Three Dictators Walk Into a Bar…

The title implies a joke, but the joke here is the formerly solid publication The American Conservative (TAC). MJ (@realmajordan) emailed me the following article, American Nationalists, perhaps as a half-joke to get a rise out of me.

 

What a sad destination TAC has arrived at, after years of prissy-con pieces and mid-witted stone-throwing we arrive finally at this, their solution to our ills, one they attempt to paint as consistent with authentic American conservatism.

 

This article is intellectually dishonest in its portrayal of history and at times outright inaccurate. I have no inclination to dispute it line by line here. It is also very Straussian. I have previously laid out my arguments against this sort of historical revisionism and bad ideology. (see Centralization and the New American Order, Providence and the Straussian Narrative, and Jaffite historical Agenda)

 

But don’t just trust me, who am I? Let’s play a mental exercise, shall we? Twice in the 20th Century, two separate nations tried to solve the problems of economic disparity, turmoil, and growing Marxist ambitions through nationalist solutions.

 

The first is the oft over-referenced Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Many often ponder, how did Hitler rise to power, these discussions often miss the mark that some dictator was destined to take power in Germany in the cultural and economic shape it was in. That Hitler won out is a mere fact of history. The question as to why ‘conservatives’ in Germany saw him as less of a threat than a bloody Marxist is not hard to understand once we detach ourselves from who the Nazis actually were (vice what they said in speeches). The real problem with Germany was the bulk of the population had abandoned the way of thinking that had been a foundation of Western Civilization. Existentialism, Nihilism, Naturalism, and ‘Scienceism’ had replaced common sense, common-good, and ultimate truth for most. The Nazis could make the trains run on time, fewer people were going to starve under a fascist regime than a communist one but at the end of the day, without a moral foundation in the populace to parse what is right and wrong based upon unmovable principles, it is no surprise that Germany went the path it did.

 

Spain faced the same choice. A dictator was coming, one way or the other, whether it eventually manifested as a politburo and decades of poverty and starvation as a Soviet puppet, or in the form of a man like Franco, they had a hard choice to make. Given the reality on the ground in 1933-1936, it is easily arguable that Franco saved Spain. It was never pretty, his regime was not perfect and many bad things occurred – but that was going to happen in either event. But Spain is a one-off, a situation that cannot be replicated and serves no purpose as a beacon of hope. Behind Franco were people that knew ultimate truth and were firmly grounded in the traditions that have glued the West together. Without the Carlists and others, Spain might have resorted to Nazi solutions to deal with political rival groups. Their civil war was bloody and the reconciliation took time, but there were restrainers in place.

 

America is much more like Germany in the 1930s than Spain. All of the absurd philosophical concepts that polluted the minds of Germans are here, we have even more advanced forms of absurd thinking at our disposal.  The German churches failed, with a few rare exceptions, our churches are no better. Our entire communitarian megachurch movement was kickstarted by Peter Drucker, a Nazi-phile that thought the Nazis would have been alright if they were moral, he envisioned using the American church to bring that here. We are also just about as bad as the Germans at picking politicians, if a guy has charisma and says some things we like many will not even look at what he actually does.

 

No TAC, this Straussian nationalism you propose is not authentic conservatism and it is just as dangerous as the ideas of the mouth-foaming Marxist. I will have none of it. Authentic conservatism, in the lineage of Kirk back to Calhoun and others already has the answers you seek. I wonder what Paul Gottfried thinks of what you have become.