Bill Kristol makes a strong play for the 2008 WATB Award in today’s New York Times:
It’s not easy being a conservative movement in a modern liberal democracy. It’s not easy to rally a comfortable and commercial people to assume the responsibilities of a great power. It’s not easy to defend excellence in an egalitarian age. It’s not easy to encourage self-reliance in the era of the welfare state. It’s not easy to make the case for the traditional virtues in the face of the seductions of liberation, or to speak of duties in a world of rights and of honor in a nation pursuing pleasure.
Well, this calls for a fisking.
I really love the first sentence, not only for its questionable grammar, but the refreshingly honest way Kristol admits conservatism is something that needs to be forced down the throats of the unwilling masses. So much for the "most decent working Americans are naturally conservative" theory!
The second claim is historically absurd. It’s actually quite easy to get Americans to go to war, as anyone with an elementary school history textbook can see. Also, didn’t George W. Bush tell those commercial and comfortable people to go shopping after 9/11? And invading Iraq was "responsible"? Only if you’re a crazy person.
That "defending excellence" part is truly hilarious, probably the highlight of the whole piece. Wolfie, Brownie, Bremer. Rummy, Gonzo, Feith. Iraq, Afghanistan, New Orleans. Record surpluses into record deficits, record gas prices. Just what excellence is Kristol referring to?
"Self-reliance"? Sorry, Bill. Just like your beloved W., you owe your entire career to your daddy’s last name. When nepotism and wingnut welfare cease to be the twin pillars of the conservative movement, you can preach self-reliance. Until then, not so much.
As for the "traditional virtues" part, I assume Kristol is referring to teh gay. I’m a liberal, and therefore devoid of virtues, but I’m fairly certain lying, corruption, breaking the law, greed and torture aren’t considered virtuous in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Bill’s right about one thing, though. It is hard being a wingnut these days, because America really hates them. It took a while, but those responsible, self-reliant, excellent traditional virtue defenders in the Bush Administration showed them the way.