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Member since: Wed Jul 20, 2005, 12:23 AM
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I've been thinking a lot about this in the last four years. Conservative intellectuals have aided and abetted the rise of the worst sorts of demagogues, despite the fact that the conservative intellectual tradition holds demagoguery in great disdain. We have seen this before, in the 1930's, when reactionary German intellectuals such as Carl Schmitt gave themselves over to National Socialism, only to find in the space of a few years, just as Schmitt did, that the political movement they had supported had no need, use or understanding of them once they assumed power. What's jarring is that conservative intellectuals today, much like Schmitt, now express shock, surprise and umbrage at this, even though their own marginalization is entirely predictable to them, using their own understanding of Gassett's "mass man."

They didn't want to see it

All these supposedly smart conservative intellectuals, or what passes for intellectuals within the conservative movement since the death of Bill Buckley, absolutely have egged on the most reactionary, nativist, racist and stupid elements within the GOP as part of their effort to perpetuate their ideology's grip on the reins of power. They failed to see what other conservative intellectuals have historically failed to see, which is that they are creating a movment with no ideas and no room for people like themselves.

This is the same nihilism that they are so fond of accusing the left of exemplifying.

Conservatives have long gotten this wrong

At least since Burke. The difference between the old Republican Party and the new, improved tea party version is that the former would have read Burke, whereas the invocation of his name would be met by the latter with blank stares.
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