Irving Kirstol once noted that the way to become a neoconservative in the 1960s and 1970s was to simply stand still while things changed around you. Shafer is a perfect example of how the left ignores its own success. And it’s a good strategy. To acknowledge that America has changed would be to admit that the country has moved left, and to admit that is to admit that there is no risk of a return to the 1950s, that most Americans are increasingly okay with gay marriage and the welfare state, that we have a black socialist president and that Mitt Romney is not Bull Connor. And to admit all of this is to risk losing the utopia that is (always) right around the corner. Liberals will take us there if they have to violate the Constitution, reason and basic decency. It’s important to convince the people that any time a conservative wants to balance a budget or insists that men and women are biologically different, the galloping sound of the Klan is right outside the window. We now live in a world where the left calls us sexual dictators not because we oppose contraception or its wide availability, but because we won’t pay for them to use it. That, friends, is a left-wing country.
Shafer rejects 1950s authority, yet can’t comprehend that there is today even more respect for authority. The difference is that the authority we respect today is the authority of liberalism. Instead of Dementiaville, we live in Hippiestan.
In Hippiestan, the state should be able to force religious institutions to pay for contraception — what kind of crazy demented fool could hold otherwise? No one in Hippiestan recalls that Al Gore, Jesse Jackson and Ted Kennedy were all once pro-life, much less that Kennedy even wrote a letter defending his position. Fewer and fewer school kids in the schools of Hippiestan know anything about the Cold War, much less recognize names like Whittaker Chambers and even Ronald Reagan (they do know Senator McCarthy!). John F. Kennedy, a tax-cutting war veteran who was murdered by a communist and dragged his feet on civil rights, has been refashioned as a civil rights hero (the embarrassing recent tapes of his Jackie Kennedy insulting Martin Luther King notwithstanding). Teachers’ unions are gods in Hippiestan; when teachers are asked to contribute 3 percent of their paychecks to their pension, they declare that they are being attacked by fascists.
In Hippiestan, Occupy Wall Street is a mainstream movement.
Note the things that are considered by Shafer the three pillars of retrograde thinking and 1950s America: “U.S. industrial and military hegemony, a more business-friendly economy, and respect for authority.” How awful it would be to endure such things!
As subjects of Hippiestan faced with, as Shafer might put it, hegemony and respect for authority, conservatives can do little but prepare themselves for more loses, and ultimately defeat. And when that moment does come, best to go out like the brave men in “300,” holding out for faith and reason even when your own people have lost both.
Mark Judge is the author of A Tremor of Bliss: Sex, Catholicism, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.