Sunday, June 26, 2016

George Will and the Failure of WASP Conservatism

Via Red

Much is being made of the fact that George Will recently announced that he has left the Republican Party because of the nomination of Donald Trump. My initial reaction, and the reaction of many others judging by the responses I have seen, is "Good riddance." I have made my feeling about Mr. Will known in the past.

That said, I think it is important to clear up a common misperception. I have seen a lot of people describe Will as a neocon. He is not. The late conservative columnist Sam Francis pegged Will in a 1986 Modern Age article that he wrote in response to Will’s much discussed at the time book, Statecraft as Soulcraft. The article was previously only available as a PDF of the original Modern Age article and was difficult to read. Radix Journal has recently made it available in article form. It is well worth a read. The concluding paragraph sums up Francis’s case well.

“Although Will is sometimes called a “neo-conservative,” he is not one. Neoconservatives typically derive more or less conservative policy positions from essentially liberal premises. Will in fact does the opposite: he derives from more or less unexceptionable premises of classical conservatism policy positions that are often congruent with the current liberal agenda. It is because he accepts, and wants to be accepted by, the “achievements” of modem liberalism that he ignores or sneers at the serious conservative thinkers and leaders of our time who have sought to break liberal idols and that he voices no criticism of the powers that support liberalism. It is therefore not surprising that his commentary is welcomed in and rewarded by liberal power centers. They have little to fear from him and his ideas and much to gain if his version of “conservatism” should gain currency. He enjoys every prospect of a bright future in their company.”