Quote of the Week: Sam Francis, “Beautiful Losers”

‘Neoconservatism’ today is usually called simply ‘conservatism’, though it is sometimes known under other labeled as well: Fred Barnes’s ‘Big Government conservatism’; HUD Secretary Jack Kemp’s ‘progressive conservatism’; Representative Newt Gingrich’s ‘opportunity conservatism’; Paul Weyrich’s ‘cultural conservatism’; or, most recently ‘The New Paradigm’, in the phrase coined by White House aid James Pinkerton. Despite the variations among those formulas, all of them envision a far larger and more active central state than the Old Republicanism embraced by most conservatives prior to the 1970s, a state that makes it its business to envision a particular arrangement of institutions and beliefs and to design governmental machinery to create them. In the case of ‘neoconservatism’, the principal goal is the enhancement of economic opportunity through one kind or another of social engineering (enterprise zones, for example) and the establishment of an ethic that regards equality (usually disguised as ‘equality of opportunity’), economic mobility, affluence, and material gratification as the central meaning of what their exponents often call ‘the American experiment’.

Such goals are not conceptually distinct from those of the progressivism and the liberalism athwart which the American Right at one time promised to stand, though the tactics and procedures by which they are to be achieved are somewhat (but not very) different. Indeed, much of what neoconservatives are concerned with is merely process – strategy, tactics, how to win elections, how to broaden the base of the GOP, how to make the government run more efficiently, how to achieve ‘credibility’ and exert an ‘impact’ – and not with the ultimate goals themselves, about which there is little debate with those parts of the Left that also lie within the permissible range of ‘pluralistic’ dialogue. Given the persistent cultural dominance of the Left, a conservatism that limits itself merely to procedural problems tacitly concedes the goals of public action to its enemies and quietly comes to share the premises on which the goals of the Left rest. Eventually, having silently and unconsciously accepted the premises and goals, it will also come to accept even the means by with the left has secured its dominance, and the very distinction between Right and Left will disappear.

▪ Sam T Francis, “Beautiful Losers” in Beautiful Losers – The Failures of American Conservatism (University of Missouri Press, 1993) extract from pages 223 to 224.

SydneyTrads is the internet portal and communication page of the Sydney Traditionalist Forum, an association of individuals who form part of the Australian paleoconservative, “traditionalist conservative” and “independent right”.

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