This post kind of of breaks my heart.
It’s the Great Jonah Goldberg berating another pundit for vehemently disagreeing with him about a bunch of stuff.
This kind of disagreement is more and more common nowadays. These are disagreements in the Conservative movement that are happening at the most basic level. And they’re happening with ever greater hostility between the participants.
Whether it’s at the link above, or this one, this kind of hostility is more and more common on and within the Right.
The problem is that there’s not that much disagreement on the Right in terms of economy, or social things, or foreign policy. Check that… there’s plenty of disagreement, on the Right, but it’s generally disagreement of degree, or of method.
We on the Right still believe in limited government, a government that serves the people rather than the other way ’round. We still generally express that belief by an active suspicion of government overreach and intrusiveness. The key word is “overreach.” We still believe in government, but in a proper, and low, level of government. We still believe in personal responsibility, initiative and creativity. We still believe in the desirability of equal opportunity to succeed. And we still believe in an appropriately structured and financed safety net. We still believe in low taxes in order to guarantee a limited government. In the arena of domestic policy the phrase that sums us up the best is simple: Live and let live. That just about sums up 99.9% of the Right.
It’s in the realm of foreign policy that we disagree the most. How much to intervene, with what goal, when, how much to spend, a bunch of things. However, we all agree that if we could intervene correctly overseas, then we’d leave behind peace, prosperity, and a live and let live state of mind. Our internal conflict can also be summed up simply: Intervention and “live and let live” are, generally, contradictions.
The real point, though, is that Conservatives have been able to argue about these things with very little vitriol. That’s seems no longer to be the case.
This has been building for a while. Many Conservatives have pronounced anathema on the head of Ann Coulter, a personal heroine of mine. And Mark Steyn — one of my greatest heroes — has been in a years-long feud with the founders of CRTV (now owned by Glenn Beck’s outfit). CRTV has in its stable the great Mark Levin, Steven Crowder and others, all heroes of mine. The long-established, rightly-honored stable of great writers at National Review nearly universally dislike and disagree with Sean Hannity, one of the pioneers of Conservative talk radio. Hannity has gone full-bore in for President Trump, while the Great Rush Limbaugh — another personal hero — seems to be half-bore in for Trump. All of this has made for a whole lot of ill-mannered and downright cruel sniping.
However, there’s a bottom line: every last one of the Conservatives for whom other Conservatives have decided to express such hostility, has a vastly better idea of how to govern America than anyone on the Left. We lose sight of that basic fact at our great peril.
It’s the hostility on the Right that’s so disconcerting. In both of the above-linked essays, Goldberg expresses nothing but cold contempt for a couple of right-wingers. It’s because the ones for whom he’s expressed such contempt, did likewise to him. To the Great Jonah Goldberg’s credit I’ve never seen him initiate hostilities, and I’ve followed his work for more than 20 years.
What’s particularly disconcerting about all this is the fact that this kind of hostility and vitriol usually appears on the Left. Rightly so. There are enough contradictions on the Left to sink a battleship. Their love for woman- and gay-abusing Islam, along with their loudly-trumpeted love for… women and gays. Their so-called love for black Americans as opposed to their contempt for those same Americans. Their so-called devotion to non-white Americans, as opposed to their active, open discrimination against Asian-Americans. Their apparent devotion to gays, coupled with their policy prescriptions that kill them wholesale. Their so-called love and respect for women juxtaposed against their infantilization of them on college campuses. Same for all manner of other identity groups. Their viciousness toward Christianity with their love for Islam. Their sometimes open and loud anti-semitism next to the Jewish proclivity for being leftists… and on and on and on and on…
If the Left were ever to engage in any kind of in-depth introspection, leftism would fall apart like the intellectual house-of-cards it is. It would become nothing more than a vast collection of tiny, spluttering splinter groups feuding and scrapping over puny niche issues, well below the radar of a media corps too power-hungry to focus on such penny-ante flapdoodle.
What prevents this from happening is the generalized devotion of these various half-witted factions to a gauzy, fuzzy notion of leftism itself. No leftist I know — and I know many, many of them — could give you a concrete definition of what leftism is beyond trite pap like “caring for others,” or “we like people,” or “standing up for the ‘little guy,'” and so forth. There are no real Big Concept Ideas on the Left.
On the Right, we have all the Big Concept Ideas, and we used to agree on them, at least at a high level. More importantly, we used to be able to disagree on them without hostility and anger.
It’s not enough to say, “Trump!” either. We are who we are, and we choose to be who we choose to be. Donald Trump was never able to tell me how to act, how to talk, how to refer to others in the Conservative movement. Nor was he ever able to tell me how to respond to those who refer to me in any way.
The Left deserve their conflicts. The intellectual poison of Leftism turns leftists into self-obsessed, vainglorious, shallow, hostile, defensive, insecure, small-minded, little ogres. Such pathetic, small critters will always fight. Because no real coherence is possible from them. When comes the time to resolve some of their myriad internal contradictions, the particulars of that effort will always cause conflict between the various factions who want to do things in their own particular way.
The Right do not deserve all this conflict. It’s only from the Right that come any ideas at all that have possibilities of establishing the conditions within which Americans — and all people — can thrive and prosper.
But no idea is ever born full-baked, and we on the Right have long needed the intellectual challenges and turmoil, the adjusting and tweaking, that multi-various perspectives bring. Needless to say, it’s vital that those perspectives be informed, sober, honest, intelligent. The exact opposite of what comes from the Left in America today. That’s the tragedy of the corruption of the Left. It’s deprived the nation of a sober, rational alternative to notions and ideas that are, nowadays, challenged exclusively from the Right.
When we on the Right act the same way the dimwits on the Left do, it’s deeply disheartening… because the Left has long abandoned America and love of this great country, in favor of an obsession with power and control. That leaves only one political wing, the Right, whose main preoccupation is with the actual betterment of America and the world.