The Conservative Movement: Collapse And Revelation
The collapse of the conservative right is a major event. It wasn’t even so much of a collapse as it was a revelation. I think it was just unanticipated how small the conservative constituency really was.
This was my response…
What we’re seeing, I think, is both collapse and revelation.
Since the rise of Ronald Reagan, Richard Viguerie’s [direct] mail campaigns, and the journey of the Evangelicals to the GOP, there has been an undercurrent of Ideology partially powering the Conservative Movement.
This New Right, as it used to be called, saw the Movement and believed it was just another System Of Ideas, a hierarchy of beliefs that could be understood if one just followed the chain of Logic.
The non-Ideological, true conservatives embraced these ‘converts’ because they thought that either (1) they could control the Ideologues and the damage they would inevitably do or (2) they did not understand the danger letting them in would put the Conservative Movement in — I was one of the latter for a long time.
To avoid tl;dr here, let me just state this: anyone who embraces Ideology as a way of dealing with the World will, in the end, lose their Soul, because the System Of Ideas embraced has to become god-like, all-encompassing, in order to survive.
Conservatism is a Way Of Life, ‘it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order’ [Russell Kirk], not some Scientism dreamed-up in the sterile laboratories of the mind, far away from Reality — not some Ideology.
Given that Ideology and conservatism are forever in total conflict with each other, it was only a matter of time, therefore, before the faux edifice collapsed and it was revealed that the number of actual conservatives was — and has been for a least a century — small.