Must-read stuff this morning from Dan McCarthy at the The American Conservative.

Dan argues that the Gen X and the Millennial generations are not necessarily more liberal than their Boomer parents, but their conservatism has a much different inflection:

Right-wing boomers who see this as a sign that the kids are all liberals are missing the point. Someone like Congressman Amash is a cultural conservative in his own right — he’s strongly anti-abortion — but has a style radically different from the bloodsport that excites the boomers. This generational shift in tone and emphasis is apparent on the right even beyond the Ron Paul movement: the “crunchy cons” and Front Porch Republic also have notably different emphases from the culture warriors of the last four decades. They’re planting trees rather than picketing clinics.

This isn’t the first time such a shift has taken place: Russell Kirk was also more likely to be planting trees than picketing clinics, though no one had any doubt where he stood on abortion.

That means there is hope:

There is a tremendous opportunity here to advance a Burkean philosophy in place of boomer apocalypticism. Even if their “values” on the surface seem less conservative than those of their parents, these young men and women are better off for having rejected right-wing ideology. The insurmountable obstacle conservatism has faced among baby boomers is that they’re stuffed full of ideological presumption, much of it now right-wing rather than left. They can’t unlearn the mistaught lessons of the past — lessons like “bombing foreign countries is good because George McGovern was bad” or “regulation is bad because Jimmy Carter was bad.”

Read the whole thing.

4 COMMENTS

  1. That does provide some long term hope. It is in concord with the gist of this website as I see it: cultural renewal precedes political “victory”, not vice versa. I think I will head to the porch and have a homebrew.

  2. My opinion is that a person who plants a tree for localism and tradition is further to the right of an abortion-clinic picketer. Concern for the beauty and economy of nature is not itself a left idea, and only in the myopia of political correctness, which Conservatives have begrudgingly accepted, does it appear only on the left.

    My opinion is that appearances to the contrary, many of us have seen that conservatism fails because it is too moderate. It tries to please too many people. It is, mostly, highly concerned about what people think about what you think. To see Crunchy Cons as somehow more moderate or somehow leftish is like considering the Amish to be liberal because they’re pacifist. Spending too much time in the center makes you think only of the policy or practice, not the reasoning behind it.

    I tell you the truth; many in my generation have moved further to the right (and to the left) than the Boomer and X generations. There may be less extremities; I don’t know any anarchists. But the trend is of dissatisfaction with politics as they are and a widening divide along the center.

    I would recommend any conservative leaning person to listen to Jonathan Bowden (the Brit Pol) if for no other reason than to know that thinkers like him exist contemporary to them and that ‘conservatism’ is not a description of the right, but merely a center-right subsection of it.

  3. One is hesitant to mention the name Georges Sorel, but this seems to be an example of individualised (obviously not general) “direct action” to me.

  4. The current flummoxed Right’s eschewing of the Historic Right’s own love of landscape and stewardship is Exhibit One in how counter-intuitive this age of media hostage political theatre truly is.

    Only a bald-faced fool would consider the ground they trod to be simply an arena of aggressive exploitation.

    After finishing Burke, try a little Chesterton and to maintain a set of canines, important to any functioning conservative, read a spot of Abbey.

    Lastly, turn off your television, better yet, kick the screen in like Doc Sarvis. If’n you caint find pleasure in looking at the stars whilst listening to Cicadas, you’ve been watching the idiots brew of Telluhvizzhun fer too long.

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