Conservatives without a stool at the bar
Like the movement of the 1960s and 1970s, social conservatism is a true countercultural phenomenon, but it seems unlikely to have the same success.
A few months ago, I thought, I made a handful of natural observations about the future of the Republican Party and its much-abused maid, the Conservative movement. In my opinion, there was nothing particularly striking or novel about what I had to say; In fact, I had made most of the same points a year earlier in an article on the changing nature of so-called “culture wars”.
Because I made the mistake of putting a label on the phenomenon I have described – “barstool”Although I might as well prefix“ stonks ”or“ porn ”- I find my piece led to a handful of obvious misunderstandings. The first is the idea that the phrase “barstool Conservative “somehow implies that all or even the majority of the authors and personalities associated with the website of the same name share such views or attitudes. The second is that the phenomenon is kind of straight forward barstool and that his fate ultimately depends on whether, for example, Dave Portnoy is a candidate for president. Finally, there was the implication, which in some ways I approved of:barstool“Conservatism or welcomed its suppression of the old fusionist consensus. While I do not regret the destruction of the latter, I view them as inevitable rather than the result of a conscious intellectual effort on the part of their critics.
So I’m more interested in a related question: what does the future of old-fashioned social conservatism look like? While libertarian assumptions about political economy, already at home in our two major political parties, will live on in the new legal order, what will become of those who believe that the prohibition of abortion is the most important issue in American politics which unlike others majority the Republicans who reject same-sex marriage?
episode Ed West, I think it makes sense here to distinguish between these two groups by referring to “social” versus “cultural” conservatives. It is not an exaggeration to say that most people throughout human history have been culturally conservative in the broadest sense. That’s just human nature. Americans with vague objections to the so-called “demolition culture” or the critical racial theory that has strong feelings for Dr. Seuss’ contributions to American literature and Colin Kaepernick and the integrity of women’s sports have while being mostly indifferent to same-sex genders or even cheap marriage, legalized pornography, embryonic stem cell research, and legalized cannabis are scattered across the country, in all classes and how we learned in the 2020 elections, even racist.
Social conservatives, on the other hand, who – regardless of their views on temporary skirmishes in the culture war – continue to hold firm, religious views on abortion, same-sex marriages, and other issues that animated the conservative movement of the Bush and Obama eras, have equally distinct characteristics . For one thing, they are predominantly white. As far as they exist in cities at all, they concentrate heavily on professions (especially law) and partly on journalism. (I’ve always found it amusing that, with the exception of transsexuals, no discrete group, relative to their actual number, enjoys more influence in our national conversation than Catholics who attend traditional Latin mass.) They tend to be well educated and have one higher income than the national mean. Their objections to much of contemporary popular culture are likely to be aesthetic as they are moral, and their families are, of course, much larger than the average in this country. They are on, set and definitely down.
Like the broad movement of the 1960s and 1970s, social conservatism is a genuinely countercultural phenomenon. In the decades that followed, the old counterculture was absorbed into the broader one, and today most of its basic assumptions form the mental equipment of the vast majority of Americans, including the socially conservative.
For a number of reasons, it seems unlikely that the new socially conservative counterculture will achieve the same success. Rather than sneaking quietly into universities, politics, and even commerce, I expect them to carry on more or less as they have done for decades: grateful to accept the puny concessions offered by the political establishment while they settle for it what amounts to a kind of reluctance. When I say it is easy to imagine a country where religious conservatives are excluded from practically all areas of civil life just because we are already more or less living in one.
Should the social conservatives despair of what appears to be in store for them for the foreseeable future? I think the answer is no. For one of the fortuitous benefits of a thoroughgoing defeat is that we are less tempted to compromise our testimony as required by political coalition building. We can accept this unwelcome state precisely because the truths to which we are indebted are those that cannot be defeated by the weakness of the Supreme Court or the villains of politicians. Our cause may not triumph in our lifetime, but by definition it can never be destroyed.
Matthäus Walther is editor of The lamp Magazine and a contributing editor The American Conservative.