You have to wonder what’s going on with the official conservative movement when one of its leading figures includes homosexual prison rape in a commencement address to a graduating class of a conservative, Christian high school, and when another uses the same metaphor to exalt the results of the US invasion of a third-world country.
Lew himself called attention to Jonah Goldberg’s commencement address this year at Hillsdale Academy, in which Jonah regaled his captive audience, along with his awkward misunderstanding of the visual metaphor of the slippery slope and aphorisms detailing the importance of justice and individual rights, with these plums of ‘conservative’ wisdom:
I hear that Princeton moral and legal political philosopher Robert P. George spoke at the Hillsdale College graduation. That’s great. Dr. George is a brilliant man.
He taught me a great deal when we were in prison together. He taught me:
- How to chill pruno in the toilet bowl.
- How to make, and conceal, a shiv.
- He was even the one who taught me that if you let another man steal the apple brown betty off your cafeteria lunch tray it means you’re engaged.
That’s a very important lesson.
I mention Dr. George because I thought it might be fun to beat Mr. Philosopher Man at his own game and hence make the college kids green with envy. So, I do hereby solemnly swear to make more off-color prison jokes than he did in his address.
As some of you may know, I’m a conservative and proud of it. I spend quite a bit of time encouraging young people like you to become conservative or to be true to their conservative principles. But since you went to school in the shadow of what many liberals consider to be a leading madrassa of the Vast-Right-Wing Conspiracy, maybe it would be better to put ideology aside.
First, don’t ever date anybody in your dorm for at least the first semester. It won’t work out and it will make your life really complicated.
Second, don’t buy a mini-fridge until you’re sure your roommate hasn’t got one.
While not someone I regard as a particularly robust thinker, I can’t imagine NR’s old court thinker Russell Kirk giving “advice” quite like these “humorous” examples offered up by Jonah. I stopped reading NR sometime in the mid-nineties, and only years later discovered how much it, and I, had changed since then.
Besides his class clown humor, Jonah Goldberg is another example of a trend imported from the totalitarian Left, although thankfully, not present in his address cited above. Jonah, as well as the far more egregious example of David Frum, and others in the neoconservative movement, trot out without apparent hesitation the old smear tactic of the left of impugning the motives and character of critics of their writing by accusing them of anti-Semitism, and of using neoconservative as a euphemism for Jew, though neocon godfather Irving Kristol popularized the word in many books and articles. Conservatives used to complain about the Left’s smearing of conservatives and conservative ideas as anti-Semitic, even as fascist. Now, it is the Right that uses this line of attack, for the simple reason that it is expedient, rather than profound, and is designed not to illuminate, but rather in the Orwellian fashion of abusing the language, to intimidate and silence inquiry and criticism. It's a sad day when the American Right acts as the thought police.
More evidence of the collapse of American conservatism was highlighted on the LRC blog where Professor Ralph Raico called attention to Ann Coulter’s recent little chat. Professor Raico recounted the scene:
“On June 3, the columnist Ann Coulter addressed a Republican women's club in Jacksonville, Florida (see Anthony Gancarski, "An Evening with Ann Coulter"). In the course of her diatribe … Coulter proclaimed that the Middle East is now ‘George Bush's bitch.’ ‘Bitch’ in this sense is prison talk for the victim of homosexual rape. There are probably some who get a frisson from hearing a woman speak in this over the top, disgusting way. But, aside from that, wasn't the idea to bring ‘democracy’ to Iraq and the rest of the Middle East? How? By treating the whole of the region and tens of millions of Arabs as the personal ‘bitch’ of the White House Half-Wit-in-Chief? And speaking of this particular ‘bitch,’ … Republican ‘dignitaries’ paid up to $75 a piece to listen to her spout this stuff. Welcome to the citadel of freedom and civilization, ‘conservative’ America in the year 2003.”
How generous of Ms. Coulter last known for describing Messrs. Goldberg and company as "girly boys" to let us in on the obvious, which is, the “liberation” of Iraq is, as Professor Raico pointed out, a semantic fraud, as all Iraqis now, as before, live under an absolute military dictatorship. George W. Bush is the latest dictator of Iraq, the Arab socialist Ba’ath Party has been supplanted by the military socialism of Bush’s own war party, and Saddam’s Republican Guard has been replaced by the Republican Party’s bodyguard of lies.
Once upon a time, conservatives praised the dreary era of the 50s and Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best. Now their cultural role models might be the welfare state’s urban war zones and prisons. Somehow, the thought intrudes that the “culture” inside prisons or the urban blight created by the welfare state is not the civilization that conservatives are supposed to be defending.
What the neocons like Coulter, Goldberg, and the rest fail to see, is that assault may be an appropriate metaphor for what their fellow statists have done to Americans over the decades. And neoconservatives continue the job. Thanks to the work of deception and smear from the likes of Ann Coulter, Jonah Goldberg, and their power mad clones throughout politics and the media, we all are victims now. Of the warfare state and the welfare state. And of the central planners who now reside so comfortably within the pages of National Review and the other print and broadcast outlets of the official conservative movement who, instead of working to restrain the state’s voracious appetite for destruction, tirelessly urge it onwards with flippant comments about flooding cities, drowning millions, and obliterating Mecca with a US nuclear attack.
They and the Left represent a criminal attack. They reduce the citizen and the middle class as a whole into a statist hierarchy of humiliation and subjugation; of domination of the strong over the weak. Conservatives once would have been embarrassed at the disparity of power demonstrated by the easy conquest of a poor, weak country by the greatest military empire in history, and questioned the claims of what just occurred. The neocons and the other state apologists, on the other hand, revel in the demonstration of power. In any fight, they cheer on the bully.
The Associated Press recently published an early calculation of civilians killed by the invasion of Iraq based on records from 60 of Iraq’s 124 hospitals. At least 3,240 people were killed, including 1,896 in Baghdad alone.
Maybe among these Iraqi’s murdered by the connivance of conservatives the likes of Jonah Goldberg and Ann Coulter, was the future Arab Thomas Jefferson the neocons claim to desire. We’ll never know. We do know they were children of God.
The official conservative movement has degenerated into a gang of thugs. They revel in death and destruction, drifting along towards nihilism in their convoluted defence of the legitimacy of the neocon program of total and perpetual domestic and foreign war.
Paleolibertarians realize that the greatest threat to the principles of the West, and especially the social achievements of the West, is that monster that entrances the Left and neoconservatives with its myths and lies, the state itself. Its wars, its taxation and welfare statism, and its corruption of language, and of people.
June 16, 2003