Whither Conservatism in the Age of the Donald?

By 1.22.16

Conservatives wonder how “liberal,” a word synonymous with freedom, morphed into a euphemism for soft statism. Puzzlement may soon hit regarding what their own label shares in common with William F. Buckley, Ronald Reagan, and Barry Goldwater.

We live in a post-conservative age. Donald Trump’s popularity among people who call themselves conservative indicates this. Not knowing what they stand for anymore, conservatives flock to whoever most boldly insults liberals or becomes Satan to the Fourth Estate. The fault isn’t in the reality-TV star but in ourselves.

Mountain Men’s Conservatism

By on 6.23.14 | 11:51AM

Mountain Men is roughly a quarter of the way through its third season and continues to surprise critics with its popularity. The second season averaged between 3 and 3.5 million viewers per episode. 

What makes this remarkable is the incredibly repetitive nature of the show. The mountain men give voice-overs where they discuss the inevitable difficulties of living off the land as well as the dangers they face. The camera then moves to B-roll of beautiful landscapes. Predictably, a challenge arises and the characters must overcome it, until next week at least. There is almost no variation from this pattern, and yet the show remains quite popular. Why? 

There are two reasons for Mountain Men's success. First, it isn’t critically acclaimed shows that garner the highest ratings; even my favorite Mad Men gets crushed by formulaic (and entertaining) shows like The Big Bang Theory. These programs are popular because parents and families know what they are going to get. They can tune in and tune out because each episode is a self-contained story arc. Mountain Men is no different.

America’s Savior: Shirtless Putin on a Horse

By on 2.12.14 | 11:59AM

American military affairs expert William Lind argued on The American Conservative website yesterday that Vladmir Putin’s Russia, particularly in the realm of foreign policy, exemplifies conservatism and the United States should take heed.

One thing I will agree on is that America’s approach to foreign policy over the past 15 years cannot be described as true to American conservatism. However Lind goes further, boldly arguing that Putin’s lip service to hands-off foreign policy, outlined in Putin’s op-ed in The New York Times lecturing America on intervening in Syria, reveals “a conservative Russia.”

Although Lind is smart and well-credentialed, and Putin is correct in noting “military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries” is not in “America’s long term interest,” we cannot mistake Putin’s opportunism for genuine conservative values. Putin chastised the United States for intervening, but his own government has been sending arms to Syria.


18th Century Fox

By From the November 2013 issue

TWO THINGS ALL  conservatives love are narratives of decline and talking about conservatism. Put those together and you have the popular argument that conservatism ain’t what it used to be. The chart of that supposed decline, if you were to draw it Ascent of Man style, would start with Edmund Burke looking intelligent and walking upright, followed by William F. Buckley as Australopithecus, slouching. The present age would be represented by some knuckle-dragging, prognathous creature like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. First comes very smart, then pretty smart, and then not very smart at all.

Koch, Smile

By on 7.19.10 | 2:39PM

As I mentioned last month, leftist nonprofits and environmental pressure groups have singled out the business enterprises and philanthropy of David and Charles Koch as recent targets for demonization.

The Right Prescription

The Fight Will Go On

By 3.22.10

The first battle over Obamacare has been lost. But the struggle over the future of the nation's health care system continues.

Time for Matthews to Go

By on 2.2.10 | 10:00AM

 try to avoid commenting about or rebuking Leftists, especially those on television networks whosetiny viewership reflects their extremism, but Chris Matthews on Friday blurted a remark so ridiculous and so offensive that it ought to cost him his job -- even at bottom-scraping MSNBC.