Posted on November 26, 2018

The Closing of the Conservative Mind

Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, November 26, 2018

David French is an original cuckservative. The National Review staff writer condemned the Alt-Right throughout the 2016 campaign and was briefly promoted as a Republican primary challenger to Donald Trump. His latest piece on white advocacy, “The White-Supremacy Surge,” is therefore not surprising. Yet it is so disingenuous, flaccid, and superficial that it is important. Mr. French has inadvertently revealed why conservative orthodoxy, and the non-profit foundations that promote it (what some have termed “Conservatism Inc.”) will be replaced with white advocacy. The Beltway Right can’t meet the challenge of the time and it will be replaced by a movement that can.

The modern American conservative movement was created as a response to a specific threat, the power of the Soviet Union and a “World Communist Conspiracy” subordinate to Moscow. Anti-government libertarians, religious conservatives, capitalists, socially liberal hawks, and other opponents of Soviet Communism banded together under the clumsy banner of “fusionism.” Though white advocates have mocked conservatives for their supposed inability to conserve anything, it is important to note that they achieved their greatest goal, the destruction of the Soviet Union.

However, rather than reorganizing for the new challenges of the new century, conservatives kept advancing the same policies even as circumstances changed. Thus, the Beltway Right substituted “Islamo-fascism” to replace the Soviet threat, demanded tax breaks even though rates are not nearly as high as they were before President Reagan, and pursued the mutually incompatible goals of securing the interests of Wall Street and Southern social conservatives. The result has left little in common between the goals of supposed conservative leaders and those of conservative voters. This divide was best revealed in Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 Republican primaries, despite the almost unanimous opposition of the organized conservative movement.

David French was a leading voice in the effort to suppress the conservative base. Having failed, he now appoints himself as a kind of policeman for the movement. He decries “the growth of a particular breed of young, Internet-savvy alt-right activist who often uses the broader conservative movement’s increasingly belligerent defiance of political correctness both to provide an entry point to actual white supremacism and to gain access to the conservative public.” He claims the growth of the dissident movement is largely the product of two factors.

David French

First is social dysfunction, especially the decline of religion. Mr. French cites a study that found that “the less churchgoing they were, the more likely they were to say that being white was ‘very important’ to their identity.” Furthermore, “fewer than half of non-churchgoing Trump voters had ‘warm feelings’ for black people,” he writes. “For churchgoing Trump voters, the figure was a far more healthy 71 percent.” Mr. French’s second reason is a “poison within the broader conservative movement,” a “hatred for political correctness” that “yielded an unhealthy fascination with and admiration for pure defiance.” Such unthinking defiance, Mr. French warns, makes it “easy to see how bigots can flourish.”

Both arguments are shallow. Regarding the first point about religion, Professor George Hawley’s analysis of “The Demography of the Alt-Right” found that those who attend services weekly were slightly more likely to support the Alt Right than those who never attend. “[R]eligous practices have a negligible effect on white people’s racial attitudes,” writes Dr. Hawley. “The rise of secularism in the electorate will have important political implications, but its impact on race relations may be insignificant.” (Prof. Hawley also found that older Americans were more likely than younger Americans to support the Alt-Right, despite Mr. French’s assumptions.)

Mr. French writes that “faith and family” are a “vaccine against extremism” and rhapsodizes about the potential of a “purpose beyond politics” to “truly transform the human heart.” Leaving aside the absurdity of a conservative making utopian claims about “transforming hearts,” Mr. French may be right in one respect: Conservative churchgoers are more likely to be anti-racist than conservatives who don’t go to church. Of course, it’s worth noting that to liberal journalists and antifa, anyone who supports President Trump is a white nationalist, no matter how loudly he proclaims his supposed “warm feelings” for blacks — as Mr. Trump himself often does. In any case, another Great Awakening is not going to wipe away race realism.

Mr. French also implies “white supremacists” are not “my Right.” Yet “Right” and “Left” are increasingly useless terms. During the French Revolution, the “Right” defended hierarchy and a traditional order, while the “Left” promoted egalitarianism. The attempt by many American conservatives to identify their own limited vision of American postwar conservatism as the only legitimate “Right” and every other group as the “Left” is simple-minded. It’s the same kind of mistaken premise Dinesh D’Souza relies on in his books and films, which convinces no one except other true believers.

This brings us to Mr. French’s second argument. He is right in condemning defiance for defiance’s sake. Yet he is either naive or disingenuous in his conception of “extremism.” Mr. French invokes Louis Farrakhan as an example of a leftist extremist. Yet even as he frets about whether enough whites have “warm feelings” about blacks, Mr. French neglects to mention that 50 percent of American blacks have warm feelings towards Mr. Farrakhan, with only a minority holding unfavorable views. If Mr. French were seriously worried about the unity of the American people, National Review should be issuing warnings about the rise of black extremism. Instead, Mr. French condemns inoffensive figures such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Congressman Steve King, neither of whom is willing to speak explicitly in defense of white interests.

Mr. French writes about such figures just as the Southern Poverty Law Center does. He even uses some of the dishonest tricks of liberal reporters, casually referring to the “deadly alt-right terror attack in Charlottesville,” even after an independent report found the city deliberately created an atmosphere of chaos and violence to suppress a legally sanctioned rally. It is reckless to claim the terrible car crash was an act of “terror,” considering that the driver, James Fields, appears to have been menaced and pursued by antifa, one of whom has since bragged about pointing a gun at him in the moments before the attack. “Unless his defense lawyer is planning on intentionally throwing the case for the greater good, Fields seems to have a pretty decent argument that he was in fear for his life,” wrote Ann Coulter recently.

Similarly, Mr. French says President Trump has “emboldened white supremacists” and implies this is partially responsible for a “measurable increase in hate crimes.” Yet as Julie Kelly at American Greatness reported, the study Mr. French refers to lists only allegations, not convictions. She also notes that “whites are the third-most frequently targeted group of victims,” behind blacks and LGBT, and there “is no proof that white supremacists committed most of the offenses noted in the study.” Whites are more likely to be the victim of a hate crime than Mexicans or Muslims. Furthermore, the most sensational anti-Semitic crime in recent days, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, was committed by an avowed opponent of President Trump.

In much the same manner as the SPLC, Mr. French recites several hate crimes and then refers to the “online alt-right onslaughts of 2016,” “relentless anti-Semitic attacks against people like Ben Shapiro and Jonah Goldberg,” and, of course, “racist hate” against his own family because he adopted an Ethiopian girl. Violence and criticism are not the same thing. One could just as easily repeat the lurid details of anti-white crimes such as the Knoxville Horror and equate them to the attacks against white people leveled by verified accounts on Twitter. Mr. French’s plea for sympathy rings hollow considering that white advocates face not just death threats but deplatforming, economic penalties, and mainstream media hostility beyond anything Mr. French and his friends have ever suffered.

Mr. French seems to want to be the hall monitor for American conservatives. Thus, he urges House Republicans to “sanction” Steve King, a Christian conservative who has fought tirelessly for religious liberties, pro-life causes, and traditional marriage. This record is evidently less important to Mr. French than policing the party for “racism.” Indeed, though Mr. French presents churchgoing as the solution to the alienation he decries, he seems to believe the church’s main role is to echo the mainstream media on race: “[M]ost contemporary Evangelical and Catholic leaders are deeply committed to racial reconciliation,” he writes approvingly.

Mr. French is clearly referring to the efforts of Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, to denounce the Alt-Right, oppose President Trump, and attack the history of the once conservative denomination. Though Dr. Moore (like Mr. French) has been rewarded with the occasional column at the New York Times for his attacks on conservatives, anti-racist posturing has not slowed the more than decade-long decline in membership in the Southern Baptists. One could read Vice or the Huffington Post and get the same message without the bother of going to church. Egalitarianism has become a religious belief both in secular and churchgoing society, and the commandment of anti-racism is far more shining and holy to many journalists and pastors than any commandment of the Bible.

Mr. French either can’t or won’t admit that white advocacy is a reaction to aggression, not a mysterious force arising in a vacuum or sparked by Donald Trump. For example, Mr. French criticized Congressman King for supposedly having “endorsed the ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory that’s popular with white supremacists.” Yet this “theory” isn’t most popular among “white supremacists,” but among liberal journalists and governing elites. New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg quite openly declared her intention to “replace” white conservative voters in a recent column. Minority activist groups openly declare that mass immigration will give them permanent political victory and transform once conservative states such as Texas. The United Nations openly recommends “replacement migration” for the West. Whites are openly attacked and threatened in mainstream publications for voting for the “wrong” candidates and standing in the way of non-white ascendancy.

The essential problem with Mr. French and other spineless conservatives is that they believe they can make a separate peace with liberalism. Mr. French does not believe in homosexual marriage and decries the progressive effort to make Christians “lose their jobs, lose their businesses, and close their schools, unless they bend the knee to the sexual revolution.” He bemoans Christians living “under deep cover to protect their careers,” but in his “White Supremacy” column, he urges even more surveillance of white advocates.

The late Lawrence Auster called this the conservative desire for an “unprincipled exception” to the liberal order — that is, trying escape the consequences of liberalism without questioning liberalism itself. Rather than attacking egalitarianism as such, Mr. French thinks Christians should get a special right to discriminate against homosexuals, at least in marriage. But progressives have no reason to grant such a dispensation. They will laugh at any appeal to “basic standards of Christian sexual morality.” Likewise, in an interview about his non-white child, Mr. French cited Galatians 3:28, which tells believers “there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Only followers of his particular brand of Christianity find guidance in this verse. Many Christians argue that these disparate groups are one only in Christ; man and woman, slave and free are far from equivalent.

Mr. French adopted a girl from Ethiopia but that will not win him immunity from charges of racism — perhaps not even from his daughter. Barack Obama was abandoned by his black father, but this did not stop him from lionizing the absent Kenyan and criticizing the white grandmother who raised him as a “typical white person,” cramped by racism. Colin Kaepernick, likewise adopted by white parents, leads a movement critiquing the United States for insufficient “anti-racism.” As “American” identity is increasingly divorced from blood or culture, no one but an American conservative can be surprised when non-whites champion the interests of their own people rather than a vague American “nation” to which they have no real attachment.

In a recent column on transgenders, Mr. French says that regardless of standards of politeness, he will not “use . . . words to endorse a falsehood” by saying that Chelsea Manning, for example, is a woman. Yet he feels compelled to purge from the conservative movement anyone who speaks honestly about race. Regardless of his feelings or his religious views, the scientific evidence tells us that race is real and has consequences. These include political consequences; as even Bill Kristol recently admitted, “demography is destiny.”

The root of the American political divide is race. Race will increasingly dominate politics, culture, and economics. To deny the connection between culture and race is unconservative and ahistorical. To ask whites to ignore what is happening to them is ultimately immoral. To say that whites who take their own side are carrying a “disease,” and to urge them to accept the guidance of “religious leaders” with the same morality as liberal journalists is to ask them to commit suicide.

On the most important issue of the day, the American conservative movement has nothing to say. David French wants to punish people who have thought much more deeply and carefully than he has. If there is a “surge” of white nationalists who reject the Beltway Right, conservatives who refuse to think seriously about race have only themselves to blame.