Skip to comments.Daniel Greenfield article: No Enemies to the Left
Posted on 01/23/2013 5:05:45 AM PST by expat1000
The disastrous results in Israel's election are yet another example of the right cannibalizing itself. It's not the first time this happened in Israeli political history or American political history or European political history. It's an ongoing theme whose motto is still, "No enemies to the left."
What the "mainstream" conservatives fear most of all is a drift to the right. Some of this is the whimper of whipped dogs. Every party to the right of Stalin has had to spend decades fending off accusations that it was the second coming of the Third Reich, the KKK and Genghis Khan. The Pavlovian training has taken hold and every conservative echelon is expert at going into damage control mode when it senses that its own right might do something that would give the left fuel for their accusations.
But there's another factor at work here. It's cultural. Mainstream conservatives have become another arm of the urban technocracy. They want many of the same things that liberals do, but with less regulations and more tax shelters. They aren't interested in major changes, only the minor ones that will keep the system going. Even when they are dedicated reformers, their vision extends no further than a bunch of high tech cities full of immigrants going to universities and then inventing things.
They are competent, rather than imaginative. The left repeatedly outmaneuvers them because the left is always pushing to the left, while they are content to put a chair against the door and wait for those crazy hippies to get off the LSD, cut their hair and give up. But to their surprise the left never does.
The leaders of mainstream conservatism aren't angry, and they dismiss the people who are as loons. When the left does something oppressive or defeats them, they don't get mad, they get ironically amused. They make detached observations citing Trollope. They are as much a part of the jet setting elite, as their liberal colleagues, and they have an exit strategy, whether it's Singapore or Thailand.
They aren't liberals themselves, but their conservatism is an outmoded thing that was only fit for a conservative society. In a conservative society, they are the old guard. In a liberal society, they are still the old guard, standing for the values of moderation, civility and not getting too worked up about things that can't be changed. In a liberal society, what they conserve is not conservatism, but the liberalism of their youth.
The one thing that worries them is the ascendance of the right. They don't much like their own base. It's angry, noisy and ignorant. It doesn't understand the rules of the game. And it represents a threat to their careers.
They may draw cartoons and sing a few songs, but they aren't revolutionaries. They don't want a culture war. And they don't really want to change the way things are. They may not approve of the politics of their children, and they gasp in horror at debt ratios and proposals to privatize things, but overall they like the way things are. And they imagine that it can remain that way, hanging forever in mid-air, never going further left or further right, a perfect balance that will endure for all time.
They have a simple arrangement with the right. They pledge allegiance, faintly, to its beliefs, mouth the right words during elections, promise to ban abortion, build settlements and leave the EU, and then they shake their heads ruefully and go back to the club regretting the necessity for participating in this clown show. Between elections they sometimes put their intellectual firepower at the disposal of these ideas, though never when these ideas appear to be polling badly, especially with the young.
In exchange the right, the real right, those angry people with quaint ideas about personal freedom, moral revival and national greatness, are expected to know their place. And their place is behind the sawhorses at the rally and in line at the voting booth. When that changes, then they attack their own right with far more vehemence and violence than they ever employ against the left.
The left does not worry them all that much. In a way the left has become their career. The opposition defines their work. Its radicalism ensures that they will always have a base, no matter where that base comes from.
There will always be victims of government regulation, baffled casualties of the culture wars mourning their lost children and men and women who woke up one day from their routine of work and parenting to find out that the country had been stolen from them. There will always be mugging and terror victims who suddenly begin thinking about the big issues that they never really thought about before. And those people will be their base, will sign their checks, buy their books and come to hear them speak.
As long as the left does its work, the moderate conservative leaders will always have a place, if not in the sun, than in the comfortable shade. They have no real enemies to the left. Their enemies are to the right.
The left can raise their taxes, make them jump through regulatory hoops and turn their children into idiots. But the right can take away their positions. The left turns them into dinosaurs every twenty years, but the resurgence of the right can do that in two years. Their job, the job they take on to protect their job, isn't to keep down the left, but to keep down the right so that it doesn't embarrass them in front of the left or break apart the comfortable conservatism that they have built up.
A revolutionary right would not be conservative. It would be a revolutionary movement that is less concerned with talking about how much better things were X years ago and more concerned with forcing a return to the way things were. It would not do this in the name of conserving anything, because it recognizes that there is hardly anything left to conserve, it would do this because it is natural and good, but more so it would do it because it is the only way out of the long fall.
When such movements or figures emerge, often unready for the spotlight, it is the mainstream leaders who gang up and destroy them. In liberal societies where fighting the left is a dangerous sport, an activity constrained by the image concerns imposed by media overlords and social media meme mobs, right on right violence is the one safe sport. It is where they can unleash their full range of attacks, destroying those whose crime is the courage to seek real change, rather than their idyllic urban technocracy of skyscrapers and dot coms.
When the bloody work is done, and the mainstream conservatives have their scalp, a political figure whom they can use to prove that the right is completely unready for mainstream politics and should leave the hard business of running for office to the experts, then the experts waddle out to the face the left, lose or break even, and then formulate a plan for winning by going to the left.
It's a sad state of affairs that repeats itself time and time again. The names changes, the issues change, but the battles remain the same. While the left becomes radicalized, the right becomes marginalized. Even when the moderate conservatives win, their triumph rests in managing a system and a culture that serves the left, more than it does them. And toward the end, they become what they have hated, drifting slowly into liberalism, denouncing in angry fits of rage the resurgence of the right.
Thus conservative movements and parties cannibalize themselves. The left believes that there are no enemies to the left. And so do the leaders of the right. And when they are through fighting each other, then often the left wins by default. Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and blogger and a Shillman Journalism Fellow of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
In the beginning there was “right” and “wrong”, and we’ve been compromising in the “wrong” direction ever since.
What conservatives fear is “history.” Anything the left has touched since the beginning of time wound up in governments committing mass murders, oppression, the removal of any individual rights and freedoms.
All we have to do is look to Venezuela to see our future. Conservatives see the 600 pound elephant in the room and the direction of the country. The lapdog media tells us we will be more like Europe, which we all know not to be true. You don’t go around buying hundreds of millions of rounds of ammo unless there is an agenda.
Conservatism is the mainstream and until someone is willing to be martyred in the name of conservatism we will continue the slide into the abyss.
I live in NJ, in the NYC media market, and see this all the time.
I remember Al D'Amato being fairly conservative, but then shying away from those positions to try to win favor with NY's liberal voters and the NY Times editorial board.
His move to the left was rewarded with defeat to Chuckie Schumer and he was sentenced to political irrelevancy. Last time I heard from him, he was shilling for the rights of internet poker outfits.
Chris Christie is the new poster boy for the enemies to the right Republican. They love the happy ending massages the media gives them when they attack conservatives. Unfortunately for them, they need to win office against liberal Democrats and they look like milquetoast indecisive grovelers when they face that battle. And their fawning media buddies give them the shiv everytime.
The Third Reich was explicitly socialist, and the KKK was explicitly Democrat.
Also I doubt Genghis Khan was in favor of small government.
Greenfield is right. Conservatives need to push the hell back on these lazy labels.
Put more succinctly, the job of the Republican Establishment is to maintain the pretense that there is opposition to the Left, while not actually doing anything to roll back the Left.
Their power and money comes from being somebody their constituents can go to, to get around this or that regulation. If the Left was actually rolled back, there would be less “protection” money they could extract. The money and power of the members of the GOP-e comes from their being legislators in the minority. They DON’T WANT the Presidency. Having the Presidency would make them accountable.
You are correct. That mischaracterization began long before I was born. Way back then, Republicans should have been outraged and should have loudly and explicitly tarred the Left with these associations. Instead, the GOP was largely silent and the evil groups became associated with Conservartives. Lovely.
But the same thing goes on today. The RINOs make the same mistake. They do not assert their principles, their moral correctness, their allegiance to freedom and opportunity for all, their love of the Constitution. The RINOs abandon all of that in some vague hope that by being "middle-of-the-road", our polarized country will like them. That's not working.
The Left will be defeated only when the Right decides to stand up and being decisively and uncompromisingly Conservative.
Right-on analysis dead...
But you gotta give Christie an A in self interest and survival(at least in NJ) , even though he slaps around the House GOP to do it. He is no dummy.
Let's face it, if he took stands with the GOP contrary to NJ polls and lost this years election (much like Scott Brown did last year) you would have bunch here saying he lost NJ because he is a RINO, as they do with Brown.
Plus look at all that praise he gets from Joe and Mika, they must make his fat head spin.
This is a wonderful piece.
Well he won election in NJ while being solidly pro-life and anti-union, so he can be conservative when he wants to.
I see a quote where he said “I am pro-life with exceptions”
And I bet he has yet to propose any state based abortion laws.
But at lreast he's not for SS marraige, yet.
His beating on House Rs is probably a big payoff in that state, especially over the storm $$$.
Thus conservative movements and parties cannibalize themselves.
that quote finishes with, " I believe in exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother, but I do believe that life is precious and should be protected." I don't exactly agree with that position but I am OK with a politician who has those exceptions. Christie has been solidly pro-life since the birth of his daughter 15 years ago. He called it a life changing event.
I don't know what sort of laws you're looking for him to create. He's a governor, not a legislator.
I know he did veto a Planned Parenthood funding bill that came to his desk, forcing them to close down a number of clinics in the state. I don't imagine a whole lot of pro life bills hit his desk.
There are plenty of things to complain about regarding Christie, but he has been solid on the abortion issue.
He dabbles in conservative positions.
I think you jumped in at a reply I made to someone replying to my original comment.
Please hit the ‘To..’ link up to see what point I was making.
I don’t know what you’re talking about. I was replying to your reply to me.
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