imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles


by Joe Sobran Sunday, May. 25, 2003 at 6:46 PM

Conservatives have lost their mind. Not their minds, but their mind. What the late Russell Kirk called “the conservative mind” seems to have disappeared from our political landscape.

 Conservatism as Exorcism 

May 8, 2003

Conservatives have lost their mind. Not their minds, but their mind. What the late Russell Kirk called “the conservative mind” seems to have disappeared from our political landscape.

When I got acquainted with the conservative movement in 1965, it was still a serious thing. It had principles, and it knew what it wanted: limited government. It had a dual agenda: to resist and defeat world Communism, and to repeal unconstitutional government programs at home.

There were problems with these difficult goals, but the movement made some kind of sense. It was very much a minority movement, even within the Republican Party, the minority party in a country that had been voting Democratic since 1932. Conservatives considered even Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon too liberal. William Buckley had founded National Review in 1955 to oppose Eisenhower Republicanism — to “stand athwart History yelling ‘Stop!’”

By 1968, though, Buckley was ready to endorse Nixon for president. But he suspended his support as Nixon moved leftward; as late as 1976 his colleague William Rusher was calling for a “new majority party” to replace the Republicans.

The conservative movement spread as liberalism became entrenched. Not only did the Federal Government keep growing under both parties; the sexual revolution transformed the country socially, morally, and culturally.

With the election of Ronald Reagan, a Buckley fan and friend, in 1980, “movement” conservatives felt that they had triumphed. And they had, in a narrow sense: they had won the presidency, something almost inconceivable a few years earlier.

But the country they had hoped to conserve was ceasing to exist. Even Reagan, popular as he was, didn’t dare challenge the programs left from the New Deal and the Great Society. He couldn’t begin to reverse the sexual revolution, and he hardly tried to oppose legal abortion. He couldn’t even slow the constant expansion of the Federal Government, which had taken on a life of its own.

Unable to face the facts and unwilling to criticize Reagan, the conservatives took refuge in a fantasy: “the Reagan Revolution.” Never mind the incongruity of conservatives hyping revolution; to mistake Reagan’s superficial personal popularity for the triumph of conservative principles was a delusion bordering on psychosis.

Fortunately, the Communist problem took care of itself by collapsing. Though conservatives had always rightly argued that Communism couldn’t work, they credited Reagan with its failure when it fell of its own mammoth weight.

At this point, you might think (as I did, at the time), conservatives would return to the second part of their old agenda: restoring limited, constitutional government. But they didn’t. Instead, they adopted a habit of finding themselves distractions.

First they threw their enthusiasm into new wars to replace the Cold War: their villains were Panama’s Manuel Noriega (remember him?) and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. War is Big Government par excellence, but that didn’t seem to matter as long as it was waged by a Republican president (the first George Bush).

Then, for eight years, conservatives rallied against a new enemy: Bill Clinton. In their personal animosity toward Clinton, they forgot everything else. Destroying this archvillain became their whole agenda. Unfortunately, Clinton proved indestructible — a cheerfully elusive Bugs Bunny to the conservatives’ obsessive Elmer Fudd. By now the Federal Government was spending trillion dollars a year, or about twenty times what it was spending when the conservative movement had started rolling. But of course conservatives no longer noticed. All that mattered was replacing Clinton with a Republican.

Now a new Republican has won the conservatives’ hearts with a new war, toppling Saddam Hussein. The America they had once hoped to save has disappeared. Have they noticed? Of course not. Like Reagan’s election, the latest military victory has made them feel good and allowed them to pretend the country has gained something.

Instead of fighting for great principles, the conservatives now settle for exorcising little demons. Buckley and Rusher are happily reconciled to George W. Bush’s Republican Party. The conservative movement itself has been taken over by unprincipled “neoconservatives.”

The conservative movement once stood for American traditions; now it stands for amnesia. It shows energy only when given a new distraction, a new demon to exorcise, a new short-term obsession. That way it can pretend to have won when, in fact, it has totally abandoned any semblance of a conservative philosophy.

Yesterday’s conservatives would have known what to call today’s right-wingers: liberals.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2003 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,

a division of Griffin Communications

This column may not be reprinted in print or

Internet publications without express permission

of Griffin Internet Syndicate

Send this article to a friend.

Recipient’s e-mail address:

(You may have multiple e-mail addresses; separate them by spaces.)

Your e-mail address

Enter a subject for your e-mail:

Send it.


Mailarticle © 2001 by Gavin Spomer

Archive Table of Contents

Current Column

Return to the SOBRAN’S home page.


SOBRAN’S continues because of your generous donations!

Your purchase of products or subscriptions or your donation to SOBRAN’S will be processed by PayPal,®

one of the most widely used and secure Internet-payment sources available.



  Search This Site

Special Offer for New Subscribers

What’s New? | Sobran’s Cynosure

Essays and Articles | Biography of Joe Sobran

Griffin Internet Syndicate columns | Wanderer columns (“Washington Watch”)

The Shakespeare Library | The Hive | Joe’s Books

WebLinks | Scheduled Appearances | Current and Back Issues

Back to the home page | How to Subscribe or Renew

Griffin Internet Syndicate/Griffin Communications

Contact Us | Products and Gift Ideas


SOBRAN’S and Joe Sobran’s columns are available by subscription. Details are available on-line; or call 800-513-5053; or write Fran Griffin.

Copyright © 2003 by The Vere Company

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 9 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
There are still a few... Diogenes Sunday, May. 25, 2003 at 6:49 PM
differences Sheepdog Monday, May. 26, 2003 at 10:11 AM
Labels Bush Admirer Monday, May. 26, 2003 at 11:04 AM
BA being in favor of... Diogenes Monday, May. 26, 2003 at 1:42 PM
well dio fresca Monday, May. 26, 2003 at 2:46 PM
post script fresca Wednesday, May. 28, 2003 at 12:01 AM
I’ll tell you what counts. Eric Wednesday, May. 28, 2003 at 3:04 AM
Action Counts brigg Wednesday, May. 28, 2003 at 3:45 AM

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

The Shortwave Report 04/27/18 Listen Globally! A26 4:03PM

Federal Bank Examiner FDIC recalls year long 1999 robbery in 2017 A26 3:24PM

Doxa du lobby A25 2:03AM

Tech workers organize A24 6:24PM

Architect Stephen Francis Jones A24 3:01PM

UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for A24 12:34PM

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy