’s rich enough, and clear-eyed and determined enough, you may only need one.


Noah continues:

- Blame David Frum. Just prior to the Iraq War, David Frum published a now-infamous essay expelling “unpatriotic conservatives” – that is to say, people who vociferously opposed the war – from . . . well, it’s not exactly clear from what, since he had no power to expel anybody from anything – let’s say from “conservative respectability.” And this endeavor on his part was, generally, applauded by the outlets of the organized American right. I don’t know that this was literally unprecedented, but it felt to me at the time – and more so since – like a crucial Rubicon had been crossed.

In previous defenestrations – Eisenhower’s turn against McCarthy, Buckley’s expulsion of the Birchers, the removal of Trent Lott from his leadership position – the organizations or individuals being expelled were extremists of the dominant tendency. If Republicans were generally anti-Communist, McCarthy took this to an unacceptable extreme; if Republicans were generally more friendly to a white Southern perspective on American history, Lott, in his remarks, took this to an unacceptable extreme. Frum was not expelling extremists, however; he was expelling dissenters.

The expulsion of dissenters is not something we generally associate with mainstream political movements; it is most memorable as a tic of the radical left, Stalinists expelling Trotskyites and so forth. Certainly, right-wing groups – anti-tax groups, anti-abortion groups, etc. – have tried to impose orthodoxy before, demanding pledges of allegiance in exchange for electoral support. But this is just interest-group politics; civil-rights groups, unions, and other left-wing organizations do that sort of thing all the time, with more or less effectiveness depending on the political circumstances. Expelling dissenters is something else again, and once the precedent has been set, it is very difficult to see how one may justify not applying it in more and more circumstances.

While I don’t think it’s fair to blame David Frum as an individual for very much (and poetic justice has already been served on him specifically anyhow), I do think it’s important for those who are concerned with the openness or closedness of the conservative mind to grapple with this particular event, and consider whether a formal repudiation might not do rather a bit of good, even at this late date.

A simple model would suggest that conservative intellectual productivity was at its peak in the 1970s and 1980s when neoconservatives were being welcomed to the movement with open arms, but once neoconservatives got the upper hand within the movement, they began purging their rivals, with an unsurprisingly deleterious impact on intellectual life.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

67 comments:

Whiskey said...

Frum himself was purged, largely for celebrating Obama's Health Care victory. Frum is without friends and has been criticized by any number of folks like Mark Steyn, Andrew McCarthy, and Victor Davis Hanson.

Nor is there a lack of intellectual activity among Conservatives. You just don't like much what they've been writing and thinking:

Victor Davis Hanson, and others, on the erosion of US military supremacy by nuclear proliferation and global trade, along with the reasons WHY the West generally won encounters with non-Western forces, and how the West fought.

Andrew McCarthy on the failure of the legal system to handle Jihad, and the need for an appropriate system of military tribunals to provide proper handling with enemies who are not POWs.

Victor Davis Hanson, Samuel Huntington, and others on the "Clash of Civilizations" and "Mexifornia." Hanson himself has been targeted for quite a lot of abuse for writing on the failure of Mexican immigrants to assimilate and the dysfunction he observed first hand in Fresno.

Paleos don't like what Hanson said about terrorism, jihad, and the Iraq War, so you ignore that powerful critique.

Theodore Dalyrmple has written a series of powerful books on the costs of the decline of traditional culture, particularly as relates to the underclass, and single motherhood. Citing lack of social and cultural standards in liberalized societies as the perpetuating aspect of poverty.

These are just the folks I can think of off the top of my head. Serious books by serious writers covering serious aspects of Western society. From a very conservative perspective.

Anonymous said...

my general impression is that the money going to purportedly intellectual conservative organs is vastly more interested in advocacy than in developing intellectual talent or generating new insights.



As opposed to the open-mindedness which the wealthy left funds?

In any case there is no wealthy right. The only big-money sponsors in the GOP coalition are the neo-cons and the libertararians. There is not a dime out there to support a Kirk-style traditonal conservatism.

bjdiouble said...

The great irony of Frum's accusing anyone of a lack of patriotism is that he's CANADIAN. Can any American imagine going to Canada and accusing David Frum of insufficient patriotism? His mother, by the way, is the Diana Sawyer of Canadian tv news.

Anonymous said...

So, the question is, why does Rove take such a stance.

Explanations like, "well, he is just stupid, or he thinks a bunch of illiterate Mexicans will be so grateful that they will vote the republicans back into power" just don't make a lot of sense to me.

kurt9 said...

The Egregious Frum expelled all opponents of the Iraq war and, by association, the interventionist foreign policy from the conservative movement.

David Davenport said...

Were things different in 1975, and if so – why?

Things were different in 1975 because big banks were less interested in doing deals with East Asia and American corporations were less interested in outsourcing jobs and importing workers back then.

Furthermore, the American Left had less political power in 1975, so Big Biz had less fear of race hustler extortion rackets -- excuse me, civil rights lawsuits.

There, I have explained things -- a rather Marxist, determinisitic explnation.

Mark said...

Is there a major patron of conservative intellectuals who is a patron primarily because he or she wants to generate new ideas...as opposed to advancing arguments for ideas that are already well-established in defense of interests that are well-entrenched?

This is well exemplified by the Board of Directors of the Cato Institute, at least three of whom are billionaires (David Koch, John Malone, Fred Smith). Gee, a group financed entirely by billionaires advocating open borders and for lower taxes on the rich, including elimination of the "death tax"? How...unlikely.

The latest movement towards socialism and higher taxes (especially on the rich) is a consequence, ironically, of CATO Institute-type policies of financial deregulation and unlimited immigration. The financial collapse led to the collapse of confidence in business leaders, and open borders means that people, who can no longer get ahead fairly, will get ahead (or at least stay afloat - barely) anyway they can.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the neocons and their opportune hijacking of the 'Right'...

MQ said...

An example from Whiskey's blog of the type of intellectual acuity we see on the right wing these days:

"Indeed, this Obama's desire. He WANTS America to be attacked, with potentially millions dead. So he might rule as an emergency dictator. Not, to fight back with absolute powers, but to use absolute powers (including a State Run Media) to force a surrender. To whatever terms America's enemies, from bin Laden to Iran to Pakistan to Russia to China to any other group, might want to dictate. With himself as Vizier of America....

Obama, in raw terms, is doing everything he can to create his own Reichstag Fire, to create a dicatorship so that he can be America's first and eternal Vizier. It is why he is deliberately weakening America's defenses, cutting both nukes and missile defense at the same time. Pushing for unilateral American disarmament so that the US can have no response to the nuking of several cities, other than complete surrender. "

It is vital to maintain military bases in Kazakhstan to prevent this.

none of the above said...

A related question is, how much pressure do think tank employees get to stay on message? I've heard of some other cases where think tank employees lost their jobs by voicing the wrong opinions. It seems likely that, for every case of this happening, there must be many cases of quiet pressure that doesn't lead to firing anyone, or of self-censorship.

Anonymous said...

"Frum himself was purged, largely for celebrating Obama's Health Care victory."

According to Charles Murray at the AEI blog, Frum's story is horseshit. They met with him, mentioned the 100K a year they paid him, and asked him to show up at the office once in a while. Instead, he resigned.

Harry Baldwin said...

I think one of the main reasons the right has become so brain dead is that it can't get past the taboo of HBD. Since all conservatives who don't want to exiled to the wilderness must loudly profess their belief in racial equality, they can't present a case against the most dangerous liberal policies. For example, how can you really make a strong case against allowing mass immigration of Third World peoples if you're afraid to suggest that Mexicans don't have a great deal to contribute to a First World economy? Thus, we get Glenn Beck types who express their opposition to illegal immigration, but then must stress that they love, love, love legal immigration, as if that's the only issue.

Likewise, the conservatives can't argue against affirmative action, anti-red-lining laws, No Child Left Behind programs, etc., because they have no answer to the liberal's charge that all the problems of African-Americans are due to white racism. The liberals are just daring them to suggest that the problem might be something else.

It's like Steve says, political correctness makes you stupid. Or at least, it forces you to appear to be stupid when you can't bring yourself to state the obvious.

Randall said...

Until the Right becomes realistic about human nature it is going to be pretty stupid. There's more intelligent discussion on the best right wing blogs than in major supposedly conservative publications such as National Review.

Frum's purging: He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.

OneSTDV said...

I wonder what would happen if a politician applied the Rove strategy to whites. Actually, we know, it's the most villified political campaign: The Southern Strategy.

Hell, it's wrong simply if a movement is made up of primarily whites.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/the-tea-party-is-all-abou_b_484229.html

Anonymous said...

Whiskey must be kidding us. He can’t possibly be serious in citing Hanson and Anthony Daniels (Dalyrmple’s real name) as examples of high intellectual thinking on the part of Neocons.

I saw Daniels/Dalyrmple on a panel with Judge Bork and Daniels/Dalyrmple predicted that the evil racist Europeans would commit genocide against the peaceful Muslim immigrants burning cars nightly in France. Even Judge Bork was taken aback by Dalyrmple’s anti-European (gentile) ranting.

Russell Kirk, Robert Nisbet, James Burnham and Wilmore Kendall are intellectual giants compared to ANY Neocon “thinker” (read propagandist).

The Neocons have been WRONG on just about any issue you care to mention and the intellectual roots of the Neocons are so far out of the mainstream of Anglo-American thought that they can be entirely dismissed without diminishing traditional conservative thought in any significant degree, if at all.

The Neocons have advocated Global Democratic Revolution since the late 1980s to disastrous results.

The Neocons have cheered the de-Europeanization of the American population to disastrous results (multi-cultural political correctness and educational dysfunction).

The Neocons have advocated technology transfer and gigantic trade deficits to disastrous results (national bankruptcy, the rise of China etc.).

Neocons have produced no legitimate scholarship in defense of the policy positions they have advocated. That is why Neocons depend on SMEARS that originated from left wing assumptions (e.g., nativist, isolationist, anti-semite, racist etc.) as their only weapon against the real right.

Vernunft said...

"assuming one agrees (as I do) that the American right-wing is, these days, substantially more closed-minded than the American left-wing"

oh ok I can stop reading now

Tom Regan said...

Close-mindedness is more found on the right? Really?
What kind of speakers are shut down, abused, banned and assaulted on college campuses? Those of the left or the right?
Peruse the pages of the dying press and see which type of writers are employed and promoted, and which kind are excluded and hidden.
When governments agitate to introduce laws to restrict and ban free speech, who are they usually targetting? The left or the right?

V. Walter said...

Contrary to what Anonymous says about Dalrymple/Daniels being wholly Gentile, he is, in fact, partly Jewish by ancestry. Any biographical notice, such as Wikipedia's, will confirm this. He is not a religious believer of any sort (let alone a religiously observant Jew), but is sympathetic towards old time religion.

l said...

It has to be said: Dishonest war boosting during the Bush years destroyed the credibility of a lot of 'conservative' intellectuals.

Millman suggests, by contrast, that left/liberal intellectuals doggedly pursue truth, wherever it might lead. Har!

Simon said...

The idea that the US Left is more open-minded than the Right seems utterly laughable.

James said...

According to Anonymous: "There is not a dime out there to support a Kirk-style traditional conservatism."

No, not quite true. The Kirk-revering Intercollegiate Studies Institute (www.isi.org) is still around, thank goodness, and its magazines MODERN AGE and UNIVERSITY BOOKMAN - the former founded by Kirk himself - are producing worthwhile stuff of a sort not seen anywhere else. Nothing flashy, but always well written and devised for educated people with a happily Eurocentric world-view. I like CHRONICLES as well, you understand, but sometimes I think it's a bit provincial.

pointisthis said...

Actually a lot of neocons are extremely intelligent, however they use their intelligence to engineer strategies that benefit Israel rather than the U.S. such as war with Iraq/Iran. The fact that they are able to manipulate the leaders in America into thinking these policies are in America's interest shows just how brilliant they are.

RandyB said...

Wish I could find Amy Wax's book in a library, sounds like something I could get into. "The argument of the book, very briefly, is that what can be done in law, politics, and social engineering to make amends for slavery and Jim Crow has been done, and the rest is up to African Americans themselves."

If for no other than strategic reasons, I think it would profit believers in race realism, conservatism, HDB, etc. to take the position that affirmative action has done was it can (and should, from the point of view of its advocates), removing race per se as a barrier for those whose barrier was race per se. The next phase has to be improving black's behavior.

Steve has advocated "simple rules for a complex society." Don't know how that would play out, but it's fairly obvious that things like liberalized sexual for mores for whites that don't marry until 30 are pretty dangerous when practiced by black teens; and while subprime mortgages have their place for financial sophisticates, they're playing with matches in the hands of others.

RandyB said...

I'm sorry.
My last comment above was supposed to be under the John Derbyshire thread.

Anonymous said...

The latest movement towards socialism and higher taxes (especially on the rich) is a consequence, ironically, of CATO Institute-type policies of financial deregulation and unlimited immigration.




Don't forget that the hard left in this country is lavishly funded by very wealthy people. Soros, Bing, David Gelbaum, etc. If full-blown communism ever comes to America, it will because Americas billionaires wanted it to.

In practice there is little difference between the corporate left and the "libertarian" right.

Anonymous said...

Contrary to what Anonymous says about Dalrymple/Daniels being wholly Gentile, he is, in fact, partly Jewish by ancestry.




Who isn't, really? Name a person of note in the West in the last five hundred years and somebody will discover that he had a nominally "Jewish" great-grandfather.

It's the Jewish equivalent of Afro-centric history.

RandyB said...

The intellect of many conservatives (like Sarah Palin) is attacked by liberals because she often makes no sense. When liberal equivalents of Palin make no sense, they claim their opponents are stuck in white male structural paradigms and that their views make perfect sense to sufficiently diverse thinkers.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Contrary to what Anonymous says about Dalrymple/Daniels being wholly Gentile, he is, in fact, partly Jewish by ancestry.

He is half-Jewish in fact, through his mother, whose family fled Europe during/prior to World War II.

I've been reading Dalrymple for a long time, and he's a great read.

I suspect that all Europeans are partially Jewish in the same way that we are all descendants of Charlemagne.

Anonymous said...

Name me one political movement that is truly open minded.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

He is not a religious believer of any sort...but is sympathetic towards old time religion.

And there lies a pressing problem: how do you fill the useful social functions of religion for people who can't believe in the snake and the apple? And by useful I mean in a sense that isn't touchy-feely leftist-socialism.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, the satanic occult forces of Harry Potter are also far more destructive to little black gangstas than to suburban white nerds.

At the site of the last Crips and Bloods National convention, police have found Harry Potter books, Ouija boards, and Dungeons and Dragons dice with their peculiar anti-Christian occult shapes.

Even worse, black gangstas have been know to use Jungian terms when describing illegal ritual sacrifices of tall slender white virgins with long blonde hair.

Cordelia said...

Anonymous said: Name a person of note in the West in the last five hundred years and somebody will discover that he had a nominally "Jewish" great-grandfather.

Charles Darwin.

Anonymous said...

Anthony Daniels is not Jewish through one drop umpteen years back.

His mother was Jewish, dont know about dad, so that makes him at least 50% ethnically. 100% by Jewish standards.

His dad was of Russian origin. Or is that 'Russian', dunno.

Svigor said...

The great irony of Frum's accusing anyone of a lack of patriotism is that he's CANADIAN. Can any American imagine going to Canada and accusing David Frum of insufficient patriotism?

Probably not, but I can imagine being Jewish and going anywhere in the western world and wagging my finger at any non-Jew (or wayward Jew, for that matter), for anything. Seen it too many times to be surprised any more.

Svigor said...

I think one of the main reasons the right has become so brain dead is that it can't get past the taboo of HBD. Since all conservatives who don't want to exiled to the wilderness must loudly profess their belief in racial equality, they can't present a case against the most dangerous liberal policies.

Yep. "Conservatives" are just cranky liberals. If they want to be "respectable" (i.e., "respectable" to the leftists who control the media), that is.

Respectable "conservatives" are collaborators. The leftists keep enough of these AA types around to show some carrot (if they just purged them all they might face a rebellion).

Svigor said...

Hell, a lot of HBD types show strong collaborator streaks, trying to convince the leftists they're "respectable" by excommunicating the next guys over, WNs, who are pointing the finger at the neo-Nazis...

Edward Thwaite said...

"... the Democrats can't afford to have an intelligent debate on immigration." Why can't they? Who controls the mainstream media?
Consider Patrick J. Buchanan's book "State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America". What are the causes underlying what Buchanan calls "the GOP suicide by immigration"?

Mercer said...

I think you are making Frum far more important and influential then he is. How many of the people who booed Ron Paul's views on foreign policy in the 2008 GOP debates do you think have ever heard of Frum? People with Paul's views have been denounced long before Frum entered the US.

Wars bring out intense tribal passions. What he wrote is mild compared to what other people have said and done in past wars. Many Iraq war supporters will probably never admit the war was dumb no matter what happens there. When Frum and other war supporters talk about Iraq I am reminded of Hume's remark that reason is a slave of the passions.

What is striking to me is that Frum did not suffer for backing a dumb war. He was canned for being correct that the GOP strategy on health care would fail.

I don't know that the right is more closed minded then the left. I do think that given the terrible record of the economy during the Bush years the refusal of the GOP to rethink it's supply side ideology and trade policy is distressing.

Anonymous said...

Not to divert this thread too much, but what's it with conservatives and Palin? I know she can get the base excited and has street cred, but what else does she bring to the table?

As a candidate, she's completely unelectable due to her perceived ignorance and incompetence. Something like 71% of Americans have indicated they wouldn't vote for her in a poll, including a significant percentage of Republicans.

Despite her conservative rhetoric, I don't see any evidence that she'd be a conservative president. She's hanging out with the same big government, invade the world, invite the world neoconservatives that ran the Bush administration into the ground. She doesn't have much in the way of core values and beliefs, as evidenced by her vague and incoherent answers to most policy questions, and is easy to hijack into the RINO McCain/Giuliani/Armey establishment. If we elect her, we get a repeat of Bush.

Her irresponsibility in resigning from the Alaska governorship worries me a lot too. She was given a job to do and she left to go travel around America and sell books. Now, she has her own show on FOX. It seems like this woman has more fun being in the spotlight than getting anything done. As president, she'd need her own Dick Cheney to provide some adult supervision.

I appreciate her energy and what she can do to motivate the base, but nominating her is suicide for 2012. Conservatives need someone else.

I would hope that we can pull/push Romney to the right. He made some sensible remarks about embracing the Reagan legacy and immigration control during the debates and seems like he wants to play it safe with the conservative base. He's still under the sway of the neoconservatives and Jewish lobby, but so is everyone else on the right. I think he's our best option if we want to win.

Christopher Paul said...

Anonymous said...

So, the question is, why does Rove take such a stance.

Explanations like, "well, he is just stupid, or he thinks a bunch of illiterate Mexicans will be so grateful that they will vote the republicans back into power" just don't make a lot of sense to me.


Steve has addressed this from time to time.

OneSTDV said...

I wonder what would happen if a politician applied the Rove strategy to whites.


You guys really are new around here. Steve again.

Henry Canaday said...

Millman’s premise, that conservatives have become more closed-minded than the left, is flawed and fatuous.

On domestic issues, conservatives adamantly oppose the ever-expanding reach and power of the national government precisely because this closes off the possibilities of open minds, candid speech and alternative actions.

Conservatives dislike a one-size-fits-all Federal health system because it deprives individuals, states and companies of alternative ways of seeking better care at lesser costs. They have proposed tort reform, unthinkable to closed-minded lawyer-legislators, opening insurance markets to interstate competition (a legitimate and novel use of the Federal power to regulate interstate commerce) and risk pools. They have proposed ending the tax deduction of employer-provided insurance or allowing deduction of personal expenditures on health to move people and markets toward more economic decisions, according to their own free and open-minded choices.

Conservatives are desperate for almost any alternative to an education system squeezed into monotonously chronic failure by Federal mandates at the top and union requirements at the bottom. Most conservatives would prefer public funding of private schools. Bush’s NCLB program was a compromise with liberal political power, setting higher standards for results and allowing flexibility of means. But conservatives continue to seek different models of public schools, like charters, more parent choice among public schools and opening the market for private alternatives

Conservatives dislike higher spending and taxes because these dull incentives for individuals and companies to invent new goods and services or new ways of producing old goods and services. On domestic policy generally conservatives chiefly try to preserve the ability of the private sector or local governments to solve problems, rather than to recommend universal solutions to be provided or mandated by the Federal government. That seems rather open-minded to me. It was also the approach of the most practically open-minded people to make a government, the framers of the Constitution.

Foreign policy is different, since this is an explicit responsibility of the Federal government. Conservatives have been many things here, but hardly closed-minded.

The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, whatever their wisdom, were unprecedented and inventively executed uses of American power, completely contrary to the 30-year policy of suffering attacks, complaining and making extremely limited retaliation.

The efforts to civilize and reform Afghanistan and Iraq, wise or unwise, were also extreme departures from past policies and contrary to cautious liberal reflexes. Moreover, conservatives in good standing have criticized these efforts vigorously, both at National Review and at the recent CPAC conference.

Often stubborn and sometimes naïve conservatives may be, but hardly closed-minded.

Anonymous said...

Yep. "Conservatives" are just cranky liberals. If they want to be "respectable" (i.e., "respectable" to the leftists who control the media), that is.

Totally nailed it there Svi.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

What is striking to me is that Frum did not suffer for backing a dumb war. He was canned for being correct that the GOP strategy on health care would fail.

Que? Where do you get off saying their strategy has "failed"? Since the passage of healthcare deform Obama's approval ratings have fallen, congress's approval ratings have fallen, and a number of facts have come to light revealing that the Democrats lied through their teeth to get the bill passed, among them new talk of tax increases.

How, pray tell, is that a failure? It seems to me that Frum's tantrum on healthcare is no different than his Iraq War tantrum.

Not to divert this thread too much, but what's it with conservatives and Palin?

Palin is a celebrity endorser, and nothing more. She's useful in that context only. I won't call her a ditz, but she's certainly not smart enough to be president.

Mercer said...

"Que? Where do you get off saying their strategy has "failed"? Since the passage of healthcare deform Obama's approval ratings have fallen, congress's approval ratings have fallen, and a number of facts have come to light revealing that the Democrats lied through their teeth to get the bill passed, among them new talk of tax increases."

I say the GOP failed because the bill is now law. It will not be repealed even if the GOP wins the next election. Do you care about approval ratings or what the law is?

I also say the supply siders failed because the new law has tax increases on investment income-exactly the kind of tax they hate the most. If the GOP had bargained they could have gotten a broader based tax instead of one targeted at high earners investment income.

I also say they failed because they labeled attempts to limit increases in Medicare spending as death panels. If the fastest growing part of the budget is off limits from spending restraints then that means taxes will have to be increased higher in the future to pay for Medicare spending.

pointisthis said...

"He's still under the sway of the neoconservatives and Jewish lobby, but so is everyone else on the right."

Not Ron Paul. I believe he was virtually the only Republican in congress to vote against invading Iraq. He also has extremely loyal supporters and had more grassroot support than any candidate in the last cycle (including Obama).

Michael T. Golden said...

Anonymous mentioned that, according to Charles Murray, Frum wasn't purged; he resigned because AEI wanted to stop overpaying him.

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MDk4NjA3NmU5NTI3ZDNhOGM4ODUzOWI2OTViNTg1NDM=

I don't know what reason anyone has to doubt what Murray says.

David Davenport said...

Who isn't, really? Name a person of note in the West in the last five hundred years and somebody will discover that he had a nominally "Jewish" great-grandfather.

It's the Jewish equivalent of Afro-centric history.


It's the Jewish equivalent of a homosexual's fantasy that almost everyone else is also.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

I say the GOP failed because the bill is now law. It will not be repealed even if the GOP wins the next election. Do you care about approval ratings or what the law is?

The GOP was not going to have a significant impact on the law. Even a GOP-approved bill would've moved this country far to the left. It was better for them to keep their distance and let the Dems take all of the blame.

I also say the supply siders failed because the new law has tax increases on investment income...If the GOP had bargained they could have gotten a broader based tax instead of one targeted at high earners investment income.

Some in the GOP will be apt to see that as a loss. As someone who thinks wealthy business interests are the only ones who benefitted under the GOP, I'm cool with that.

Mercer said...

"According to Charles Murray at the AEI blog, Frum's story is horseshit. They met with him, mentioned the 100K a year they paid him, and asked him to show up at the office once in a while. Instead, he resigned."

Frum lead the charge against the Harriet Miers nomination. How many people at AEI have done anything as important for the right recently? Do you care about who gives face time at the office or who gets results?

Mr. Anon said...

"Svigor said...

Hell, a lot of HBD types show strong collaborator streaks, trying to convince the leftists they're "respectable" by excommunicating the next guys over, WNs, who are pointing the finger at the neo-Nazis..."

Uh, not wanting to associate with nazis does not make one a Quisling. In fact......

Quite apart from disliking nazis for their brutal, inhuman, and evil political philosophy, there's another good reason to dislike them:

They're losers.

Anonymous said...

Anthony Daniels is not Jewish through one drop umpteen years back.

What about Kenny Baker?

Millman & Halkias said...

David Davenport said...
It's the Jewish equivalent of Afro-centric history.

It's the Jewish equivalent of a homosexual's fantasy that almost everyone else is also.

Somehow I doubt Jews have such fantasies. If they did, what what happen to their elite "chosen people" status?

Harry Baldwin said...

Name a person of note in the West in the last five hundred years and somebody will discover that he had a nominally "Jewish" great-grandfather.

I don't think anyone has claimed Sarah Palin has a Jewish great-grandfather. I'm with "anonymous" on Palin. When she talks she sets my teeth on edge. She's on Fox with all the other beauty-queen talking heads and she seems less qualified to be president than any of the rest of them.

Millman & Halkias said...

Sarah Palin is the blondest brunette outside of Hollywood!

AmericanGoy said...

Neoconservative = a code word for a Jew, correct?

"In February 2009 Andrew Sullivan wrote he no longer took neoconservatism seriously because its basic tenet was defense of Israel"

From the wikipedia.


You right wing idiots have allowed your movement to be totally hijacked by a foreign power.

Here is the quote:

"The closer you examine it, the clearer it is that neoconservatism, in large part, is simply about enabling the most irredentist elements in Israel and sustaining a permanent war against anyone or any country who disagrees with the Israeli right. That's the conclusion I've been forced to these last few years. And to insist that America adopt exactly the same constant-war-as-survival that Israelis have been slowly forced into... But America is not Israel. And once that distinction is made, much of the neoconservative ideology collapses."

Anonymous said...

Is there a major patron of conservative intellectuals who is a patron primarily because he or she wants to generate new ideas, insights, works of the spirit that do not already exist in the world, as opposed to advancing arguments for ideas that are already well-established in defense of interests that are well-entrenched?

What does this idiot think "conservative" means? Does he not think it means to support and defend existing, well-established ideas and institutions? Someone who generates "new ideas, insights, and works of the spirit" is a frigging Leftist, for Chrissake. Why should patrons of conservative intellectuals fund Leftists? Answer, they shouldn't.

I’m going to find the smartest, most informed, most independent-minded people I can,

This is Leftist-speak for "I'm looking for a Leftist" - and again, why should patrons of conservatism fund Leftists?

If all the patron wants is advocacy for established views in defense of established interests, then you don’t actually have intellectual patronage at all, and pretty soon you won’t have an intellectual establishment.

Totally wrong! The reason there is no conservative intellectual establishment is that very little of this is actually happening - i.e. conservative patrons are not funding much advocacy for established views in defense of established interests.

Ultimately, you can only have an intelligentsia if you have patrons who are interested in learning things they don’t already know.

Then there is no Leftist intelligentsia, because Leftist academics have spent decades bellowing the same old (bad, stupid, destructive) "knowledge" that everyone already knows.

Frum was not expelling extremists, however; he was expelling dissenters.

What is he yapping about? Frum didn't have the power to expel anyone from the conservative movement.

Jehu said...

I consider myself quite close minded on certain issues. For instance, I believe that ANYONE who supports making me and mine minorities in this country is my enemy. Conversely, anyone who supports measures to prevent the loss of the demographic hegemony of me and mine is NOT my enemy. Even if they're nazi's, black separatist nationalists, anti-semites, Klansmen, or Yakuza. That issue for me is non-negotiable, and I don't give a damn what names are thrown at me as a result. If the Republican party wants my vote, well, a reprise of Eisenhower's famous operation wetback would be a start. Oddly, my position is pretty mainstream, if you look at the polls, although the transparency of the ideology is not.

Anonymous said...

What about Kenny Baker?

This only serves to remind us of Daniel's work as a writer and as psychiatrist but simultaneously taking a key role in one of the biggest grossing movie franchises.

The man is a frikken legend!

Anonymous said...

You right wing idiots have allowed your movement to be totally hijacked by a foreign power.

Who is this "you"?

Most here on isteve are fully up to speed with the idea. Not too many (any?) unquestioning Republicans here.

neil craig said...

"major patron of conservative intellectuals who is a patron primarily because he or she wants to generate new ideas, insights, works of the spirit that do not already exist in the world, as opposed to advancing arguments for ideas that are already well-established in defense of interests that are well-entrenched?"

Jerry Pournelle.
I don't think his strongest detractor could deny he pushes new ideas & works that do not currently exist in the world, or indeed elsewhere.

Perhaps Noah doesn't know of him but that says more about Noah.

AnotherDad said...

I think Millman's claim that the right is more close minded is ... ridiculous. The left is locked in a lot of positions with religious like orthodoxy. But ... there's nonetheless a point ...

Conservatism -- properly understood -- is just different than the left. It mostly consists not of great new plans, but of trying to keep the left from screwing us up!

Take for instance Millman's education example. I too would say "vouchers" and be done with it. And i'm confident that's the right approach. Not because i have education "all figured out", but because i'm confident that no one has education "all figured out".

It's easy to see what's wrong -- union dominated bureaucratized stagnation. Feminized education. Myriad government rules and regulation constraining ... everything. No ability to hire and fire. No "great leap forward" in using technology to enhance learning". No variation from the same "industrial" education model.

I don't know what the "answers" are, but i have complete confidence, that
a) the left will keep trotting out new "solutions" (i.e. fads) when they run out, recycling the failed ones of years past, and never discomfort their teacher union vote bank
b) the market can do better.

I don't need to fund a think tank and cut Diane Ravitch free for deep thought thinking. The solution is simply to undo what the left has done.

Lots of stuff is like this. Conservative intellectuals -- doing their best work, like say Charles Murray in "Losing Ground" -- simply document how the left's perverse incentives are screwing things up.

Nine times out of ten no deep intellectual work is required, just "stop doing that!"

Marc B said...

"Frum was not expelling extremists, however; he was expelling dissenters."

He was doing what he had learned from William F. Buckley. I am so sick that this parlor conservative gets to speak on talk shows as a "rational" voice representing acceptable conservative views, not like those bad one's like Sarah Pallin, despite the fact that she, the phony outsider, is in agreement with Frum on about 90% of the issues. Meanwhile, the anti-war conservatives get no traction from the media lefties for being on the right side of Iraq war, but are simply dismissed as wing nuts.

Needless to say, I found the below article from Obama voter Christopher Buckley highly amusing and hypocritical.


http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-03-27/laffaire-frum/

Silver said...

Talking about 'education' and '1975' that's the year Ralph Scott's (aka 'Edward Langerton') The Busing Cover-up was published. For all the 'open-minded' approaches the lefties in charge have tried in the intervening thirty-five years not much appears to have changed for the better (if educational improvement is your measuring stick).

fafdfdfafd said...

Frumpty Dumpty sat on a wall...

Anonymous said...

AnotherDad:

It's easy to see what's wrong -- union dominated bureaucratized stagnation. Feminized education.

Bullies, meanies, dummies, thugs, bullies, poorly socialized sociopaths, bullies, well-socialized sociopaths, bullies, druggies, bullies, thugs, bullies, sadists, bullies, cowards, gangsters, bullies, jocks, bullies, SINOs, bullies, ethnoids, bullies, social-climbing whores representing the "good" students, bullies, insecure anti-intellectual teachers who barely passed college, bullies.

The cult of "socialization" which is not a new thing either (vintage 1945) seem to be driving out everything else when it comes to public education.

Myriad government rules and regulation constraining ... everything. No ability to hire and fire. No "great leap forward" in using technology to enhance learning". No variation from the same "industrial" education model.

An ideology that any sort of gifted / talented education is "fascist".

A total Orwellian justice system straight of Stalin's gulags.

Thank the gods for homeschooling!

Chief Seattle said...

Allowing George Bush Jr. and his neocon cronies to call themselves conservatives was the worst thing that ever happened to the conservative movement. Those guys were big government guys through and through in everything from No Child Left Behind to the Medicaid Drug benefit to the Iraq war to the Patriot act. The only difference between them and the Dems was that they financed their government through inflation instead of taxing the rich, and they hate unions. Everything else was in the direction of bigger government, more control, less freedom.

If a healthy conservative ideology is ever going to return we need serious tariffs and immigration control to push up the wages of the average citizen. Because if the free market doesn't work for the majority of the people, they're going to vote for government handouts that do.

Mr. Anon said...

"Chief Seattle said...

Allowing George Bush Jr. and his neocon cronies to call themselves conservatives was the worst thing that ever happened to the conservative movement. Those guys were big government guys through and through in everything from No Child Left Behind to the Medicaid Drug benefit to the Iraq war to the Patriot act. The only difference between them and the Dems was that they financed their government through inflation instead of taxing the rich, and they hate unions. Everything else was in the direction of bigger government, more control, less freedom.

If a healthy conservative ideology is ever going to return we need serious tariffs and immigration control to push up the wages of the average citizen. Because if the free market doesn't work for the majority of the people, they're going to vote for government handouts that do."

Well said, Chief. And quite true.