Sohrab Ahmari, who previously wrote a decent takedown of the exemplar of nominative determinism Max Boot, but who I’ve otherwise never heard of before, wrote an article in First Things opposing “David Frenchism,” a “persuasion or a sensibility” that he names after the National Review writer who Bill Kristol named as the ideal #NeverTrump candidate for president.
The “Frenchist” disposition, according to Ahmari, is a nice, liberal one. It sees politics as a matter of procedure, institutions, and ‘decency’; it seeks to defend the conservative cause by appeal to the liberal logic of autonomy, and it inherits from its English nonconformist roots a “great horror … of the public power to advance the common good,” leading it to insist that political challenges be solved by the depoliticized measures of “personal renewal” and somehow-organic cultural change.
In contrast, Ahmari advocates acknowledging hostility, valuing victory above civility, and “defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a public square re-ordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good,” and blames “Frenchism” for the crushing defeat of conservatism by “the libertine and the pagan,” exemplified by… a ‘drag queen reading hour’ in a California library, for which Ahmari saw an ad in his Facebook feed.
Show me where Ahmari’s wrong.
Wait. Giuran is actually going to attempt it?
Let’s hear him out. Maybe he’s developed better counterarguments than appeals to materialist consumerism and mad at Dad atheism.
Ahmari’s position, however, is equally untenable. Using the state to forcibly reorder the public square toward the (Christian if not specifically Catholic) “Highest Good” would require a higher level of religiosity, and, more importantly, a higher level of willingness to dispense with old American liberal principles, than can be found in America today, where only half of the population is even nominally Catholic or Evangelical, fewer than two fifths claim to go to church every week, and the single largest religious group is ‘none’. The integralist Adrian Vermeule has argued that the election of Trump demonstrates that the American political landscape can change on a dime; but that doesn’t imply it’s likely to change in that direction. It’s true that the Fifth Great Awakening, or the sixth or seventh ones, could produce mass conversions to Catholicism and usher in an integralist America, but it’s equally true that it could produce the revival of the cult of Tengri and the remythologization of the United States as the greatest steppe empire since the Yamnaya expansion. Get ahead of the curve — buy your cowboy hats now!
Never mind. And here I had such high hopes.
Right out of the gate, Giuran misunderstands, or willingly misrepresents, Ahmari’s position. It’s not that he finds trannies grooming kids distasteful and wants to use state power to direct society toward the highest good–which is indeed God; fight me.
The position Ahmari carefully lays out in his original piece is that Liberal absolutization of freedom as the highest good is a one-way ticket to Clown World.
Any strategy for fixing Weimerica must start with restoring the Good to its proper place above freedom in the public zeitgeist. Anything less inevitably lands us right back in Brave New World.
Giuran hand waves Ahmari’s main point away by citing polls that he claims prove America is too irreligious and liberal to ever reorient public consensus away from radical autonomy in favor of the Good. This argument has two main defects:
- It admits defeat from the outset. Ahmari points out that Liberalism invariably leads to Clown World. Giuran doesn’t refute that conclusion. Furthermore, he asserts that Americans lack the will to give up Liberal principles. By Giuran’s own logic, we’re irrevocably screwed.
- His glib declarations of America’s lack of faith just ain’t true. American religiosity has dipped only slightly, and American adults are the most religious in the developed world.
The conservative debate thus far has been premised on the idea that the proper response to Trump, the proper way forward, is to simply revitalize the platform of the Moral Majority. Not only does this fail to address many of the problems facing our country today — it has little, if anything, to say about immigration, which is necessarily the most pressing issue because its effects are permanent and irreversible — it offers little potential for attaining true hegemony. The conflict between moralists and libertines in America predates the United States itself and is unlikely to result in a decisive victory anytime soon (in other words, it’s Lindy), and it’s sufficiently orthogonal to the main dimension of American politics that there are strains of progressivism that have evolved to accommodate both. Many progressives even oppose drag!
But simply banning drag queens from California’s libraries won’t make America great again. The question of what will remains open, but here are some components of a new conservatism that will be necessary: an end to mass unskilled migration, stricter immigration controls, and an uncompromising defense of borders and the nation-state system; the establishment of policies and culture that support marriage, family formation, and homeownership; a serious drive to retake cultural hegemony from the progressives; a willingness to combat the conspiratorial demographic hatred which casts men as sub-rational pigs and whites as the nefarious, scheming villains of history; and the abandonment of the dead consensus of social conservatism and little else, in favor of a new nationalism that protects both Christian and ‘pagan’ Americans and works to preserve the civilization they have built.
Translation: “I don’t have an answer, but I want to indulge in hard drugs and deviant sex in an environment populated mostly with white people. Let’s somehow implement the Christian Conservative political agenda without the buzz-killing Christianity that’s necessary to drive it.”
And don’t think I missed that sly attempt to slip “pagans”, i.e. “atheists who pretend to worship trees” into the set of “people who built America”.
The American nation is a Christian nation. Any attempt to say otherwise is crass historical revisionism every bit as cynical and coercive as the multicult nutbars who claim Shakespeare was a black woman.
There is one way out of Clown World; only one, and that is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Once again, right-wing atheists have four options:
- Repent, and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- LARP for an hour in the church of their choice on Sundays.
- Shut up–seriously. You’re not helping.
- Join the Death Cult.
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