Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Conservatism Is Dangerous - Why the Non-Careerist Right Must Call Out the Big Con or Deputized Right - By Jack Kerwick

During a recent exchange with some essentially like-minded friends, someone—a Republican voter who is typically and appropriately critical of the conservative movement, or what I call the Big Con—suggested that we would spend our time more wisely if we reserved our harshest criticisms for the left.
After all, as Barack Hussein Obama, in a rare moment of candor, revealed nearly a decade ago, it is the left that aims to achieve nothing less than “the fundamental transformation” of America.
This comment of my friend’s deserves a response.  Fortunately, several are in the coming.
First, thankfully, criticism of the Big Con does not preclude criticism of the left.  We can walk and chew gum at the same time.
Second, while there are admittedly some differences between the Big Con and the left, they are differences in degree, not in kind.  And herein lay the fundamental misconception in which my friend’s objection is rooted, the misconception that the resources spent on critiquing the Big Con are resources diverted from critiquing the left.
The truth of the matter is that those of us on what Paul Gottfried calls “the unauthorized,” “non-aligned,” or “independent” right—and what I prefer to call the unprofessional or non-careerist right—are  as critical as we are of the Big Con precisely because it is a species of the left.
In other words, the problem that my friend identified, the problem of critiquing either the Big Con or the left, is a false dichotomy.  Ultimately, there is but a single target here, and it is leftism, Political Correctness, “progressivism,” or whatever else we choose to call it.
Thirdly, this last point shouldn’t obscure the fact there is a difference between the Big Con and garden variety leftism.  Yet the difference is that while the Obamas, Pelosis, and CNN blabber- mouths of the world are unmistakably leftist, the Bushes, Romneys, and Fox News blabber-mouths, though left-leaning, are not unmistakably so.
And this is why it is at least as important, and arguably more so, to expose the Big Con than expend energy revisiting the same usual suspects on the hard left.
Leftists are (for the most part) recognized for who they are.  Yet as long as tens of millions of Americans continue to believe that talk radio hosts, Fox News all-stars, and National Review, Commentary, and Weekly Standard writers are “conservative” or “right-wing,” the left will continue to make the kinds of cultural and political advances that it has been making for decades.
In other words, the Big Con right is in reality the stealth left.
Consider this point in light of an analogy:
If a person wants to avoid contracting a lethal disease, or if he has already contracted it but wants to eradicate it, he will need to know all that he can know about it—its causes and symptoms, certainly, but also the treatments to which he’ll have recourse in combatting it.
Now, suppose that the “experts” in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, for whatever reasons, present as an antidote this disease a drug that, while decelerating the rate at which the disease advances, nevertheless enables it to proceed along its fatal trajectory.  Three things should be apparent:
(a)The drug would be preferable to no drug at all.  However, inasmuch as it posed no insurmountable obstacle to the disease, it would clearly be mortally dishonest for the experts to depict it as if it did, to depict it as if it was something fundamentally different than what it is in fact.
(b)Moreover, it would be the height of recklessness and injustice for those of who recognized both the terminal disease for what it is and the fake remedy not to call attention to these facts.
(c)The whole reason that we should scream from the rooftops that the public and patients are being scammed is that the authorities are abetting this terminal illness by presenting a fake as a cure.
To repeat, the choice faced by the whistleblowers is not a choice between calling attention to the terminal nature of the disease and calling attention to the pseudo-cure promoted by the experts.  In the last analysis, there is but one problem, one target, on which critics’ attention focuses: the terminal illness.  The drug is newsworthy only because it is promoted as if it poses real opposition to the disease when it does no such thing.
Similarly, it is imperative that those who want to prevent the fundamental transformation—the death—of their country to focus on the leftist illness that threatens to bring it about.  To this end, they have neither the moral nor the logical option to remain silent on the fake drug of the Big Con or the Deputized Right, a controlled opposition permitted by the left but which is promoted as an antidote to leftism by “the experts,” the agents and peddlers of the Big Con themselves.
Doubtless, there are several objections that apologists for the Big Con or the Deputized Right will raise to this thesis. The most basic of them, the one objection of which every other will prove to be a variant, is that my thesis is simply wrong.  Of course, the counter-objectors will exclaim, the Rush Limbaughs, Sean Hannitys, and Laura Ingrahams of the conservative movement are not left-wing!
Undoubtedly, many (though certainly not all) Big Con celebrities genuinely think that they are the conservative enemies of leftism that they style themselves as being.  This, though, is neither here nor there, for thinking one is such-and-such isn’t the same as being such-and-such.
Furthermore, the “conservatism” of the Big Cons is in effect a ramshackle construction, a kaleidoscopic ala’ carte of views on topical issues that, if distinguishable at all from those of their leftist counterparts, is distinguished on account of its differing in details from those positions taken by leftists at the moment.  Examples of this abound.
Not all that long ago, it was the “conservative” position to favor same-sex “unions,” but oppose same-sex “marriage.” Now, as to how this was uniquely or even distinctively conservative is anyone’s guess, for it was also the Democratic left’s position as recently as seven years ago.  But once the Supreme Court discovered a Constitutional right to homosexual marriage, the “conservative” position changed.  Today, it is considered “conservative” to either explicitly affirm same-sex “marriage” or implicitly affirm it by way of such smokescreens as “States’ Rights” or deference to “the rule of law.”
In the case of abortion, most Big Cons maintain that they’re pro-life. Yet they’re willing to allow for the killing of the unborn if the child was conceived in rape or through incest, hence militating decisively against the very ground—the innocence of the prenatal human being—on which they profess their opposition to abortion.  Or Big Cons claim that less money than that which leftists want to give it should be given to Planned Parenthood.
When it comes to immigration, the “conservative” position has been that while illegal immigration is bad, potentially limitless immigration—from anywhere in the world—is good.  In a good number of instances, the “conservative” position has been amnesty—though always packaged under a different label designed to conceal the fact that it’s amnesty that “conservatives” advocate.
We could go on.
Nor should it be any surprise that Big Cons abet the left in the latter’s long march through the institutions when it is considered that both trade in the same sorts of abstractions within which they couch their positions on contemporary issues.
The Deputized Right and the social Democratic left regularly espouse the rhetoric of “human rights.”
They both speak as if America is ahistorical, the first and only country in all of history to have been founded on some universal abstraction.  The Big Con/Deputized Right calls this the doctrine of “American Exceptionalism.”
Both the Big Con and the left endorse the Ellis Island/Melting Pot myth, the fiction that America had no founding stock and that, from its inception, it has been and was always meant to be a rest area for the planet.
And the Big Con specifically insists upon America’s “Judeo-Christian” heritage.  Yet this is a term that appeared nowhere in our political-cultural lexicon until quite recently, as far as the life of America is measured.
In short, the Big Con and their leftist sparring partners have labored tirelessly engaging in unabashed historical revisionism and amateur philosophy regarding the origins and character of America.
I have no doubts that at least some of the Big Cons are unaware of the consequences of their actions.  Nevertheless, there can be no denying that the Big Con, the Deputized Right, functions as an accomplice to the left.  The Big Con is as much, and possibly even more, responsible for the leftward drift of America than is the recognized left, and it most definitely is exponentially more responsible than is the militant left that would have otherwise remained a joke, a freak show, or a danger to be dealt with had it not been for the Big Con’s capitulation to the left’s machinations.
So, to my friend who questioned the utility of criticizing the Big Con, I underscore the importance—the duty—of those of us on the unprofessional right to expose the fake antidote of the Big Con for what it is.  Only in doing so can we hope to mount the resistance to the left that it warrants.
Jack Kerwick [send him mail] received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at At the Intersection of Faith & Culture.

Previous article by Jack Kerwick: Academia: Reason and Rigor