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Proving Our Point

R.S. McCain takes a swipe at Erik Kain for this post, which reminds me why I usually avoid reading McCain these days. Not that it will matter to McCain, but Kain doesn’t assume that “all reasonable men of good will are liberal” and as I understand it Kain isn’t a liberal. Aside from misreading Kain and making false assumptions about his motives, McCain’s really on target, but what can you expect from someone who thinks E.F. Schumacher was a Buddhist? Oh, sorry, that’s “Buddhist-influenced”!*

Kain isn’t interested in a conservatism that “does not fundamentally contradict the liberal agenda,” which the slightest acquaintance with his arguments would make clear, but it is typical that McCain assumes that anyone on the right who sees the contemporary conservative movement as bereft of ideas and rudderless is simply craving approval and applause from the left. That in a nutshell is why the contemporary movement is bereft of ideas and rudderless–not because it doesn’t heed Kain’s recommendations or anyone else’s, but because it denies that anything needs to be fixed, it refuses to entertain the possibility that the movement itself (and not just the GOP or perfidious individual politicians) has gone awry, and it insists that anyone who argues otherwise is a left-winger. Of course, the left is happy to have opponents who are clueless, incapable of reform and certain that repeating old mantras is all that is needed. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with most, much less all, of these proposals, and Erik might not, either, but it’s a fair sight better than chanting “Wolverines!” and expecting anyone to take you seriously.

* The trouble with McCain’s description of Schumacher is that it is misleading and intentionally so. If McCain called him “Catholic-influenced,” which is far more relevant to his thought, no one would blink or care, but somehow it is supposed to count against him that he had even a passing interest in Buddhist ideas.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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