Thursday, November 08, 2012

What went wrong?

The American right has suffered an historic defeat. It's important to try to understand the reasons why.

Perhaps the place to begin is to recognise the reasons why the current right-wing culture appeals to many Americans. It is a culture which emphasises self-reliance, industry, limited government and appeals to God and to patriotism. It has a long pedigree within American history.

It is set against a left-wing culture which, in contrast, wishes to tax the productive in order to expand a provider state and which regards the American tradition more negatively as being a history of oppression and injustice.

Given that polarisation you can understand why it's difficult to shift rank and file conservatives from the way right-wing politics is currently understood. There seems to be a good side and a bad side, and so the rank and file will cling to their allegiance to the good side.

But here we are in 2012 and the right has been defeated not just in terms of finances or candidates but demographically. The left-wing constituency has grown to the point that the right is facing a difficult challenge to win elections. So it's time for some soul searching.

The problem it seems to me is this: the underlying philosophy of the right is still a liberal one. It assumes that the good is in the freedom to be self-made, particularly in the market, rather than in the experience of higher goods that we ourselves do not make.

If you believe that the good is in your freedom as an individual to be self-made, then who will you most admire? Perhaps those who succeed in a profession or those who seek opportunities to improve their life circumstances through immigration.

Ronald Reagan is a significant figure on the American right. In my last post I quoted part of his farewell speech in which he said:
I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it and see it still...

It's not just some quirk of Ronald Reagan that he chose to say this. It expresses key parts of a right-liberal philosophy: the free market, an identification with those who immigrate to make themselves, an invocation of God, a positive view of society.

What the Reagan quote demonstrates is that the response to the Republican electoral defeat shouldn't be to get to a purer form of a right-liberal philosophy. A pure right-liberalism leads to open borders, which then shifts society decisively to the left.

The change has to be in the understanding of what matters. It is not just being self-made which matters. There is a good too in carrying through virtuously with what we were made to be: husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and members of traditional communities connected by ties of history, kinship, language and culture.

23 comments:

  1. This overhyped (thanks to the media), irrelevant election, is mostly an issue of demographics with +90% Blacks, +70% Asians and +70% Hispanics voting for Barack Hussein Obama but the media would have you believe that it was a huge "War on Women". The personal rich liberal SWPL friends of Brendan probably believed in this crap. And the Sandra Flukes of the world. In the real world Romney won the largest share of the White vote (about 59%). It was the minorities that doomed him. But the narrative is all about women, women and women. And how the RCC is fascist because they don't want women like Sandra Fluke near them, nor for these women to influence their policies.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You can see the right liberals, aka the libertarian's, really want the social conservatives, aka pro-traditional family, no abortions for any reason, to be dropped from the republican party and to accept gay marriage and to accept abortions.

    Libertarian's are the right left's of the world, they want the fiscal sanity of the reality and facts party, but they want the utopian fantasy of the liberal party. The only problem is to allow gay marriage you must force people to actually perform gay marriages and to force wedding photographers, against their conscious or risk lawsuit, to perform a service for them.

    Libertarian's do not respect the sanctity of marriage, our very foundation our society is built on, and the sanctity of the womb, and they say they respect the Constitution BAH!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Exit poll results:

    White 59% Romney
    Black 93% Obama
    Asian 73% Obama
    Latino 71% Obama
    Jews 69% Obama

    (New York Times and Washington Post:

    http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/results/president/exit-polls

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/2012-exit-polls/?hpid=z3#United-States)

    You say "The problem it seems to me is this: the underlying philosophy of the right is still a liberal one."

    Liberalism has nothing to do with it, as the statistics incontrovertibly demonstrate.

    The question is: what are you going to do about it?

    ReplyDelete
  4. "A pure right-liberalism leads to open borders, which then shifts society decisively to the left."

    Opposition to this is a moot point, because the right doesn't have the votes to close the border. Demographic doom is now baked in the cake.

    Is there still hope for Australia? I don't know, but learn from our example if you can.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Opposition to this is a moot point, because the right doesn't have the votes to close the border. Demographic doom is now baked in the cake.

    Right, but I guess Mark would say that the issue is can you wake up whites and get them to vote as a bloc in their own interests, rather than according to one of the left/right liberal ideologies that currently act to divide whites. That's the question.

    It would be very hard to do, I think, because whites are accustomed to seeing each other as the enemy, rather than as ethno-cultural allies with whom they may have some disagreements. You have single white women and white union members and white SWPLs who are quite happy to be in a coalition with blacks, latinos and asians against other whites (married couples, white guys, older people), and in fact prefer this than allying with these other whites with whom they disagree ideologically. That's te crux of the problem.

    Blacks, Latinos and Asians also have their internal disagreements, but they tend to push them aside when it comes to voting and vote as blocs to maximize their power because at the end of the day they feel a kind of ethno-cultural solidarity with each other against what they perceive to be the "white establishment" (i.e., rich white guys). Whites don't do that, because a good number of whites also dislike the "white establishment" and identify with non-whites who dislike it as well. That's the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  6. SWPLs and rich single white women are huge traitors to the European people. And far more financially stable than most people in America. Yet they perceive conservatives as the "White Establishment"? Can't they see that most of the richest counties were carried by Barack Obama? Are they just idealistic, delusional or BOTH? Your friends (professional couples aka "power couples!") are doing such good deeds in destroying their own country while screaming at the top of their lungs about how much they care about the middle-class and others. These "alpha left liberals" will probably rot in hell. Probably killed by a minority or something. Like the Krim case in Manhattan where the nanny killed 2 out of 3 children of her employer (who was a lovely pampered liberal stay-at home mommy).

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm a Canadian living in the USA and I voted for Obama because health insurance needs to be reformed here. Every major advanced nation has done this. Australia has its single-payer system. The problem with the Conservatives was that they became the Party of No. They weren't conservative anymore so much as they were just rich, white and married.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Brendan, you've hit the nail on the head.

    Whats the answer:

    Change the white establishment so it's no longer seen as Neo-Con, warmongers, corporatists.

    Remove the Federal Reserve and instill a national bank that doesn't support a fractional reserve system.

    Or go the violent route and have a reign of tyranny agaist white race traitors.

    Or simply an armed uprising (whilst we've still got the guns) as the Founding Fathers inscribed (clever guys who obviously saw this coming). Whatever the route it must be decisve, ruthless and have a vison of a white only nation.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The narrative about minorities (Hispanics in particular) vs whites is a curious one.

    Not only does the Republican party have the most Hispanic office holders; but the the exiting polling paid for by the media didn't actually "exit poll" in Texas because it wasn't a battle ground state- think about that...I believe Texas has the highest percentage of Hispanics of any US state, and yet Romney/Republicans won handily there...

    Texan Hispanics, if polled to begin with, may give us a better idea of where the national Latino vote actually lies. Instead, we get Latino in 19 battle ground states, like the great Latino bastion of Wisconsin, and then the media tells us that this is how all Hispanics think....very suspicious.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Liberalism has nothing to do with it, as the statistics incontrovertibly demonstrate.

    But you've missed the argument I made, that the Republicans admire the poor immigrant who seeks opportunities to "make himself" by immigrating to a richer country, America. America then gets redefined as a country that is exceptional in offering such opportunities and freedom for the huddled immigrant masses. That's an expression of liberalism, in which the good is thought to be a freedom to be an autonomous, self-defining, self-creating individual.

    So Republicans end up supporting the very demographic changes which then shift the country leftward.

    ReplyDelete
  11. There's something else that needs to be emphasised.

    The problem is not just with the non-whites who voted Obama, nor the SWPLs who voted the same way, but with the 59% of whites who voted Romney.

    Can we really say that these whites are traditionalists in the sense of supporting the future existence of an historic white American people and culture?

    I don't think the current right-wing culture is oriented to that. It's oriented instead to the idea of colour blind individuals making themselves in the market and being self-reliant rather than dependent on government welfare.

    That sense of "I belong to a distinct ethnic/national tradition of my own which is important to my identity, which links me to generations past and future, and which has a transcendent value of its own as a uniqe expression of human culture" is not recognised within the current political culture of the 59%.

    What traditionalists have to do is to establish enough of a presence to become a cultural alternative for at least some of that 59%. But it won't happen if we assume that the current culture of the right is good as is.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "the issue is can you wake up whites and get them to vote as a bloc in their own interests"

    SWPLs think it IS in everybody's interests to think and act like they do. They don't think they are the problem, and they never will.

    ReplyDelete
  13. SWPLs think it IS in everybody's interests to think and act like they do. They don't think they are the problem, and they never will.

    That's largely because SWPLs generally *hate* non-SWPL whites. Whites who live in places like West Virginia or Oklahoma or Nebraska, and so on. Regular non-SWPL whites are just loathed by SWPLs. It's kind of the opposite of ethno-cultural solidarity -- it's contempt for most other whites.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "Liberalism has nothing to do with it, as the statistics incontrovertibly demonstrate.'

    Truth missille seems to be saying that whites are voting for the right, but they are simply being swamped by ethnocentric immigrants, no doubt because of a small minority who mysteriously pull all the strings behind the scenes.

    He needs to get out more and visit places like Sweden and Minnesota.

    Let's face it, whites are more invidualistic and influenced by liberal ideology. If whites were as ethnocentric as Blacks and Latinos then 80 percent of middle class whites would have voted for Romney and 80 percent of working class whites would have voted for a pro-white third party that's less big business friendly.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Let's face it, whites are more invidualistic and influenced by liberal ideology. If whites were as ethnocentric as Blacks and Latinos then 80 percent of middle class whites would have voted for Romney and 80 percent of working class whites would have voted for a pro-white third party that's less big business friendly.

    Or ... if whites were as ethnocentric as blacks and latinos, they would have voted 70%+ for Romney simply because the other candidate was in the tank with non-white ethnic groups. But whites aren't.

    The reason is that prior to mass immigration and the ending of slavery the political culture developed of white vs white. That is, whites divided from other whites on the basis of ideas, ideology, etc. White immigration didn't screw this up that much, although most of them sided with the "economic underdog" party (i.e., the dems) rather than the party of the WASP establishment (GOP) at the time (late 19th early 20th C), over time that evened out somewhat through some of the descendants of these becoming economic overdogs. These whites were still generally socially conservative -- the dems of the age were not wildass social liberals like they became halfway through the 20th.

    Then came the cultural revolution, and the backlash against it. Reagan won a ton of these "Reagan democrats" -- most of whom were democrats since birth, more or less, because of their economic class, but who were socially conservative(ish) and were taken way aback by what the Dems were becoming in the 1970s. Blacks and feminist women were coming to the fore in the Dem scene at this time. Notably a lot of these Reagan democrats were union members – they voted for him despite that because they were frightened of what the other party represented.

    Scroll forward and we see the Dems adding Latinos to the mix through increased immigration supported by both parties, and gays as well. But you see the Reagan democrats splitting more between the GOP and the Dems, because they are less scared of the Dems than they were (the social changes have sunk in and are no longer threatening but are a part of the wallpaper now), and are reverting to being alienated from the “establishment whites” of the GOP, reverting back to the mean of white vs white based on economic class, ideology, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  16. A lot of talk has happened over the last 48 hours about how the problem with the Republican party is that it isn’t appealing to non-whites. This is only a half-truth. Whites in the US are still ~75% of the electorate (you’d never know that from some of the recent news stories, which make it seem like whites are less than 50%). Whites are divided politically against each other, but they are a huge part of the electorate – the dominant part by far and away. While appealing to more Latinos to get a greater % of the Latino vote (around 11m votes or so) would certainly help, it’s less of a bang for the buck, as it were, than pumping up the white vote even 1-2% -- which would have led to a clear victory for Romney a couple of days ago, and a completely different conversation in the media today.

    To achieve this, it isn’t necessary for whites to become as monolithic politically as other ethnic groups. It’s only necessary to move the needle a wee bit (and that can be achieved to a significant degree through turnout – white turnout was also way down in 2012, because of a lack of interest in Romney). I think from the perspective of the Republicans as a political party, this is a better way to approach the current problem than going down the political rabbit hole of courting the Latino vote – that would probably cost them more votes, net/net, taking into account losses of conservative white votes, than it would net them. Of course the argument is that in the long term that’s a better strategy demographically – and that may be true, but it would be one that would come at an even greater expense of any kind of policy cohesion on the part of the Republicans.

    I know this is a bit of a diversion on this blog, Mark, as that discussion concerns the future of the Republican party per se than conservatism as an ideology, particularly as distinctive from right liberalism, but since the post is about the electoral loss I think it is still relevant.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The problem I think is that the Republican and Australian Liberal Parties are still fighting the battles of yesterday. It made sense to talk about the importance of freedom while you were fighting the Soviet block and the big economic state Keynsianism of the 20th century. Today our challenges are different and we need an awareness of this.

    Talking about Western countries as the "land of opportunity open to all", specifically in comparison to the Soviet block, was not meant at the time to be taken to the extent of allowing open borders or encouraging national/cultural extinction. This is something I don't really think the vast majority of Right Liberal voters or leaders ever wanted or practically envisaged. Its time for them therefore to change their rhetoric accordingly as they've backed themselves into a corner. They're increasingly left without arguments on every "freedom" promoting proposal, eg gay marriage, greater acceptance of immigrants etc.

    If this isn't stopped the right wing parties rhetoric will all be subordinated to that of the Left. Something that many Republican and Liberal "moderates' are very keen to facilitate. Ironically also the Left wing parties will frequently be seen as the more responssible or socially "conservative" of the two. The Left have always been willing to enforce limits on the freedoms of individuals to promote their perception of the public good. The Right in contrast will stand for nothing more than individual freedoms and economic growth.

    This change in right wing rhetoric will in my opinion also have to come from the top, because people on the street will be mercilessly hounded by the enforcers of political correctness if they try to lead it themselves without political cover from above.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It made sense to talk about the importance of freedom while you were fighting the Soviet block and the big economic state Keynsianism of the 20th century. Today our challenges are different and we need an awareness of this.

    It is? Big economic state Keynsianism is exactly the problem today, and is exactly what triumphed at the polls on Tuesday.

    Talking about Western countries as the "land of opportunity open to all", specifically in comparison to the Soviet block, was not meant at the time to be taken to the extent of allowing open borders or encouraging national/cultural extinction.

    Heh. In 1979 Jimmy Carter urged Deng Xiaoping to permit freedom of emigration from China. Deng responded along the lines of "how many million Chinese peasants would you like me to send you?" and that shut the peanut farmer up.

    If this isn't stopped the right wing parties rhetoric will all be subordinated to that of the Left.

    It already is subordinated. The Left determines what rhetoric the Right may use on every issue, and when challenged, the Right always backs down.

    ReplyDelete
  19. On a somewhat related note, I bring you this fine summation of the age we live in: that of Post-Protestant Protestantism, what you may equate with "liberalism":



    If the only Christian documents which survived were the New Testament and the records of the Calvinist Churches in the age of the Reformation, to suggest a connection between them more intimate than a coincidence of phraseology would appear, in all probability, a daring extravagance. Legalistic, mechanical, without imagination or compassion, the work of a jurist and organiser of genius, Calvin's system was more Roman than Christian, and more Jewish than either. That it should be more tyrannical than the medieval Church, as the Jacobin Club was than the ancient regime, was inevitable. Its meshes were finer, its zeal and efficiency greater. And its enemies were not merely actions and writings, but thoughts.


    R. H. Tawney "Religion and the Rise of Capitalism"

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous,

    In the 1970's the State was still setting prices for basic commodities and many of the major industries were nationalised and substantially more inefficient. Whatever we have today we don't have that.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous: "The Left determines what rhetoric the Right may use on every issue, and when challenged, the Right always backs down."

    It's because of a few words, such as "fascism", "male chauvinism", "homophobia", "Islamophobia", "antisemitism", "ignorance", "prejudice" and "hate". But mostly just one word, the one word to rule them all:

    RACISM!

    One Word to rule them all, One Word to find them,
    One Word to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

    To this terrible charge, the right responds by pleading not guilty, and pleading not guilty over and over becomes just pleading, and politically pleading is losing.

    It's been happening all my life, and all the lifetimes of most of the people now alive.

    Unless the power of the One Word is undone, all electoral marches and counter-marches are futile.

    ReplyDelete
  22. It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Let's think hopeful thoughts. What did not go wrong?

    Here at the Huffington Post is exit poll data, focusing on race and ethnicity, which is what this election was all about.

    "When the data are broken down by gender and race the results show that only minority women voted in the majority for Obama, white women mostly voted for Romney. See Figures 1a and 1b below."

    "All white voters regardless of age --18-29, 30-44, 45-64, and 65 and older -- voted a majority for Romney. All other racial ethnic groups, regardless of age, voted unanimously for Obama."

    "Maybe there's more to the story -- we'd need the actual exit poll data to go further -- but one thing is for sure, those who put Obama over the threshold for his win were racial and ethnic minorities and not simply the broad segments like women, young voters, and other ignored groups being reported by many in the media this week."

    This even though Mitt Romney offered Whites nothing - no relief from affirmative action, set-asides, quotas, mass immigration, forced integration of housing or anything else.

    The Republican Party is the mass party of Whites, but never for Whites. But simply the implicit gathering of the tribe was enough to garner (slim) majority support from every age and both sexes.

    The implication is that followers are there, if only there was some leadership.

    This would not be a winning electoral coalition, as America has now imported and indoctrinated a permanent and growing anti-White majority.

    But after all, the anti-White left started off without majority support too.

    Just having people who want to be together and support each other politically is a lot, potentially. Whites are not so untalented that even if there was good cultural and political leadership, there would be nothing that a body like this could do to influence things in their favor.

    ReplyDelete

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.