Life After Conservatism
ask the commoners
A liberal visitor asked me this morning about the five or so books that would help him understand conservatism. I replied to him that I’m past conservatism, that I experience liberalism and conservatism as over.
My line was that conservatism and liberalism are both Enlightenment era ideologies and for me they don't answer the present need to answer the old question of the meaning of life, the universe, everything today.
My line, of course, is that after Kant the universe changed and we have to think everything up again.
Strictly speaking of course, Marxism and Critical Theory are post-Kantian. If they are they have made a dog’s breakfast of Kant. But Marx’s biggest mash-up was to predict economic “immiseration” for the working class based on a clever analysis using classical economics five minutes before classical economics went obsolete in the marginal revolution of 1870. And also five minutes before it became obvious that something had changed on the economic front, and that after centuries of economic stasis the lower orders were thriving. Critical Theory — which is the whole point of Kant — has turned into a nonsense of oppression conspiracies, of which the most prominent is the Allyship narrative of the Allies helping the Oppressed Peoples against the White (and patriarchal) Oppressors. Guess what Allies: you are the educated class, you are the power elite, you get to set the rules around here, and you get to hand out bennies to big corportions and the underclass of dysfunctional people. Your White Oppressors, presumably, are the white middle class and working class. Which have the power to oppress whom and do what, exactly?
And conservatism? Is it the remains of Buckley “fusionism” conservatism at National Review or the argument of Natural Rights versus Natural Law indulged in by chaps like Michael Anton and Paul Gottfried? I don’t know and I don’t think it matters any more.
Our problem, I believe, is political. We have invested huge powers in government and the educated elite, to do what? To create a more just and prosperous world, I suppose. Well, if you understand the definition of politics developed by Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt, you believe that government, the sword of politics, can do nothing except fight wars and hand out money to its supporters. Government doesn’t go economic growth, business and workers do that. Government doesn’t do justice, only reparations. Government doesn’t protect people from economic harm; its policies and its wars create economic harm. Government doesn’t help the poor and oppressed. It just uses them as political weapons. Wow, what a coincidence, we had two world wars in the 20th century at the apogee of modern politics. And we grew the state from 10 percent of GDP in 1900 to 35-50 percent of GDP in 2000. And we blossomed the two biggest slave states in history.
The only question left is to decide who is to blame and get on to thinking about the next regime. I’d say that the educated class is to blame and the next regime should be staffed from the commoner middle class.
Your mileage may vary.