WHAT’S BEHIND THE #CUCKSERVATIVE PHENOMENON? A REPLY TO ACE
Thanks to assists by Eric Erickson, HotAir, the Daily Beast, the New Republic, Buzzfeed, and the Washington Post, the term cuckservative is probably here to stay:
The hashtag shows a steadier increase:
A week after Eric Erickson first tweeted about it, twice as many people per day were using the word. The question now — the eternal question — is whether this mainstream media-driven neologism is racist. Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos doesn’t think it is inherently so, but if you check Twitter, it’s hard to come away with any other conclusion. This Twitter mob seems to have greatly unsettled Ace, who isn’t sure where they all came from. Most of the social media confrontations involving the term have been with the conservative online community, which has been the quickest and strongest to denounce the term and, though often skeptical of identity politics in the mainstream media, they have pretty much universally — except Ann Coulter, basically — deemed cuckservative racist.
If the popularity of ‘cuckservative’ does indeed indicate a growing tsunami of white nationalism, perhaps one ought to consult survivors from the last town the tsunami leveled. Which, believe it or not, is the dreaded neoreaction. That’s not too surprising when you think about it — there’s only so much room on the dissident right, and neoreaction was started by a Jewish guy; its most popular exponent is a post-Marxist philosopher living in Shanghai. A few months ago, several bloggers who identified with the movement disappeared from the public Internet, in some cases citing rising amounts of abuse from these people. Whether these neoreactionaries continue to discourse in secret is a matter of speculation, but they do occasionally raise periscopes. Here is one:
I almost liked Ace’s post, but I couldn’t quite get there. There was a critical amount of causal depth missing that I’m pretty sure Ace already agrees with, based on his other and more recent writings, and which he chose to omit for — I’m guessing — prudential reasons. The necessity of which is really the heart of the problem, isn’t it? I’m surprised he didn’t focus more on the related simultaneous phenomena of Trump’s sudden popularity amongst a base that feels unrepresented and betrayed with no alternative.
Specifically, he says this ‘came out of nowhere,’ and also at some other points in his post, makes as if it’s some kind of weird and ugly surprise to him. “Whoa, who are these ‘fringe’ wackos? Who knew there were so many of them, or that their heads weren’t permanently kept down! Where do these guys comes from?!”
But I don’t think that’s really true at all. And I suspect he joined me in long thinking a development of this sort was all but inevitable given recent trends in the evolution of progressive rhetoric and tactics and of course their steadily escalating fanaticism, aggressiveness, and, alas, effectiveness.
The truth is #cuckservative, for all its ugliness and unnecessary extra derogatory baggage, seems to have touched a very raw nerve and resonated with people in a way that is revealing of many things (some quite nasty and unreflective of my own views). But one of those revelations is that what remains of the mainstream movement is being painted into a shrinking corner where it is impossible to complain politely about one’s bad circumstances, and so it is inevitable that one’s impolite fringe would be the only ones left to take up the banner.
Let me lay out my thinking a little on this. See, to my mind, this is all a little rich coming from Ace. Yeah, I can sympathize with his need to preserve his marketability and a robust reputation for respectability, but again, that’s the problem. When’s the last time Ace linked to Sailer? Maetenloch did it during the whole UVA rape-date thing, once, and that’s the last I can remember. Not a lot of dissident-right linkage over there in general, but, in my view, Sailer is a special case.
Sailer is of course radioactive, but not because he’s crude, uncivil, unprofessional, vulgar, unhinged, or anything. Only because he is a thought-criminal who is obsessed with telling the most important hatefacts that explain what is really happening to our world, and are the most significant overlooked factors with major implications for the wisdom of various policies, because no one else will. But what does it mean to scrupulously avoid any possible guilt-by-association with the most professional presentation of hate facts possible?
I mean, even Sailer is trying not to touch this stuff with a ten-foot pole or associate with it. He’s got a pretty good sense for staying consistently classy and above the level of dirty partisanship and emotional name-calling. But if what Sailer does write stands for anything, it is the fact that every single major issue of our day is absolutely dripping with the pretty lies of The Narrative that can only be addressed by mentioning and noticing patterns of human non-equality, each of which that the left has now successfully placed beyond the pale of acceptable civil discourse.
So Ace spends every single day chronicling two related phenomena. In his own way of presentation, these are:
- The crazy, evil, delusional, and mendaciously defamatory way that megaphone-holding progressives frame reality as if every problem in the world — real or fabricated — is at root the fault of George Washington Archetypes. And, as a corollary, how all their ‘solutions’ are thus unjust penalties and oppressions against people who resemble that Archetype.
- The absolute and catastrophic failure of the Republican Party and conservative movement to slow down the progressive agenda, to stand up for clear principles, to fight every good fight with everything they have, or, really, to even do what their constituents want them to do, and vote how they’d like them to vote, most of the time. This has pissed him off so much lately that he’s actually sworn off being part of Team Republican and the conservative political movements, because it’s in such a shambolic travesty of a condition, and he just doesn’t have the heart to bite his tongue or spin the situation anymore, if for no other reason than it’s now obviously counterproductive.
Now, what is the tone over at Ace’s place in general? He’d probably dislike the characterization, but if the shoe fits, then he should wear it, and the answer is really “neoconservative.” I don’t mean that in the derogatory ‘NYC Jew entryist’ sense, but in the positive frame that a self-identified neoconservative would defend, their Americanist politics. That is, a ‘reconstructed right’ that declares that America is fundamentally a ‘propositional nation’ with a specific historical purpose to be a continuing experiment in human freedom, that its history of arising out of a particular people, history, and tradition is fortunate and praise-worthy, but at root, merely contingent and not essentially connected to any particular characteristics, and that it should be based on a dedication to a universalist creed of equality in rights, the project of which potentially any human anywhere can accept and join without real limitation regarding nationality or race, with perhaps the mild exception of having to fit into a secularized version of the the ‘Western, Judeo-Christian’ traditional set of values that underpin the commitment to essential liberty.
Ok, that’s a mouthful, but you get the point. Neoconservatism rejects ‘This is a Christian nation’ talk, in favor of their compatible set of civil virtues and values, and to the extent it can tolerate any racial realism, nevertheless insists on colorblindness as a principal virtue. It seems to me that to the extent Ace is a social conservative, he is a social neoconservative. To the extent he leans libertarian, he is a neoconservative libertarian. If you presented the Sailer Strategy to him in explicit terms — The Republicans can only win if they embrace being The White Party — they would recoil. Even if they accept the realities of the demographic disparities in affiliation to the right, they can’t quite believe it must always be thus. It’s too important to their self-image that their movement is not a crude, old-world one of naked self-interest of ethnic factions, but a universal ideal to which anyone from any origin should be equally recruitable.
And that’s not my problem with him at all really. It’s certainly arguable that, whatever its flaws, this ‘propositional nation’ stuff is perhaps the least-goofy, least-ineffective set of ideas that has had any success whatsoever is slowing the roll of the progressive agenda by being a relatively defensibly and attractive alternative pole, even if it was only for a limited time, and that anything else would have been worse. Ok, whatever.
The problem is that it’s no longer working. What the progressives have discovered over time is a near perfect refinement of the PC-oppression-framing of everything conservative constituents complain about. Everything possible is now racialized (or genderized, or whatever) to the nth possible degree. All roads lead immediately to crimestop, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Against this, a conservative ideology that pretends they can still play a game of idealizing colorblindness is worse than useless.
In the minds of these voters, conservative representative politics is supposed to serve as some kind of outlet for them to express their grievances and petition for relief that will support their interests. But what they are discovering — what Ace himself complains about every day — is that Republican politicians simply won’t do it. And so why won’t they do it?
Well, ‘internet folk-neoconservatism’ has a few half-answers, which is that “the donors make them sell out their principles and their base’s birthright for reasons of evil corporate greed,” or else “they are elites (i.e. near-progressives) who are only pretending to be conservatives, and only vote against the progressives when they absolutely have to or else it just doesn’t matter.”
Besides that there are also the pragmatic political concerns of doing what it takes to hold together a ‘big tent’ large enough to get majorities and be viable. But who controls the direction of the opinion of the public over whom you’d like to cast your big tent? And you can’t be ‘big tent’ and viable without being respectable, and you can’t be respectable if you’re being called racist or whatever-ist or whatever-phobe, and to the extent the progressives can leverage some statement, incident, or position to make that accusation such that enough people can be conned into believing it, you have little choice but to capitulate and give them what they want and avoid the matter altogether as a big loser of an issue for you.
And the effect, it seems to me, has been to push enough of the articulation of any legitimate basis for counter-progressive policies out of the Overton Window into taboo territory, which ends up completely silencing the high status and respectable elites who run and pay for the Party, and preemptively neutralizing any good those ideas could have had in terms of policy if only had it been possible to discuss them openly.
Immigration is the clear example, but you could use any of the manufactured progressive outrages of the past few years. Progressives want open borders because it will hand them a Brazilian one-party-state. Conservatives try to argue against it on pragmatic grounds. Progressives point, sputter, and scream, “Racist!” and conservative elites decide they simply have to avoid that because they can’t win that fight, but might as well make lemonade out of lemons and court the immigrant-labor-hiring donor class. So they start lining up to pass amnesty (or transparently merely pretend to fight against Obama’s executive amnesty), which is the opposite of what their base wants.
I could say the same for crime, for housing, for education, etc.
And Ace, what does he do in situations like there? He is appalled and angered of course, and he thinks it is horribly unfair and abusive for the progressives to accuse the conservatives of racism, but he doesn’t make the final leap and conclude, “It is the ability of the progressives to successfully win this issue by credibly threatening to accuse their opponents of racism in a way which will be believed enough, by enough people, that lies at the heart of this issue, and is the root cause of the awful, cowardly, and politically treasonous behavior I’m observing. So long as that works, and for every issue for which that works, well, we’re doomed.”
That’s why both Charles Murray and Robert Putnam, in writing books about cultural fragmentation and underclass behavior, are obliged to focus exclusively on white people!
He doesn’t seem to get there. Why not? I’m not sure exactly. Maybe he has actually and I missed it. After all, he posts a lot, and I don’t read them all. Or maybe he is on his way to figuring it out, or was on his way, before the radioactive white nationalist moron hater fringe make him “feel dirty” about sharing beliefs with that crowd and want to distance himself from them.
But also maybe he understands that this conclusion can only lead in two bad directions (1) Utter Despondency, or (2) A need to do whatever is necessary to take on the progressive structural advantage of crying-racist, which has lately grown to immense magnitude.
And (2), and the strategies that might exist under it, is a deeply troubling and ugly thought to contemplate for your standard internet quasi-neoconservative. Whose interests are your trying to defend, against what, and perpetrated in the name of what? Because progressives are dominant as the “party of non-whites,” conservative elites are stuck with a mostly white constituency who is begging for some relief from anti-white progressive policy, and the movement intellectuals have spend the last 20 years trying to beat around that bush and argue in terms of abstract ideas and human universals, and for whatever good that may have ever done in its time — that time is now over.
And so what I’m getting to is that it was simply inevitable that you would end up with a Republican Party and conservative movement machine that simply could not perform its basic function for its constituents, because the progressives have made those functions and the expression of the rational for them completely taboo. Since, with the exception of a few reckless or too-old-or-honorable-to-care types, most of these elites simply will not step outside the Overton Window, then it was likewise inevitable that a gap would grow and widen between the behavior and expressions of the politicians and their increasingly frustrated, angry, and alienated base.
This is like being a buyer in a real estate transactions, realizing the interest of your ‘agent’ isn’t quite aligned with your own, because your realtor is working on commission based on the final sale value, and so is more interested in talking to accepting the latest counteroffer instead of aggressively negotiating with the other side and helping you get the lowest price, but risking the possibility that the deal may go south and he’ll have to spend more time on your next attempt, but without any more compensation. At 3 percent commission, there are still plenty of decent realtors who care about their reputation to be honest buyer’s agents. But if that commission starts going up to 10, 20, or 50 percent, all of a sudden, every buyer is going to hate their realtor and the guaranteed betrayal of their interests, and want to spit when they hear their name. That’s what’s been happening with the Republicans. Ace spits constantly.
And so the question is what is a dejected ordinary right-leaning individual supposed to think about this whole problem of bad agents and bad agency and conspicuous public embrace of the progressive mantras that 90 percent of his own side’s voters despise? What is his explanation for why Republican and Conservative elites are so unable to speak plainly and clearly about the real troubles of the day, and seem to let the liars and defamers roll right over them?
And I just think that this state of affairs, the gap, the failed agency, the silenced neutralization, and above all the intense-identity-politics-basis and racialization of all political issues surrounding the current Big Government State, was just bound to find outlet and be expressed in some explicitly race-conscious manner as continued playing along with the racial equality delusion became too exhausting and self-destructive, and racial-equality-narrative-fatigue set in amongst the class of people that are most severely affected, least likely to defect to progressivism, most likely to feel intense frustration, and most willing to embrace risky or extreme subcultures. One can already guess without looking what the demographic profile of the #cuckservative retweeting population is.
Now, look, it would be nice if there were a polite and socially acceptable way to articulate this whole problem without being accused of racism oneself. If you were to somehow to strip the ugly, nasty, crude, and hateful connotations and meanings behind #cuckservative away, there would still be this problem of a need to have a way of naming and describing the consistent betrayal of the interest of one’s side that necessarily includes the cravenness of an agent selling out his principle in favor of staying in the good graces of the counterparty, and the consistent cowardice and inability to act or speak in defense of those interests because of a particular kind of crimestop that the adversary has been working overtime to apply to anything and everything.
So, if I were having a beer with Ace, I would ask him what exactly frustrated people in his big tent should call the elite politicians that he complains about daily for what is, in essence, the same forms of cowardice and betrayal, and which derive from the same causes? What is the essential nature of the criticism being levied? And I think it would be pretty clear that is had just become inescapable that the problem gets into the ‘icky’ territory again and again, that Ace and his kind would rather avoid for as long as possible — indeed, have avoided for as long as possible. And now it’s not possible. If the respectables can’t be the voice the movement, refuse to be in the face of overwhelming threats to their livelihoods, well then, the ugly mob will fill the vacuum from now on, and no one should be surprised that of course you aren’t going to like what they say and the way they say it.
And of course, the ultimate tragedy of all this is that it plays right into the progressives’ hands because it Dylann-Roofs the entire meta-dispute. By saying only neo-nazis could possibly fight their agenda, they make in inevitable that actual hipster-pretend-wanna-be-white-nationalists are the ones who become the face of The Lost Cause, which is just rocket fuel for the fire of progressives using that fact to smear and stamp out all the otherwise potentially respectable oppositions. And this is of course what Ace is complaining and rightly terrified about. And that’s forgivable and understandable. I mean, look what happened to the Confederate Flag and now that’s going to happen to things that were, until yesterday, just barely within the Overton Window too, which just makes things worse in Ace’s eyes. But again, what is the alternative if one isn’t willing to admit and take on the fundamental structural problem at play here?
And it just seems to me that Ace simply isn’t willing to do this, not if it means he can’t avoid associating himself with explicitly racially conscious people, which whites are not allowed to be. He wants a party that can be an anti-anti-white party, and least in most of its representative agenda, but without having to openly admit that’s what it is, and what it’s now principally about, and instead be able to hide behind the plausible cover of simply meritocratic justice and fairness and universal principle (i.e. the progressive pretense). He wants the Sailer Strategy’s end state, but not as an actual overly racially-conscious program, which is simply ideologically unpalatable for him.
And that requires people out there to bite their tongues about this stuff. But he has been a tongue-biter, and practically no one more or better than he has made the case (and recently!) that the progressives have made this completely impossible, and of the absolute futility and counter-productivity of right-wing tongue-biting that characterizes our current political stage and state of affairs. So, if he has another accurate term he’d like to use for people in his own tent to throw at the leadership that he despises and is descriptive of the character and true origin of their condemnatory behavior, then be my guest and offer one up as an alternative! I hope he figures it out quick, but, until then, #cuckservative.
The Mitrailleuse does not endorse these views, but we are committed to free, and respectful dialogue. At least, if lines have been crossed for airing views of this kind, we can be confident they are less odious than those given a hearing in the Washington Post.