Friday, November 24, 2006

The empty soul of the conservative movement

The conservative civil war exists on many fronts: political, intellectual, religious, social. Here's a salvo from Austin W. Bramwell, former director of the conservative flagship National Review:
Until recently, it has been almost impossible for me to speak candidly
about the conservative movement, for it was my strange fate to serve as director and later trustee of the movement’s flagship journal, National Review. Earlier this year, at William F. Buckley’s request, I resigned both positions. I can therefore now declare what perhaps has oft been thought but never, at least not often enough, expressed. Notwithstanding conservatives’ belief that they, in contrast to their partisan opponents, have thought deeply about the challenges
facing the United States, it is they who have become unserious.
In short, the steps in the causal logic whereby Iraqi democracy defeats anti-American terrorism are so numerous and doubtful that it becomes impossible to believe that Bush’s supporters have ever actually thought them through. Those who wonder what error befell the conservative movement since Bush took office are asking the wrong question. Since 9/11, the conservative movement has not
made unsound or fallacious arguments for supporting Bush’s policies. Rather, it has made no arguments at all. T.S. Eliot once asked, “Are you alive or not? Is there nothing in your head?” The answer: “Nothing, again, nothing.”
Nice, but it would have been more useful to hear this before the war started.


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