September 18, 2016

Interview with Decius Mus, Author of the Flight 93 article:


AG: Michael Walsh, the PJMedia columnist and author of The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, notes that the most vociferous in the conservative NeverTrump camp tend to be those under 50. Do you think there is a generation gap among conservatives and, if so, what accounts for it?

It does seem that, the younger a (nominal) conservative is, the more likely he is to be against Trump. I think this is owing to two things, at least. This will sound like an old man being cranky, so take it with due allowances.

The first is that the young are not educated. Not that I got the greatest education, but it was pretty good. Still the people who taught me were far more educated than I am now, and the oldest ones were the best educated of the bunch. And my sense is that their teachers—most of whom I never met, or were even dead before I was born—were better educated than even they were. So in terms of education and knowledge, we’re on a downward trend and have been for a while.

What that means is that young conservatives learn conservatism as a checklist. They don’t really read books, except recent “conservative” bestsellers. They read excerpts from the Federalist at a summer fellowship and think that’s an education. Not to knock summer fellowships, but they are supposed to be gateways, not complete educations. And they don’t really read anything harder or deeper than the Federalist (not to knock it, either, but the Founders read Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, Montesquieu and more).

So on the basis of a rather flimsy education, they think they know what conservatism is, but it’s just a catechism for them, a hymnal. And they compare Trump’s policy positions to their hymnal and they see discrepancies and they just default to “Heretic! Not conservative!”

Which points to the second, which is that older conservative intellectuals tend to have better educations and read more widely so they have a broader perspective. They also have the benefit of hard-won experience and an understanding that compromise, course changes, tactical adjustments and so on are sometimes necessary. They’re less “idealistic” in the sense of uncompromisingly foolish. And—speculating here—they have seen America at its best, or when it was much better, so they know we’ve fallen and they don’t want to see us fall further.

The kidlets, as I call them, were raised on a diet of racism-this and equality-that and that’s-not-who-we-are, so they can’t process anything that seems to contradict the narrative. To them “conservatism” is the 1980 campaign’s economic platform spot-welded to Millennial identity politics and sexual libertarianism. Freedom! An Interview with Decius - American Greatness

Posted by gerardvanderleun at September 18, 2016 6:55 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Many don't know what they need to know and so believe they know enough.
This leaves them vulnerable to more determined opponents.

Posted by: Howard Nelson at September 18, 2016 7:11 PM

Guess I am an unreformable curmudgeon. I happen to agree with Decius, which seems to be a sin among conservatives who cannot, will not support Trump - even if that leads to a Hillary victory. Well, I yam who I yam.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at September 18, 2016 9:05 PM

Decius is right on regarding the educational quality of our teachers. I am 77 and while in college in the mid 60's took several courses from men I considered the smartest on campus at the time. Paul Evans was born in 1890 and fought in WWI. After the war he stayed on in France for 3 years to study in the french archives, then returned to get a PhD from Cornell. His lectures on the French Revolution were priceless, worth much more then the tuition I was paying at the time. Another was Leonaidas Jones, a gentle southerner who walked with a limp because of shrapnel he received in the lagoon at Tarawa. He could make Faulkner come to life in the front of the classroom. I am forever indebted to such men, and have never achieved their level of erudition and wisdom. But as I hear accounts from the universities today, I fear we have lost much. The level of erudition and wisdom is much lower than 50 years ago when I was a student and comes at a much higher financial cost. I also fear that my generation has failed to preserve and pass on what was laid before us at so a great cost.

Posted by: Chuck R at September 19, 2016 6:04 AM

Funny, I wrote (at long length, I'm afraid), of this very topic in my second installment of my series, "Ignorance is power for rule makers" of my series, "The empty abyss of emotions and feelings."

No wonder that the generation born after 1980 has been called the most narcissistic ever, including by journals such as Time ("Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation") and Psychology Today ("The Narcissism Epidemic," and "Meet the most narcissistic generation ever").

They have no deep sense of historical location or history compared to their ancestors. That is why, for example, they are dismissive of the time-tested traditions and teachings of the Church, my particular field of expertise, and seek even from worship mostly to be entertained ("worshiptainment," as we call it) or emotional highs - which is to say experiences and feelings, not knowledge or wisdom.

They have not been taught that they are members of something greater or that there is a calling higher and holier than personal feel-goodism. They grew up in the self-esteem movement that assured them they were special (you know, just like everyone else!) and they got sports trophies just for showing up for practices and games. ...

Not only is there no such thing as Truth, it is unforgivable even to speak as if there is. You have your truth and I have mine, and can't we all just get along?

We are almost at the point achieved by the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union, when everyone knows that they are being fed lies and distortions but no one knew how to do anything about it and the price for trying to do so was much too high, anyway. So everyone went along because they saw no other avenue.

Former Soviet spy Victor Suvorov wrote what this was like in Inside the Soviet Army, in which he served as a tank officer before entering Soviet military intelligence. One day he and his commander spent an evening making sure that their soldiers on liberty in a nearby town obeyed the rules and the law. Suvorov pointed out that uniform regulations called for brown gloves, but brown gloves were simply unobtainable either through the supply system or on the market. Nobody could get brown gloves, including himself and his battalion commander. So everyone wore black gloves; after all, it was winter and gloves were essential.

Nonetheless, the two officers spent the evening citing soldiers for fines for wearing black gloves rather than brown, all while wearing black gloves themselves when writing the citations. And not one soldier or NCO blinked an eye. Everyone knows that common sense and rational thinking are completely useless in navigating Leftist systems. There are layers of power and control that are not questioned. Had Suvorov and his commander encountered a more senior officer who cited them while wearing black gloves himself, they would have thought nothing of it, either. The objective of these systems is not to persuade but to control.

Posted by: Donald Sensing at September 19, 2016 6:59 AM

"....comes at a much higher financial cost...."

That's pretty much true with everything these days.

There are no deals, just cons.

If you're not paying 4 times what you believe it is worth, it isn't worth it.

Yeah, that makes sense, and after you've been burned a few times it might start to sink in.

Posted by: ghostsniper at September 19, 2016 7:02 AM