Paul Gottfried Says Something Very Important By Caleb Stegall - October 22, 2009 8 Reading Time: < 1 Facebook Twitter Email Print “While I’m not declaring that the battle against our enemies is irreversibly lost, I’m definitely saying that paleoconservatives will not win the battle they began.” RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR The Nightstand Fidelity to the Truth in an Illiberal Time, on Rod Dreher’s Live Not by Lies The Barbershop A Bigger Pond Philosophers & Saints Awakening to Virtue: Confessions of a Well-Read, Unlucky Good Girl The Nightstand From the Village Square to the Global Village—and Back? The Stump The Death of a Justice and the Hope of Magnanimous Statesmanship Short Book Exhibit, Bison, and Homeschooling 8 COMMENTS If we are only occupied with power, then what Paul says is of great moment. The fact that the paleoconservatives do not appear on television, have been written out of the latest conservative history, or are little read or quoted anymore, does not mean they have nothing to say, are not correct in their assessments of many things, and do not matter. It means no one is listening, and there are plenty of reasons for that which have nothing to do with the foibles of any individual. In any case, why gloat about it? Well, if the paleos and neo-rebs are gone the way of the Whigs, and the republicans of the olde revolution are long a moulderin’, where then do I pitch my tent? Kate, please don’t misunderstand me, neither I (nor I think Paul) were saying the Paleos don’t matter or have nothing to say. And I certainly am not gloating. But we are occupied with questions of power (see my comments at the end of Deneen’s short “Gauntlets” just below), and that is what Paul was discussing, and in that context, it is very important to recognize the political end of the Paleos and begin to strategize for what comes next. And what comes next in terms of political power is the nitty gritty stuff … the money raising, the institution building, the party building, the campaign running, etc. I’m surprised it took the good Mr. Gottfried this long to recognize and utter the news. Paleos were ushered out the door with Taft in the 50’s while conservatism became captured by a media that has become little more than a claque of boosters for the War Party and a 20,000 calorie daily diet. The distinction between political and cultural acts is interesting although I think the transfer between cells is more complex. Still, a sophisticated and organized political force would be a worthy thing…vital in fact if the lapsed-republic expects to survive the mounting debt. The debt, habitual over-reach and high probability of calamity are, in fact, the only political AND cultural force that may jump start the paleo idea back to glimmering life. Ron Paul scared the hell out of a lot of people with his use of the internet and a wide appeal to left and right libertarians. Unfortunately, one always runs the risk of the Franco-esque “conservative” filling the vacuum rather than the chaste offices of the thing the Framers provided but which we think now is “romantic” or an “aesthetic reverie”. BAAAH! Would that a few libertarians and anarchists with a dash of humor and probity find an open ear in this post Flummoxing America. The people have heard the media say we are a “center-right” country for so long they think its true. This, to be sure, is a strange “center” we’re revolving around. That which keen observers fail to see is that in the passing of the paleo we have lost those that knew of chivalry and honor; those who intuitively acknowledged and practiced the concinnity of liberty and freedom; those who existed in the homonoia of the Christ. Thanks for posting this, Caleb. While I agree with others here that Paul G. is a little too quick to discount cultural efforts, it needs to be said that the “paleo” engagement with politics has been a failure. There is a paleo voting bloc — not at all a silent majority, but at least a respectable few percentage points — somewhere out there. But it has never been effectively marshaled. The paleo intellectual leadership oscillates between quietism and pitchfork populism, but it’s usually a dyspeptic quietism and an emotive populism that Republican elites have successfully hijacked time and again. If you want to be a quietist, rejoice in it, and if you want to be political, stop and take a look at how politics actually works (or doesn’t). The critics of paleoconservatives never seem to name any specific paleos nor cite specific examples of political missteps and intellectual flaws. Do said critics, Mr. Stegall in particular, actually read articles and books written by leading paleos? I don’t think the fight is lost. I do think the battle plan has to change. For all the talk of how great Ron Paul did, Pat Buchanan did better in elections. Buchanan books sell well, he is on MSNBC, Imus and elsewhere,promoting the cause. Always popular, and has done more to introduce people to paleo-conervative ideas than anybody else. I used to get the Buchanan newsletter many years ago. So how about looking to Pat in order to see why he has done well in getting ideas to the public and not just around paleo circles? Maybe some smarter people here, can make a study of why Pat Buchanan has best sellers and other paleos ar enot selling well, even those who may have had posts in D.C. administrations. I think some of it has to do with that fact, that Pat, while “anti-war” loves the troops, I mean really respects the troops and feels proud when the Marines walk past in a parade etc. While anti-war is is not a pacifist. Pat has a sense of humor. Not found in the paleo world all that often. Pat does not search Neo-con blogs in order to point out why they are not real conservatives. I think people in general would and have been attracted to paleo conservative ideas but they have not been well represented. FPR has done well in changing that presentation. Marty Comments are closed.