Unless you live in a cave, you know that New York’s legislature recently passed a bill recognizing homosexual marriage, a bill that was quickly and enthusiastically signed into law by the latest loathsome member of the Cuomo clan to govern the Empire State. The mainstream conservative movement’s reaction to this event was only slightly less enthusiastic than that of the New York Times. Michael Potemra penned a celebratory piece for National Review, and David Frum confessed on his website that he had been “wrong” to oppose gay marriage, arguing that the rise of gay marriage has not hurt the American family, which Frum sees as entering a silver age, despite illegitimacy rates of roughly 40% among new births.
This latest surrender of the conservative movement to the forces of “progress” should come as no surprise, since it is the logical outcome of a movement that has as its chosen ideology “fusionism,” the marriage of libertarian economics and traditionalism outside the economic sphere championed by Frank Meyer in the early days of National Review. As some traditionalists noted early on, a movement defined by libertarian economics was unlikely to provide any real support for tradition.
This point was brought home by the New York Times‘ excited behind the scenes look at the passage of its latest favorite legislation. As the Times reports, wealthy Republican donors were instrumental in securing the bill’s passage: “the billionaire Paul Singer, whose son is gay, joined by the hedge fund managers Cliff Asness and Daniel Loeb—had the influence and the money to insulate nervous senators from conservative backlash if they supported the marriage measure. And they were inclined to see the issue as one of personal freedom, consistent with their more libertarian views.” This passage helps explain why the conservative movement has been relatively successful in defending the economic interests of Wall Street billionaires, but an abject failure in conserving much of anything, including a definition of marriage that reflected not only the wisdom of millennia of human thought but what until only recently had been the overwhelming moral consensus of Americans.
Farsighted conservatives have warned for decades that globalization was leading to wage stagnation in the United States. This was, for example, a major theme in Pat Buchanan’s The Great Betrayal, published in 1997.
The less farsighted are beginning to catch up. Recently, David Frum published a chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on his website, which was then picked up by Yahoo News. The chart shows that labor’s share of U. S. national income has been plummeting since 2001 and is now at an all-time low. The chart is hardly a surprise: both globalization and mass immigration drive down wages, and our leaders have stubbornly clung to both, even as tens of millions of Americans remain unemployed or underemployed. The question is: how bad do things have to get before our elites notice that globalization, as represented by both free trade and mass immigration, has failed?
One would think that the recent report about sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church in Belgium was horrific enough that it did not need any embellishment. But that’s not how Christopher Hitchens thinks.
As Greg Kaza recently noted here, the decline in American manufacturing is a serious problem, one that accelerated under Bush and is continuing unabated under Obama. You would never know that from reading Jonah Goldberg, who wrote this morning that inveighing against corporations moving headquarters or jobs overseas is a leftist phenomenon with historical roots in the programs of Wilson, FDR, Kennedy, and Johnson. Unmentioned by Goldberg is the opposition of each of those presidents to the historic GOP program of high tariffs to protect American manufacturing. Also unmentioned by Goldberg is the possibility that Americans might be concerned about the outsourcing of American jobs as a result of the facts so ably highlighted by Kaza, not as a result of brainwashing by “progressives.” Any politician wishing to lead America out of our current morass must be able to address those facts, a task beyond both the Obamaites and their current opponents in the GOP.