In his essay titled, “Can Conservatism Be Conserved?” Spencer Klavan questions whether a new “conservative coalition” made up of actual conservatives together with various non-conservatives who have been alienated or even attacked by the “Woke” progressives can form a coherent movement. But then he concedes that most of these “new conservatives” would reject the title. Klavan explains,
“An inescapably important reason for this is that many members of the new conservative coalition (especially those who don’t identify as conservative) reject the label because they hold views, and practice ways of life, which the historic conservatism of only a generation ago deemed deeply distasteful, even unconscionable. Weinstein and Boghossian are atheists. Murray, Doyle, and Straka are openly gay. White is transgendered, and Birchill and Bindel are lifelong feminists.”
Apparently, the only thing all these people have in common is they don’t want to be de-platformed by the “Woke” hall monitors. Maybe that means they believe in free speech. But maybe they only want it if it suits their speech. After all, feminists and the various alphabet people seem plenty willing to call anything they don’t like hate speech and get these people de-platformed or worse.
At its core I think this outreach to non-conservatives is just the latest example of liberals trying to act as gatekeepers and redefine conservatism into something acceptable to their friends on the Left. It’s kind of like the ecumenism that was supposed to let people of different faiths coexist but ends up by turning Christian Churches into cultural centers devoid of any connection at all to Christ because it might be offensive to the non-Christians.
In my opinion it is a mirage to think that embracing these various leftists as some kind of a partnership will do any good at all. On the contrary, all it will involve is attempts to disavow any actual conservatives who won’t paper over their rejection of the various dysfunctional and dangerous lifestyles or worldviews that these so-called conservative allies espouse. A similar thing was done to the paleocons by the neocons a few decades ago. That was how we ended up in the mess we are in now. Trump was able to, single-handedly, drag those deplorables back into the fold. The last thing we want to do is give “new conservatives” another bite at the apple.
So, in answer to the title of Mr. Klavan’s article, yes conservatism can be conserved but not by accepting non-conservative ideas and the people who live by them. Let the progressives, the liberals, the moral relativists, the feminists and the alphabet people battle with their even crazier “woke” brethren (or whatever gender bent category they prefer) on their own. We have nothing in common with them and nothing to gain by engaging with them. I would much prefer to engage with the fringe groups to the right of us and see if we can find some common ground with them. Their ideas are more extreme than ours but they at least do not reject the values that we embrace. In many cases I think they have let pessimism radicalize their thinking and pushed them to conclude that only radical solutions to our problems exist. I think the last few years have shown that progress can be made if the right people get involved. If actual conservatives have a part in running the country better outcomes are possible.