Monday, September 12, 2005

Another asks, "What the heck happened to conservatism?"

Andrew Ferguson at the Weekly Standard looks back at the last ten years (when the WS was founded) and doesn't like what he sees.
I suppose any philosophical tendency, as it acquires power and popularity, will simplify itself, define itself downward. That's democratic politics for you. But something more corrosive is also at work. Marshall McLuhan was righter than anyone ever would have guessed. The medium really is the message. Conservatism nowadays is increasingly a creature of its technology. It is shaped--if I were a Marxist I might even say determined--by cable television and talk radio, with their absurd promotion of caricature and conflict, and by blogs, where the content ranges from Jesuitical disputes among hollow-cheeked obsessives to feats of self-advertisement and professional narcissism (Everyone's been asking what I think about . . . You won't want to miss my appearance tonight on . . . Be sure to click here for my latest . . . ) that would have been unthinkable in polite company as recently as a decade ago. Most conservative books are pseudo-books: ghostwritten pastiches whose primary purpose seems to be the photo of the "author" on the cover. What a tumble! From The Conservative Mind to Savage Nation; from Clifton White to Dick Morris; from Willmoore Kendall and Harry Jaffa to Sean Hannity and Mark Fuhrman--all in little more than a generation's time. Whatever this is, it isn't progress.

2 comments:

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Raksha said...

Have you ever actually read any of Mark Fuhrman's books? You'll find them well-researched, well-written, thoroughly rational and evenhanded, but also compassionate toward the innocent victims--Martha Moxley, the women murdered by the Spokane serial killer, innocents on death row, and Terri Schiavo. And they are not ghost-written. But then again, Fuhrman is not as conservative as some would like...