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Seth Cotlar @SethCotlar
, 12 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1. Excellent @HeerJeet critique of that unconvincing Politico article about liberals getting the history of conservatism wrong.…
2. The conversation that @politico piece touched off has got me thinking about the relationship between a conservative *movement* that drew much of its energy from the culture war, & the bundle of conservative *ideas* that historians like George Nash & @RuleandRuin have centered.
3. The line of interpretation Never Trumpers and folks like @RuleandRuin pursue goes something like this--conservatism was a robust, sophisticated, non-racist intellectual tradition that emerged alongside a conservative movement that was more interested in culture wars.
4. Those conservative intellectuals were willing to stomach the more divisive and nasty aspects of that culture war (the misogyny, the racism, the Islamophobia) because those folks voted for "us," and "our" ideas are not tainted by that ugliness and are better than the D's ideas.
5. But as this thread by @DavidAstinWalsh shows, many of those conservative intellectuals (and think tanks they inhabited) were thoroughly enmeshed in the culture war.
6. As someone who lived through the 1990s, all of the conservative intellectuals who came across my radar were culture warriors through and through--I mean, what else can we make of Bloom's attacks on rock and roll as the solvent of western civilization?
7. Same can be said of Bill Bennett and Lynne Cheney's attacks on a historical profession that was starting to write books about women and people of color--it was pure culture war.
8. It's this nasty, white identity politics culture war (and it's authoritarian implications) that most non-Trump conservatives decry. I share their concern.
9. I'm just not sure I buy the argument that there's a history of conservatism that can be told where white identity politics plays a marginal, rather than central role.
10. The Never Trump narrative I'm hearing is this--conservatism was about ideas and the culture war BS was just a sideshow to entertain the base. But what if the base was always there for the culture war, and the conservative ideas were the sideshow?
11. Given the incredible lack of principle shown by almost the entire @gop delegation in both houses (and their complete capitulation to their culture war base and its hero), it does make you wonder how important those principles were all along.
12. Here's a thread from a few weeks ago where I discussed the relationship between conservatism and appeals to white goes all the way back to 1964, if not further. Trump is no black swan, but it's comforting to some to see him that way.
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