I’m not certain there ever was.
Oh, we had an overall goal. Smaller federal government. And we catastrophically failed at that.
Certainly, there was and is a right wing.
But beyond that what did, we really have?
Traditional Values Cons? Well, that was a problem because they wanted the government to do be doing things the rest of the right wing didn’t. Patron Saint: Jerry Falwell
Libertarian Cons? Almost a religion in its own right, making offerings to the Great Prophet Freeman. But as for the social issues they pick and chose whatever they want from the Democrats and leave the left the rest behind. It’s a salad bar of political philosophy for a middle class that wanted to be morally justified in screwing around and wants to be seen by the left as cool. Patron Saint: Ayn Rand.
NeoCons? Kinda sorta libertarianist-hawkish-interventionist… Aw, fuck it, who knows what the hell they were? but the Bush family liked them. Patron Saint: David Frum
Business Cons? That one is easy. Bad businessmen. They are the inadequate sons with no drive to compete like their Dads did. They want the government to enhance their revenue streams and stifle their competition. Patron Saint: James Taggart.
Establishment Cons? Our political overlords. The skilled NorthEast rider atop the steady Southron horse. Except now the rider has been thrown off. Patron Saint: William F. Buckley
Anti-Gun Control Cons? Interesting. This is the only group of conservatives that can be accused of having any kind of consistent success. It’s also the group that fights within itself the most. You don’t believe me just ask any two of them, “which is better the 1911 or the Glock 17?” Patron Saint: Yosemite Sam.
Look it over for yourself, there is nothing here that could be accused of being an overriding philosophy that all members adhere to. There is a vague desire to be left alone by the government but no overwhelming need to impose their will on others. `The Neocons had a philosophy that they were trying to impose and they were briefly in a position to read everyone out of conservatism who wasn’t a Neocon. They were so successful that there are now only a few dozen of them left.
The entire conservative movement, if it can honestly be called a movement, was completely reactionary in nature. It was Anti-liberalism more than anything else because American Conservatism always accepted the liberal paradigm.*
The reality of the so called “Overton Window” was this, Conservatives always started by accepting the Liberal paradigm and then arguing against it.
This leadS directly to us losing everything by inches. How could we not? We gave up our ground every time we engaged using their paradigm because it let them build and expand on their paradigm. Before you know it you are in a situation where “mainstream conservatism” from 1980 looks completely radical to a modern conservative. Whereas the 1980s extremist liberalism (ie Andrea Dworkin) is now completely mainstream Progressivism.
It’s time to bury conservatism and we can do so without tears. It conserved nothing and lost everything.
Nationalism is now in diapers. A lot of National Review Conservatives are furious with it because it is clearly and obviously replacing their school of philosophy in national politics. They are digging in their heels, while the rest of the right wing is being dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century.
Their defeat is inevitable. They’ve been showing us how to do that for sixty years…Make them engage with us using our paradigm and the rest is easy.
(*Footnote: The exception that proves this rule is the Pro-Gun Lobby (You’ll note I couldn’t even call them conservatives a second time). Pro-gun never once accepted their paradigm. Not once and they are the only right wing force to have made progress in American Society. The statistics on gun ownership and what is drastically more important attitudes about gun ownership from 1975 to 2015 shows how effective rejecting the liberal paradigm is.)