Amerika

What Do Conservatives “Conserve”?

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VDARE always cuts to the chase, which is why it makes good daily reading. A recent article looked into the question the Alt Right has raised: the possible that “the end of history” has ended and liberal democracy has been debunked just as thoroughly as Communism. This in turn brings startling implications:

Codevilla’s basic idea: the cultural revolution of the last 50 years has destroyed America as a constitutional republic. As many on the Alt Right have noted, there is nothing left to conserve.

Growing up in a Leftist-dominated time, most of us on the Alt Right have never known any vocabulary for theory except what is drilled into us by the Left. This leads to the illusory thought that conservatives are here to conserve a previous age such as the 1950s or 1980s, either of which would be far superior to what we have now.

Conservatives aim to “conserve” not a specific time, but timeless principles and ways of life. The basis of the philosophy is consequentialism, or the idea of measuring our proposed acts by their likely consequences instead of the emotional feelings or sense of shared social communion that they give us. Conservatism upholds the triumph of reality over intent.

This way of life leads to a natural tendency to prefer optimums, or those principles and ways of life which lead consistently to the best outcomes, not merely acceptable (utilitarian) ones. This requires rejecting the idea of equality, because most people are naturally prone to think in the short term and groups always choose “committee think” style compromises instead of taking decisive action.

In this light, conservatives never approved of America and its Constitution. They like the founders saw the Constitution as a method of restraining democracy by limiting it to the upper echelons of society, mainly because democracy of some form was inevitable given the collapse of monarchies across Europe under the assault of The Enlightenment™ style thought.

Original conservatives recognized that sanity is a fleeting thing that is available to only a few exceptional individuals, and not to groups. For this reason, they opposed mass culture and its ideological arm, “Progress,” in every form. Progress means clear-cutting forests and displacing towns to make cities and industry producing pointless products for a clueless electorate oblivious to anything but its immediate personal impulses.

This explains the fundamental division of America into two states, the raw producers and those who make their money from reselling, cosmopolitanism and entertainment. This split has exploded in 2016 because with the lawlessness of the Obama-Clinton left, the conflict can no longer be masked.

This reflects an increasingly stark conflict between two very different American economies. One, the “Ephemeral Zone” concentrated on the coasts, runs largely on digits and images, the movement of software, media and financial transactions. It produces increasingly little in the way of food, fiber, energy and fewer and fewer manufactured goods. The Ephemeral sectors dominate ultra-blue states such as New York, California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Connecticut.

The other America constitutes, as economic historian Michael Lind notes in a forthcoming paper for the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, the “New Heartland.” Extending from the Appalachians to the Rockies, this heartland economy relies on tangible goods production. It now encompasses both the traditional Midwest manufacturing regions, and the new industrial areas of Texas, the Southeast and the Intermountain West.

In conservative lexicon, this conflict is one of the oldest in humanity: cities versus countryside. Cities are anonymous and people make their living in them by convincing each other to do things; they are naturally prone to salesmanship, advertising, marketing, peer pressure and other anthropocentric vehicles which are inimicable to the localized, normal and healthy lifestyle of a network of villages, towns and small cities.

It is not surprising that America has divided this way; in fact, it is a verification of conservative ideas yet again. The two sides have become incompatible because they want different ways of life entirely. The cities are increasingly in trouble as their liberal policies become more expensive, and are choking the heartland with taxes.

We have seen this situation before. In the years before the Civil War, the Northern Cities relied heavily on Southern agricultural products. Taxes began rising, but not enough. To fix this situation, the cities provoked a war and invaded the South so that they could incorporate it into the federal system and have more control over the raw product, which is where all the profit — and future tax bonanza — was.

Civil War 2.0 is now on the table. As VDARE states:

The fundamental reason for this fear among the elites: their guilty conscience. They understand that in the last 50 years they have completely upended the old order in America. They have created a revolution that opposes the most fundamental interests of the historic white American nation. They understand that this election could confirm their revolution—but only if Hillary Clinton wins.

The question for conservatives is then what there is left to conserve, and the answer is that we conserve the way of living that has eternally nourished heartlands in all Indo-European civilizations. Heartlands like social order:

  • Communities where everyone knows each other.

  • Caste or its less formal cousin social class to put the most capable in charge as social and consumer decision-makers.

  • Leadership based not on popularity but competence.

  • Customs, calendars, cuisine, language, values, philosophy and religion which are in unison in understanding of the world and the purpose of the civilization.

  • Civil penalties or exile of those who transgress against the civilization instead of stewardship through prisons.

  • Homogeneity of the group in heritage, identity and worldview/culture.

  • Economies based not on growth but perpetuity, in service to culture.

  • Personal codes of honor, moral attention and maintenance of the good, beautiful and true.

  • A shared goal both specific to the group, and a driving force toward excellence through elitism.

Conservatives today have mostly forgotten these in their desire to “remain relevant” by appealing to mass culture and mass tastes, but this is a suicide mission because mass culture rewards the instant gratification life of the city and not the more contemplative, long-term joys of the heartland. This is why “original sin” appealed so much to our ancestors: it explained that people are limited by their abilities, and most tend toward the monkeylike, and among the intelligent, without self-discipline they become agents of evil.

In a long-term view, conservatism is experiencing a revival worldwide as liberal democracy collapses in a stinking cloud of problems created by its own pursuit of the illusion of equality. The Alt Right, Neoreaction, New Right and Traditionalist movements are inheritors of conservatism not so much in details, but in spirit and inclination. With these, we can reclaim and rebuild a world ruined by human pretense.

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