At some point, reproaching the mainstream conservative movement, criticizing its most popular writers and commentators, and expressing befuddlement at the political habits of millions of ordinary voters who sympathize with the movement all end up becoming stronger identifying characteristics than the alternate vision of conservatism the non-movement cons seek to promote. ~Jim Antle
Jim is right that these things tend to reinforce the isolation of the critics and ensure that mainstream conservatives become even more resistant to alternative visions, but at some point this becomes more of a problem for mainstream conservatives than it is for the critics. Paleo critics have no influence to speak of, and so they have nothing to lose by continuing to say what they think, and gradually many of the reformists are going to find themselves in a comparable position, but the message this will send is that mainstream conservatism cannot tolerate or handle serious dissent from either the right or from its left. The calcification of thought in the mainstream movement, the forming of cocoons within cocoons that we are seeing now, may mean that all kinds of critics fail to make any inroads. However, what this ultimately means is the ever-diminishing influence of the mainstream movement as it ceases to have any capacity for internal renewal or an ability to adapt. In the end, this works to the advantage of various alternative rights that currently do not receive much of a hearing, and in the interim it means that the mainstream movement will stumble along in confusion, bereft of ideas, as most reform proposals are met with scorn and ridicule.
Yes, there is a certain justice that Frum is now being cast out by many of the people in whose name he denounced paleos, but mainstream conservatism’s habit of casting people out can work, to the extent that it works at all, only when its support in the country is growing and the political fortunes of the right are in the ascendant. At the present moment, it is a luxury they cannot afford, but the habits remain unchanged. Amid an already-shrinking coalition, of which the Obamacons were one notable symptom, persuasion and speaking to those outside the movement have become subjects for mockery, while repeating worn-out slogans and pointing to “the blueprint” of past victories have become all the rage. In the short and perhaps medium term, the critics may lose these debates as a practical matter, but it is mainstream conservatives who are depriving themselves of ideas that could revive their movement.
Best of all from the paleo/”post-paleo”/alternative right perspective, there is no danger that anyone in the mainstream movement will heed this warning because it comes from me, one of those “radicals,” so there is little chance that mainstream conservatives will learn any lessons from the last two or three decades that would enable them to adapt to the present. That may hasten the day when the people the mainstream movement has ill-served for so many decades will begin seeking out alternatives once they finally tire of following the enablers of the party of immigration, imperialism and insolvency.