The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Darren Beattie: Guilty of Intellectualism

Posted on | August 22, 2018 | 3 Comments

Sunday, I wrote about Darren Beattie, the former Trump speech-writer who got hounded out of his job by CNN because he spoke at a 2016 conference attended by “white nationalists.” Beattie has now published the text of his speech, “The Intelligentsia and the Right,” and as anyone can now see for themselves, he said nothing — absolutely nothing — about race in this speech. Beattie’s argument is that “movement conservatism” (i.e., the ideology made famous by Buckley and made policy by Reagan) lost whatever intellectual coherence it had with the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Now, this assertion might itself provoke controversy. Contra Beattie, I would argue that conservatives have simply failed to adapt to the post-Cold War era, and that the primary obstacle to such an adaptation is the Republican establishment, particularly the senior leadership of the Senate, and the GOP consultant class. Furthermore, I would argue, conservatism does not require intellectual coherence, by which I mean that conservatism is not an ideology in the sense that Marxism is an ideology; rather, conservatism is an opposition to all such ideologies. In America, conservatism emerged as a force in the 20th century in the wake of the New Deal, and the post-World War II confrontation with Communism. The uniting force of this movement was perhaps best expressed by Friedrich Hayek in The Road to Serfdom, which argued that the West was headed in the wrong direction, moving steadily toward totalitarianism, by the expansion of the liberal Welfare State.

What has led “movement conservatism” into the wilderness since the 1990s is a lack of visionary and charismatic leadership. It was our singular misfortune that, when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the White House was occupied by George H.W. Bush, a decent and honorable fellow who was not, alas, visionary or charismatic. Thus, liberalism was able to rebound, putting Bill Clinton in the White House for eight years, and we’ve been trying to recover from that ever since.

Success in politics requires a good bit of cynicism and, as a rule, intellectuals don’t much care for the kind of practical considerations necessary to turn ideas into electoral victories, thus to enable the winners to implement policies that will accomplish . . . whatever.

Democrats are generally more cynical in this regard, and Republicans often suffer from a childish naïvete, imagining they can win by being nicer than Democrats. This kind of Nice Guy conservatism is what I call Bushism, and Trump has won by discarding it. He plays hardball with the Democrats, and if he keeps winning, maybe some other Republicans will finally figure out how to play hardball, too. But I digress . . .

However much I might disagree with Darren Beattie (and it’s hard to tell, because his speech is so highbrow, I’m not sure I understand it completely), there is not a word in it that can be called “white nationalism,” and CNN’s witch-hunt against Beattie is evidence of how desperate these Democrats with bylines have become.

Now they’re going after Larry Kudlow for having Peter Brimelow as a guest at his 71st birthday party. Republicans can’t even have a birthday party without the Left’s permission now, I guess.



3 Responses to “Darren Beattie: Guilty of Intellectualism”

  1. Big Brother, Inc. : The Other McCain
    August 24th, 2018 @ 9:57 pm

    […] may recall that Darren Beattie, the former Trump speech-writer who got chased out of the White House for attending a 2016 […]

  2. FMJRA 2.0: Day Late & A Dollar Short : The Other McCain
    August 26th, 2018 @ 10:46 pm

    […] Darren Beattie: Guilty of Intellectualism EBL […]

  3. Paul Gottfried vs. Neocon Mythology : The Other McCain
    August 29th, 2018 @ 10:16 pm

    […] with “white nationalists.” I later discussed Beattie’s speech to the Club (“Darren Beattie: Guilty of Intellectualism”). Professor Gottfried emailed me to contest the description of the Club as a “white […]