It’s too bad that most faces of American conservatism are bloviating, self-righteous, self-serving, ignorant and hateful people like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and anyone at The National Review, and The Weekly Standard, The World Net Daily and too many websites to list. There actually are thoughtful and intellectual conservatives who aren’t lunatics. Guys like Rod Dreher, Ross Douthat, David Frumm, and Reihan Salam. I’d love to have a conversation (and a beer) with these guys even though I disagree with them on many issues.
The best truly conservative magazine that I regularly read is The American Conservative. And yeah, I know that Pat Buchanan was one of the founders, but I think he’s gone now, and his brand of bile doesn’t seep into the tone of the magazine.
Here’s an example of American Conservative writing, by Andrew Bacevich, that even a godless, faggot-loving commie like me can relate to.
Conservatism—the genuine article, not the phony brand represented by the likes of Mitt Romney, Karl Rove, or Grover Norquist—has now become the counterculture. This is a mantle that committed conservatives should happily claim. That mantle confers opportunity. It positions conservatives to formulate a compelling critique of a status quo that few responsible Americans view as satisfactory or sustainable.
A few paragraphs later, he goes on to say:
So forget about dismantling the welfare state. Social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and, yes, Obamacare are here to stay. Forget about outlawing abortion or prohibiting gay marriage. Conservatives may judge the fruits produced by the sexual revolution poisonous, but the revolution itself is irreversible.
Instead, the new conservative agenda should emphasize the following:
Protecting the environment from the ravages of human excess. Here most emphatically, the central theme of conservatism should be to conserve. If that implies subordinating economic growth and material consumption in order to preserve the well-being of planet Earth, so be it. In advancing this position, conservatives should make common cause with tree-hugging, granola-crunching liberals. Yet in the cultural realm, such a change in American priorities will induce a tilt likely to find particular favor in conservative circles.
Exposing the excesses of American militarism and the futility of the neo-imperialist impulses to which Washington has succumbed since the end of the Cold War. When it comes to foreign policy, the conservative position should promote modesty, realism, and self-sufficiency. To the maximum extent possible, Americans should “live within,” abandoning the conceit that the United States is called upon to exercise “global leadership,” which has become a euphemism for making mischief and for demanding prerogatives allowed to no other nation. Here the potential exists for conservatives to make common cause with members of the impassioned antiwar left.
Insisting upon the imperative of putting America’s fiscal house in order. For starters, this means requiring government to live within its means. Doing so will entail collective belt-tightening, just the thing to curb the nation’s lazily profligate tendencies. Conservatives should never cease proclaiming that trillion-dollar federal deficits are an abomination and a crime committed at the expense of future generations.
Laying claim to the flagging cause of raising children to become responsible and morally centered adults. Apart from the pervasive deficiencies of the nation’s school system, the big problem here is not gay marriage but the collapse of heterosexual marriage as an enduring partnership sustained for the well-being of offspring. We know the result: an epidemic of children raised without fathers. Turning this around promises to be daunting, but promoting economic policies that make it possible to support a family on a single income offers at least the beginnings of a solution. Yes, just like in the 1950s.
Preserving the independence of institutions that can check the untoward and ill-advised impulses of the state. Among other things, this requires that conservatives mount an adamant and unyielding defense of religious freedom. Churches—my own very much included—may be flawed. But conservatives should view their health as essential.
You can read the whole thing here. It’s good to know that not all conservatives are knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, flag-waving and Bible-thumping gun-nuts.