I am honored by this piece and hope David Swindle turns out to be correct — it will take a sea change in American politics, but that may be coming. “Robert Spencer’s Vital Role in Creating Conservatism 3.0,” by Dave Swindle in PJ Lifestyle, October 8:
I”ve grown quite fond of the model presented in America 3.0, the previous book discussed in this ongoing series of my favorite authors, writers, activists, and troublemakers. James C. Bennett and Michael Lotus tell the story of a colonial/frontier America 1.0, its post-Civil War transition into the big government/corporate America 2.0 that would win World War II, the system’s gradual collapse over the previous decades into the mess we have today, and the solution of a decentralized/technological America 3.0 now propelled by Glenn Reynolds”s Army of Davids. In understanding what America 2.0 is and why it’s now failing we can adapt our movements and businesses to dominate in the coming individual-empowering America 3.0.
The 1.0/2.0/3.0 Bennett-Lotus model is applicable beyond the broad scope of their book. As America itself goes through the shifts from one era to the next so too do the cultures and institutions within it. So I will apply it to one of my preoccupations, political ideology. How does this sound?
Conservatism 1.0 = The Old Right, those who fought against the expansion of the federal government and US entry into World War II, often referred to as isolationists. This ideology was soundly refuted by US victory over the Axis. It turns out that foreign policy ideologies that assume muskets and months to sail across the Atlantic have limited utility in post-Hiroshima worlds. The heirs of this tradition today are the so-called paleo-conservatives (Pat Buchanan) and paleo-libertarians (Ron Paul) and their stealth advocate who has duped Republicans and infiltrated the Tea Party, Rand Paul. (My ax-grinding against all three will continue for the foreseeable future. These people should have been cast out of polite society long ago to hang out so they”d have more time to spend with their Holocaust-denying buddies.)
Conservatism 2.0 = The New Right, built by William F. Buckley Jr. and Barry Goldwater and institutionalized at the presidential level by Ronald Reagan. While adapting the Old Right’s traditionalism and opposition to the New Deal, the big shift came in reacting to the new foreign policy reality threatening human freedom: Soviet imperialism. The battle against murderous Marxism was what really animated Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan more than anything else. (It was in reading the extraordinaryÂ Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan that Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for AmericaÂ that this started to become more apparent.)
So I”ve come to conclude that what we call “the conservative movement” was really just the political/cultural wing of what began as anti-communism. Thus, the reason for the degradation of Conservatism 2.0 is that with anti-communism as the primary base the ideological tent could widen to bring in people who do not actually believe in American values. Opposing the Soviets for one reason or another does not require one to be an advocate of America’s founding principles. Thus with the removal of the Soviet threat “” only for a time really, of course”¦ “” the Reagan coalition has collapsed as each faction now squabbles for power and attention.
Conservatism 3.0 = As anti-communism created Conservatism 2.0,Â Robert Spencer’s counter-jihad movement will provide a foundational justification for the shift to Conservatism 3.0. As previous generations were fueled by reports of the horrors within Marxist slave states, today the truth about Shariah slave states will gradually bring together people across cultures, borders, and ideologies. And I sayÂ Robert Spencer’sÂ counter-jihad movement because he has been a leader in this war for over a decade, documenting not just what is happening but explaining why.
His newÂ Not Peace But a Sword: The Great Chasm Between Christianity and IslamÂ is a handbook for fighting back in the political and cultural battles for American hearts and minds. Robert goes down the line, explaining how Jihadists and Sharia-based states have substantial support in the Muslim world and a long tradition of Koranic interpretation to justify their brutality. It is not easy to always connect the dots when trying to explain this to people “” how the Koran and the Bible articulate fundamentally different value systems which result in incompatible civilizations, one free and wealthy, the other oppressed and impoverished. Robert puts the pieces together here, showing how the Koran and the life of Mohammed resonate as the primary inspiration in today”s Jihad against the West.