conservatives and history

It is a curious fact that conservatives (I mean mainstream political conservatives rather than social conservatives) have never conserved anything and have never seriously tried to do so. The explanation is of course that mainstream conservatives are in fact liberals. Their entire worldview is liberal to the core. But how is it that these conservatives have never been troubled by the contradictions inherent in being liberals who call themselves conservatives?

Perhaps part of the explanation is the Whig view of history which has reigned unchallenged (particularly in the Anglosphere) for centuries. The Whig view of history is that the whole of history is an inevitable progression towards the Promised Land in which society will be organised entirely upon pure liberal lines. Its only challenger has been Marxist history but the Marxist approach to history is merely a variation on the Whig approach. To Marxist historians the endpoint of history is a society organised upon pure Marxist lines but the process is identical. History is inevitable, history is progressive, the trend is always towards a better and more virtuous world, change is good because change is always for the better (because old things and old ways are always bad), the good guys (the liberals) always triumph in the end.

In other times and places quite different views of history have prevailed. Cyclical views of history seemed to have predominated in the ancient world and in the East. The Christian view of history, that it is the unfolding of God’s plan, was at one time immensely influential. For the past couple of hundred years cyclical views of history have been very much on the fringe whilst the Christian view of history is now held only by extremist Christian heretics such as dispensationalists. Mainstream Christians accept the fundamentally anti-Christian Whig view of history.

It’s inherent in the Whig view that everything that happens in history will always turn out in the long run to be liberal and progressive and good and in accordance with Whig principles, because it’s in the very nature of history that liberalism must be the winning side. Liberalism is on the right side of history.

So naturally the outcome of historical conflicts, whether military or political, must tend to contribute to the defeat of those on the Wrong Side Of History. This means that the winners of any military or political conflict must be the good guys. Conservatives tend to believe this, and in fact most of us believe it because for several centuries we have been thoroughly indoctrinated in the Whig approach to history. It’s interesting that this even applies to obviously disastrous wars like the First World War. No matter how appalled we may be by that exercise in butchery most of us still feel that somehow the Germans must have been the bad guys, simply because they lost.  The fact that they lost is enough to prove that they were in the wrong.

This is an attitude that is unconsciously adhered to by most people in the Anglosphere. Victory in war is proof that one is on the Right Side of History. Mainstream conservatives do not question this because to do so would be to question the rightness and the inevitable triumph of liberalism.

This also applies to victory in political struggles. While it may seem obvious that the Sexual Revolution that began in the 60s was a catastrophe in every way and is something that needs to be undone if society is to survive very very few mainstream conservatives would dare to think such a thing, much less say it. It’s the same with the triumphs of feminism and the homosexual lobby. Mainstream conservatives are unwilling to adopt a radically critical stance towards such matters because the very fact that those who pushed the Sexual Revolution and feminism and the homosexual agenda succeeded proves that they were on the Right Side of History. Clearly those cataclysmic social changes were Meant To Be.

The irony is that conservatives end up being totally opposed to the idea of conserving anything because the only way to be on the Right Side of History is to be favour of constant change.


socially conservative arguments shock conservatives

One thing I’ve been noticing lately is that if you make a genuine socially conservative argument then most self-identified conservatives will be shocked and upset. Our society has gone so far down the liberal rabbit-hole that most conservatives have long since abandoned actual conservatism and adopted liberalism.

As an example, try making a socially conservative argument on the subject of parental authority. My view is that young people are inherently foolish, impulsive and irresponsible. They’re supposed to be. That’s what young people do. That’s why, in a sane society, parents have a high degree of authority over their children. And when I say children I mean anyone under the age of 21. The idea that an 18-year-old is a mature adult capable of taking responsibility is pure fantasy.

And it is ludicrous to think that a young person is capable of making a responsible decision on the subject of marriage. They will choose a prospective spouse on the basis of lust or, even worse, emotion. Which is why I argued recently (in another place) for arranged marriages. I’m not talking about forced marriages. I’m talking about a return to practices that were quite common in the West in the past (certainly in mediaeval times but to a certain extent such practices survived until recent times). Young people would be encouraged to marry someone chosen by their parents as a suitable partner. They were not compelled to marry the person. If they chose not to their parents could always look for another suitable candidate.

At the very least it was still assumed until quite recently that parents should have the right to veto an obviously unsuitable match.

It’s basically common sense. Marriage is a serious business and choosing a husband or wife requires calm judgment. Young people are very poor at calm judgment. Parents can be assumed to have better judgment based on greater experience of life so if they are involved in such decisions the decisions are less likely to turn out disastrously.

Common sense perhaps, but make that argument and so-called conservatives will start getting very nervous.

who are these conservatives of whom you speak?

When it comes to politics labels are crucially important. They’re important because they’re nearly always false or misleading, often deliberately so.

Let’s take the conservative label. There are lots of people who attach this label to themselves. In fact practically all of those who do so are in fact liberals. There are very easy ways to tell if a person is conservative or not. If he says he believes in the individual and in individual rights then he’s a liberal. If he says he believes in freedom he’s a liberal. Those are the defining characteristics of liberalism.

There are lots of people who will describe themselves as being fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Such people are liberals. The economic policies that these people describe as being conservative are in fact pure liberalism. These people are right-wing liberals, the very worst kind of liberal.

Those who would describe themselves as being liberal rather than conservative on economic policy are usually socialists. If you combine those economic views with socially liberal views then you’re a left-wing liberal. There’s only one problem with being a left-wing liberal – liberal social policies will eventually destroy any society and create chaos and socialism requires social order.

Being a social conservative is a radically different thing from being a political conservative. For some strange reason it seems to be assumed these days that social conservatives will be right-wing and will therefore support conservative economic policies (which are in reality as we have seen liberal economic policies). There’s no reason why this connection should exist. It used to be quite common to be an economic leftist (which is a very different thing to being an economic liberal). There used to be no problem with being a socialist and being a social conservative. In fact it made a lot of sense. If you were a socialist and you cared about the working class and you had a brain you’d pretty quickly work out that social liberalism is a catastrophe for working-class people.

The reason there are very few socially conservative socialists today is that there are virtually no socialists. Those who pretend to be socialists these days usually turn out to be liberals who pursue economic policies that favour the rich.

But there’s no particular reason why a person today can’t be a socially conservative socialist. Since I’m opposed to immigration and I’m socially ultra-conservative most people today would label me as being far right. Which makes no sense at all to me since I see my opposition to open borders and my social conservatism as being solid left-wing virtues.

stability and order vs dynamism and progress

There are many different axes which can be used to describe political positions. There’s free market vs central planning, libertarian vs authoritarian, globalist vs nationalist. The one that doesn’t get considered so much, but which seems to me to be the most important of all, is that I would call the stability/dynamism axis.

This is more than just a political alignment. Where a person falls on this axis has much to do with both personal psychology and cultural traditions.

Some cultures have always seen stability and order as being the most important objectives  of government. China for most of its history is an obvious example, Ancient Egypt being another. Other cultures have seen stability as a weakness. They have valued change, dynamism, expansion, growth and what they like to call progress.

Western society since the Reformation has been a spectacular example of a culture that has chosen dynamism at the expense of stability. Whether this is actually an inherent feature of western culture is debatable. Western Europe during the Middle Ages certainly seemed to put a fairly high value on stability.

Obviously some individuals are also psychologically more inclined to favour either stability or dynamism.

Overall though western culture has become so focused on the supposed advantages of progress that it is difficult to find any mainstream political party in any western country that genuinely stands for stability and order. Self-described conservative parties are in reality, almost without exception, liberal parties that fetishise growth and progress. One of the few institutions that truly stood on the side of stability was the Catholic Church. Since Vatican II even the Catholic Church has tended more and more to favour the liberal concept of progress. Christianity in general has become, if anything, a destabilising force in the West.

The fact that those countries that were formerly part of the communist bloc are now more socially conservative and less inclined to make a fetish of progress seems puzzling at first. The usual explanation offered is that the citizens of those nations were so horrified by their experience of communism that they reacted by becoming ardent conservatives. That’s probably partly true. It is however worth considering a curious fact about communism in practice. Once a communist revolution succeeds the revolutionaries themselves tend to become very suspicious of change. They start to focus on preserving the revolution. They start to put a very high value on stability and order.

It is of course difficult to reconcile stability and order with democracy. Democracies quickly become obsessed by the idea of change for the sake of change. Democratic governments want to to be seen as doing something and doing something invariably means changing things, and changing things invariably undermines stability and order.

I have to say that I’m basically a stability and order kind of guy. Society is a fragile thing. If you try to change society the odds are very high that you will end up changing it for the worse. It doesn’t matter how good your intentions are. Not only are changes more likely to be harmful than beneficial, they also tend to make society even more fragile, so the next time you try to change things the risks will be even greater.

Since I favour stability and order it’s not surprising that the one political ideology that really terrifies me is liberal democracy. It’s probably also not surprising that I take a jaundiced view of free markets. Liberal democracy combined with free markets seems to me to be a guaranteed recipe for long term chaos. My inclination is to support any political ideology that stands for stability and order. I guess I’m just a natural reactionary.

Christianity and capitalism

Of all the enemies that have combined to bring about the downfall of Christianity in the West none has been more deadly or more relentless than capitalism. The fact is that it is impossible to imagine two systems more completely incompatible than Christianity and capitalism.

Capitalism is the most thoroughly materialistic ideology that can be conceived of. Capitalism is interested only in things that can be objectively measured, and in the capitalist system there is only one standard of measurement – money. More money is good. Less money is bad. This standard applies to people as well as things. A person’s success in life is measured by how much money he has. Nothing else is relevant.

The incompatibility between Christianity and capitalism should have been obvious from the start. And it was obvious to some Christians. Unfortunately most Christians chose to shut their eyes to the contradictions. Even worse, many American Christians convinced themselves that capitalism was Christian. This is why American Christianity has failed so spectacularly. American Christians have embraced an ideology that was always inevitably going to destroy them.

There is no room for morality in capitalism. You can’t measure morality in monetary terms so therefore morality has no validity. More seriously, morality interferes with profits. Profits are good. Therefore morality is bad.

The big mistake Christians (especially in the US) made in the culture wars was to think that they could fight moral issues as individual battles. They focused on specific attacks on Christian morality, such as abortion and homosexuality. They were certainly correct in seeing abortion and homosexuality as evils, but they failed to see the big picture. They failed to see that they weren’t dealing with isolated attacks on Christian sexual morality. They were dealing with a system, capitalism, that was hostile to all Christian morality and all Christian values. And they were dealing with a system that was not going to compromise. This became (or should have become) clear with the emergence of globalist capitalism. The globalist capitalists intended to remove every obstacle in their path.

A major potential obstacle was Christianity. The idea that money is the measure of the good was obviously in pretty serious conflict with Christian teachings. The idea that the only motivations anyone should have were the accumulation and spending of money was not exactly in harmony with Christianity.

Global capitalists today are intensely hostile to Christianity but even without this overt hostility capitalism would still have the effect of undermining and eventually destroying Christianity. It’s simply in the nature of capitalism.

American Christians made another catastrophic mistake. Back in the 50s they convinced themselves that the real enemy was communism. They became obsessed with the communist threat. This led them to a tragically mistaken conclusion. Since communism was bad, capitalism must be good. Since communism was ungodly, capitalism must be godly.

Communism was a threat, but it was never anywhere near as serious a threat as capitalism.

Christianity can survive under communism. Communists might not approve of Christianity but they have no absolute need to destroy it. It’s not really particularly incompatible with communism. On the other hand Christianity cannot survive under capitalism.

Unfortunately Christians have made yet another strategic error, getting distracted by the social justice nonsense. Again they’re wasting their energies and failing to see the big picture. They’re putting themselves in a no-win situation. If they oppose the SJWs they’ll be painted by the media as nasty meanies. If they support the SJWs they’ll simply look weak and pathetic, and showing weakness to SJWs is a fatal mistake. Christians should focus on the real enemy, the globalist capitalists. Defeat them and the social justice nonsense will simply evaporate.

winning with emotional arguments

I’ve been watching the culture wars with great interest for many years now. I’ve watched as social conservatives have lost every single battle. It’s been clearly obvious that the social conservative arguments are more sensible and more coherent but it hasn’t done them any good at all.
The mistake social conservatives have made is to think that if their arguments are true, and prudent, and properly thought-out, and logical that they will automatically prevail. It doesn’t work that way. The argument that will prevail is not the one based on truth and experience and common sense. The argument that will prevail is the one that is most emotionally satisfying.
This gets back to my post of a couple of days ago about emotional intelligence versus rational intelligence. If you want to get your message across to women you have to rely on emotion. But then that’s also true in the case of a very large proportion of men.
This is especially true in the case of political disputes, which tend to be complex. Arguments about social engineering and “social justice” are particularly complex because it’s necessary to weigh up not only the costs and benefits for the individual but also those for society as a whole, and to consider long-term as well as short-term effects, and to consider indirect as well as direct effects. This is all very complicated and confusing so most people will go for the argument that has been most skillfully presented and that feels true emotionally.
Social conservatives (and economic conservatives also) have had difficulty making their arguments emotionally attractive. The arguments of social radicals and SJWs sound wonderful on an emotional levels – they’re all about love, and caring and sharing, and equality and fairness. Their arguments are also progressive (we know their arguments are progressive because they keep telling that they are) and who doesn’t want to be seen as progressive?
There are two further factors that explain the dismal outcome of the culture wars to date. These are factors that can effectively cripple any political or social campaign. The first is to be made to look mean and nasty. The media has had extraordinary success in making conservatives appear to be a bunch of bad old meanies. In fact of course many economic conservatives really are mean and nasty and social conservatives have never realised that it would be wise to distance themselves a little from the economic conservatives. Portraying social conservatives as nasty hate-filled bigots has been an effective weapon used against us in the culture wars.
The second weakness of social conservatives has been just as deadly. Our enemies have consistently managed to make us look ridiculous. Mockery is one of the most potent of all political weapons.
So what can we do about all this? In truth, not much. It would have been nice if social conservatives had learnt to fight effectively 40 years ago but they didn’t. Now the SJWs have complete control of the megaphone. Even so, if we’re hoping to continue the fight we have to learn to fight to win. We need to find ways to make our arguments effective on an emotional level, and to avoid reliance on rational arguments which tend to make us look cold and heartless. 
It’s a losing strategy to oppose immigration on rational grounds. You’ll simply be portrayed as an evil racist, Literally Hitler in fact. You have to find ways to make immigration sound unfriendly and threatening and to make opposing immigration sound humane and enlightened. You can’t fight social issues on rational grounds because that makes you an evil misogynist. You have to find ways to make traditional values, like marriage and motherhood, sound emotionally appealing and to make the feminist obsession with careerism sound depressing and empty. You have to find ways to make heterosexuality (otherwise known as normal sexuality) seem exciting and appealing.
One thing the alt-right has realised is the importance of mockery. It’s been their biggest single contribution and it’s by no means negligible. The alt-right has also had some success in making the idea of being right-wing seem cool and glamorous. Social conservatives need to take note.
I have no idea whether the ideas I’ve suggested would work. But one thing I’m sure of. They couldn’t possibly fail more completely than the strategies used to date.

no enemies to the right?

One of the key choices you have to make if you’re going to aim to achieve anything by political means is whether you’re going to be inclusive or tightly focused. Are you going to adopt a variation on the slogan No Enemies To The Right? In other words a Big Tent approach. Or are you going to aim for some sort of ideological purity? Although personally I’d prefer to think of it as ideological focus rather than ideological purity.
The Left has historically had an easier time adopting a strategy of no enemies to the left. All leftists after all hoped to achieve some form of socialism even if some wanted to push ahead much faster and much more aggressively. And there was pretty general agreement that in order to achieve socialism the existing economic and political structure would have to be overturned. It wasn’t terribly difficult for leftists to adopt a fairly united front.
This was a major strategic advantage for the Left. 
There are those who feel that the Right should adopt the same strategy. I can see the advantages in strictly political terms but I really don’t see it working. The issues that divide the Right are not divisions that can be easily papered over. They’re kind of fundamental.
First of all it’s not at all clear what it even means to be on the Right. It could be argued that Left and Right no longer even exist but as far as most people are concerned if you’re opposed to globalism and the Social Justice agenda then you’re on the Right so for the sake of convenience we might as well accept that label.
So what are these fundamental divisions? 
First of all there’s religion. There are rightists who believe that our culture can only be saved by Christianity, albeit a much more traditional kind of Christianity to that practised by  the mainstream churches of today. There are other rightists who are militant atheists and despise Christianity. And then there are the rightists who consider Christianity to be a non-European import and who want to revive European paganism. The problem is that all three of these groups tend to hold their respective positions very very strongly indeed. And they do not get along well, to say the least.
Then there’s democracy. There are rightists who have an almost religious reverence for democracy. And there are rightists who think that it was democracy that got us into the mess we’re in now and who think that in the long-term some kind of authoritarianism is going to be necessary. These two groups do not play well together either.
There’s also the questions of race and nationalism, with substantial differences of opinion between adherents of the white nationalist position and those who believe that culture and not race is what matters. Most sane rightists agree that mass Third World immigration is a dumb idea but most mainstream conservatives are true believers in the open borders cult.
There’s also the question of capitalism. Many rightists are very enthusiastic about capitalism and free markets but others are much more sceptical. You can be a rightist and dislike capitalism just as much as you dislike socialism.
Then there’s the social conservative problem. There are those on the right who think that nothing matters except the immigration issue and that therefore we should embrace abortion, drugs, sexual degeneracy and feminism in order to appeal to moderates.
Yet another complication is provided by libertarians. Some libertarians claim to be on the Right, but they tend to hold views that most people on the Right would find to be rather disturbing.
My problem is that most of these divisive issues are issues that really matter to me. I can’t go along with acceptance of abortion, drugs, sexual degeneracy and feminism for the sake of short-term political advantage. You can’t fight evil by embracing evil. I can’t really compromise on religion – I just don’t think atheism is compatible with civilisation. I’m also very reluctant to embrace the free market fetish. Maybe I’m just not the kind of person who is good at compromising. Whether being uncompromising is a viable political strategy or not is a question I can’t answer. But compromising just doesn’t appeal to me.