You may not know this. But all the smartest people on the Right are basically ashamed to be associated with you. Your “success” in building a set of near-permanent institutions, think-tanks, and magazines to promote your ideals in an uncontaminated environment leaves us with two choices:
1) Sell out to the movement. That is, we may occupy ourselves by explaining that whatever the GOP is promoting--whether it be torture, pre-emptive war, Mutually Assured Destruction, or supply-side economics--is an enduring Western value. If John Boehner is doing it, we're supposed to figure out why Edmund Burke would support it.
2) Sell out the movement. That is, pitch our articles to liberal audiences. Trash the movement (like I’m doing), and trade our actual conservative convictions for the ephemeral respect of our peers.
Don’t get me started on foreign policy. There we were always at odds. I was a kind of isolationist. Your two unwinnable wars did little to dissuade me on that point.
But then this free market stuff. Live within your means. Fend for yourself. Be responsible. I believed that. But the people you elected didn’t. Bankers, GE, Archers Daniels Midland, military contractors, really all sorts of speculators--they deserved wealth transfers, cheap credit, debt cancellation. These are your welfare queens, conservative movement. Do you know how bad this makes us look, after having attacked poor people and minorities as free-riders?
Dear Conservative Movement: Stop Ruining My Life, by Michael Brendan Dougherty
OK. There was much truth therein but I get the feeling the article was more of a vent than a set of constructive criticisms. This penultimate set of thoughts kinda upset me:
But, we’re done. I tried to “improve you,” from my associate editor perch at a dissenting conservative magazine. Now? I wish you would go away. You’re an obstacle, taking every civic impulse of your audience and turning it into rotten populism. You turn every bit of goodwill and honest anxiety into a sleazy direct-mail fundraiser.
So... what's Mr. Dougherty gonna do? Hide under the covers? Become a Democrat? What? I feel his pain because I've been having the same sorts of arguments with some of my more knee-jerk paleo-conservative friends. I also toss every damned fund raising letter I get from Mr. Steele in the garbage, unopened. But America is a two-party system and I feel we only have two choices: bad or worse. So... what to do?
And Barry... are you having Buyers Remorse yet? I've waited quite a while before asking the obvious question, yanno?
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