Has Modern Conservatism Become A Cult?

Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist the individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision. Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor the efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of assistance—where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks—the case for the state’s helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong . . . . Wherever communal action can mitigate disasters against which the individual can neither attempt to guard himself nor make the provision for the consequences, such communal action should undoubtedly be taken, . . .

No doubt they’d be shocked to find the passage is found in their favorite anti-socialist tome, F.A.Hayek’sThe Road to Serfdom.

.. Instead, as Thompson notes in his post, the rhetoric of the right reveals that we are more influenced by Ayn Rand than Hayek

.. The libertarians often prop up Hayek as their hero while we traditionalist conservatives like to trot out Edmund Burke. But the truth is the vast majority of the right subscribes to a form of libertarian populism inflected with social conservative attachments—an unholy hybrid of Ayn Rand, William Jennings Bryan, and Morton Downey, Jr.

.. One of the key concepts in this weird era—adopted from Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged— is “Going Galt.” From Tea Party protestors to think-tank intellectuals, folks talk about Going Galt without the slightest hint of irony. The problem is not such much that it’s a silly hollow threat, but that it exemplifies a trait that is prevalent in conservative movement: The embrace of personality driven ideas that are often incompatible with some of our most basic philosophical, religious, or political beliefs.

..  People who would laugh at the absurdity of a “Christian Muslim” seem not to recognize the similar incongruity between being a follower of Christ and an acolyte of Ayn Rand.

.. Despite the fact that these well-meaning conservatives fail to exhibit any discernment about the views they are imbibing, they become terribly offended when you question how they could accept such nonsense.

.. Their defense tends to be based on a variation of a common theme: They don’t actually subscribe to those crazy views (at least not all of them), they just align themselves with a personality that does.

.. These St. Georges slaying the liberal dragons are placed beyond reproach. You are no more allowed to question the right’s preferred cult of personality—CoulterHannityBeckLimbaughPaulLevinRandPalinWhoever—than liberals can challenge Obama. Even thinking contrary thoughts about these figures is enough reason for them to question your conservatism (if not your patriotism, manhood, and love for small animals).

The result is that the conservative movement is becoming increasingly ineffective, insular, and irrational—in other words, we’re becoming the mirror image of the political left.