I’m a little afraid of even asking Corey Robin to come back for a discussion of “The Reactionary Mind” after last time (it devolved into people bashing him for what he said about Nietzsche), but I’ll try to do one without him soon. Here’s a mini half-assed one.
One thing about the book that rings truer and truer to me is its claim that conservatives tend to hate materialism and economic explanations for things, even though they love to talk about the power of markets.
If you’ve been following all the Charles Murray/Bobo bullshit recently, this is exactly their fixation: it’s not enough to help the great unwashed find good jobs, the unwashed need their social superiors beside them to guide them (cause when they’re bad, they’re so so bad). It’s not that Murray/Bobo’s methods to make this happen are unsound, it’s that I don’t see any method at all, sir. Writing books and columns about how tote-baggers should live nearer to strip malls simply does not qualify as a method. Also too, believing that tote-baggers should live closer to strip malls is also a very strange reason to oppose health care ad economic initiatives.
Conservatives may even be right (for all I know) that the moral/philosophical beliefs of the middle-class are the most important thing in our country. But they have no realistic plans to “improve” these beliefs.
So it is in general with conservatism. Everything is about some ineffable pseudo-spirituality that may or may not have anything to do with the material world. Why does anyone take conservatives seriously?