American Thinker calls itself “a daily Internet publication devoted to the thoughtful exploration of issues of importance to Americans.” To be sure, the site features some top writers such as Selwyn Duke, Richard Baehr, Clarice Feldman, and J.R. Dunn. Too often for my taste, though, it also runs some real clunkers, who betray a kind of weak-kneed conservatism, that is only too willing to understand and forgive the foibles of those on the Left, while minimizing the damage done by its policies—if they acknowledge it at all.
Anderson’s main premise is that the Left is losing ground, and is therefore engaging in ridiculous conspiracy theories to explain the situation. As he says..
The conspiracy is exactly the same [as earlier ones taken up by the Right]: secret worldwide domination by a few tightly controlled special interest groups. Most of the names of the organizations in charge of the conspiracy have been changed, to convince the credulous. For the Trilateralists, the CFR, the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers, the Bildebergers, the Jews, and the Imperial House of Hapsburg simply substitute Halliburton, Big Oil, Pharmaceuticals, Multinationals, The Military Industrial Complex, the Jews, and The Imperial House of Bush.
Conspiracy theories, he explains, “are almost always promulgated by people who do not currently wield political power.” So far, so good, but he goes terribly wrong with his next sentence: “In other words, by people who do not know what they are talking about.” How in the world should we take this? That merely by being out of power, one is ignorant; or even worse, by getting into power, one becomes enlightened?
He laments that “liberals have taken over the feverish territory once occupied by the John Birch Society.” To be sure, the JBS had its share of nuts, but what harm did they ever do, compared to the pernicious Left? Moreover, the main precepts of the JBS, at its height in the 1960s were:
- Get the US out of the UN
- Impeach Earl Warren
- Reform or eliminate the income tax
Would a present day true conservative disagree with any of those points?
Sadly, the sub-text of his piece is the main reason why paleos mock neo-cons: The Left was fine, even noble, until it went wrong. I, of course, got out when it went wrong.
Anderson’s final paragraph betrays this in spades: “For decades the Left was a powerhouse of ideas and compassion. They saw the real evils of racism and poverty and they did something about it. America will always be indebted to them for that.”
Compassion? Well, yes, as it took up one issue after another to build its power base—the poor, the minorities, the unions, the illegals, etc, etc. Only, they never really cared about these clients, because if they did, given the trillions expended, their situations would have actually improved. Does Anderson need to be reminded that it took conservative Republican Everett Dirksen to push through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which tried to undo all the segregation policies put in place by Democrats? And, that is was big-time Leftie Hubert Humphrey who poisoned this well by introducing affirmative action to the mix? (Ironically, it was under Nixon—faux conservative that he was—that these words would be implemented.)
Does he remember that LBJ’s television poster boy for his War on Poverty fell back into poverty about a year after being exploited on the tube?
Just as troubling is his admission, that it “seemed intellectually embarrassing” to be a conservative back in the 1960s. He refers to a “vanguard” led by William F. Buckley as the sole repository of rational conservative thought in that era, which indicates just how diligently he searched for it.
In fact, there were plenty of worthy conservative intellectuals back then—indeed better than Buckley—including Russell Kirk, M. Stanton Evans, Vermont Royster, James Burnham (who was probably the only true blue neo-con), and somewhat later, Samuel Francis.
The original Prodigal Son showed tremendous remorse for going astray…
And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ (Luke 15:21)
Today’s neo-cons might have it this way…
And the son said to him, ‘Father, my cohorts have sinned against heaven and in your sight; they are no longer worthy to be called your sons. But look at me—I got out just in the nick of time. Please reward me now.’