The Federalist, a rightwing media outlet cofounded by the serial-plagiarist spouse of John McCain’s Daughter™️, published a screed yesterday that pushes the “saying the quiet parts out loud” cliché to a new level. Titled “We Need To Stop Calling Ourselves Conservatives,” the content suggests that they should start calling themselves “fascists” instead and rechristen their media outlet The Fascist.
The wind-up to the author’s ardent embrace of fascism is a declaration of defeat for the conservative movement. The author claims there’s nothing left to “conserve” because godless liberals have already transformed America into a “woke dystopia.” He says conservatives and “classical liberals” alike recognize this, so props to the left-of-center “cancel culture” hysterics.*
Admitting defeat in the culture war, the author opines that conservatives must now seize power and use government as a “blunt instrument” to impose their worldview on the rest of us. Small government? No-fault divorce? Public education? Reproductive healthcare? Nope, nope, nope and nope:
The left will only stop when conservatives stop them, which means conservatives will have to discard outdated and irrelevant notions about “small government.” The government will have to become, in the hands of conservatives, an instrument of renewal in American life — and in some cases, a blunt instrument indeed.
To stop Big Tech, for example, will require using antitrust powers to break up the largest Silicon Valley firms. To stop universities from spreading poisonous ideologies will require state legislatures to starve them of public funds. To stop the disintegration of the family might require reversing the travesty of no-fault divorce, combined with generous subsidies for families with small children. Conservatives need not shy away from making these arguments because they betray some cherished libertarian fantasy about free markets and small government. It is time to clear our minds of cant.
In other contexts, wielding government power will mean a dramatic expansion of the criminal code. It will not be enough, for example, to reach an accommodation with the abortion regime, to agree on “reasonable limits” on when unborn human life can be snuffed out with impunity. As Abraham Lincoln once said of slavery, we must become all one thing or all the other. The Dobbs decision was in a sense the end of the beginning of the pro-life cause. Now comes the real fight, in state houses across the country, to outlaw completely the barbaric practice of killing the unborn.
Seemingly using The Handmaid’s Tale as an instruction manual, the author goes full eliminationist on what he chillingly calls “the transgender question,” berating right-wingers who hold live-and-let-live views and proposing that a conservative government arrest parents, doctors and teachers for wrong-think:
On the transgender question, conservatives will have to repudiate utterly the cowardly position of people like David French, in whose malformed worldview Drag Queen Story Hour at a taxpayer-funded library is a “blessing of liberty.” Conservatives need to get comfortable saying in reply to people like French that Drag Queen Story Hour should be outlawed; that parents who take their kids to drag shows should be arrested and charged with child abuse; that doctors who perform so-called “gender-affirming” interventions should be thrown in prison and have their medical licenses revoked; and that teachers who expose their students to sexually explicit material should not just be fired but be criminally prosecuted.
I’d love to dismiss this person as a kook, but my governor (and others!) has already passed a law that’s a precursor to enacting the broadly anti-LGBTQ and specifically anti-trans agenda outlined above. DeSantis used a taxpayer-funded communications shop to smear anyone who opposes him as a “groomer,” a label eagerly taken up by the hard-right nationwide. And he’s likely to be reelected in a few weeks and has a decent chance of becoming the GOP nominee for president in 2024.
I’d also love to dismiss The Federalist as an unprofitable mouthpiece for the lunatic fringe of the hard-right, a bonfire onto which reactionary plutocrats like Dick Uihlein throw stacks of cash. But what was once the hard-right fringe is now the mainstream Republican Party.
What passes for today’s Republican Party’s intelligentsia is sharing their unpopular schemes now because they aren’t concerned the Beltway press will warn their intended victims — all of us — and why should they fear that, after Trump? They’re telling us who they are, and we damn well better believe them.
*The so-called “classical liberals” who ginned up the “cancel culture” hysteria are the invasive cane toads of political discourse. Great job, everyone!