An internal squabble has broken out over the state of the conservative movement, after former National Review editor David Klinghoffer said in the Los Angeles Times that the Right is losing its way. Conservatives were once led by "urbane visionaries," such as the late William F. Buckley, who wanted to "save civilization," Klinghoffer said. But now, under the influence of the "potty-mouthed Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart," the Right is more concerned with trashing the left than in defending the best values of civilization. "Now we observe the rule of the crazy-cons," he said. Is the Right really drifting toward "demagoguery and hucksterism"? (Watch an MSNBC report about the changing conservatives)
Maybe there's hope for the Right: It's encouraging to see that at least some conservatives are disgusted by "the radicalism, the lack of intellectual seriousness, the immaturity" that have polluted the Right, says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly. I'm no fan of "conservatism's forebears — Buckley, for example, was an ardent opponent of Martin Luther King and the civil-rights movement" — but at least those guys "used to care about ideas." Let's hope that each time another conservative speaks out in protest, the "crazy-cons" will lose a little of their influence.
'Making the transition to 'crazy-cons'"
Klinghoffer's hurting conservatism, not helping it: All David Klinghoffer's doing by attacking his fellow conservatives, says Donald Douglas at American Power, is "enabling the very anti-conservative forces Andrew Breitbart is finally beginning to take down." Of course, now that the Right's out of power its "most strident voices" are being heard the loudest — but Democrats are just as likely as Republicans to take partisanship to new extremes.
"From neocons to crazy-cons?"
Conservatism can't return to the past: The Right is "no longer in exile" the way it was when William F. Buckley started talking about saving civilization more than half a century ago, says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. It simply can't afford to return to being "the philosophical, spiritual movement" it was back then. These days conservatives need "propagandists" like Breitbart as surely as they need thinkers like Buckley. After all, you can't change the world if you don't get the voters on your side.
"Is the right losing its mind?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The essential techniques that every home cook should know
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 4 strategies for organizing your money, based on your personality
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Even critics of the euro didn't see this coming
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
Subscribe to the Week