Flat White

Conservatism is more than Milo’s mockery

15 December 2017

1:19 PM

15 December 2017

1:19 PM

Unlike the parent Speccie in the UK, the Australian rendition has decided to take on the mantle of Milo Yiannopoulos. He has a contribution published in Australia, and a set of amazed writers lining up to worship a fake toff as the apotheosis of some mystical “larrikin spirit” that resides deep in the bosom of tabloid columnists and apparently nowhere else.

I enjoy Milo in roughly the same way I enjoy drunk wrestling. As long as you don’t take it seriously, it’s an enjoyable trip into a world where politics doesn’t matter and interpersonal relationships are carried out at the same level as a set of young siblings at a McDonalds Christmas party. It’s a nice flight of fancy, and it’s fun to indulge the part of me that hates leftists more than anything else.

What I don’t find funny is strange attacks against fogeyism. Apparently, according to Daisy Cousens, Milo is the future of the Conservative movement because he upsets the people that we dislike. Apparently, there is a horde of Melbournian degenerate hipsters, and it is our job to upset them into submission at which point they will worship at the Temple of Kek (or whatever nonsense the alt-right tries to foist on us) and settle into the mediocre bourgeois they were destined for.

Obviously, this is a silly standard (bushfires probably upset progressives and yet I’m not a huge fan) but it also buys into the essential tropes that defined hipsterism and ruined whatever value the progressive half of politics used to hold.

To be a hipster is an eternal game of micro-targeted virtue signalling. It is to live your life in such a way as to be inscrutable to most people while signalling to other people like you that you understand the rules, and that in enacting them you are better than the people who fail to comprehend the game you are playing.

This is naturally reactionary, and focuses identity nearly entirely on consumption. It is harder to signal with your relationships than your album collection, and easier to drop prestige TV references than have the sort of difficult conversations that real relationships rely on. When the historians of Tsinghua University write the history of Western decline, surely the terrifying success of Arcade Fire and the masturbatory orgy of self-congratulation that swept Williamsburg after their Grammy win will feature heavily.

The downside to this self-congratulatory behaviour is that it has no roots in anything. When your personality is based on consumption, and your consumption is based on exclusivity, it becomes impossible to build a coherent identity of any sort. There can’t be a mooring in anything that could become unfashionable, and the likelihood of eventually falling behind increases with every solid commitment you make.

Although Daisy/Milo would be upset to realise this, they are doing essentially the same thing to the right. In fact, they are doing something far worse: moving relentlessly to attack the left wherever they go, conceding ground when they lose, degrading standards to win short-term victories documented in YouTube clips and all the while attacking actual conservatives for failing to degrade themselves in a similar way.

Trump is not a conservative. A conservative wouldn’t brag about sexual assault and sexualise his daughter on the radio. Neither is Milo. A conservative would not brag about his sexual prowess, as if his life partner were simply a “black cock” to carry around in a handbag to disprove racism and homophobia. The fact that Daisy can’t see this, and is yet accepted as a conservative, suggests a severe moral failure and a failure of education on the part of the conservative movement. The fact that she chose to use that degenerate line to attack a genuine conservative suggests the same existential emptiness that made it possible for her to say one thing when she was working at a feminist website and then say precisely the opposite thing when she went decided to shill on daytime pay TV.

In reality, there is something useful in having a guiding light that endures beyond the news cycle. A fundamental conservative precept is the understanding that some things are *right* and others are *wrong* despite trends and fashions. For me, we came close to some kind of objective truth when Barry Goldwater took the RNC stage in 1964. For others, it was sometime in the Victorian era, when moral standards were roughly upheld and aspiration was taken as a virtue. The terrifying thing about the left is that they have no guiding star, and nothing telling them when to stop. Todays “epically triggered libtards!!!” who Daisy enjoys clumsily mocking are the middle management who stop you drinking on the job in a decade and ban any sex that doesn’t meet the strict standards of the canonical title XI document signed by Saint Obama,

Notice how progressives have been even more execrable in the wake of Trump? They didn’t see him win and think “Well, shit, guys. Let’s all go drop acid to the latest MBV remaster” — they got angrier and worked harder. It’s not enough to just yell stop and mock the furthest excesses of the left without coming up with a vision of our own. And some people on the Right dislike that kind of world-building, because it involves difficult conversations centred on profound difference with people we respect and work with all the time.

But this is arguably the best time to have those conversations. Intellectually, the west is exhausted; Liberalism may be dying from the cancerous mutations of mushy inclusion, and politics has resorted to determining policy priorities based on slogans relevant thirty years ago. Now is exactly the time to be building the framework for the world we would like to live in after this one collapses, and to do that we need people who have people who know what they believe in, not just what they reject.

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