The central thesis of Kirk’s philosophy was that “the conservative abhors all forms of ideology“ and subscribes to principles “arrived at by convention and compromise” instead of “fanatic ideological dogmata.“ Six decades of Republican overreach and corrosive causes have instead led to the rise of Donald Trump and a foreign policy run by John Bolton, an economy guided by Larry Kudlow and a legal team led by conspiracy theorist Joseph DiGenova.
In the forward to the seventh edition of “The Conservative Mind,” Kirk predicted with precision the rise of political players like Bolton and Trump and foresaw a time when America would “fall into the hands of merciless ideologues or squalid oligarchs.” He also repeated Swedish philosopher Tage Lindbom’s warning of the bleak harvest coming from a “secularized generation for which material existence is everything and spiritual life is nothing.”
This was the predictable outcome of my Republican Party aligning its interests with the most cynical political operators of our time. The Atwaters, Manaforts, Gingriches and Roves leveraged a weaponized media culture that reduced politics to a secularized religion and consolidated political power and material wealth in the hands of its richest donors.
… [T]he inner chaos that Kirk warned of so many years ago runs rampant in a country dominated by the bloated presence of a man who embraces dictators, vilifies the free press, corrupts religious leaders, absolves white supremacists, degrades women and continues a life’s work defined by little more than the amoral pursuit of material wealth.
(Joe Scarborough, John Bolton’s appointment is a fitting coda to conservatism’s failures)
* * * * *
The waters are out and no human force can turn them back, but I do not see why as we go with the stream we need sing Hallelujah to the river god.
(Sir James Fitzjames Stephen)
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
(Philip K. Dick)