Corona is the latest chapter in a long parade of insanity by Western governments.
I was first summoned from inattentive normie sleep in 2015, when Angela Merkel opened the German borders to mass third-world immigration. It was an intensely strange moment. Weeks upon weeks of clearly manufactured media hysteria culminated in people of all political persuasions donating money and clothes to notional Syrian refugees and joining welcome parties at train stations. There they encountered primarily fighting-age men from across the Middle East and Africa, a far cry from the crowds of Syrian women and children and “doctors” that the media had promised. These refugees, supported by taxpayers and unleashed upon the indigenous population of Europe, behaved after the pattern of invaders across history. The press and government officials studiously hid the details of their conduct until the mass sexual assaults perpetrated at Cologne on Silvesternacht 2015/16 overwhelmed even the propaganda capacities of German state media.
By the end of 2016, an astounding 1.3 million migrants had entered the Federal Republic of Germany – a massive incursion overseen not by a leftist government, but by the nominally conservative Christian Democrats. It was also the CDU, under Merkel’s leadership, who developed the genius plan to phase out nuclear energy and close our coal-fired power plants at the same time, and who masterminded some of the harshest and most destructive Corona containment measures in all of Europe. You elect allegedly prudent, far-sighted centrist conservatives, you get mass immigration, deindustrialisation, and nationwide hygiene house arrests.
How does that happen?
I’ve tried not to make right-wing politics a focus of this blog, mostly because I’m not even sure what it means to be on the right, in a world where there’s no operative political identity beyond establishment leftism. Everyone who opposes the leftist program, whatever his specific views, will find himself bearing the right-wing label. Nor do I consider myself in any real sense a conservative. Nevertheless, the complicity of conservative politicians in enacting lunatic leftist policy prescriptions is a very deep problem, and one that characterises politics not just in Germany but across the West.
It’s also the theme of a little book from 2020 by Manfred Kleine-Hartlage called Konservativenbeschimpfung, that I’ve found myself rereading these past few days.
The title might be translated Invective against Conservatives, or merely Against Conservatives, but it’s not so much an attack as it is an explanation of conservative complicity in the leftist political program. As such it explains a great deal about our current moment, and in what follows I’ll venture to summarise some of its central ideas.
The Americans I know are fond of explaining conservative failures via the thesis of controlled opposition. The US Republican Party and also many nominally right-wing mouthpieces, so the line goes, have been co-opted either by the leftist establishment or by related special interests, and function merely as conduits to direct ideological energies towards ineffective or counter-productive ends. This thesis is not so much wrong as it is incomplete: The success of empty, transparent strategies like these itself requires explanation, as does the continued inability of many right-leaning politicians to develop a clear critique of the left or even defend the most moderate of their own positions. Instead, conservatives repeatedly embrace the principles of their opponents, while rejecting nationalists and traditionalists to their right as filthy populists, in chorus with leftist activists themselves.
The conservatives of MKH’s title include the members of mainstream parties, like Tories or the CDU, but also elements of the populist-trending opposition, such as Alternative für Deutschland or even some of the MAGA movement behind Donald Trump in America. Fundamental to conservatism in its establishment and establishment-adjacent oppositional forms are the same kinds of people, namely middle-class traditionalists – “a character-type that finds itself inherently opposed to […] rebellion,” and which “is therefore to be found in every culture and society” (p. 22). This archetypal conservative shares a great part of his ideology with the populist right; it is only his social and cultural orientation, and his attitude towards the reigning elite, that sets him apart. “The right-dissident can be an enemy of the state; the conservative, at most, a member of the opposition” (p. 27). Above all, the conservative has the aims and instincts of a middle-class striver; he is “status-conscious” (p. 30) and eager to ingratiate himself with elites, whoever they may be.