Moldbug and Auster have been engaged in a discussion here. The full discussion is well worth your time.
I believe the discussion perfectly illustrates Moldbug’s contention that conservatism is incapable of defeating progressivism. Since conservatism is progressivisms only enemy, we have ourselves a problem.
(Those of you who are familiar with Mr Auster’s positions will find the discussion particularly entertaining. For example, Mr Auster – who condemns John Derbyshire and Dennis Mangan as being insufficiently traditionalist – believes in using democratic means to defeat progressivism. If Messrs Derbyshire and Mangan are not traditional enough for Mr Auster, it’s unclear how he ever expects to gain the support of the majority of Americans).
Before I get to the part of the exchange that illuminates the failure of conservatism, you must indulge me a little. Moldbug’s initial comment is too good not to excerpt:
Therefore, my program is to find the truth first and the power later. This means that counting heads–one, ten, a thousand, a million–is for the present entirely superfluous and irrelevant. Counting heads is building democratic power–which is, essentially, military power. I would rather have ten people, all in possession of the same absolute truth, than ten million tea partiers who agree on nothing but glittering lies and myths. For my ten is a viable government in exile–if they somehow gained power, they would keep it–whereas your ten million have no real collective identity at all. Even if they grow to a hundred million and elect all the politicians in Washington, actual power will elude them, the bureaucrats will wrap them around their fingers, and they will evaporate, disappear, and become jokes, like all 20th-century American conservative movements.
When you have a viable program for ruling and a government in exile (ie, a real political party–every real political party is a government in exile), you have a structure which, unlike the tea parties, exudes *potential* power. It is off–completely out of power–but if you turned it on, it would work. This is naturally attractive to human beings, who all lust for power. Power is always fashionable. Fashion is always powerful. As a recent Rasmussen poll revealed, only 23% of Americans believe their government enjoys their consent–so why does it remain? Because there is no alternative. Create a viable alternative, and power will flow to it as water runs downhill.
To pursue in any such program, of course, you have to completely abandon your liberalism. You have to stop believing in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Flag, and all that crap–the entire American political pantheon. This is not to be replaced with nihilism, of course, but with an understanding of the deeper, older European tradition. . . .
The best way to uphold the Constitution is to burn it, for it has long since become a mockery of itself; its authors would tolerate no such fate. Your enemies believe in naked power. When they croak the Constitution at you, answer them with a gun butt to the jaw. It is their own secret language, which they understand perfectly.
I couldn’t resist quoting that, even though I want to focus on another part of the discussion. How can I resist, "When they croak the Constitution at you, answer them with a gun butt to the jaw." I cannot.
The discussion turns to Mr Auster’s contention that Obamacare is the death knell of American. Moldbug claims that the death bell (if you’ll forgive the analogy) has long since rung.
The statist takeover of America? The statist takeover of America (ie, the transition from limited to unlimited government) happened in 1933. It’s impossible to resist it, because it already happened. As Garet Garrett wrote in 1938, "the revolution was." You might as well resist the fall of Rome. . . .
The Old Republic no longer exists. It’s impossible to resist its destruction. It was destroyed long before either of us was born. Those who destroyed it, just like those who destroyed the Roman Republic, preserved its forms. This was the best way to make sure it stayed destroyed. Because it ensured a steady supply of amnesic conservatives who would waste all their energies doing the impossible–trying to revive a corpse.
What does this mean, concretely? It means that America is no longer a democracy based on popular sovereignty, because real power belongs to permanent bureaucracies of Progressive design, in both judicial and executive branches, which are insulated by law from the popular will. Moreover, the controlling legal authority in America is "constitutional law," a body of precedent which has diverged completely and irreparably from the actual written Constitution. Thus, Republicans can win every election until doomsday, and gain no real power at all. Look at what happens in Arizona–the people make a feeble, symbolic attempt to exercise a basic political function, and some random judge bitch-slaps them. . . .
By participating–and encouraging others to participate–in this charade, you’re simply endorsing it. By opposing Obamacare through the ballot box, you may do a little bit to slow the advance of the glacier, but you’re doing a lot to prop up its legitimacy. If even a right-wing extremist like Larry Auster says that Washington, DC is the real, Constitutional, democratic government of America, it must be true.
Here’s Mr Auster:
When he says that the statist takeover of America took place in 1933, he displays, in the manner of a European intellectual, a frozen conceptualism that separates itself from reality, that refuses to look at reality. It is not true that the statist takeover of America took place in 1933. The statist takeover of America has been an ongoing process. Obamacare would turn America into a statist society in a sense infinitely worse than any statism we’ve had before this. But because, in his frozen, vain conceptualism, he believes that the statism is already fully in place, he devotes his mental energies to mocking those who are seeking to repeal Obamacare.
So, we’re to believe that socializing healthcare for (ever-expanding definition of) poor people and elderly is not a statist takeover, but extending socialized to some additional "poor" people is a takeover from which we will not recover? Mr Auster displays the futility of his own positions.
Albert Jay Nock and John T. Flynn opposed FDR’s reforms in the manner that Mr Auster proposes to oppose Obamacare. There’s a reason you’ve never heard of Messrs Nock and Flynn. They lost.