It’s All So Vague

Anne Applebaum writes in Twilight of Democracy of the feeling tone of her days working for the British Tory press – Tory here meaning conservative – a tone not quite of nostalgia for the days of empire but a belief that it was still possible for England to make the rules. England could make the rules in economics, trade and foreign policy if only the leaders would “take the bull by the horns, take the bit between their teeth, if only they would JUST DO IT.” [my caps]
It is all so vague. And that seems to be what conservatism is, a vague sense that things aren’t as they should be, that the wrong people are in charge. Yet there is no plan, only procedures. The procedures are to divest others of power leading eventually to authoritarianism. Every small town, county, village has its little lord running the show and Mr. Everyman’s only job is to be on his good side. So there. 

The scapegoat of European and American (all the Americas) conservatives has been Jews. Donald Trump said, “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day,” and yet his two closest aides are Jews, Kushner and Miller.
Liberals at least have a plan. It’s called social engineering, said with a sneer. Like The New Deal, like The Green New Deal, like Social Security and Medicare – those are all social engineering. The goal is to make life better for Americans. The conservatives have no goal except to keep everything the same. But that is not true either, as Cory Robins points out: there is no such thing as a conservative, only reactionaries, people reacting to changes they don’t like. 

There is something called a traditionalist, who, as Robins also points out, doesn’t think much about it. One conservative said conservatives don’t really do anything, they just sit and think and sometimes they just sit……. until the rabble march on the manor house or plantation with torches and pitchforks. Order to a conservative means the rabble doesn’t march. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *