John McCain, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Charles Krauthammer, and now Tucker Carlson cannot be wrong; they all believe that Trumpian populism is bad, and the living ones think that that Trump should quickly concede this election.
They all descend from William F. Buckley, who looked at the postwar political landscape and decided that the issues promoted by the John Birch society were culturally incompatible with the new way things were going to be done in the post-Hitler West.
Buckley advanced a simple formula: fight the Left where we agree, not where we disagree. This meant that conservatism became effectively another variant of Leftism, arguing only over how much we would pay in entitlements, how many illegal immigrants, and how far Left we could go.
Neoconservatism tied together Christianity and “Christian libertarian” conservatism with the concept of optics, or the idea that we should “get along” for the good of the System, which meant rejecting the core of conservatism and being happy to be a partial conservative.
Since that time, the only way to get along with the mainstream conservative Establishment has been to adopt the position that conservatives are going to lose because Leftism is more popular, that our best position is to maintain our liberty to have our own lifestyles, and that the nation is doomed and we have to wait for the end.
This mirrors the National Socialists who await the final race war, the climate change junkies who are looking for the day fire consumes the Earth, and the religious fanatics who believe that all of Earth is fallen and the Ratpure is our only salvation.
In other words, these people have created a scapegoat of life itself, and found a way to rationalize doing nothing, which conveniently allows them to continue their solipsistic pursuit of power and wealth without inconveniencing themselves with trying to stop the decline.
Flipped around another way: modern conservatives actively oppose the idea that we can fix ourselves. They want us to collapse and die. They are waiting for the Hand of God to save them, not planning on saving anything. They conserve their 401ks and nothing else.
Since they have no hope, they focus on optics. They want to be able to rationalize their doing nothing, and they can only do this when they adopt the pretense of being the “bigger person,” or losing with grace. This mirrors some misinterpretations of Christianity that figure since Christ died on the Cross, all of us must emulate him by losing while demonstrating piety.
When you point out to them the simple truth — that the more authority we exert over nature, and the more of a System we create, the less we retain the ability to understand nature — they will, like Leftists, turn on you for having revealed the emptiness of their position.
Tucker Carlson may be one of the few sane voices on conservative media on most topics, including some edgy ones, but at the end of the day, his game is to make a huge pile of wealth and get out of this dying society just like the rest of them. He likes being employed, so he plays The Game like anyone else.
What Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump offer him upsets that balance. Instead of working within a position where he cannot win and therefore cannot fail, since he will lose no matter what he does, he has to take risk and exert himself for more than his own self-interest.
In my view, he made a smart business decision, at least in the world before Trump, Farage, and the Tea Party. Back in the 1990s, conservatives had no hope and even less of a clue, but they were rolling in money as the official Opposition Party. In that role, they could neither win nor fail.
If I had the brains, no doubt I would do the same, but instead I cling stubbornly to the idea that humanity is worth preserving, this world is worth celebrating, and all of our problems are relatively obvious and their core (and repeat through history) and so can be defeated.
In my view, Carlson and friends have it backward. We do not want conservatives advocating liberalism; we want liberals advocating conservatism, because if your goal is for everyone to have a good life, the only way to achieve this is through conservative methods and intermediate goals.
The other way — conservative methods achieving liberal intermediate goals — offers the worst of both worlds. You get the fatalistic misery of the conservative and the life-destroying egotism of the Leftism, all in one package, even if it does not seem so at first.
This tells us what kind of future we need. It will be solidly conservative, but in a way that conservatives have not embraced for a century or longer. We need to aspire to the Good Life, and that requires a rising civilization and self-discipline, which in turn require conservatism.
Weep not for Tucker Carlson. He never wanted to be president, and last night he ended his chances of ever having a run, although no doubt the GOP Establishment types told him the opposite. He just became the next Mitt Romney. Remember what he did well, and move on to the new era of conservatism instead.