Ben Shapiro, whose work is normally quite enjoyable, raises a few points of interest in his new column, but makes a technical error:
The only way to preserve “Western civilization” is by allegiance to European ethnicity. What sort of “Western civilization” must be preserved? Not limited government; not individual responsibility; not equality of rights.
Language can fool us. We know that in logic A->B does not necessarily mean B->A. The most common error in human thinking — seen in reversed cognition, neurosis, superstition, pareidolia and cherry-picking — is to assume B->A. And yet, sadly, Shapiro does it here.
He assume that for us to have limited government, we must explicitly demand it under those terms, forgetting that other methods can achieve it. Limited government is both B and A in his view, when really, it is B and there are many As that can cause it come about.
For example, aristocracy. No government; only leadership. (Government is managerial, where aristocracy approximates the role of military leadership in setting goals and rewarding those who achieve them while clearing non-contributors aside. It does not attempt to manage all people to get to the same result because it is inherently inegalitarian.).
He also assumes that conservatism is not its principles, but the methods used to achieve them. The A is conservative principles; the B is methods. B does not necessarily lead to A, so it is better to uphold principles, and the Alt Right does that with dramatic flair.
In fact, the Alt Right is the resurrection of conservatism from its milquetoast version which was designed to be compatible with democracy and American internationalist (Leftist) policy goals: the core of conservatism is consequentialism, or looking at results to see what has worked best throughout history, and conserving those best principles so that we always have a roadmap when encountering new things.
Let us look at Alt Right ideals:
Genetic basis to culture and thus, nation. History shows this one again and again: people like those who are like them, in part because this is the most efficient way to live because people are acting in the same direction without requiring police, media, government and education to hound them. Why is it surprising that the people most opposed to this theory — called Nationalism — are police, media, government and academia?
Consequently, diversity does not work. We are not “white supremacists” who blame other groups for our own failings, nor anti-Semites. We recognize this: each group acts in its own genetic self-interest, and therefore, no two groups can share the same interest. Diversity always fails, no matter what groups are involved.
Hierarchy not equality. People are not equal on a genetic level, and therefore have widely varying abilities mapped on a “Bell Curve” where most are of only moderate ability. For this reason, we need a strong hierarchy to put those on the far-right seventh of the curve ahead of the rest. Putting those who are most competent in charge guarantees the best results for all and ends the constant internal friction of power struggles.
Reward must come only from performance. Unions, socialism, pacifism, equality and social group style inclusion have a fatal flaw: they reward the worst the same as the best, which creates a disincentive to the best through the added penalty of unrewarded and taxing labor. If the reward goes to the worst as well, the best are taking on additional time, energy and money to do what will not be rewarded; this is a de facto penalty. Subsidize nothing, reward only performance.
These are timeless conservative principles. Edmund Burke would agree with them, as would Plato. They are presented here in a form distilled down from the memery and chaotic ideation of the Alt Right, which it preserves to avoid entryism and also to keep itself internally competitive so that it always produces cutting-edge ideas.
Where mainstream conservatism slept, the Alt Right rose; unlike mainstream conservatives, the Alt Right do not require “politeness” and “sociability” from themselves because they realize that these hamper truth, which is more complex and less pleasant than the euphemisms and talismans required for social interaction. That is the difference: the mainstream conservatives are dominated by socializing and its requirements, where the Alt Right maintains a feral, atavistic and anti-social outlook that allows it to be truth-driven and not led around by the nose by human concerns, emotions, feelings, desires and pretenses.
Let us look at what he feels is non-conservative:
Those who cheer it spring from the so-called alt-right, who have been insisting for months that conservatism is a “failure” and that it must be replaced with an ethnicity-based white solidarity movement, and from the Pat Buchanan paleoconservative wing of the party, which believes that free trade is economic voodoo, immigration from non-European countries is inherently problematic, and isolationism on foreign policy is the best way to protect the country.
The common factor here is Nationalism, or the idea that the presence of only one ethnic group defines the nation.
Not proxies like capitalism, small government, democracy, equality, individual responsibility or other B/methods that Shapiro suggests.
The core of conservatism is nationalism because nationalism produces the best results throughout history. It is not surprising, then, that every Leftist ideal and group is against Nationalism. They fear it because it undoes Leftism.
With nationalism, we do not need the Cathedral — the intersectional elite of government, academia, media and entertainment — because we have culture that can be universally practiced because all of the people are the same. This is why Leftism fears Nationalism, and why conservatism promotes it.
As far as the death of conservatism goes, Shapiro writes an interesting discussion of it, but fails to penetrate into the depths: the Alt Right is conservatism, once you strip away the nonsense required for conservatism to play nice (“bipartisanship,” i.e. compromise and collegiality) with Leftism.
Donald Trump is not the end of conservatism; he is the liberation of it. Whether or not he wins, he has broken the surface tension that says conservatives cannot talk about vital issues like Nationalism and our incompatibility with Leftism. There is nothing more Rightist than that.
In my view, Donald Trump is a good candidate because he intends to win. For him winning does not mean merely attaining a position or public recognition, as it does for Leftists. He wants to make a successful project in terms of its results as a conservative would, and that requires strengthening the country and fixing its problems. In intent, at least, he will settle for nothing less, and thanks to Barack Obama’s precedent-setting abuse of executive orders with the Supreme Court’s approval, he has a legal foundation on which he can override the Left and achieve these things.
But even more, he is the standard-bearer for a new conservative mentality: we will not be bullied anymore. We will speak of the obvious and real. We will mention the unsociable and factual, including logical facts (such as “diversity cannot work because groups have self-interest specific to themselves which clash when more than one group occupies the same space”). We will be honest, forthright and clear.
Conservatism died long ago. Ronald Reagan was its last gasp of agonal breathing. After that, it was the muddle. Conservatism has existed in a state of denial of what it is to be conservative, and instead clings to a few methods that conservatives insist qualifies them as conservative, even though the lie is put to that statement by their failure to achieve conservative results, which is the only measurement conservatism recognizes.
Cheer up, Ben. You are halfway to Alt Right yourself. Now it is time for you to join us on the dark side.