Janan Ganesh on ‘How the Republicans stopped losing the US culture war’ …

Old Socialist scoffs.

Mr. Ganesh provides a breathtakingly reductivist History Made to Measure of Wm. F. Buckley Jr. Without even a mention of his classic ‘God and Man at Yale’ ? Do read the tart review by McGeorge Bundy, in the November 1951 issue of The Atlantic. At a mere 3, 428 words.


Buckley’s triumphalism enunciated by Mr. Ganesh in two short paragraphs!

When William Buckley launched National Review, and with it the modern US right, the aim was to stop the “radical social experimentation” of the hour. It was 1955. The age of Eisenhower and the draft, of the Hollywood Code and low immigration: if this scandalized him, his air of dejection as he neared the end of his gilded life half a century later becomes easier to fathom.

Among the experiments he had been unable to thwart were the sexual revolution, creeping atheism, normalised if not quite legalised cannabis and the doubling of the foreign-born population as a share of the US total. His conservative movement had been an electoral success and a howling cultural failure.


It is unfortunate that Buckley’s evolution on cannabis legalization, has escaped Mr Ganesh’s attention. He favors a misplaced free floating triumphalism of electoral success, buttressed by a collection of evocative walk-ons: The Permissive Society, The Supreme Court, The Federalist Society, the Gramscian march, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, “Jim Crow 2.0”, Conservative jurisprudence, progressive hubris, Tying Democrats to the “socialism” of the countries some of them fled, affirmative action, Cultural conservatives, same-sex marriage, Church membership is down.

As a propagandist Mr. Ganesh knows how to reach his readers . The deployment of catch phrases, marshalled as the in order too of securing assent from The Reader.

The way the Republicans have surrendered to the political irrationalism of the Tea Party, that devolved into Trump and Trumpism. This catastrophe, and the rise of The New Democrats, leads to the grim reality that America’s Political Class is collapsed, or can that state be more properly named the continual phenomenon of fissuring ?

Old Socialist

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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