In 1950, while being driven from contested Korean territory by the overwhelming force of the invading Chinese, the U.S. Army’s Major General Oliver Prince Smith Jr. told a journalist from Time magazine “We are not retreating. We are advancing in a different direction.” Depending on your perspective, the quote, which has since become almost universally attributed to Smith’s superior, General Douglas MacArthur, is either a masterpiece of positive thinking or a piss-poor method of deception or burying one’s head in the sand. I’ve always viewed it in the latter sense, and it’s a useful shorthand for the unending stream of failures by the mainstream Right. From immigration to gay marriage and the “war on Woke,” the conservative bloc has an innate talent not only for giving ground in its various culture wars, but for somehow reinterpreting or dissembling concession as an advance in a different direction. At the heart of “the conservative problem” is the issue of inclusion versus exclusion, and the fact the conservative bloc, wherever in the West it is found, leads its voter base on the same merry dance to defeat by endlessly hinting at the promise of exclusionary politics while bringing only an expansion to the “inclusive” state. This overwhelmingly takes the form of attracting votes by promising exclusionary action on immigration; retreating from this promise; then playing sleight of hand by trumpeting an advance in the direction of an “inclusive” economy.
Even a brief look at the cultural career of conservatism from around the 1960s reveals a kind of political Attention Deficit Disorder. I can’t think of any single cause, with the possible exceptions of gun control and abortion (in America alone), that has held the attention of the conservative movement enough for consistent opposition or action. Just look at the current fixation on “woke” language and cancel culture. Historian Stephen Prothero wrote back in 2016 that “conservatives almost always lose, because they lash themselves to lost causes.” Despite the ideological rectitude of opposing woke nonsense, it’s essentially true that the issue is already a lost cause. The appropriate time to suffocate the rise of wokeness was years ago, when it was still in its infancy as a niche of left-wing academic nomenclature. In the same way, prior to the advent of woke, when conservatives offered tepid opposition to the eruption of transsexualism into public life, especially in the ridiculous use of pronouns and the question of restrooms and so on, they were at a loss to offer a meaningful challenge because of concessions already made on homosexuals years earlier. And on the homosexuals, conservatives were incapable of serious opposition because of concessions they’d already made around abortion, marriage, and the family, which had in turn created a childless, promiscuous sexual culture more tolerant of the sexually deviant. The conservative is someone who tries to prop up a domino that has many thousands of toppled ones behind it.
Endlessly distracted by new salvoes from the Left, conservatives always arrive too late to the fight, and they combine this with a particularly perverse kind of amnesia on prior defeats. The fundamental strategic difference between Left and Right is that the Left is aware that it is weaving a cultural tapestry, linking one threadlike advance to the next in an endless but coherent chain of social change, while the Right is engaged in political whack-a-mole, seeing everything it disagrees with as an isolated trend or event that can be defeated on its own terms or least milked for votes in the promise of such. The Right sees a series of independent “culture wars” when in fact, as the Left is aware, there is only one war for culture fought on numerous, related, and sequential battlefields. As Prothero points out, the results are conclusive: “In almost every arena where the contemporary culture wars have been fought, liberals now control the agenda.”
The link between gay marriage and the sudden rise of transsexualism to public prominence is an excellent example of the Right’s addiction to last-minute grandstanding on battles that have already been lost. It’s ironic, to say the least, that conservatives often appeal to the idea of a “slippery slope” when opposing a certain trend but are the first to forget they’re on a slope when it comes to the next challenge from the Left. When conservatives opposed gay marriage, part of their reasoning was that it was a slippery slope that would lead to further dilutions in identity, and that it would lead to a quest for “liberation” for the next putatively downtrodden sexual minority. They were right. Almost as soon as the “gay cakes” were finally baked and gay marriage was signed into law, trannies seemed to start walking into female restrooms around the country. And yet the slope was forgotten about as soon as gay marriage was written into law, and while a justified unease about transsexuals ensued there was no mention at all of how, in legislative or cultural terms, we’d arrived at that point. Quite the opposite in fact. Conservatives, consumed with political ADD, had no sooner given up on opposing gay marriage than they were literally championing Trump for advancing the ‘rights’ of homosexuals. Republicans hadn’t lost, they might say, but “advanced in
The Left often portrays the conservative Right as Draconian or heavily Christian on sexual aspects of the culture wars, but this is hardly accurate. In reality, the conservative Right is extremely erratic and divided on the sexual aspect of the culture wars because, with its commitment to visions of the primacy (and privacy) of the individual and the consumer rather that the folk or the nation, it has no solid ideological basis on which in could develop a robust, adaptive notion of the family. The difference is that the individual will always be boiled down to a mere atom of a global community while the family, with its additional obligations, responsibilities and immediate sense of heritage, is the basic unit of a nation. Although the Republican National Committee still technically calls for a ban on gay marriage and transsexuals in the military, this is mere lip service to the idea of sexual normality given the prominence of LGBT platitudes in the Republican top tier. There is currently no conservative political party anywhere in Western Europe, North America, or Australia that proposes the rolling back of protected status for sexual minorities, or even the tightening of laws around divorce and reduction in state provision of welfare that would curb the fracturing of families and rein in the culture of promiscuity and sterility. Without such measures, which conservatism is inherently incapable of introducing and imposing, endlessly debating these issues really is lashing oneself to a lost cause. David Brooks described Trump as “a culture-war president with almost no policy arm attached,” a description that is applicable to almost every conservative government.
Related to the ideological insistence on the individual is the conservative commitment to the fundamental principle of inclusion — a bias that taints all conservative political activity. In an interesting Newsweek piece titled “Why Conservatives Keep Losing the Culture Wars,” Marcus Johnson writes:
Winning the Civil War and World War II against deeply exclusionary societies created a cultural preference for inclusion in the U.S. This preference has become embedded in institutions and has become self perpetuating. It is this cultural preference for inclusion that prevents conservatives from winning the culture wars in this country. To win the culture wars, conservatives would have to fundamentally shift U.S. political culture away from inclusion toward exclusion. But this is extremely difficult to do in practice. It would require rejecting the cultural narratives that the U.S. has long told itself about its past conflicts and reorienting how its political institutions work.
As stated above, conservatives are inherently incapable of doing the difficult but necessary work of introducing exclusionary policies, and their reluctance to even debate or discuss even the potential of such policies keeps the option of exclusion from the public eye; thus ensuring certain defeat in any culture war. It goes without saying that the inclusionary bias of conservatism isn’t entirely autochthonous, even if it is extremely popular in the conservative elite, but has been heavily cultivated both within conservatism and, much more significantly, in the culture as a whole, by hostile, often Jewish, intellectuals and their colleagues operating in society and politics. These aggressive actors have been shaping “ways of seeing” for decades, and “the cultural narratives that the U.S. has long told itself,” referred to by Marcus Johnson, are linked more to pluralist and multicultural propaganda than to the events of history as they actually happened.
Despite the overwhelming tendency to inclusionary politics, even among conservatives, there is clearly an appetite for exclusionary laws among sections of the White population, even if this hasn’t been acted upon in recent decades by a compromised political establishment. Prior to World War II, most Western countries pursued exclusionary politics of some kind, from Britain’s Aliens Act (1905) which targeted Jews, through to the White Australia policy (1901̶–1949) and the Immigration Act of 1924. It’s interesting that two of the most popular and resonant proposals from Donald Trump’s original platform were essentially exclusionary, which is probably why they came to naught. The proposal to build a wall along the US-Mexico border to try to stop illegal immigration was supported by 86% of Republicans, while the attempt to stop immigration from Muslim countries, Executive Order 13769, was supported by the majority (55%) of the American population. Such statistics suggest that conservative avoidance of exclusionary policies is an elite-driven phenomenon not only strategically flawed, but which actually runs counter to the intuitions of their natural voting base — White America.
“Everyone I don’t like is Hitler”
Conservatism has drunk as heavily from the well of hostile “inclusive” propaganda as any other entity within contemporary politics, with the result that it can’t comprehend the existence of any enemy that is not in some way “Nazi” or “fascist.” Conservatives not only live in mortal terror of being branded “Nazis” but fully engage in the use of the ‘Nazi’ pejorative. Their disavowals, coupled with rampant accusations from the Left, create a rhetorical-ideological maze. A staid and tired conservative bloc fights the Left’s almost recreational allegations of Fascism by asserting that it opposes the “real Fascists”—cancel culture types, ‘woke’ protestors, the Democrats, Antifa, pronoun enforcers etc.
The various enemies of majoritarian culture can’t be viewed as opponents on their own terms (neo-Marxist, postmodernist, ethnically alien, Foucaultian, deconstructionist, etc.), which would require developing a full understanding of their myriad and complex behaviors and ideologies, but must be refracted through a single facile lens — that of World War II. Only then, with laughable visions of a latter-day D-Day landing against simplified purple-haired Hitlers, can conservatism conjure enough moral strength to wage a pathetic and doomed war against shadowy left-wing “fascisms” on cultural and legislative battlegrounds long since ceded to the enemy. Meanwhile, at the first accusation of racism, “nationalist” conservatives frantically defend and enunciate their doctrine as meaning there is nothing special about their nation beyond a set of abstract values rooted in individualism — values that are, in Steve King’s words, “attainable by everyone … people of all races, religions, and creeds.” Our contemporary political context is thus one in which the real Fascists are anti-Fascists who call the real anti-Fascists Fascists. The only thing we can sure about these days, it seems, is that everyone is a Nazi.
A fascinating example of this process in action is Brian Reynolds Myers’s 2010 The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters. I bought the book some months ago because I was led to believe it was a sober exploration of morality-based racial ethnocentrism and, in the context of Kevin MacDonald’s work on the formation of moral in-groups among Whites, I was keen to compare and contrast his findings with another ethnic group. Myers’s thesis is that, rather than being the last bastion of Stalinism, North Korea is in fact home to a race-based nationalism and far-right politics derived from Japanese fascism. Myers argues that North Koreans believe that they constitute a childlike innocent race and, being innocent and pure, the Korean race is morally superior to everyone else. Supporting his thesis he offers some statistics on Korean aversion to intermarriage, and a wealth of propaganda from North Korea that seems to be race-specific and ethnocentric. The book was lavishly praised by the neoliberal and neoconservative establishment (Christopher Hitchens embraced it as “electrifying”), which found it much easier to mobilize against a modern Hitler than a modern Stalin, as well as finding a warm welcome with the Obama administration. Myers’s text was even naively welcomed by some on the Dissident Right who saw the book as a kind of blueprint for an ethnostate. The problem, as I learned from both the text itself and criticism I subsequently consulted, was that the book featured a laundry list of exaggeration, omission, psychoanalysis, and ignorance of Korean culture, history, and politics, all of which combined to suppress the Communist footprint everywhere in North Korean politics in order to present the strange little nation of Kim Jong-un as an Oriental Nazi Germany. The book is a caricature.
A bigger concern for me than the bogus nature of much of The Cleanest Race was its lavish welcome. It should be considered an axiom that any thesis that enables the “Nazification” of an opposing movement, ideology, or nation will be warmly embraced by the conservative establishment. One of the recent trends on conservative Twitter is the hashtag #nuremberg2, which called for pro-vaccine politicians and medical officials to be put on trial and, presumably, executed. Regardless of one’s position on the vaccine question, the Nuremberg framing is symptomatic of a psychological fixation. Conservatives will never win if they believe their only true enemies are “Nazis.” Whether it’s the fear of antisemitic “Islamofascism,” North Korean “Nazism,” purple-haired “woke Hitlers,” or vaccine-toting Görings, it’s clear that conservatism is psychologically stuck on the beaches of Normandy while the country passes without struggle into the hands of enemies conservatives are totally incapable of understanding.
“Christ is King”
American conservatism’s commitment to a tactically disastrous emphasis on individualism is undoubtedly connected in some form to the peculiar trajectory and position of American Christianity, or rather, varieties of American Post-Protestantism. Demographically, conservatism remains overwhelmingly (85%) Christian. As scholars of religion have noted (e.g., Nathan Hatch’s 1989 The Democratization of American Christianity), American Christianity is significantly different from the classic European form, being much more democratic as well as essentially Gnostic and millenarian (these features are also extremely prominent in the indigenous sects of the United States: Mormonism, Christian Science, Seventh-Day Adventism, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Pentecostalism, leading several academics to speak of an underlying ‘American religion’). American religion has long been preoccupied with the idea of a God who loves the individual, and the salvation of the American Christian, especially the Protestant, does not arrive communally via the congregation but via direct confrontation with a very personal Jesus.
A recent trend appearing on the t-shirts of young conservatives is the slogan “Christ is King.” The phrase is rapidly lapsing away from any hint of piety and into the role of a platitude, and carries with it a sense of escapism from disturbing political realities into comforting visions of higher but invisible authority. It also, however, recalls the more vulgar “Cash is King,” and both phrases meld into the pervasive and, in theological terms quite heretical, “Christian capitalism” that typifies the American conservative movement today. One of the more interesting texts published on this subject in recent years is Kevin Kruse’s 2015 One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America. The book explores the links between corporate executives, religious celebrities, and major politicians, all of whom, in contesting Roosevelt’s New Deal, were engaged in a range of organizations designed to spread a new gospel of inclusive prosperity and Christian capitalism. It was in the period 1930–1960 that “In God We Trust” was adopted as the official motto of the United States and printed on every dollar bill, and it was in the same period that “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance. In the words of one reviewer of Kruse’s text, corporate America sought to
mobilize religious leaders and sentiments for a movement opposing New Deal labor rights, social policies, regulation, and tax laws. Second, they intended to restore the reputation of American business after the ravages of the Great Depression by combining the sanctification of American capitalism with a new gospel of prosperity. And third, they promoted “Christian libertarianism” as a political agenda to transcend denominational and theological divisions, thus paving the way for the Christian Right of the late 1970s.Schäfer, A. R. (2018). Kevin M. Kruse. One Nation under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America. The American Historical Review, 123 (4), 1340–1341.
Contrary to much Left-wing bleating, Christian libertarianism, along with the gospel of prosperity, is not the strength but the weak bedrock of modern conservatism. Since the birth of the Christian libertarian Right, it can claim involvement in only one significant conservative legislative success, maintaining the basic right of Americans to own firearms (though this success is more attributable to significant lobbying and other cultural factors). On the Christian Right’s other major concern, abortion, success has been elusive, fleeting, or localized. Much of this ambiguity is probably due to the conservative Right’s habit of trying to meet the Left on its own terms — the question of ‘rights.’ The conservative Right, faced with the “right to privacy,” does not assert a vision of the destiny of a people, an elevated ideal of womanhood, or even a basic religious fanaticism, but offers instead the rejoinder of the “rights of the unborn” that the Leftist establishment is fully prepared to parry. As with gay marriage and the war on woke, I believe there is a moral and ideological rectitude in opposing abortion. I believe there are unfortunate circumstances when it can be a medical necessity, but I personally object to it as an automatic and universal “right” purely on matters of taste, decency, and demographics, since the universalizing of abortion contributes to a deadening atmosphere of cultural sterility and is, like widespread tolerance of sexual deviance, an apathetic and depressing hallmark of a society in steep decline. Such arguments, however, are entirely absent from the current “pro-Life” debate, which relies solely on the twin pillars of Jesus and Thomas Paine.
The clinging to rights-based “inclusive” argumentation is the reason why the Christian conservative Right has been utterly incapable of offering resistance to the advance of legislative special status for sexual minorities. By arguing on “rights,” Christian conservatives bake themselves into the GloboHomo cake. Just as Christians flee from being called anti-abortion into the more inclusive-sounding “Pro-Life,” so they flee from being anti-gay or anti-transsexual into faltering assertions that they are simply “pro” the sanctity of marriage. And yet without a broader and more honest exclusionary focus, in which they dispense entirely with the arguments that simultaneously acknowledge and strengthen their opponents, their legislative goals will always remain elusive.
“Cash is King”
Conservatism is, perhaps more than any other contemporary political ideology, wedded to a personal and national savior that absorbs constant, fervid, and attentive devotion. This savior isn’t Jesus Christ, but Gross Domestic Product, and it’s worshipped by conservatives everywhere. In Britain, news has emerged that Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party is about to celebrate Brexit, the most significant British conservative victory in decades, by signing a trade deal with India that will allow thousands of Indians to work and settle in the country. An unnamed “government figure” told India’s Economic Times “The tech and digital space in India is still hugely protectionist and if we could open up even a slither of access it would put us ahead of the game.” The last major survey of Conservative voters showed that “immigration is the most pressing concern,” with the economy in second place. We find ourselves, therefore, in a scenario in which a conservative establishment will again avoid the exclusionary imperative of its voting base and will instead present itself as not retreating (on immigration) because they are “advancing in another direction” (for the economy).
There is not, nor has there ever been, a debate or referendum on whether a given population is willing to purchase a higher GDP by turning several of its major towns or cities into outposts of Mumbai and Bangalore. No people has ever been asked if such a trade would really “put us ahead of the game.” The cheap labor of the Indian migrants certainly won’t put the native tech workers of England ahead of the game. Nor will it put those who will find themselves waiting even longer for public services ahead of the game. It will, of course, put a small elite of businessmen of multiple ethnic backgrounds ahead of the game, and this, presumably, is what matters most to Conservative Inc. wherever in the West it coheres politically. International finance, in its ceaseless search for cheaper labor and the transformation of peoples into mere markets, is inseparable from inclusive politics. Radical socialism insists that money can be the great equalizer. International finance capital makes the same argument, but from above rather than from below. When cash has rendered the peoples of the world into blank slate consumers, each with the same potential to buy, then we have truly become its subjects and it has truly become our king.
Conservatism thrives on offering the “illusion of exclusion” to its voter base while simultaneously doing nothing about immigration so that it can squat in power and suck profit from decay at home and international trade abroad. No-one has encapsulated this phenomenon more succinctly than Sir Oswald Mosley:
Every one of us in this hall was old enough to see before the war — every one of you know what happened — how the financial forces in the thirties went into these backward countries, into India within the Empire, into Hong Kong, into Japan, into China, and exploited these peoples, to produce cheap sweated goods which ruined the great industries of Britain and of Europe, which put Lancashire out of business in the cotton trade, Yorkshire out of business in the woollen trade, and these poor devils of coolies were exploited for a wage of a few shillings a week. For what purpose? To enable the City of London and Wall Street New York to make fatter profits! … Is that worthy of Britain? Is that to be the future of Europe? … It is childish nonsense to say that a British government rules Britain. It’s nothing to do with British government or the British people. The government of the world is the financial government; the power of money; and of money alone.
Conservatism has a knack for superficially reinventing itself when it senses it’s getting perilously close to being found out. The litmus test for every astute observer should be an assessment of the extent and sincerity of the politics of exclusion espoused by any new manifestation of the conservative movement. I recently spent some time reading speeches from the 2021 “National Conservative” conference, which was organized by a couple of Zionists and is supposedly representative of a new departure in American conservatism and a new front in the culture wars. A single line from one of the speeches was enough for me to conclude my assessment: “We must strive to transcend racial particularism and stress universality and commonality as Americans.” National Conservatism is, in the final estimation, an inclusive doctrine. Anyone who supports it will find themselves both “in retreat” and advancing in a direction they never intended.
Genuine efforts to redress the deep problems of contemporary society will always be marked by their willingness to at least countenance the option of exclusion. This is one of the reasons for the intense backlash against the work of Kevin MacDonald, who, in the concluding chapter of Culture of Critique suggested (pp.308–9) that
Achieving parity between Jews and other ethnic groups would entail a high level of discrimination against individual Jews for admission to universities or access to employment opportunities and even entail a large taxation on Jews to counter the Jewish advantage in the possession of wealth, since at present Jews are vastly overrepresented among the wealthy and the successful in the United States.
This is an honest and necessary discussion of the potential of exclusionary politics, framed in the context of a persuasive argument that such measures might be required if an eventual overt ethnic conflict is to be avoided. Conservatism, inasmuch as it remains wedded to inclusive doctrines and unchecked individualism, is as much an arm of globalism as any segment of the Left it claims to do battle with. We should finish by returning to MacDonald:
The present tendencies lead one to predict that unless the ideology of individualism is abandoned not only by the multicultural minorities but also by the European-derived peoples of Europe, North America, New Zealand, and Australia, the end result will be a substantial diminution of the genetic, political, and cultural influence of these peoples. It would be an unprecedented unilateral abdication of such power and certainly an evolutionist would expect no such abdication without at least a phase of resistance by a significant segment of the population. … The prediction is that segments of the European-derived peoples of the world will eventually realize that they have been ill-served and are being ill-served both by the ideology of multiculturalism and by the ideology of de-ethnicized individualism.
 Schäfer, A. R. (2018). Kevin M. Kruse. One Nation under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America. The American Historical Review, 123 (4), 1340–1341.