I’m not a “conspiracy nut,” and by that I mean I don’t usually view opponents as gathering clandestinely in a heavily-guarded smoke-filled room in some secluded mountain aerie (a la James Bond) to plot secretly the take-over of the world, or at least not of North Carolina, and, good Heavens, not of Raleigh. I think such supposed summits, whether of “the Elders of Zion,” or maybe of the Bilderbergers, are a bit overblown and now discredited historically.
But palpably there has been and is something going on in the United States and in Europe which, if not a kind of traditional “conspiracy against God and Man,” certainly combines the more salient aspects of such activity, an activity which is more programmed and instinctive, and more general and diffused among its votaries. There is a sharing and commonality of thought and perception, a common use of the same language and the same memes, such that almost every newscaster in every media outlet—and every Democrat (and many a Republican) pol—uses the same expressions and descriptions, distinguishes the same enemies, supports the same “Deep State” administrative policies and positions, and makes certain that “friends” are protected. It is as if thoughts and positions on a multitude of issues are telegraphed telepathically, and every minion of the Progressivist Left somehow “gets it” and understands what to think and say and then do…and the Established Opposition, “conservatism inc.” goes along with the general lineaments and parameters, lest its proponents be thought “extremist.”
And thus a daunting unanimity of view and purpose, an iron phalanx, is born and revealed. You dissent from at it at your own peril.
Let me ask: after dozens of states voted against same sex marriage several years ago by overwhelming majorities (here in North Carolina, for example, the citizens voted against it by a 61% to 39% margin back in 2012), but then the Supreme Court decided to legitimize it nationally by a 5 to 4 vote in its Obergefell v. Hodges decision (June 26, 2014), how many so-called “conservatives” came forth and demanded a constitutional amendment which at a minimum would have returned such decisions to the respective states? Indeed, how many Republicans and Establishment conservatives take seriously the effort to reverse Roe v. Wade (1973), which legalized infant murder in the womb (and maybe outside it, as well, as we now know).
Oh, sure, there are voices demanding the amelioration of its effects and the limitation of abortion in certain cases. But who amongst our supposed political elites stands forthrightly for overturning Roe v. Wade…while for the past half century our news media, our political class, and most egregiously, Hollywood, have done their damnedest to inculcate into us and our children that “abortion is a woman’s right” and that it is completely “natural”? Where are the salient Republican and conservative voices not only demanding reversal but doing something about it?
Prayer in the schools? Remember that issue and the 1962 decision of the Supreme Court, Engel v. Vitale, where the court opined by an 8 to 1 margin essentially decreeing that organized prayer “is largely banned from public elementary, middle and high schools.” I recall when I was working with Dr. Russell Kirk in Michigan (1971-1972) that he wrote about the issue and worked closely with a zealous Catholic priest (whose name I forget) to have the issue put forward in a constitutional amendment allowing it at least on the state level.
It got nowhere, and the supposed voices of opposition to the court’s destruction of constant practice and American tradition—those self-same “conservatives” and Republicans (and a few Democrats)—were soon stilled, retreating on to other questions.
And now the latest issue which confronts us, and bids well to soon become established policy, considered undebatable and beyond legitimate discussion: you know, one of those new foundations of “conservatism inc.”: the rightness and complete acceptance of transgenderism. And thus everywhere, in the workplace, in the armed services, in our churches, and, most ominously, in our schools and colleges, the new transgender dogmatism finds fertile ground. Elementary children are now instructed on the finer points of same sex titillation and “gender fluidity.” After all, say the experts, we should let our children “choose what sex they wish to be.” Natural law be damned.
The sanctity of transgenderism has become the newest “undeniable tenet” not only of Progressivism but also of the Established conservatives. Consider “conservative” youth leader Charlie Kirk embracing prominent transgenders and their cause—fully accepting the latest and most recent Progressivist conquest. With defenders like that, we are lost.
Robert Lewis Dabney, the brilliant post-War Between the States Southern philosopher and essayist, one hundred and forty years ago described this brand of “conservative opposition” to Progressivism:
This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn.
What will be the next stage of this “long march” through the fabric of millennia-old Divine Positive Law and Natural Law by the diabolical Progressivists and their bedfellows (no pun actually intended) in the conservative movement? What will be their next assault on Western Christian civilization, indeed, the only civilization we have? You name the most bizarre and extreme project, the most radical idea, and assuredly it has been thought of and is, either now or soon to be, advanced by the well-organized and powerful forces that occupy the positions of authority—and control—in this country and in Western Europe.
And the opposition to this advance? As Dabney declares, Establishment conservatism is nearly worthless, or, to quote a great uncle of mine, about as valuable as “tits on a boar hog.”
In short, Establishment Conservatism—“conservativism inc.”—must be undone and overthrown. It is no real opposition to this attack of the Insaniacs. Donald Trump, whether he intended to or not, opened the door—cracked it open just a wee bit. And now in such fine journals as Chronicles magazine, or via such Web presences as Lew Rockwell, The Agonist, Takimag, Intellectual Takeout, The New English Review, VDare.com, The Dissident Mama, and (for Southerners especially) The Abbeville Institute and Reckonin.com, and other venues, there is real opposition to the Progressivist panzers.
This year 2020, with its impeachment charade and looming national election this coming November, will decide our fate: whether we slide into the morass and slavery of total subjugation by the Progressivist contagion, or whether we in some way continue to fight back. Either way—let me say that again, either way there will be tremendous upheaval and probable violence of one sort or another. And thus our opposition must be forthright and genuine: the faux right which still dominates the “conservative movement” must be displaced.
Our very future is at stake. Keep your powder dry and your guns at the ready.
This piece was previously published at My Corner on January 18, 2020.
Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.