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Don’t Be A Conservative: Be a Reactionary

Blaire White is a man who pretends, or, worse, believes he is a woman. This sort of thing is not these days unusual.

The twist is that White says he is a “Transgender conservative commentator” (emphasis mine).

In line with what are often considered conservative views, White (according to Rational Wiki) says “‘transgenderism is a mental illness’ and that transitioning is ineffective for most people”, and that there can be a “cure for transgenderism”.

White insists there are “only two genders” and that forcing “transitioning” on children is abusive.

For these and other true remarks, White has been excoriated by the standard shrieking realityophobes.

On the other hand, White also insists that he should be called “she”.

Not too long ago, White was outside wearing a MAGA hat and was roughed up, he says, because of it. The details can be found here. Of the event, White tweeted,
“If you would have told me 2 years ago that it would be conservatives rallying behind me this week after woman called me a man on a show and I was assaulted on the street, I would NEVER have believed you.”

Some conservatives did rally to his support. These well-wishers recognized White was a conservative.

Our second anecdote is an article in the Washington Post in which Adam Falk, president of Williams College, argues the “real threat” to free speech on campus is not bloody-minded realityophobic stage-rushing violent progressives, but is instead “provocateurs”.

Falk writes that the Bell Curve’s Charles Murray is (among others) a “prominent conservative”. Among other liberal propositions, Murray supports the anti-reality position that two men can be married, going so far to lecture CPAC on the point. Murray’s cardinal sin is to deny Equality

One last anecdote. Do a search for the exact term “the conservative case for”, letting the search engine supply subject. On the first page alone, there is “the conservative case for SSM”, “universal health care”, etc., all articles written by pundits considered to be conservatives.

These representative stories starkly illustrate that the term conservative is dead.

As can be gleaned from examples like those above, not all, but a good many conservatives are persons who believe today what progressives believed yesterday. Conservatives of this stripe aren’t averse to following behind progressives in the Grand March forward, they only wish the pace wasn’t so quick.

The death of this word is why, if you believe Truth is a constant and cannot undergo revision, it is best to be a reactionary and not a conservative. If there is a better word for those who hold to and seek the timeless, I do not know it.

In a fascinating interview, well known historian John Lukacs answers a taken-aback progressive Bill Moyers:

JOHN LUKACS: I know. This is part of my very old-fashioned and reactionary sentiments.

BILL MOYERS: Reactionary? You’re not a reactionary.

JOHN LUKACS: Oh, I’m a reactionary, rather than a conservative. Yes.

BILL MOYERS: What’s the difference?

JOHN LUKACS: Well, especially now in this country, the conservatives are just extreme progressives, they really are not interested in conserving old liberties. They are interested in making the world or actually making the universe safe for democracy, their brand of democracy. And they are interested in development, Star Wars, they are saying they’re against big government but they’re very much in favor of big government and extreme application of the American military presence all around the world…

[Conservatives] believe that it is the destiny and the fate of the United States to impose its values and standards and to extend its interests over vast portions of the world.

BILL MOYERS: And what’s wrong with that?

JOHN LUKACS: Every nation has a particular destiny that is circumscribed by its history, by its geography, by its interests. This is not a cruel and realistic view. This involves a certain amount of humility, or at least a lack of presumption. As John Quincy Adams said, “We are friends of liberty all over the world, but we are not in search of monsters to destroy.”

BILL MOYERS: What’s your definition of a reactionary, which you call yourself?

JOHN LUKACS: A reactionary is somebody who thinks the clock has to be put back sometimes.

Alas, Adams’s position is in the grave next to conservative. The American State Department exists to seek out and destroy monsters.

10 thoughts on “Don’t Be A Conservative: Be a Reactionary Leave a comment

  1. American Conservatism pretty much passed when Bill Buckley (who 92nd birthday is today) faded from the scene and the monster-seeking Neo-Cons came into prominence along with the self-promoters who tried to appropriate the term. Buckley might have considered himself reactionary (“standing athwart history yelling ‘STOP!'”), but “reactionary” is relative to what it opposes, which could be conservatism, so it’s not a useful label when the zeitgeist changes and you stay the same.

  2. I have little doubt that, were Buckley around today, Briggs and his alt-right friends would be calling him a “cuck”. He did, after all, speak out against and help purge antisemitism from the conservative movement.

  3. Lee,

    Funny you mention that. Here is one of the biggest sources of “the conservative case for” arguments:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Awww.nationalreview.com+conservative+case+for&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS770US770&oq=site%3Awww.nationalreview.com+conservative+case+for

    On first page we have “conservative case for…” taxing carbon, transgender bathroom, animal welfare, universal coverage, immigration reform. I don’t have a high enough blood alcohol content to try second page.

  4. Lee,

    Doesn’t quite make up for their entire Never Trump issue. But, yes, my heart soars like a hawk. Drinks are on me!

  5. I had the benefit of taking my freshman history seminar with Dr. Lukacs, who was a visiting professor that year. There were seven of us in the class. He was one of the few who saw American conservativism as just another form of American progressivism. In this, he reminded one restrospectively of GKC (whose works I had not yet read) when he wrote regarding British liberals and tories: It is the function of liberals to go on making mistakes. It is the function of the tories to ensure that those mistakes are never corrected.

    Lukacs was also famous for his Lukacsisms. In class:
    “All the ‘-isms’ are ‘wasms’.”

    “On one side [of the imperial border] were Romans, and light, and wine. On the other side were Germans, and darkness… and beer.” That last was delivered in a low and ominous voice.

    “Avoid reading the past with the eyes of the present. When you study Salamis, it must be with the attitude that the Persians might still win.

    Or in his more formal writing:
    “Keep in mind that all prevalent scientific concepts of matter, and of the universe, are models. A model is man-made, dependent on its inventor. A model cannot, and must not, be mistaken for the world.” (Putting Man Before Descartes)

    “…We know something that people at the beginning of the twentieth century could not even imagine: that the advance of technology and barbarism are no longer irreconcilable.”

    “Meanwhile, at the end of the twentieth century a degeneration in the conduct of the relations of states goes on. When I see or hear or read the language or the behavior of foreign ministers and ambassadors, I am a witness of an enormous decline, not only of intelligence but of diplomatic practice (including decorum) and human common sense. I write ‘enormous’ since the symptoms of a babbling barbarism are all around us… What may succeed it is the rule of tougher barbarians who will not, because they need not, babble.”

  6. “Liberal” and “Conservative” have no meaning in American politics today–at least no useful meaning to differentiate two opposing belief systems.

    In the US the division is Normal-Americans against the forces bent on the destruction of Normal-America.

    This cannot be termed Right vs Left either.

    It is the greatest country in the history of the world vs the destroyers.

    The destroyers are best termed Politically Correct Progressives–as their PC belief system is based on denigrating the cultural characteristics that made America great: traditional marriage and family, and capitalism.

    Self-titled “conservative” leaders in America are neocons, Trotskyites, who’ve appropriated the term to advance their War-Now-War-Forever-in-the-Middle-East in order to twist naive Normal-Americans into supporting the neocons’ foreign masters.

  7. The mark of a conspiracy theorist is the confusion of consequences with intentions. After that it is a simple matter to turn everything so that it can be interpreted in the light of the conspiracy. Hence, the neocon “Great Right Wing Conspiracy” that conspired with Russia to sink the coronation of the Chosen One; or the “Great Leftist Conspiracy” to poison the pure bodily fluids of real Americans. The conclusion: When bad things happen to Us Good Folks, it’s because Bad People made them happen.

    Of course, there are always enough Bad People to lend an aura of plausibility to any sort of conspiracy one wishes because there are always a host of trends boiling away in society at large — and there is always the impulse to (in Daniel Pat Moynihan’s immortal phrase) “define deviancy down.” That is, we define as deviant whatever behavior will fill up our prisons, asylums, pillories, et al., but no more. (“Defining Deviancy Down,” American Scholar,

    It is the hubris of the socialist generation, both the progressive and conservative brand, to imagine that any of this can be planned. We cannot design a really good toaster oven, but by gum, we can design a health insurance plan for 300 million people across an entire continent! What we actually see is abdication. Maintaining civilization is hard work and it’s not very glamorous. Ask any maintenance tech. It’s much easier to neglect what works in the name of what sounds good. So, in the 1960s, the mental health reform act was passed.

    But even as the federal government turned to other matters, the mental institutions continued to release inmates. Professor Fred Siegel of Cooper Union observes: “In the great wave of moral deregulation that began in the mid-1960s, the poor and the insane were freed from the fetters of middle-class mores.” They might henceforth sleep in doorways as often as they chose. The problem of the homeless appeared, characteristically defined as persons who lacked “affordable housing.”

    Since the asylums were emptied on the premise that the new miracle drugs (tranquilizers) discovered in the 50s would keep most of the former inmates tranquil, the later movement against “labeling” the mentally ill and keeping them drugged ran contrary to this, we can see how homelessness appeared as the consequence of two popular movements — one technocratic and one libertarian — but both based on the idea of an omnicompetent mental health system.

  8. Frank Chodorov, “As for me, I will punch anyone who calls me a conservative in the nose. I am a radical.”

    Note his radicalism was the radicalism of today: libertarianism.

    To paraphrase Hayek, a conservative can only argue and pine for the world five years past.

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