When Europeans attempt to analyze the political climate with America, they often fall short in their perceptions which is mostly rooted in their secular worldview. Whereas Europe has long been handed over to the Spirit of the Age on cruise control, the same cannot be said of America where this same spirit must move to extremes in order to gain this same authority. Enter Douglas Murray, a British writer who is “conservative” by Tory standards and has authored books on topics of race, Islamic immigration to Europe, and Gender. Although I would never extend analytical leniency to a fellow American, it is reasonable to assume a level of ignorance from a foreigner.
On January 21, Murray wrote a column Why is the Right so unattractive? for the independent, centrist outlet Unherd, which brands itself as nonpartisan and hopes of spurring intellectual conversation. Again, I believe this is caters more towards Europeans, with some crossover.
Murray begins by describing the divisive, tribalistic political climate within America, where Right and Left are at odds, constantly looking for ammunition to leverage against their opponents while lacking the same introspection within their own camp.
Air your dirty ideological linen in public and it’s likely your opponents will draw attention to it. Still, there are times when a refusal to engage in self-criticism can be a hindrance to your tribe — as both the American Right and Left are now discovering.
For the longest time, mainstream leftist media attacked the Right while their counterparts on the Right responded to these same attacks on the Left, with emphasis on hypocrisy. In recent years, the rise of Blaze Media, alt-techs like Gab, to a certain extent Daily Wire, and other smaller online platforms has led to a rightward drift in conservative media which allows for more criticism on those who wear the same jersey. While Murray contends that the American Right lacks desire to introspect, this is untrue. If anything, they crave their political pundits and politicians to name names and attack those in their camp. We have seen this over the past week with emphasis on Dan Crenshaw snapping at a child. This is why Marjorie Taylor Greene is a rising star in conservative circles and Ted Cruz received heated backlash for his January 6 comments. On the right, we crave attention being drawn towards our politicians who are ideologically weak, which has often been denied by the Fox News types (Tucker Carlson excluded) who would rather pounce on leftist hypocrisy or cringe than attack their own.
Since 2016, the American Left has desperately cut itself off from reality: its unwillingness to concede that Donald Trump won the election precluded the Democrats from being able to consider why their candidate lost. But the American Right is equally capable of deluding itself. In fact, with Biden in the White House, it is now as much a problem for the American Right as it was for the Left during the Trump years.
There is a certain truth to this when every election is the “most important election in our lifetimes” and is a matchup between Leftist savior and the second coming of Adolf Hitler. Likewise, every election on the right, voters are told to “vote Republican to save America.” In the aftermath of 2016, the vilification of Donald Trump made him Emmanuel Goldstein in the flesh. There was some introspection on the Left regarding Clinton’s unpopularity, but the Twitter mobs increasingly turned towards intersectionality as a guide to picking candidates. Unfortunately, lacking qualified “Diverse” candidates, they elected Biden and Harris. On the Right, we are still bickering the talking point that Trump won the 2020 election. Murray has a valid critique that the focus on previous elections is detrimental. I would raise this critique against the right by contending that we cannot make the 2020 election the focus of our movement going forward. Stolen or not, and it probably was, we are complaining about the referee when our candidate turned the ball over numerous times. The margin of fraud is minuscule compared to the mistakes President Trump made in 2020, both from a policy and a campaign standpoint.
Murray proceeds to reference a panel discussion he was a part of at a political conference, which also featured Dave Ruben. Ruben, like too many in Algorithm Conservatism who glom onto the Chappelle’s and Maher’s whenever they speak against the narrative, suggests that monologues against CRT represent an ideological shift, or red-pill moment.
Dave suggested that, given how much [Bill] Maher agrees with conservatives on these points, it is strange that he still identifies with the Left. In other words, why should he not come over and join the merry men of the Right?
Just because Bill Maher demonstrates some degree of introspection on the Left does not discount his ideologically alignment with them. At the same time, Maher can be substituted for Joe Rogan, Tim Poole, or Elon Musk, and the logic follows the same. Murray eventually surmises that Maher has stayed exactly who he is and thus it is not him who has changed, but his party.
He has stayed precisely where he was, and remains as true to his principles as ever. There is, perhaps, some truth here. But this still fails to address the key question: why, in the face of the current Leftist orthodoxies, are so many on the traditional Left reluctant to admit they now have more in common with the Right?
There has been political migration from the Left to the Right, often in the form of disaffected white, blue-collar workers who flipped to Trump in the 2016 cycle. These people traditionally voted democrat for decades, possibly due to union affiliation, but as the Democrats catered more towards the woke ideologies, they were essentially left behind, both politically and economically. However, this description is not who Murray is referring.
Rather than ignoring this trend, conservatives need to ask themselves: what is it about the Right that is so unappealing that people who agree almost entirely with its views resile from joining its ranks?
This question is made regarding the Maher types, not the aforementioned, normal Americans. He talks of high-profile partisan switches, both American and foreign, but not the gradual, everyday switch.
During his talk, the distinguished conservative scholar Patrick Deneen offered — and I do not say this to do him any injustice — a lament for the Fifties; for the change in people’s habits of dress, manners and sexual etiquette. I listened to all of this with great interest and considerable disagreement. But as I did so, I could not help thinking that here in a nutshell was the main reason why disenchanted liberals like Maher would never in a million years join the American Right.
Ironically, the 1950’s was the best decade of American prosperity, as it led to the rise of innovative, American manufacturing and the creation of the Middle Class. Because conservatives hold to values more commonly expressed in the 1950’s, particularly that of sexual ethics, they would never appeal to Maher. This is correct, but not exactly a problem.
What liberal or former liberal would want to find themselves in an ideological movement in which opposition to the right to abortion, opposition to no-fault divorce, and a nostalgia for the era before the invention of the pill are commonplace? This isn’t to say that the conservative movement in America should not make these arguments. They can make them as much as they want. But they can hardly be surprised if others outside of their flock refuse to join them as a consequence.
This is mainly a critique of the Right refusing to embrace feminism, which is one of the most corrosive ideologies in human history, leading to the genocidal death toll of abortion, no fault divorce, and the Rainbow Jihad which seeks to transition children.
At the heart of this lies a centuries-old tension in America between the worlds of politics and religion. It was always said that the genius of keeping religion in the background during the founding of America was that it allowed it to flourish in the foreground later on. By contrast, the centrality of the established church in England almost guarantees the obscurity of religion’s place in public life.
Murray is incorrect in his assertion that religion was kept to the background of America’s founding. It was John Adams who said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Because he is British, this mistake is more understandable, but highlights his personal disconnect with the American climate. He is entirely correct on the irrelevancy of the Church of England in its society. Along with other European countries, centralized state churches led to the decline of the church throughout western civilization. It is because we have no centralized American church that our faithful remnant is larger than its counterparts in Europe. For this reason, Evangelicals and Traditional Catholics represent a sizable conservative voting bloc, one the Right cannot win without.
And I was once at a meeting of conservatives on the continent where, on several occasions, an American participant gleefully referred to gay couples as being in “sodomitical relationships”. Should we be surprised that so many liberals instinctively revile conservatism? All of which is to say that this overlap between politics and religion remains a special type of kryptonite to any separation-of-church-and-state liberal.
That is based. What Murray contends is that if the Republicans would become socially liberal, they would attract these classical liberals and win elections, but because they cling to their bibles, it is a kryptonite. This is the problem with British commentators or Neoconservatives who believe the party must compromise on social issues in order to win elections, but it ignores that the Catholic and Evangelical voting bloc cares more about cultural issues than promises of low taxes. Ultimately, Murray wants the American Right to look more like him.
The problem with this mindset is that Mitt Romney won independents and still lost to Barrack Obama. He lacked focus on his political base and suffered the consequences. The big tent mindset of foregoing the base in order to attract new voters does not work. There is a sizable bloc on the right that is not going anywhere or compromising to the Left and the Woke. Although they will not vote Democrat, they will increasingly forego the political process unless it caters to them, as many were doing prior to 2016. Meanwhile, the Leftist bloc on the other side is not a stagnant movement but is drawing more support for their beliefs. So while Maher is not changing, or at least not bowing to the woke, plenty of Democrat voters are, and their largest voting bloc hates the unjabbed as a result, despite no one being jabbed in 2020.
Perhaps that small portion of ideas is worth fighting for; perhaps even to the extent that it’s worth alienating would-be conservatives. But these are questions the Right needs to answer, rather than blaming liberals for pointing them out.
Murray concludes his column by saying that the Right will suffer the consequences unless they embrace social liberals. What he advocates for is an American Right which stands for nothing while allowing the culture to deteriorate. One might call this a TPUSA Republican approach: focus entirely on the economic messaging while ignoring the culture wars. John Doyle would call this “George Floyd Conservatism.” Both essentially describe the American Right as ten years behind the Left on a given issue, whose advocates believe that the coalition will accrue more voters by trailing the Democrats, eventually accumulating a majority as a result of the Democrats veering too far left. This assumes that people will remain unchanged in their convictions, or lack thereof. Instead, the reality is that two thirds of Americans were against Gay Marriage in the 90’s only for the reverse to be true today. In public schools, children are being indoctrinated with their perverse ideologies as normative. This leftward drift works, but more importantly, their movement knows how to cultivate future voters.
Conservatism cannot win without Christianity, and the Republican Party would do well to understand this. The culture wars are important to American voters. Additionally, instead of chasing after “disaffected” social liberals like Maher who likely will never vote Republican anyway, the party should tailor its platform to those in the “Flyover Country” who have been economically displaced by globalism and negatively impacted by mass immigration. Combined with a likable candidate, there is a demonstrated electorate majority.
Being a Brit, Murray should understand that the Brexit movement was a rebuke to these two problems which went ignored and/or were perpetuated by their parliamentary system. Moreover, the ongoing Covid tyranny protests throughout Europe and Australia are absent a voice within their government, or are otherwise a significant minority, despite the unrelenting consistency of their strength.
Unfortunately, while this strategy would win, it is not shared within the big brains of Team GOP, who are disproportionately socially liberal, globalists, mass migration shills.