Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
On January 12, 2020, Roger Scruton died after a half-year struggle with cancer. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The lockdowns began the next week. Then came the masks. Zinnism became the official ideology of the American state in June. Thus the old world perished, and a new one was born.
• • •
Published in 2017, a little over two years before his death, this I think was Roger Scruton’s last published work devoted to conservatism proper. He has written other books on music and art, albeit as seen through a conservative lens, but their primary focus was aesthetic and not civic. Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition summarizes a great career of a man who has lived his life in the public square with a particular philosophy that runs against the current of contemporary ethos. Roger Scruton (1944-2020) was a conservative in the paleo-conservative sense, not some neoconservative rebranding of once Liberal thought. He is British, though has had a voice in European and American conservative circles, a professor of philosophy, has published over 50 books on a wide range of subjects, and for almost twenty years was chief editor at the conservative quarterly, The Salisbury Review. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Scruton helped establish underground academic networks in communist-controlled countries.
This is an excellent and concise book on the history of modern conservatism by an author who lived through most of the debates of the last fifty years. When Scruton identifies modern conservatism, he says it is “a product of the Enlightenment,” although acknowledging that conservatism dates back in every era of history. Conservatism for Scruton is a set of customs, values, and institutions built by a community over time that have proven to sustain, preserve and “ensure [the] community’s long-term survival” and that give it a sense of identity and unity. Conservatism in the modern sense is a counter to the Liberal emphasis of reshaping society as radical individualism that rose out of the Enlightenment. “Tradition,” as Scruton observes from Edmund Burke, “is a form of knowledge.”
Scruton walks us through the philosophical ideas that have shaped conservatism going back to Edmund Burke, who argued against a notion of society as a “social contract” (from Jean-Jacques Rousseau) but as a “shared inheritance for the sake of which we learn to circumscribe our demands, to see our own place in things as part of a continuous chain of giving and receiving, and to recognize that the good things we inherit are not ours to spoil but ours to safeguard for our dependents” (p. 45). Indeed I never signed a social contract but I was certainly born into a shared inheritance.
Maxime Bernier says he will not be taking the Covid-19 vaccine. He is the only political party leader in Canada to do so.
An initial Google search of Maxime Bernier directed me to an article about his arrest in 2021 for attending a protest against the nation’s Covid-19 policies and a shiesty story about his not taking the vaccine. I was also directed to the website for the People’s Party of Canada–which Mr. Bernier founded.
On the website is a page with the heading “Aren’t You Tired of Lockdowns?” The article cites the increased joblessness and declining mental health of Canadians, specifically Canadian youth, while asking the question we have all been asking, “Do lockdowns even work?” Bernier wishes to institute a more “compassionate and effective approach” by protecting the elderly and allowing everyone else to return to a level of normalcy.
I’m pretty much a broken record on the theme of speaking out, arguing that conservatives have to express conservative ideas boldly, and as clearly and with as much grace as we can muster. One common response to this is the claim that we’ve tried that and it hasn’t worked, and that now we have to adopt the techniques of our opponents.
I ran into this just today, when I suggested on another thread that the woke practice of “doxxing” (publishing personal information about private citizens) and getting people fired for the things they say or do on their own time was something we conservatives should not embrace. I’ve tried to make the same point on other occasions about such things as violating people’s first amendment rights, electoral cheating, and lying to further the conservative agenda. These are all things our opponents do. I don’t think that we should do them.
There is a well-known principle among those who live near wildlife: Don’t feed the beasts, nothing good will come from it.
But feeding the beast is what a lot of conservatives are doing lately. The beast in this case is the widespread deception of the progressive movement which dominates the media and somehow gained a foothold within the Christian church of all places. What has manifested is a kind of conversational dance between conservatives and the progressive left that follows a predictable pattern, and we see it all the time now.
First, something bubbles to the surface of the liberal consciousness. Liberals, being a passionate lot driven by emotion and controlling all major forms of media, begin saturating the internet with their latest proclamations about what we should all fight against today. Mostly this consists of denigrating anyone who holds an opposite position as racist, sexist, homophobic, or whatever.
A lot of keyboards are busy today either celebrating the life and career of the estimable Rush Limbaugh or are celebrating his death. You know, the usual blue-checkmark accounts on Twitter engaging in the exercise. I will spend little time on the latter. I do not wish to show any respect to the secular cretins among us who celebrate anyone’s death.
We all remember “firsts” in our lives. Certain political memories, among others (this is a family blog) stick with us forever, such as the JFK assassination. The days that Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan were shot. And for those living in Washington, DC back in 1982, the Air Florida Flight 90 crash on the 14th Street Bridge. Hours later, on the same day, DC’s once-vaunted Metro system experienced their first-even subway crash at the beginning of the afternoon rush hour. Lenny Skutnick’s life-saving heroics in the Potomac River that cold winter morning still lives on in my memory. Trump’s surprise election night victory four years ago is clearly another.
I also remember the first time I tuned into Rush Limbaugh on the radio. It was in late April 1989, and I’d just started a new job. I had long been fascinated with news/talk radio, which had no personalities in those days. Just lots of open line time for average folks to opine on certain issues. I would listen for hours to WRC AM980 radio in DC during the early ’80s.
As conservatives mourn the passing of conservative radio legend Rush Limbaugh, join Jim and Greg as they remember how Rush rose to conservative stardom in the early 1990’s, changed the political landscape, and then stayed at the pinnacle of his industry for the next 30 years. They also share their personal stories of how they first got hooked on Rush, and they discuss what his lasting legacy will be.
With the election, the inauguration installation, and the 17 damaging Executive Orders, I keep hearing the question, “How do we move forward?’ I believe I have a hunch as to which way we, as conservatives should move. We need a local ground game. It must be strategic in its approach. Although we need to all […]
One year ago this week, I had to bury the cold dead body of someone I loved more than my own life. Ten days earlier and just before noon, I had answered the phone to hear a stranger from the medical examiner’s office in another town tell me she was dead.
For the 15 years prior to that moment, she had been systematically dismantling herself, beginning in small ways but eventually moving on to big, unsustainable ways. She died like the character in The Sun Also Rises went bankrupt: gradually then suddenly.
Doxing is a complete leftist tactic. Mostly because those who use such tactics cannot win on the battlefield of ideas. They must dig into your life, in hopes of finding a shred of something that can be taken out of context from your past and weaponized in a way to destroy you. This is antithetical […]
I have been an active poster and commenter on Ricochet since the beginning; way back when Peter came down the mountain with the Code of Conduct and Rob was still scribbling graffiti on the side of NRO cruise ships.
The concept and the membership really haven’t changed much. Contributors come and go. Ever more podcasts elbow each other for a place in the spotlight. We have more options on the site now, like groups and private messages. We have more meetups. Ne’er-do-wells are still sacrificed to the PIT.
What we can say with certainty about the incoming government is that the values it brings into office are antithetical to our own. We know that: it’s a matter of public record, and we understand the fact of it even if we may be unsure of the magnitude of our disagreement. The incoming administration and the new Democrat-controlled Senate will wish to transform the country in ways we loathe. This much is certain.
Beyond that, we don’t really know very much. Systems composed of people are complex, responding, and adapting in ways that are hard, often impossible, to predict. Sometimes a single individual, event, or virus can shift the entire political equation in unforeseen ways. We just don’t know; those who speak with certitude about the future demonstrate a lack of wisdom proportionate to their confidence in the predictions they make.
I’d be interested to hear anyone’s thoughts about this. By virtue of their market dominance and the competitive advantages of large networks, the tech giants are able to manage the flow of news and information, censoring, throttling, and editorializing as they wish. They can do this transparently or invisibly, using increasingly sophisticated algorithms coupled with […]
There seems to be some misunderstanding that there will there be a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court after Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed. John Roberts is not conservative in any meaningful judicial sense, neither interpreting laws based on their original public meaning (originalism) nor through some conservative view. And so, while there will […]
A friend shared this Huffington Post story with me this morning. Here is the opening paragraph:
I am a 40-something attorney and mother who lives in a quiet neighborhood with a yard and a garage full of scooters and soccer balls. I often walk with my children to get ice cream and spend weekends hiking through a national park. I am not the type of person who would normally consider becoming a Satanist, but these are not normal times.
To my “woke” fellow Americans:
As a forty-something conservative woman, I think you are leading the country to disaster with your rigid codes of conduct, your rejection of the US and its values, and the divisions you inflame among American citizens. Why should you listen to me? For what it’s worth, I have a perspective broadened by living overseas. I’ve witnessed the contrasts in living conditions between the US and other parts of the world. I know something of the gulf in worldviews that results, outside the West, in truly culturally acceptable favoritism and inequality.
Granville, Ohio, is a pleasant place — tucked among the Appalachian foothills of east-central Ohio, with all the old trees and old buildings an old soul could possibly love. Granville is a college town. Its residents are healthy and wealthy and comfortable with their lives. All this means, naturally, that Granville is a Democratic stronghold.
It’s a little odd, of course, that the Denison women’s studies professor comes home, every day, to her little Greek Revival cottage built by a misogynist pig and spends her evenings toying with recipes in the same kitchen where, a century earlier, a beleaguered woman stood barefoot and pregnant, but . . . that’s the oddity of America in 2020. Those who slander the country’s patrimony with the most vehemence happen to be its custodians.
On this guest episode of the Resistance Library Podcast Sam invites Jeremy Carl onto the show. Jeremy Carl is a Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institute and a writer at The American Mind, as well as a number of other publications. He joined Sam to discuss the future of a fighting conservatism and the deep […]
Radio Liberty does an excellent daily program called Весь эфир, which covers a variety of contemporary and historical topics, political and in the arts. Today they posted a very interesting podcast from 20 years ago about William F. Buckley Jr., discussing his ideas, legacy, and life with a variety of American and Russian thinkers (as […]