Jonah Goldberg explains what’s wrong with conservatism

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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The morning after the presidential election, I quoted Eric Hoffer’s line that,  “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

And then I wrote this: “It’s time for conservative talking heads — many of whom misled their readers and audiences these last few weeks — to think more about the future of conservatism than about their personal popularity.”

(Even before the election, I had been worried about this trend — as evidenced by another column, “A GOP running on empty.”)

A month or so after the election, Bill Kristol echoed some of my concerns.

But Jonah Goldberg might have put it best today with this:

For starters the movement has an unhealthy share of hucksters eager to make money from stirring rage, paranoia, and an ill-defined sense of betrayal with little concern for the real political success that can come only with persuading the unconverted.


A conservative journalist or activist can now make a decent living while never once bothering to persuade a liberal. Telling people only what they want to hear has become a vocation. Worse, it’s possible to be a rank-and-file conservative without once being exposed to a good liberal argument.

I think he nailed it.

And he wisely avoided calling people out by name.

(But you know who you are…)

Matt K. Lewis