May 10, 2019


Viktor Orbán and the corruption of conservatism (Dalibor Rohac, 5/10/19, cAPx)

During the early 1960s, the conservative movement in the United States underwent a deep transformation, largely thanks to the leadership of William F. Buckley, Jr., the editor of National Review. Initially, the magazine was sceptical of federal efforts at desegregation, on the grounds of defending the rights of US states to govern themselves. For Buckley, that position became untenable in the light of the actual policies that Southern states were pursuing. "I once believed we could evolve our way up from Jim Crow," he said in a 2004 interview. "I was wrong. Federal intervention was necessary."

Buckley famously purged the magazine, and with it much of the conservative movement, of anti-Semites, racists, conspiracy theorists, and kooks - and enabled it to thrive as a healthy, intelligent stream of Western intellectual life for decades to come.

Today, the conservative movement is in dire need of a similar cleanse. The dividing line is no longer the issue of the rights of individual US states but includes more broadly the questions of globalism, global governance, and local control. Unlike the distinctly American controversy of the 1960s, it affects conservatively-minded individuals on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet the underlying substantive issues are strikingly similar. At what point does the defence of the nation-state vis-à-vis expansive forms of international cooperation become an apology for racism, arbitrary state power, authoritarianism - or anti-Semitic tropes?

Posted by at May 10, 2019 12:05 PM