Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2006: Progress but no breakthrough

How was 2006 for traditionalist conservatives? There were certainly some areas of progress.

1. My own sites (OzConservative & Conservative Central) doubled in readership during the course of the year. The number of comments also increased significantly, and I'd particularly like to thank two regular visitors, Shane and Bobby, for their many quality comments.

2. The two premier sites, Lawrence Auster's View from the Right and Jim Kalb's Turnabout, continued their good work.

3. Most importantly, a number of new sites have emerged. I'd like to mention three in particular:

i) NZ Alternative Conservative. Michael is a level-headed, principled conservative from across the Tasman.

ii) Western Survival. Mark is an American with a libertarian background, but who genuinely wants to conserve his own tradition. He is a realist who writes with impressive clarity of thought and expression. Mark has been gravitating lately toward a more conservative theoretical framework.

iii) Vanishing American. Another excellent American site which I enjoy reading regularly.

4. Another area of progress is the waning influence of feminism. There was an observable trend during the year for older feminists to break with the feminist orthodoxy of their youth (often because of disappointments with the effect of feminism on men and relationships).

Even more encouragingly, an anti-feminist politics has made it out of the fringes and into the political class. There is now a significant number of intelligent, political young men who make very effective interventions in debates with feminists.

5. The left-liberal orthodoxy continued to break down. In fact, it seems to me now that the under-50s left is mostly female and homosexual. Most younger political men are involved with some kind of right-liberal politics.

I've mentioned before one possible reason for this change: left-liberalism tends to identify white men as an oppressor class, which makes it a discouraging political milieu for white men to belong to.

There are other possible explanations. Academic leftism does not emphasise categories of truth or logic, but tends to blather on about multiple identities, fluidity, etc.

I doubt if this suits the male mind. Right-liberal men seem to enjoy more definite, often dry, technical discussions of arcane points in the economics of Hayek or von Mises.

At this point, it's worth discussing an area where traditionalism requires further progress. The big breakthrough for traditionalists did not occur in 2006. Realistically, we still have not gained even a minor place within the political class.

As I mentioned above, most of the gains have been to right-liberalism, rather than to traditionalist conservatism.

So what do we need to do? First, we need patience and perseverance. We don't have any ready made institutional support, but are building up from scratch. So we can't expect to be suddenly propelled to influence.

The important thing is that we continue to make steady progress, particularly in our presence on the web.

Second, we should remember the advantages and opportunities we do have. For instance, as the logic of liberalism continues to unfold, the "reality gap" between the claims of liberalism and what people experience in their lives continues to grow.

Liberalism will increasingly be for people who are willing to avert their gaze from what is really happening in society. Not everyone is made to live by pretence or to brush aside major harm to themselves and to what they love.

So our audience will be there waiting. The rest is up to us.


  1. Hey thanks for the wonderful plug for my blog. That made my day. Keep up the good work, you write some of the most even-tempered, thoughtful stuff I read.

  2. Thanks for this appraisal of the state of traditionalist conservatism, and I think you are correct; there is some momentum going but we still have a lot of work to do.
    And thanks, too, for the mention of my blog, and the link.
    Hope you will continue with your valuable contribution to the discussion in 2007 and beyond.

  3. Thanks Mark. I'm working on a website to help distill information from websites, like yours and those you mentioned, into something for the simple folk (like me) to read. Hopefully it will be up in early 2007.

  4. Mark & VA, thanks for the comments.

    Steve, I wish you well with your project - let me know when it's up and running.

  5. Thanks for the favourable review and link.

    On the topic of conservative blogs, Patrick Buchanan's new blog has attracted over a million hits in its first 5 months, and hopefully this traffic should filter through to other conservative blogs.

  6. May I recommend another good traditionalist U.S. conservative and Paleoconservative site - Daniel Larison's Eunomia.

  7. Mark, thanks for providing this great resource. Your philosophies are a pleasure to read.

  8. Shane, thanks.

    Your contributions at OzConservative have shown a talent for political analysis and commentary.

    If at some stage you wish to produce your own material, I would be happy to do what I could to publicise it.