Now, the Right was always just the dancing partner for American Progressivism. A great way of putting it is from Robert Louis Dabney, “American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition.” You’ll note that he wrote that over a century ago. What tends to lead people into dissident politics is the realization that the so-called conservatives are just body men for the people they claim to oppose. Their ideas are intended to enhance, rather than reject, the morality of the Left.
The reason the modern Right seems like a barren field with tumbleweed bouncing across it is that their dancing partner is now just a shuffling zombie. The Left has not generated a serious insight about modern society in over a generation. Their last big public policy idea was ObamaCare. Otherwise, it has been a series of bizarre gestures toward increasingly narrow fringe groups. They are the dog that caught the car. The Left has a free hand to do what they please in America and they have no idea what to do.
The result of this lack of ideas is that politics is now just a combination of money grubbing and hysterical public tantrums. The hilariously over-the-top reactions in the media to Trump’s meeting with Putin is a good example. None of these people can tell us why Putin is suddenly the devil. They don’t even try. Instead, they carry on like teenagers in a slasher film. They took turns trying to outdo the previous loon’s contrived outrage. It’s as if they are trying to scream the devil into existence, so they can have a reason to scream.
Much gets written about the impact of cosmopolitan globalism on the middle class and the cultural identity of western nations. It is assumed that the people doing this to us have a purpose, but in reality they are working on inertia. They don’t move forward toward a goal, rather, they just move forward because that’s what they do. The politicians are feckless airheads and their advisers are craven ninnies. Everything is a bust-out now, not because they are crooks, but because they can’t think of another reason to get up in the morning.
Oh, I don’t know about their not being crooks; after all, nothing says it can’t be both those things at once.
Update! Naturally, I had to take a look at the short Robert Louis Dabney article Zman mentions above, and…wow. It’s goddamned eerie, that’s what it is.
This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn.
From 1897, but could just as easily have been written this morning. And to think, it only took us well over a hundred years to see the flim-flam for what it was. Maybe in another century or two we’ll be fired up enough to do something about it, eh?