Sunday, August 5, 2007

'The Road to Rightville'

How do conservatives get that way? 'Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys,' and a hostile essay countering it in this Sundays's NYT Book Review, wrangle over the issue.

Consider these fighting words:

When the left is being idealistic, it is naive, utopian, technocratic and meddling. When the right is being idealistic, it is idealistic. Thus Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty reveals the left to be hopelessly overreaching, while (according to David Brooks) George Bush's war in Iraq 'is one of the noblest endeavors the United States, or any great power, has ever undertaken.'

A word on David Brooks: Notwithstanding the above comment, I love him. He's smart, open-minded, curious about the origins of social problems, and realistic about solutions. He's my idea of a liberal, even if he likes to think of himself as something else. He's so much more worth reading than liberal paragons like Maureen Dowd and Bob Hebert that it's sort of shocking.

Back to the essay:

According to the Mary Eberstadt, the book's editor:

The underacknowledged answer to 'why conservatism?' is 'academia - or more properly the staggeringly uniform and unforgiving creed of ideological correctness against which every (conservative) writer eventually turns his face.'

OK. But does PC really explain why so much of the working class is conservative? These are not folks heavily invested in or shaped by academia. To assume so is kind of ... would elite be the right word?

Most interesting notion, quoted from Rich Lowry's essay:

If high school had been an ape colony, we (future conservatives) would have been those antisocial unattached males lingering on the fringes, envying the dominate males with their mates.


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