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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Of Blogs and Boogeymen – The American Conservative Magazine

“The American Conservative magazine?!? WTF?!?”, you will screech when you see this. No, the Bloogeyman is not smoking crack. Yes, it is Pat Buchanan’s magazine. No, the Bloogeyman does not agree with all (or even most) of what is in that magazine. Yes, The American Conservative is still worth reading – and here’s why.

No, this whole post will not be a “Yes, No, Yes, No” diatribe – whew, I could almost hear my readership declining by the second. The American Conservative magazine was founded in 2002 by Scott McConnell, Pat Buchanan, and Taki Theodoracopulos. Now, the Bloogeyman is by no means a close follower of Buchananite policies, nor does the Bloogeyman even contend to know each and every Buchananite stance on every issue. However, in the quest for political knowledge it is important, if not essential, to look at other political theory frameworks to understand their source, structure, and impact.

“Ah”, you will say, “A variation of the ‘know thy enemy’ theme”. Well, let’s take a look at several recent important nation/world events. Against runaway spending by Bush that has turned a $200 billion surplus into a $400 billion deficit? Against the continuing policy of outsourcing manufacturing jobs – a policy that has cost 2.7 million jobs in the first Bush term? Against the war in Iraq before the war was started? Against the neo-conservative march towards limiting civil liberties and individual rights? Against bad fiscal and monetary policies that are causing or augmenting the decline of the dollar? Against go-it-alone foreign policies and neo-imperialism? It could be Howard Dean, but it is also Pat Buchanan that holds all those positions.

I know, that’s how fucked up the whole neo-conservative / religious right / right-wing conservative movement has gotten – it actually makes Pat Buchanan seem like a moderate conservative. I never thought I’d hear myself say that. Regardless, The American Conservative is an important magazine to read because you are able to see the thought process behind many of the conservative ideas laid out by “old-school” conservatives.

Here is some text from their website that explains how they view themselves:

Many voices will appear in the pages of The American Conservative — often in disagreement with one another. We are of course in considerable part Buchananite—well disposed to the web of ideas that drew millions of voters during three Buchanan presidential bids. But our magazine’s mission is broader: to ignite the conversation that conservatives ought to have engaged in since the end of the Cold War, but didn’t.

We will question the benefits and point to the pitfalls of the global free trade economy; we will free the immigration debate from the prison to which it has been consigned. And we will discuss, frequently, America’s role in the world, turning a critical eye on those who want to cast aside every relevant American foreign policy tradition—from Robert Taft-style isolationism to prudent Dwight Eisenhower-style internationalism, in favor of go it alone militarism, where America threatens and bombs one nation after another, while the world looks on in increasing horror.

We believe conservatism to be the most natural political tendency, rooted in man’s taste for the familiar, for family, for faith in God. We believe that true conservatism has a predisposition for the institutions and mores that exist. So much of what passes for contemporary conservatism is wedded to a kind of radicalism—fantasies of global hegemony, the hubristic notion of America as a universal nation for all the world’s peoples, a hyperglobal economy. In combination with an increasingly unveiled contempt for America’s long-standing allies, this is more a recipe for disaster.

Against it, we take our stand.

Why not just read Fox News to get some “conservative” insight? Well, if we want to get philosophical for a minute, a Fox News argument usually goes something like this: A=B, B=C, therefore A=T (WTF?!?). Plainly said, it is rhetoric. Logic can not dent it because it does not exist in the plane of logic. You may not agree with many of the conclusions that the writers in The American Conservative come to (and even if the conclusion logically follows from the premise, you might not agree with the premise), but at least they try to start with a premise, add logic, and arrive at a conclusion.

The Bloogeyman believes it is important to keep an open mind and at least consider every point of view. Even if you arrive to the conclusion that a certain point of view is wrong, you should attempt to understand the “logic” of that point of view and the way that point of view is pitched or disseminated to people so that you can counter and unmask the boogeyman that hides beneath that policy. Amazingly, you will find yourself agreeing with some of the conclusions writers in The American Conservative arrive at and it will be interesting to see how they arrived at that same conclusion from a different philosophical starting point. For that reason the Bloogeyman recommends The American Conservative magazine.