Conservatism is being wracked by the collision of different tectonic plates. The need to celebrate the leader of the tribe is smashing into the need to defend not just ideological commitments but traditional notions of leadership and decency. The desire to push back on the left is crashing into the need to remain intellectually consistent. The subsequent earthquakes aren’t just on display on screens but in our own heads. And sitting motionless in the hope that will all be over soon, like Mike Pence in the Oval Office, won’t get anyone through. The process is just going to have to play itself out. My only hope is that we’ll have more than rubble to build on when it’s all over.Jonah Goldberg
“I suggest that if you must choose, it is better to be poor and free than to be snug and a slave. I suggest that if you must choose, it is better to live in peril, but with justice, than to live on a summit of material power, but unjustly. I suggest that if you must choose, it is better to stand up as a suffering man than to lie down as a satisfied animal.”Barry Goldwater (in a speech written by Russell Kirk), via Russell Kirk: American Conservative by Bradley J. Birzer
I doubt a lot of people who disagree with Erick’s politics have or will read this book. Which is a shame because we could do with a world where more people got to know each other who disagree. And this book will help you understand Erick Erickson the person rather than Erick the talking head or Erick the radio host. It won’t change your mind but it might change how you see pundits and those in the news.Continue reading
Goldberg does not deny the tensions involved in this conservative project within a liberal democratic capitalist system but rather accepts it as the challenge we face. The question is whether we are up to it.Continue reading
It is a hard thing to accept that some elections should be lost, especially in a country as divided over basic moral premises as our own. But just as the pro-life movement ultimately won real gains — in lives saved, laws altered, abortion rates reduced — by accepting the legitimacy of the republic even as it deplored the killing of the unborn, so today’s conservatism has far more to gain from the defeat of Donald Trump, and the chance to oppose Clintonian progressivism unencumbered by his authoritarianism, bigotry, misogyny and incompetence, than it does from answering the progressive drift toward Caesarism with a populist Elagabalus.
Not because it is guaranteed long-term victory in that scenario or any other. But because the deepest conservative insight is that justice depends on order as much as order depends on justice. So when Loki or the Joker or some still-darker Person promises the righting of some grave wrong, the defeat of your hated enemies, if you will only take a chance on chaos and misrule, the wise and courageous response is to tell them to go to hell.
For some odd reason I had not really listened to the Federalist Radio Hour until just recently. This despite being a huge fan of The Transom and all things Ben Domenech. But I am now tuning in on a regular basis. He has had some fascinating authors on for extended conversations and it is refreshing… Continue reading
I am a fan of Lars Walker’s writing but I confess I really struggled with his latest novel. This dystopian fantasy felt didactic and preachy to me. Ultimately, it was interesting with some well done aspects but didn’t really come together.Continue reading
Another fascinating episode of Between the Covers. I am hoping to post both a review of An Anxious Age and an interview with the author myself in the not too distant future.Continue reading
If you are looking for a biography that takes Reagan’s ideas and policies seriously you will need to look elsewhere. But this short work does nevertheless provide a useful outline of the major issues and events of Reagan’s life and gives readers a good place to start. If nothing else it will give conservative readers, or fans of Reagan, a handy outline of the criticisms against the former president and the conservative movement he jump started.Continue reading