Monday, January 28, 2008

Will Wilkinson on "National Greatness Conservatism"

Even if the tone has rubbed some people the wrong way, I did take some pleasure in this:

I am more and more coming to the conclusion that National Greatness Conservatism, like all quasi-fascist movements, is based on a weird romantic teenager’s fantasies about what it means to be a grown up. The fundamental moral decency of liberal individualism seems, to the unserious mind that thinks itself serious, completely insipid next to very exciting big boy ideas about shared struggle, sacrifice, duty, glory, virtue, and (most of all) power. And reading Aristotle in Greek.

and this:

National Greatness Conservatism is like a grotesque wood-paneled den stuffed with animal heads, mounted swords, garish carpets, and a giant roaring fire. Only the most vulgar tuck in next to that fire, light a fat cigar, and think they’ve really got it all figured out. But I’m afraid that’s pretty much the kind of thing you get at the Committee on Social Thought. If you declaim the importance of virtue loudly enough, you don’t have to actually think.

This is was in response to another absurd contribution to the "libertarian-bashing on things libertarians have nothing to do with" mantra by the esteemed idiots at the Weekly Standard who were too f---ing stupid to notice that Milton "Freedman" was mispelled. You'd think someone would have caught that.

It's not without its criticism but I found it amusing nonetheless, and its fairly representative of my disdain toward big-government conservatism and its contempt towards individualism.

Just in case anyone gets the wrong idea, it is not virtue, honor, duty or sacrifice I have a problem with. It is nationalism and collectivism and the perversions that can result from both. That should be evident but people can take what I say the wrong way.


Donald Douglas said...

Hey, I like nationalism! I'm an international relations professor, remember!!

Thanks for the links, ECL!!

American Power

Mike said...

I just stumbled across this.

While I concur that in the past there were points where 'national greatness' lead to fascism, etc I also think there have been moments where 'national greatness' was just what we needed. I would argue that the more successful elements of the New Deal i.e. putting millions back to work and restoring their confidence and building an infrastructure we still rely on, plus an idealism in the arts that exalted America... those were what we needed at that time. I would also argue that were it not for FDR's brand of 'national greatness' we might not have had the willpower to win WWII.