23 Jan 2009

Conservatism Isn’t Anti-Intellectual

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One of my classmates this morning was demanding that I explain why Conservatism has taken an anti-intellectual turn (Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber). I replied:

Conservatism isn’t anti-intellectual. Conservatism is anti a pseudo-intellectual community of fashion following the lead of the treasonous clerks who have hijacked the academic establishment. Why should it be surprising in this “the-great-professor-has-no-clothes” era, when the elite university class rushes to support drivelling nonsense like Global Warming catastrophism and Socialism, that the contrast between the educated fools and the wiser representative of ordinary Common Sense has become a standard cultural meme?

Elite education used to be aimed at producing leaders capable of rational and independent judgement, familiar with the broad sweep of Western culture, men of integrity willing to defend their civilization, their country, and the right. What our elite institutions have been producing for a very long time is a cadre of adequately glib functionaries, nominally acquainted with the standard cultural heights (from a Cliff notes, test taking perspective), opportunistic and calculating and conformist, with no fixed principles beyond sentimentality and a watchful eye constantly fixed on the decrees of the community of fashion. The older elite could be calculated to rebuke folly and resist popular enthusiams. The current elite only aspires to prominent positions near the front of the mob. Our generation grew up more spoiled and pampered than any generation in previous human history. We were favored with greater ease and opportunity than our parents and grandparents ever dreamed of, so, when we went to college, what did the overwhelming majority of our generation do? They rebelled against the terrible tyranny of middle-class American life, betrayed their country and their less-privileged contemporaries fighting and dying in the field to support… Communism. What an opportunity for dramaturgy and self-righteous poses the Vietnam War provided! Any snot-nosed, spotty-faced adolescent could get up on a soapbox and commence denouncing his country and its adult leadership from a supposedly morally-superior high horse and catch himself later in his glory on the 6 PM Evening News. And the generality of today’s American elite hasn’t changed one bit with age.

This is the American intellectual community, a tree hugging, Socialism-embracing, holier-than-thou, cause-loving, empty-headed collection of noisy poseurs and conformists. American Conservatism is simply a movement applying a critical gloss to the mass politics of the last century and attempting a serious defense of the traditional values of the European West and the principles on which the Government of the United States was founded. These days you have to be an extremist radical to argue that state and federal constitutions should be read to mean what they actually say, not interpreted so as to turn seasonal rain puddles into “navigable waterways” or equal protection before the law into a mandate to coerce your fellow citizens.

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