Sam Tanenhaus, the Senior Editor of the New York Times Book Review, offers what he calls “an intellectual autopsy of the [Conservative] movement” on the website of The New Republic. Coming in at a bulky 6,652 words, it’s certainly doesn’t enable my online ADD reading tendencies.
I gave it a cursory skimming, but I can’t bring myself to explore its depths. Actually I’m afraid that a tome titled “Conservatism Is Dead” that was written by a senior anybody at the notoriously ideological NY Times would send me into a rage from which I might not recover for the rest of the day. The concluding paragraph is enough to make me roll my eyes:
What our politics has consistently demanded of its leaders, if they are to ascend to the status of disinterested statesmen, is not the assertion but rather the renunciation of ideology. And the only ideology one can meaningfully renounce is one’s own. Liberals did this a generation ago when they shed the programmatic “New Politics” of the left and embraced instead a broad majoritarianism. Now it is time for conservatives to repudiate movement politics and recover their honorable intellectual and political tradition. At its best, conservatism has served the vital function of clarifying our shared connection to the past and of giving articulate voice to the normative beliefs Americans have striven to maintain even in the worst of times. There remains in our politics a place for an authentic conservatism–a conservatism that seeks not to destroy but to conserve.
Yeah, right. What’s that they say about bulls and pastures?