Good Lord, What Wee-ness Is Bred In the Bone of Today’s Ersatz American Conservatives?

Roger Kimball, whose thoughtful discussions of art, education, and progressivism I once attended to with appreciation, and occasionally cited in my own writing, has, over the past five years, become one of the most ridiculously unrepentant and irrational sycophants for Donald Trump. There may be even more irrational cases, but none, I suspect, that have fallen so low from so high.

In one of my increasingly rare forays into morbid curiosity at the latest depths of demagogic stupidity, I see that Kimball has noted, like every other sentient being, the absurdity of Trump’s digital trading cards self-parody — but only to reinterpret it as yet another example of Trump’s genius and strategic sophistication. Yes, we are back to the nine-dimensional chess rationalization to explain the moves of the dumbest man ever to become the leader of any nation existing outside of a comedy movie. You see, as Kimball tells us with awe, on the very same day when Trump announced to his moronic millions that they could be the proud owners of a fake picture of him in superhero tights, he also delivered “a sober, thoughtful speech about the importance of free speech, outlining some of the initiatives he would take to protect it if (when?) he assumes office again.” 

Right. After taking yet another opportunity to soak his fans for millions of dollars with his typical phony goods and reality TV self-promotion, Trump, who is apparently running for president again, read a speech written for him by some think tank employee, in which he latched on to one of the hot-button issues of the moment — the alleged censorship of conservative speech on Twitter — in an attempt to get ahead of his rivals and claim the issue as his own, the same way he did in 2016 with radical Islam and border security. In other words, he is campaigning in the only way he knows how, namely demagogically, while relying, for the actual content, on speechwriters more than he did in the past, because his credibility is so shot now, after all his deceptions and debacles, that he can no longer be trusted, even by himself, to say things that will strike the right tone for the changing times — times that have changed partly in the sense that everyone beyond his thriving cadre of lost boys now knows Trump is a lying, two-faced, self-serving blusterer who will promise the moon, but deliver little more in practice than digital drawings of himself riding a cow over the moon, while he whines and pouts forever, with authoritarian overtones, about how unfair the world has been to him.

And Roger Kimball? He buys the whole fraud, of course, as he never did prior to 2016, but has never stopped doing ever since. The gravy train, and the slimy mess small men will make of their best ties to keep their snouts close to it. Perhaps, come to think of it, this explains Kimball’s lifelong penchant for bow ties. “The better to grovel with, my dear.”

Speaking of small men with a penchant for bow ties, an update, if you will, on the incredible shrinking Putin spokesman, Tucker Carlson. I have a little request to make of the reader, or rather specifically of that reader whom I do not know personally, if any there be. (To those who visit Limbo as my friends and spiritual kin, the following request does not apply, since I see no reason to waste your time, mind, or morality on such things.)

If you have not already heard or read Carlson’s good riddance monologue on the occasion of congressman Adam Kinzinger’s farewell speech in the House of Representatives, I invite you to do so at the following link: “TUCKER CARLSON: Goodbye, Adam Kinzinger… an example of what a man can be when he stops trying to be a man.”

In fact, I urge you to do so, for the following reason. If, upon reading (or hearing) any portion of said monologue, you do not immediately recognize in it the pathetic self-revelation and protesting too much of a simpering salesman and toady of totalitarians, an ersatz man and anti-American propagandist who is desperately, almost hysterically projecting every whiny and emasculated thing he knows to be true of himself onto a man who has displayed (in the real world, not in the virtual reality of fake news commentary) all the trial by experience that he himself lacks, all the courage in the face of real danger that he will never have, all the independent spirit in the face of overwhelming tribal pressure that his profit model denies him, and all the freedom from populist authoritarian impulses that has dragged him, Carlson himself, into the abyss of humiliation with the historic popping of his two most beloved blowhard bubbles in a row (Trump and Putin) over the past six years — if, I say, you do not immediately recognize all of this in Carlson’s rant, then I strongly recommend, as politely but sincerely as I can, that you never visit this website again. I guarantee you will miss nothing, for there will be nothing here that you would like to see, nothing presented here to suit your taste for the nothingness.

If you agree with Carlson’s assessment, or believe he is on the right side of this or any other significant issue of the day, in spite of his repeated and increasingly blunt self-declarations as an apologist and propagandist for dictatorship and a purveyor of amoralist reasoning for what he calls “peace,” meaning surrender to tyranny, then you have strayed from your proper environs in coming here. Return to your fellow tribesmen in demagogic dwarfdom and leave those of us with independent minds and serious souls alone, as we continue to mull the fate, and the chances for survival, of mankind, in that very dark and cowardly future you and your companions are helping to foster. 

On the flipside of this fake conservative coin, we have the losers in the Republican establishment’s Great Cleansing War — that is, the losing side in the battle of equally corrupt factions — as represented with the perfect clarity of a Platonic Idea by Bill Kristol. Kristol, whose name is probably most famously associated with the “neoconservative” label in the popular consciousness (for good reason, since his father was the man who defined the term), was one of the first well-known Republican commentators to publicly assume the “Never Trump” mantle, and one of the few who not only never backtracked on that self-description in order to stay “relevant” during the Trump era, but in fact continues to proudly identify himself with that quasi-movement to this day, almost to the point of declaring himself its fountainhead and definitive representative (which he is not). 

Kristol, whose attempt at a conservative journalistic empire was washed away in the Trump tidal wave, is now regularly using social media to exact some kind of revenge upon his former Republican allies. In the process, however, he continually exposes his true colors, or at least reveals the extent to which the hard rain of defeat may dilute the proper hues of a man who lacks character and has invested too much of his worth in reputation and power. 

One would expect a generational Republican who entered the party’s political machinery during the Reagan administration to frame his anti-Trump position as a call for a return to the less populist forms of conservatism that the party (on his own view) championed prior to the Trump upheaval. Or perhaps to demand a third party alternative as a form of protest against the dismal reality of the so-called two-party system of today. Or at least to declare himself an independent and simply stay above the partisan fray, arguing for policies and principles he believes in, while rejecting the current Republican mainstream as too unhinged, and the Democratic mainstream as too entrenched in leftism. 

What one would not expect from a man who has been deeply invested in the Republican Party for forty years is that he would turn around and become a bland, predictable mouthpiece of the Democratic Party — particularly today’s Democratic Party, which is so deeply invested in progressive radicalism, from its neo-Marxist, retributionist social policies to its anti-property and anti-liberty economic platform. And yet there is Bill Kristol, founder of the Weekly Standard, top staffer to Bill Bennett and Dan Quayle, college roommate and one-time campaign manager for Alan Keyes, openly siding with the Democrats on all issues, praising Joe Biden’s economic policies regularly, chastising Republicans for criticizing the progressive social agenda, mocking them for questioning the motives and methods of the never-ending Covid mandates and accompanying blatant lies. As though all these positions were reducible to mere “Trumpism,” rather than being, in many cases, good old-fashioned American skepticism about excessive government, and reasonable resistance to radical social engineering. 

If ever you needed more solid evidence of the duplicity of the modern neoconservative generation — as distinct from Irving Kristol’s original design — you could not find it anywhere more clearly than in Bill Kristol’s willingness to deny everything he ever defended, apparently in a fit of unreflective indignation over the fact that this damned uncouth interloper has dared to step into the world neocons wish to micromanage and started knocking over the tables. In a huff, Kristol is simply leaping to the neo-Marxists to express his outrage. What could be more foolish and anti-Reaganite? And who else in modern American politics, I might add, has, when already well into his sixties, suddenly done a complete about-face on so many issues, including basic party affiliation, merely to further a petty personal agenda? Hm, one prominent comparison immediately springs to mind…and so here, at last, that silly pseudo-clinical term of political convenience, “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” finds its legitimate application.

The Republican Party is indeed dead, and the neoconservatives helped to kill it by paving the way for Trump’s wrecking ball act. No American conservative should hitch his wagon to that failed party. But to imagine the Democrats might provide a satisfactory alternative, even temporarily, is worse than folly, it is madness — or something worse than madness, but perhaps we may leave that speculation to the final Judge.

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