October 5, 2018
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
The Fatal Weakness of the Kavanaugh’s Conservative Supporters
Yesterday while riding in the car to meet some former co-workers for lunch, I happened to catch a bit of the Glenn Beck radio program.
That, probably, was my first mistake, but I made myself listen nevertheless. Beck, of course, was a virulent Never Trumper who seldom missed an opportunity to malign and attack candidate Trump during the 2016 election season. Of course, like many—but certainly not all—Never Trumpers he has slightly modified his take since November 2016, going so far as to state that he has been “favorably surprised, even shocked” by the “conservative things” President Trump has accomplished in two short years.
Yet, recently, while absent from the microphone he invited that motor-mouthed windbag Ben Shapiro—a “big boy” wannabe, greasy pole climber in the “conservative movement”—to substitute host for him. “Little Ben” is another reformed Never Trumper who, despite his similar “surprise” and satisfaction with some of the president’s first two years, managed to find plenty of negatives things to say about Donald Trump.
And as I reflected and recalled what both Shapiro and Beck had uttered, about their criticisms, which centered on Trump’s style, his demeanor, his refusal to go along with the conservative “establishment,” and his opposition to the infectious globalism that has ruled the Western world since the end of World War II, incarnated in such creaky worn-out frameworks as NATO and, more ominously, in the EU, or in such trade deals as NAFTA—as I vividly remembered all that, my thoughts turned again to the Kavanaugh nomination and the increasingly apparent reality that those frenzied and unhinged voices opposing him—the “#MeToo movement, the Democrats, academia and Hollywood, and the media—know exactly what they are doing. They have a carefully thought-out and choreographed strategy, and a fanatical no-holds-barred, no tactic excluded determination to pursue it, even if it should completely destroy whatever is left of the constitutional rights once guaranteed to us and inflict untold damage and hurt on innocent lives in the process.
No matter…just collateral damage.
But there was Glenn Beck, wringing his hands and wailing in “alta voz” that he supported the #MeToo movement and feminism, but, “it has now gone too far.” And in that he vividly symbolized the decadent and corrupt state of what passes for contemporary conservatism today, that is, establishment conservatism.
Ever notice on Fox News during the past few weeks that, save for Tucker Carlson on a few occasions, each time a defender of Kavanaugh is brought out to be interviewed or a Fox reporterette regales us with news, there is always a certain defensiveness? It’s like: “Hey, I REALLY do like feminism, and I REALLY favor ‘women’s liberation’ and complete equality,” but then follows the caveat: “But this has now gone too far.”
Those First Generation feminists and their male enablers tore down the “barriers” which supposedly—they tell us—“restrained” them or “hindered” their freedom and advancement. But what they in fact actually did was demolish those natural and time-tested arrangements and that Divinely-inspired order that had served to both protect them from the brutish aspects of the modern world and insure their God-given dignity and honor as mothers, wives, and governesses of Western civilization.
Once successful in that initial demolition, the floodgates were open. Just like the dedicated French Revolutionaries—or the Bolsheviks in Russia in October 1917—the logic of inevitable radical change, once implanted and in place, knew no limitations and had its own logic.
The French Royalist journalist, Jacques Mallet du Pan (d. 1800), watching the progress of the French Revolution, coined the phrase, “the Revolution devours its children” [“] in 1793 at the height of the Terror. That is, once begun the incendiary fire and violence of revolution gains its own momentum, and those early “moderates” (such as the Girondistes in France) are soon bypassed by the rage and fervor and passion of the more exalted and more enraged (the “enragees”). And in the end their cries to halt at so-called “moderate reform” are drowned out and their voices silenced—and in France it was on the guillotine that they paid the price for their moderation.
The Strange and Ahistorical Objections of Cultural ‘Moderates’
By Paul Gottfried| October 3rd, 2018
The radio talk show celebrity Tammy Bruce was on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program last week, where she uttered some puzzling comments about what Senate Democrats had done to Judge Brett Kavanaugh earlier in the day. First let me say that I totally agree with Bruce’s expressions of outrage about how the judge has been treated. Like her, I am shocked by the tricks and smears Democrats have used to derail his nomination. I myself almost gagged on September 28 when the Democrats, who voted unanimously against Kavanaugh’s nomination after tarring his reputation with unsubstantiated charges of sexual assault, called for yet another FBI investigation. This would take place in order “for the process to go forth,” a process that Senate Democrats have already shamelessly disgraced and which would end with their near unanimous rejection of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination on the Senate floor. Never have I witnessed such over-the-top hypocrisy combined with partisan malice.
Bruce was justified in calling this situation to our attention and did so with her customary enthusiasm. Whereupon she said something else that seemed even more noteworthy. She thundered against the Senate Democrats, especially those women among them, for setting back everything she had worked for since the 1980s. It seems these reactionary figures were trying to take us back to the past, which presumably was dark and unjust.
Carlson effusively agreed as soon as his guest expressed this thought. As points of information, it should be mentioned that Tammy Bruce is a self-identified lesbian who spent much of her adult life as a feminist activist. De gustibus non disputandum est, as the Romans said. Yet it’s astonishing to hear what Bruce had to say about Kamala Harris, Dianne Feinstein, Kirsten Gillibrand, and their fellow-feminist politicians driving us back into the past. As a social traditionalist, I wouldn’t exactly be booing these ladies if they tried.
Bruce’s statements, which she has since repeated, made me wonder about her ascribed “conservative” identity. According to her narrative, America in the 1960s and 1970s was still a relatively backward country because women weren’t “taken seriously” and because gay lifestyles were still taboo. On her own telling, Bruce devoted most of her adult life to changing that situation, and now she’s unhappy with the efforts made by current feminists and the Democratic Party to carry her ideals beyond where she wanted to take them.
But there’s no reason to assume that the targets of her attack are bringing us back to an earlier age.
As someone who grew up in the 1950s, I haven’t noticed Senators Feinstein and Harris calling for a return to the post-World War II America in which I spent my youth. What Bruce fears is that the radical social change achieved by a previous generation of leftists, including herself, may be endangered. A Thermidorian Reaction may set in, the way the French Revolution once having reached its Jacobin excesses in 1794, took a turn toward what was then the political center. In a similar way, Senate Democrats and the culturally leftist media are thought to be going too far in their destructive activities, and so a popular reaction could undo the accomplishments that Tammy Bruce and her friends are now celebrating.
My other thought in listening to these comments is that it’s silly to believe the historical process stops exactly where certain progressives hope to have it stop. This is my problem with media conservatives who jumped off the train of progress just a bit before their erstwhile friends. Thus “second-wave feminists” complain that their “sisters” are misrepresenting what they all once fought for. But why should the more radical sisters stop their reconstruction of gender relations and social attitudes because the less daring don’t want to push matters any further? Why shouldn’t Third- or Fourth Wave feminists continue to work to move us away from what they see as an unjust past? There’s also the question of power that’s already been given away. Once government agencies are created to fight “discrimination” and are allowed to expand their control, the process assumes a momentum of its own.
This reminds me of the concept of a “derailed socialist revolution” first put forth by Leon Trotsky, Josef Stalin’s losing competitor in the power struggle in Soviet Russia after Vladimir Lenin’s death. According to this theory and its later variants, Lenin carried out a true socialist revolution, but then after his unexpected death, a bureaucratized Soviet government emerged and chose as its leader a brutal administrator, Joseph Stalin. Until then, however, the revolution was moving along just fine. What is conveniently left out of this account is one crucial detail, namely, that Lenin and Trotsky even before Stalin took power threw their opponents into gulags and committed mass murder. Despite these factual omissions, Trotsky’s legend does furnish a long-lived myth about the good revolution that went bad. Like Tammy Bruce’s view of recent history, this archetypal legend places evil in the pre-revolutionary past, so that any attempt to deviate from the speaker’s notion of what the revolution should be becomes a leap back into the bad old times.
I certainly understand why the Left believes such things. But why do “moderate” cultural revolutionaries whom the revolution predictably passed by speak for the current Right?
About the Author: Paul Gottfried
Paul Edward Gottfried is an American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist. He is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.