Beliefnet
At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

Just as there is Fake News, so too is there such a thing as “Fake Conservatism,” or the “Fake Right.” And just as Fake News is a vast money-making industry, Fake Conservatism is as well. This is why it is best, I submit, to refer to this counterfeit species of conservatism as Big Conservatism, or “the Big Con.”

One especially salient feature shared by the agents of the Big Con, these fake conservatives, is an insatiable desire to virtue-signal to the left.  However, even while doing so, they convince their constituents that their anti-right, pro-left perspectives are in fact “conservative.”

National Review’s Rich Lowry provides us with the proverbial textbook illustration of this showmanship.

Political violence has returned to the streets of America. Without exception, its antagonists have been leftists, self-described members of “the Resistance.”

Yet Rich Lowry, writing in Politico, decries not Antifa or Black Lives Matter, but “the poisonous allure of right-wing violence.”

Specifically, Lowry singles out Gavin McInnes, founder of “the Proud Boys.”

On the evening of Friday, October 12, street confrontations occurred in New York City between Gavin McInnesProud Boys and several Antifa “protestors” after McInness gave a talk at the New York Metropolitan Republican Club.

Lowry’s condemnation of McInnes is unequivocal. McInnes’ “alt-right affiliation” is established, Lowry insists, by the “rancid” nature of some of the publications for which McInnes has written.  The founder of the Proud Boys is a “fringe-y right-wing” persona with a “cracked vision” who, in contrast to such other “fringe figures” as Milo Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer, has managed to still get a hearing only because he has schemed to “preserve some credibility, or at least some plausible deniability [.]”

McInnes’ call to battle with Antifa “is…poisonous,” Lowry continues, for it is a threat to our “democratic politics,” a system devised “so [that] political and cultural disputes can be settled without resort to fisticuffs—or firearms and bombs.”  He adds: “You can oppose antifa without brawling with it—one mob does not justify another.”

Lowry concludes by warning conservatives that if their “conservatism is to represent law and order, it must anathematize and exclude advocates of, and practitioners, of violence,” like McInnes and the Proud Boys.

Let’s break this down:

While the case can certainly be made that the Proud Boys used excessive and, thus, morally questionable violence in this instance, this is not the case that Lowry makes.  Quite the contrary: Lowry’s take on McInnes and his group is indistinguishable from that of the left.

The left-wing media, represented by the New York Times, characterize McInnes as a “far right provocateur.” Lowry refers to him as a “right-wing provocateur.”

Lowry doesn’t explicitly say in what respect McInnes remains “credible” or what exactly it is that he has “plausibly” denied, but given Lowry’s use of the “alt-right” label in this connection, as well as his noting that McInnes and his Proud Boys refused to attend the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last year, it is not difficult to read between the lines:

While he is a “racist” and “white nationalist,” McInnes has managed to largely conceal this to an extent that eluded Milo and Richard Spencer.  This is what Lowry intends to imply.  In so doing, Lowry reinforces, and means to reinforce, the left’s depiction of the Proud Boys as a bunch of dreaded “white nationalists.”

Although at no time and in no place have McInnes and the Proud Boys harmed the hair on the head of a single person that wasn’t a member of a leftist mob intent upon purveying criminal, and criminally violent, activity, Lowry, along with the left, would have readers think that there is moral parity between them and the leftist thugs and terrorists from whom they protect innocents.  “You can oppose antifa without brawling with it—one mob does not justify another.”

You see? The Proud Boys are but the right-wing version of Antifa, a mob that, by implication, is every bit as lawless and destructive as this leftist, anti-American terrorist outfit that routinely ruins property, shuts down speakers with whose speech its members disagree, and intimidates and physically pummels political opponents with all manner of weaponry.

The reality, however, is radically other than the appearance that Lowry and the rest of the leftist media wants to convey. There are two points that need to be expressly stated:

First, those right-leaning street activists who have brawled with leftist agitators used violence defensively, not offensively.  Whether it was in order to protect themselves or others on whom the rabid left set its sights, neither Deplorables nor anyone else who the Fake News media has tried to link to Donald Trump has ever preyed upon their political opponents.

Second, since those instances of right-leaning violence, i.e. self-defense, have been relatively rare, anyone, like Lowry and the New York Times, who speaks of “right-wing violence” deserves to be condemned for his dishonesty, for the language, by design, suggests that it is comparable in motivation, nature, and extent as the violence of the left.

Lowry’s efforts to ingratiate himself to the left may not prove successful, but there can be no denying that he spared no opportunity to prove to his (nominal) opponents that he is a “respectable” conservative whose disgust for those on the right upon whom the left has deemed beyond contempt is second to none.

It should also be noticed that in this endeavor, Lowry says of McInnes and the Proud Boys that their tactics conflict with “our democratic politics.”   The latter, it should be obvious, is language that leftists will immediately recognize as their own.

Yet Lowry manages to do all of this while dressing his PC moral exhibitionism in the veneer of…conservatism!  If “conservatism is to represent law and order, it must anathematize and exclude advocates of, and practitioners, of violence,” like McInnes and the Proud Boys.

What attentive audiences will notice is that there is indeed a Big Con template of sorts that Lowry follows.  There are three steps to it that we saw in Lowry’s critique of Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys.

First, a member of the Big Con in good standing must not only distance himself from those rightists who the left-wing press has chosen to vilify; the men and women of the Big Con must go on the demonization campaign themselves.

Second, in rejecting whatever right-leaning individuals the liberal media has decided to make into Public Enemy Number One, the peddlers of Big Conservatism must do so in the PC parlance of the left.

Third, so as to reduce the risk that he will lose his “conservative” bona fides in the eyes of the base of the conservative movement, it is imperative that those members of the Big Con who adopt an essentially leftist vantage point from which to denounce rightists throw in a touch of GOP boilerplate and reiterate that their position is the only one consistent with (what they call) “conservatism.”

This is the playbook of the Big Con.

 

 

 

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus