“The ur-sin of conservatism in the liberal imagination isn’t racism, sexism, faith in some Biblical sky god, or even the view that consenting adults should be allowed to commit capitalist acts in private. The first sin of conservatism is Relevance.”
From the May 10th G-file:
But here’s the funny thing. If you asked the typical liberal to describe what they think conservatives should be like — and after you got the non-starter responses Michael Bloomberg, Meghan McCain, Lowell Weicker, the Gimp in Pulp Fiction — the description you’d likely get back would look a lot like, well, David Koch. Highly educated? Check. Supporter of the arts? Check. Cosmopolitan? Check. Pro-immigration? Check. Libertarian? Check. Not much invested in social issues? Check. In fact if you imagine the New York Times editorial board personified as Andie MacDowell in Groundhog Day describing her ideal guy and Koch as Bill Murray’s character, the conversation would go something like this. “Boy, I’m really close on this one,” Koch would say.
Except, of course, there’s one hitch: The problem with the Koch brothers is that they actually want their side to win, to persuade, to govern. And that’s why they are eeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil. They are working against the liberal gleichshaltung. They won’t pull their oars in the right direction. If they spent the exact same amount of money on politics, but only on liberals, all of the liberals bleating about the corrupting power of their money would be asking for some of it. Do you know what you call a left-wing Koch? George Soros.
Something similar goes for Grover Norquist. Norquist is receiving some strange new respect from liberals because he’s in favor of their preferred immigration reforms. But liberals should have always liked Norquist. He’s extremely libertarian on social issues. He’s very dovish on foreign policy. His great crime? He’s effective on the issues where he really disagrees with the Left.
The ur-sin of conservatism in the liberal imagination isn’t racism, sexism, faith in some Biblical sky god, or even the view that consenting adults should be allowed to commit capitalist acts in private. The first sin of conservatism is Relevance. It is a betrayal. A heresy. Wherever conservatives (or libertarians) threaten liberal power, that is precisely where you will find the “worst” conservatives. That’s why I’ve been saying for years that the best working definition of a “fascist” in American politics is simply “a conservative who’s winning an argument.”