Bret Stephens—stale, stuffy, irrelevant, and insufferable as is typical of his type—asks (and answers) the most meaningless question I can think of right offhand.
What is conservative?” columnist Bret Stephens asked in Tuesday’s New York Times.
Who the fuck cares? Also: who the fuck thinks there could ever be a worthwhile answer to be found in, of all places, the NYT, ferchrissakes?
“It is,” he posits, “above all, the conviction that abrupt and profound changes to established laws and common expectations are utterly destructive to respect for the law and the institutions established to uphold it — especially when those changes are instigatedgggggzzzzzzxxxsknxxxxzzzz…”
Night-night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs etc.
Stephens was responding to the broad conservative and Christian excitement that America’s extreme abortion regime might finally be struck down by the Supreme Court; but Stephens might as well have been writing about J.D. Vance’s hard-fought Tuesday night victory in Ohio’s Republican primary. Or Blake Master’s primary race to represent Arizona. Or Tucker Carlson’s intellectual ascendancy. Or the rise of a young and invigorated American New Right.
Stephens is wrong, of course. Conservatism isn’t remotely about process: It’s about traditional wisdom and values; it’s about conserving things of generational, transcendent value.
It means understanding that man is fallen, and society must protect families, workers, traditions, and, yes, the unborn from being wiped aside; oppressed from above.
It means conserving the truth — the truth about men and women, the truth about the unborn, the truth about human equality, and the necessary limits on government power.
That’s not to say there isn’t still an important place for process: In a civilization governed by prudent and benevolent institutions that buttress and strengthen traditional wisdom and values, process protects those cherished things from rapid change.
In a world governed by imprudent and vindictive institutions, however, that claw, gnash, and tear at traditional wisdom — that usurp traditional values — the “process” merely fools us into believing that what these institutions are doing is normal, when in reality it is profoundly abnormal.
I can’t honestly say I care all that deeply about “conservatism” anymore, if I ever truly did. What I DO care about is America as the Founders envisioned it. I care about the values codified in their Constitution, which I do believe remains far and away the most brilliant, visionary, and timeless document on what does and does not constitute a legitimate government of, by, and for a free people, along with the Declaration, the Federalist Papers, and the correspondence shared between several of the key figures most responsible for creating them.
I care about the fact that those men, those precious and incomparable documents, and the government they bequeathed to us have all for many decades been under relentless assault by vermin unfit to clean the privy stall of giants among men like, say, Washington, Jefferson or Adams with their own tongues. I care that these vermin have succeeded so wildly at besmirching so much that was good in the world, bringing Virtue to Her knees in the muck and mire. I care about stopping these vermin. I care about ridding this land of them, as near to permanently as may be. I care about punishing them, by the harshest and most extreme measures imaginable, pour encourager les autres.
I like JD Vance, and I do not give a tinker’s damn whether Bret Stephens and the rest of his ivory-tower ilk thinks he’s a “conservative” or not.
He’s a man who doesn’t “care if Google is a private company, because they have too much power; and if you want to have a country where people can live their lives freely, you have to be concerned about power — whether it’s concentrated in the government or concentrated in big corporations.”
He thinks our corporate overlords would happily satiate us with whirling gizmos and gadgets while capturing our culture and selling us out to China. This places him directly at odds with tired, established Republicanism, which would prefer to slander the ghost of Ronald Reagan while they simp for corporations that work to undermine our national economy, our traditions, our families, and even our children’s sexuality.
Vance is also a man who doesn’t “really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another,” and thinks “it’s ridiculous that we are focused on” their border over our own.
Far more than Ukraine, he cares “about the fact that in [his] community right now, the leading cause of death among 18- to 45-year-olds is Mexican fentanyl.” This places him directly at odds with all of established Washington, where $5 billion for our country’s border security is too much to ask, but politicians crow about sending six times that amount to defend the sacred territorial integrity of another’s.
Vance is a man who thinks, “If any of us want to do the things that we want to do for our country and for the people who live in it, we have to honestly and aggressively attack the universities in this country.”
“So much of what we want to accomplish,” he recognizes, is “…fundamentally dependent on going through a set of very hostile institutions, specifically the universities, which control the knowledge in our society, which control what we call truth and what we call falsity, that provides research that gives credibility to some of the most ridiculous ideas that exist in our country.”
This once again places him directly at odds with Washington, which every years sends billions in federal aid to colleges and universities, with nary a whimper of a fight.
More broadly, “Vance,” Harpers editor James Pogue writes, “believes that a well-educated and culturally liberal American elite has greatly benefited from globalization, the financialization of our economy, and the growing power of big tech.”
“This,” he continues, “has led an Ivy League intellectual and management class…to adopt a set of economic and cultural interests that directly oppose those of people in places like Middletown, Ohio, where he grew up.”
In other words, Vance knows what time it is.
It’s an excellent piece; you’ll want to read all of it, I assure you.