~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Photo
Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

On the value of name dropping

Long-time commenter Angel tips me to this interesting column in The Catholic Exchange:

Would the late Russell Kirk think of Ann Coulter as a positive force in the conservative cause? It is not an easy question to answer...

Kirk? I suspect that few younger conservatives will even know his name, despite the fact that he is generally credited with being one of the founders of the conservative movement...

But the fact remains that there is a different brand of conservatism, exemplified by Coulter, coming to the fore in recent years, one less rooted in the great thinkers associated with the conservative movement...

Has conservatism lost its intellectual vigor, its soul? Yes and no. No question, there are many people who call themselves "conservatives" these days who have no idea what that term implies. That becomes obvious when you listen to the callers to the conservative talk shows...

It's true: Many callers to conservative talk radio (to which I happen to be addicted) are bag-of-hammers ignorant, and call in not so much in an attempt to contribute intellectually, but to belong to a social group. But then one could say the same thing about "liberal" protest rally ignoramuses. Fact: Half of all children are below average intelligence. We can't all be intellectuals. And bemoaning this hard fact won't change it.

Regular readers of the Kadnine blog will note that I rarely reference an O'Reilly column, a Coulter opinion, a Hannity episode and never a Limbaugh spot (well, I did once, but only to quote an astute caller.)

I don't hold anything against any of these smart, entertaining, emensely popular conservative commentators, or their fans, in as much as they're working for a common interest with me. I applaud them even. Just as I'm sure many a socialist intellectual would feel the same about pop-authors like Michael Moore or Al Franken.

And I should note for the record that I don't consider myself an intellectual. I'm merely looking forward to the day when I can spout off my opinions with full confidence that my authority will prevail through the brute force of elderhood! But that day has not yet arrived (too slow in coming, in fact) so until then I will consider myself a student of the Greats.

I have read Kirk, and Hayek, and Adams, and Buckely, and many other of the "godfathers" but I haven't yet read them all. Not by a longshot. So I agree with the author that familiarity with the godfathers of conservatism is a good way to differentiate between the intellectually serious and the unserious. But I also agree with his conclusion:

It is true: conservative ideas are more mainstream these days. Which means they will get garbled and distorted at times. But, if you ask me, it is better to have to tone down and quibble a bit about what Ann Coulter is saying than to have to endure the liberal monopoly that faced William F. Buckley and Russell Kirk back in the 1960s.

What he said.

The one thing Socialism, Libertarianism, and Conservativism share in common is their roots in the Western tradition of Classical Liberalism. Which explains my fondness for the writings of Hitchens, Reynolds, and Buckley even though I disagree with them quite frequently. And the hard fact that half of America (including myself) will never be intellectuals kinda cements the inherrent value that populists like Coulter, Limbaugh, Moore and Franken have.

<< Home |