From The VG Bookshelf: Max Boot’s “The Corrosion Of Conservatism”
From The VG Bookshelf: Max Boot’s “The Corrosion Of Conservatism”
Max Boot has long been known for his foreign policy work and conservative view points. However, in the last few years, there has been a major shift in his narrative. The morning after the 2016 election he announced he had left the Republican Party. Then, a few days ago he penned an op-ed in the Washington Post championing his new book, “The Corrosion of Conservatism” and explained why we must understand that those who follow Trump are to blame.
Upon closer examination, it’s obvious that the history of modern conservative is permeated with racism, extremism, conspiracy-mongering, isolationism and know-nothingism. I disagree with progressives who argue that these disfigurations define the totality of conservatism; conservatives have also espoused high-minded principles that I still believe in, and the bigotry on the right appeared to be ameliorating in recent decades. But there has always been a dark underside to conservatism that I chose for most of my life to ignore. It’s amazing how little you can see when your eyes are closed!
Well, evidently Max’s eyes are wide open now. I was a bit taken aback at that op-ed and decided that I needed to read his book to figure out where he’s coming from.
He starts off with his personal history. We go through several chapters of that leading up to his time with the National Review and then on to The Wall Street Journal. What is striking about the review of his personal life growing up, his time in college, and onward is that he laments several times about how if he’d known what Trump was going to do now he might’ve viewed events or politics differently then. Yes, folks, seriously. Every instance of his life and the decisions he’s made, the books he’s written, his policy advice …he just cannot resist throwing snide remarks about Trump in there.
For example, he wrote an article in 1996 about Texas attorney John O’Quinn, who then threatened to sue the pants off Boot and the WSJ. Sure enough, Boot writes that O’Quinn and Trump must be long lost cousins because they are both scoundrels who hide behind the banner of populism!
In Chapter 3, Boot talks about how all the presidential candidates eventually surrendered to the train wreck that is Trump. Trump is, according to Boot, ignorant of everything. Trump is a casual bigot like Archie Bunker, yet all the stereotyping that Trump did and does is because he’s channelling Hitler in the 1930’s. He goes on for PAGES talking about that. Boot is apoplectic over the fact that nearly ALL the candidates and a majority of the Republican leadership were so willing to jump on the Trump bandwagon after the primaries. Essentially Boot deems them no longer conservative by HIS definition.
Keep in mind, that Boot is the same guy who has glowingly written of Barry Goldwater over the years only to admit just a few days ago that he had never read a thing Goldwater wrote or said!!
The problem didn't start with Trump. I used to think Goldwater’s reputation as an extremist was a liberal libel. Reading his actual words—something I had not done before—reveals he really was an extremist. An article based on "Corrosion of Conservatism": https://t.co/qIvBAPVhna
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) October 8, 2018
Boot also whines about how Trump’s lowbrow slogans and demonization of the Democrats and media made more sense to all us Republican voters than the highfalutin arguments the sophisticated knowledgeable experts made. Thanks Max, I guess you bought into Hillary’s Deplorable schtick hook, line, and sinker. Oh wait, you voted for Hillary, so there’s that. From his book:
“As countless toadies had done with demagogues of the past, so now most Republican leaders showed that they were willing to discard their principles as mindlessly as a Styrofoam fast-food container if by doing so they could enhance their own positions and avoid the wrath of a powerful and vindictive leader.”
Well, gosh, that’s nice. Max is super mad because he sees that by electing someone who has been married THREE TIMES! (Reagan was ok because it was only twice and he was against Communism), and is too ignorant to run a company let alone a country; that we have abandoned conservative principles. Thus it’s up to him and all the remaining #NeverTrumpers to carry the torch. All those who have backtracked, such as the folks from the National Review, Erick Erickson, Hugh Hewitt, and more… they are traitors to the cause or something.
Max writes that those who’ve held out against Trump’s implied Hilteresque sway are either Mormons, Jews, or national security experts. Max is proud that he’s both a Jew and national security expert who falls into that camp.
Boot states that it was the GOP who was so desperate to win that the leadership was willing to ignore Russia’s meddling and hacking of the election. Yes, he wrote that in his book EVEN after we have ALL seen definitive proof that A. Obama Administration was hiding the information, and B. those in charge of investigating all this had their own axes to grind.
But you see, Trump won because we were so unsophisticated and desperate for salvation from our jobs that were failing, rising cost of living, all the blunders of the Iraq War that Boot supported, and the 2008 financial meltdown that we placed our bets with a reality show asshat instead of going with our betters.
A few final thoughts on Max Boot’s book. He states that Trump is comparable to Huey Long, Joseph McCarthy, and George Wallace. AND! The Founding Fathers even warned about Trump in Federalist 10! Trump is racist, nativist, has colluded with Russia (Boot believes the Steele Dossier implicitly), is tearing apart the rule of law, and the Fake News is all Trump’s fault.
Here’s what Boot demands we do to regain our conservative values.
Vote ALL Republicans out at every level
We need to be in favor of free markets and welfare Otto von Bismark style.
We need to be pro-free trade and make NEW treaties.
We must be for climate change otherwise we are going to die in 10 years.
We have to be pro-gun control.
Pro-immigration but figure out how to reassure white Americans that a changing demography isn’t a threat.
We must be in favor of all free speech and don’t diss Colin Kaepernick for kneeling.
We must be for strong defense, but also be an internationalist and learn from the United Nations.
The GOP needs to reexamine and disavow their checkered history of racism in order to regain their conservative footing.
All of the above, according to Max Boot makes HIM a principled conservative. In order to salvage conservatism as he defines it, we need to step in line or all will be lost.
Feature Photo Credit: Book Cover by Liverright Publishing Corporation and original artwork by Darleen Click