Home > Andrew Sullivan, Conservatism, Freddie deBoer, Politics, Republican Party > Standing Athwart History Yelling… Victory?

Standing Athwart History Yelling… Victory?

Freddie deBoer, a self-described “ultra-leftist,” describes the dramatic change in modern “conservatism” compared to its more classical temperament.  Andrew Sullivan is right, deBoer does seem to better understand “actual conservatism” than do those in the Republican mainstream (even if his understanding of other things isn’t as clear).  I highly recommend this piece.  Here are some insightful snippets:

The first is what we might crudely refer to as Burkeanism: the impulse to keep politics in the realm of the political, and to exclude them from the world of the family, religion, and personal virtue. This tendency supports conservative goals. Politics is ultimately the realm of government, and the steady creep of political positioning into more and more aspects of life cannot help but bolster the presence of government in our consciousness—and in so doing, support the underlying notion that problems are to be solved by government. An argument, successfully prosecuted, that government expense is inappropriate in a given situation nevertheless contributes to the steady mission creep of modern governance.


More troubling, though, is the inevitable stakes-raising that this kind of ideology-in-everything provokes. If one’s whole life is part of an ideological war, if every aspect of someone’s daily existence is to be counted as a function of an endless partisan squabble, there is no hope for reconciliation, only for victory. Political disagreement becomes not an easily-compartmentalized distraction from everyday life, but an affront to the whole self. Whatever its valuable insights, Marxism has this elementary failing; it is a corrosion of human life to relegate all behavior to the battle for resources and the wages of political war. Yet this is a seduction that movement conservatism has fallen prey to almost entirely.

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