All I Know Is That Gentlemanly Conservatism is Dead

Look, I don’t know if the Republican National Convention was a shambles or a cunning trick. I don’t know if Ted Cruz is a genius or a cad. I don’t know if Trump’s speech was dark and dismal or if it said exactly what the average voter is wanting to hear.

All I know is that the good old gentlemanly conservatism that I have adhered to since my introduction to Hayek and Mises 40 years ago is dead.

Clue One is Jonah Goldberg driving from Cleveland to Maine to join his wife and daughter.

So last night after driving for five or so hours to flee the Cleve, I was pretty tired. I penned a down payment on a downright downbeat G-File. I hadn’t slept much the previous week -- I made my share of mistakes by the lake -- and I was in a foul mood.

Jonah Goldberg is a great guy, and his Liberal Fascism is a magnificent takedown of liberals and everything they stand for. But today he is shivering in a lifeboat watching the conservative Titanic slip beneath the waves.

What went wrong? I’d say that the fatal flaw was that the conservative movement couldn’t transform itself from a debating club into a militant movement to take the fight to the liberals.

Mencius Moldbug had it exactly right. The universities and the media are the Cathedral, the Democratic Party is the Inner Party that gets to rule when in power and the Republican Party is the Outer Party that gets to govern when in office. The Outer Party is never going to take the fight to the Inner Party.

Years ago I picked up from a woman the simple notion that Government is Force: it is not kindly librarians helping people. Since then I’ve proposed that politics is division, because every election attempts to split the electorate, and system is domination, as in every administrative government program. Now, after a looking into the liberal activism culture I’ve decided that politics is violence, for that is what every “peaceful protest” threatens if its non-negotiable demands are not met.

Finally, government is injustice. It must be so, because every government program takes money from people by force and hands it out to the government’s supporters. By “supporters” I don’t just mean community organizers, but people like me: Social Security and Medicare recipients.

Of course, liberals don’t think that their rule of the experts is injustice. Not at all. They listen to NPR and read the New York Times and comfortably know that they are bending the arc of history towards justice. You would think that too if you were a comfortably tenured member of the ruling class.

But government is force, and government is injustice, so any ruling class is likely to provoke unrest and unhappiness among the people. The point of all the checks and balances and separation of powers and bills of rights is to limit the damage the ruling class can do.

So if the ruling class had a lick of sense it would listen to the opposition. It would compromise with the opposition instead of passing ObamaCare without a single Republican vote.

Only it doesn’t. Instead liberals corrupt the election process, they want to cut back the First Amendment, and they force their opponents into silence with their accusations of “hate” and racism, sexism, and homophobia. Sad.

I say that this is a huge strategic mistake. It makes the voters angry. And that is why the voters are looking for a president to smash things up after seven years of a president that thinks politics is all about activism and organizing.

Of course, it’s not just gentlemanly conservatives that have suffered under the liberal yoke. Others have suffered more. The white working class is dying from despair after half a century of liberal injustice. Black Lives Matter aside, African Americans have surely suffered a cultural tsunami from government programs designed to “help” them. The millennial kids are suffering under the college loans that crank up college fees and help hire more diversity administrators, and mom-and-pop savers are getting near-zero interest on their life savings so that the government can keep the deficit down. And how about the Asian quota at the nation’s selective colleges?

All because liberals don’t get that every time you start some wonderful program to bend the arc of history towards justice you stick it in someone’s eye. Because government is force. And very often you hurt the very people you are trying to help. Because force is a very blunt instrument.

Still, it’s a shame that gentlemanly conservatism is finished; it was worthy and noble, as far as it went. As always, liberals will learn to love it once they get to experience the Trump replacement -- right in the solar plexus.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

Look, I don’t know if the Republican National Convention was a shambles or a cunning trick. I don’t know if Ted Cruz is a genius or a cad. I don’t know if Trump’s speech was dark and dismal or if it said exactly what the average voter is wanting to hear.

All I know is that the good old gentlemanly conservatism that I have adhered to since my introduction to Hayek and Mises 40 years ago is dead.

Clue One is Jonah Goldberg driving from Cleveland to Maine to join his wife and daughter.

So last night after driving for five or so hours to flee the Cleve, I was pretty tired. I penned a down payment on a downright downbeat G-File. I hadn’t slept much the previous week -- I made my share of mistakes by the lake -- and I was in a foul mood.

Jonah Goldberg is a great guy, and his Liberal Fascism is a magnificent takedown of liberals and everything they stand for. But today he is shivering in a lifeboat watching the conservative Titanic slip beneath the waves.

What went wrong? I’d say that the fatal flaw was that the conservative movement couldn’t transform itself from a debating club into a militant movement to take the fight to the liberals.

Mencius Moldbug had it exactly right. The universities and the media are the Cathedral, the Democratic Party is the Inner Party that gets to rule when in power and the Republican Party is the Outer Party that gets to govern when in office. The Outer Party is never going to take the fight to the Inner Party.

Years ago I picked up from a woman the simple notion that Government is Force: it is not kindly librarians helping people. Since then I’ve proposed that politics is division, because every election attempts to split the electorate, and system is domination, as in every administrative government program. Now, after a looking into the liberal activism culture I’ve decided that politics is violence, for that is what every “peaceful protest” threatens if its non-negotiable demands are not met.

Finally, government is injustice. It must be so, because every government program takes money from people by force and hands it out to the government’s supporters. By “supporters” I don’t just mean community organizers, but people like me: Social Security and Medicare recipients.

Of course, liberals don’t think that their rule of the experts is injustice. Not at all. They listen to NPR and read the New York Times and comfortably know that they are bending the arc of history towards justice. You would think that too if you were a comfortably tenured member of the ruling class.

But government is force, and government is injustice, so any ruling class is likely to provoke unrest and unhappiness among the people. The point of all the checks and balances and separation of powers and bills of rights is to limit the damage the ruling class can do.

So if the ruling class had a lick of sense it would listen to the opposition. It would compromise with the opposition instead of passing ObamaCare without a single Republican vote.

Only it doesn’t. Instead liberals corrupt the election process, they want to cut back the First Amendment, and they force their opponents into silence with their accusations of “hate” and racism, sexism, and homophobia. Sad.

I say that this is a huge strategic mistake. It makes the voters angry. And that is why the voters are looking for a president to smash things up after seven years of a president that thinks politics is all about activism and organizing.

Of course, it’s not just gentlemanly conservatives that have suffered under the liberal yoke. Others have suffered more. The white working class is dying from despair after half a century of liberal injustice. Black Lives Matter aside, African Americans have surely suffered a cultural tsunami from government programs designed to “help” them. The millennial kids are suffering under the college loans that crank up college fees and help hire more diversity administrators, and mom-and-pop savers are getting near-zero interest on their life savings so that the government can keep the deficit down. And how about the Asian quota at the nation’s selective colleges?

All because liberals don’t get that every time you start some wonderful program to bend the arc of history towards justice you stick it in someone’s eye. Because government is force. And very often you hurt the very people you are trying to help. Because force is a very blunt instrument.

Still, it’s a shame that gentlemanly conservatism is finished; it was worthy and noble, as far as it went. As always, liberals will learn to love it once they get to experience the Trump replacement -- right in the solar plexus.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.