nothing new under the sun, pt. 2

For those of us who are disconcerted by politics, culture and the rest in this, the year of our lord 2012, some comfort.

First, the Republican primary by the numbers. Takeaway: the author points out almost no one is voting in the primaries and concludes we are seeing extreme positions from the candidates because extremists are the ones going to the polls.  He calls it, exactly, ‘a nation unto itself.’

Deep comfort from The Dish this weekend, which again remembered Peter Viereck, who represented the best impulses of conservatism, and who saw clearly the pathologies underlying the modern day ‘conservative’ movement.

The Dish explains Viereck as the key to “a distinctive conservative strain of non-violence, pragmatism, restraint and limited government that is at peace with the New Deal.” In other words, the values many of us grew up with.

(This conservatism is also, parenthetically, the stuff of tragedy. It’s knowing that failure, illness, decay, brutality are the workaday condition of humankind, against which one must move with humility. It’s the blues, and it’s Donald Rumsfeld’s unknown unknowns.)

Truth is, that sort of conservatism was almost immediately shot down at the national level. But it lived on, for a time, among some people who believed themselves conservative, and who would be utterly at sea in today’s ‘conservative’ world.


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