Sunday, October 04, 2009

Has Modern Conservatism Become a Cult?

Has Modern Conservatism Become a Cult? » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog
The vast majority of the right subscribes to a form of libertarian populism inflected with social conservative attachments—an unholy hybrid of Ayn Rand, William Jennings Bryan, and Morton Downey, Jr.
This is a terrific article written by Joe Carter, formerly of the Evangelical Outpost. It encapsulates much of what has disaffected me from the conservative movement over the last several years, and what has made me rethink how exactly the Christian vision should be expressed in the social and political spheres. Check it out.

ht: JollyBlogger (David Wayne)


  1. Hi Keith,

    The point that I got from the article is that the current crop of neocons AREN'T really conservatives. These are the same bunch (David Frum of Nat'l Review) who publicly "read out" of the conservative movement people like Jerry Pournelle who opposed the Iraq war. Pournelle's Edmund Burke-based "paleoconservatism" (his term) understands that profit and power are not the be-all and end-all of life.

    In my mind, the followers of Rush, Coulter, Rand, etc. are a cult (much like the cult of Obama) but they are certainly not conservatives. As for what they may think of me, I don't care. They may equate Jesus with John Galt, but they are wrong. Gentlemen, I know Jesus; Jesus is a friend of mine; and gentlemen, John Galt is not Jesus (and neither is Rush, Obama, Palin, or Gore)

    I really don't mind being the underdog, and besides, I've got these five smooth stones...

    (extra points for the first one- other than Keith- to identify the quote I borrowed in paragraph 2 above)

    Grace and Peace, Dave Porter

  2. Well, Dave, I might be inclined to agree with you, but the thing is, words change meaning. The issue is "modern conservatism," which I take to mean, conservatism as it is understood by the majority of those who self-identify with that term at this point in time.

    We can argue that "modern conservatism" isn't "conservatism," just as the medieval Catholic church would have argued that Lutheranism wasn't Christianity, or the old Rockefeller wing of the Republican party could have argued that Ronald Reagan wasn't a true republican. It's kind of pointless to argue semantics.

    And your quote isn't really hard to identify, for those of us of, ahem, a certain age.

  3. From Dave Porter

    Hi Keith,

    If arguing semantics is pointless, then Quayle was the equal of Kennedy, and Palin's proximity to Russia did give her foreign policy points.

    If people who self identify as conservatives don't hold to traditional conservative beliefs, they ought to be told so. The medieval Catholic church would have to show, point by point, just how Lutheranism failed to meet the New Testament standard of Christianity--which they tried to do, of course, and failed. The Rockefellers would have to prove that they, rather than Reagan, were closer to Lincoln's intent for the GOP. If there is truly "nothing new under the sun," isn't everything about semantics?

    Love ya bro,Dave

  4. From Dave Porter

    Hi Keith,

    By the way, I may not have said so yet, but I'm glad to see you back here. I know that the political stuff isn't as near to either of our hearts as is Jesus, and I look forward to your future posts.


  5. Dave, I can't figure out what you were even trying to say about semantics. For my own part, I was merely pointing out that it's pointless for two people to square off against one another, each saying, "You're not the real conservative! I'm the real conservative!"

    You seem to be under the impression that words have a single, unchanging, clearly defined meaning, and that your own understanding of a word can be definitively applied to everyone. So you know what a "conservative" is, and everyone who deviates from that is not a conservative. Where that ends up is: "conservative" = "Dave Porter". Good luck with that.

    I don't care about the labels. The real issue is, what is it that conservatives want to conserve, and what is it that liberals want to liberate? And are these the same things that Jesus would want to conserve or liberate?

  6. From Dave Porter

    Hi Keith, I'm sorry if you misunderstood my post; I thought it was fairly clear, but perhaps not. I'm not going to argue the issue further, because our friendship means far more to me than politics.

    Besides, your last paragraph says all that needs to be said anyway. (at least, it does until people who disagree with you have a different definition of who Jesus is)

    Grace and Peace, Dave