Wednesday, October 15, 2008

He's Dead To Them Now

Wasn't it just a few months ago that conservatives were publicly mourning the death of their intellectual Godfather, William F. Buckley? He was a bit before my time, really, but I enjoyed their remembrances of the acerbic old gentleman.

I recently wrote about Christopher Buckley, his son, and his excoriation at the hands of his own party following his vote against McPalin. Now there's some dramz!

Call me crazy but it seems perfectly reasonable to me that folks who haven't fallen for the "Obama is secretly a terrorist!" meme might prefer him to McPalin for a host of logical reasons. And it certainly doesn't seem like Christopher is a rebellious youth looking to cast himself out of his father's shadow. So why the public stoning? And why would these people presume to know better than his son how his father would have judged his position? Nevermind... that was a rhetorical question.

My father in his day endorsed a number of liberal Democrats for high office, including Allard K. Lowenstein and Joe Lieberman. One of his closest friends on earth was John Kenneth Galbraith. In 1969, Pup wrote a widely-remarked upon column saying that it was time America had a black president. (I hasten to aver here that I did not endorse Senator Obama because he is black. Surely voting for someone on that basis is as racist as not voting for him for the same reason.)

My point, simply, is that William F. Buckley held to rigorous standards, and if those were met by members of the other side rather than by his own camp, he said as much. My father was also unpredictable, which tends to keep things fresh and lively and on-their-feet. He came out for legalization of drugs once he decided that the war on drugs was largely counterproductive. Hardly a conservative position. Finally, and hardly least, he was fun. God, he was fun. He liked to mix it up.

So, I have been effectively fatwahed (is that how you spell it?) by the conservative movement, and the magazine that my father founded must now distance itself from me. But then, conservatives have always had a bit of trouble with the concept of diversity. The GOP likes to say it’s a big-tent. Looks more like a yurt to me.

While I regret this development, I am not in mourning, for I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of “conservative” government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case.
Read the whole thing here.

Bill Bennet was on CNN this morning mocking the intellectuals (i.e. the ideologically principled) of his party for their dislike of Sarah Palin. He alternately praised the "regular folks" for their support of her. It really is like being in Upside-down-land these days, where conservatism now means exactly NOTHING. I have said repeatedly that, despite my differences with ideological conservatives, I can at least understand and respect most of their points. They're consistent, their thoughts are logical and linear, and their ideas have withstood the test of time. But these "regular folk" conservatives are all over the map... twisting their beliefs with every political meme and social / religious bias.

I feel sincerely sad about the demise of actual conservatism, not the least of which because I think liberalism needs a proper check. But this... this... thing masquerading as conservatism is scary to me... it's like fucking mob rule.

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