Sunday, October 04, 2009

Conservatism AND Liberalism Dead?

Steven Hayward in today's Washington Post Op/Ed has a piece that asks, "Is Conservatism Dead? No - Just Brain Dead." He writes,

The best-selling conservative books these days tend to be red-meat titles such as Michelle Malkin's "Culture of Corruption," Glenn Beck's new "Arguing with Idiots" and all of Ann Coulter's well-calculated provocations that the left falls for like Pavlov's dogs. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with these books. Politics is not conducted by Socratic seminar, and Henry Adams's dictum that politics is the systematic organization of hatreds should remind us that partisan passions are an essential and necessary function of democratic life. The right has always produced, and always will produce, potboilers.

Conspicuously missing, however, are the intellectual works...MORE>>
Hayward elsewhere dismisses the tea party phenomena as "unfocused" and, as per above, sees Malkin and Beck as not sufficiently "intellectual" to warrant attention (he may have a point there).

Mr. Hayward sees only "Happy Meal Conservatism," which will, he posits, melt away very soon with the morning mist. What he fails to see is the "Happy Meal Liberalism" that he himself espouses. In the doubling rivalry in which he is caught, he fails to see that his stance is the equal and opposite of the conservatism that he and the WaPo scorn and flail at with incessant effort.

If Mr. Hayward wants to find true intellectual vigor, he will have to look to what he and other supposed gatekeepers of public discourse rejected and abandoned long ago; namely, the thinkers and writers of the Catholic Church. One could do worse than the likes of René Girard, recent inductee into L'Académie français, or the Holy Father, Benedict XVI.

But that would take a paradigm shift for Mr. Hayward, not to mention peeling his eyes off of his mimetic rival dance-partner, "conservatism".

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