Tomi Lahren & Movement Conservatism

Tomi Lahren & Movement ConservatismIn a recent appearance on The View, firebrand conservative Tomi Lahren supposedly diminished her credentials by voicing an opinion in favor of abortion. According to her statement, her view on abortion is not held despite her “conservative” politics, but because of her commitment to the constitution and limited government. She packaged this statement by offering the childish “libertarian/liberal” (who will be the first person to robotically point out that not all libertarians are pro-abortion) talking point that believing in limited government means that the government should not tell women what to do with their bodies.

A lot of “conservatives” have been shocked by Lahren’s position on the issue. However, to anyone that has recognized the death of movement conservatism following the Trump election, this should not have come as a surprise. Contemporary conservatism is not based on anything even remotely associated with the culturally rich and imaginatively robust post-WW II conservatism.[1] Unfortunately, the depth and insight of this literature was eventually high jacked by political opportunists whereby an intellectual conservatism committed to truth, beauty, and goodness, mutated into its movement hydra of celebrity talking heads. When a political movement is recognized by its superstar icons, rather than its rigor and commitment to truth, said movement will die a thousands deaths only to have another head come to life when one of them is severed from the well-financed body of corporate interests.

Movement conservatism is beyond repair, is kept alive only by life-support, and at this point looks incredibly desperate to recapture meaningful influence. The movement heads such as Glenn Beck want so badly for young voters to think they are ‘hip and with it,’ but in order to appeal to the youth of this country (who are disproportionately offended by the truth while simultaneously totally self-absorbed) they ignore truth for the sake of momentary ratings so that an ideological narrative can be foisted onto the citizens prepping them for the next election cycle.

Tomi Lahren isn’t a traitor to movement conservatism; she is its face. Lahren represents the zombie-like mentality of every contemporary political movement – conservative, libertarian, progressive – existing for reasons of ideological appeal, rather than truth, beauty, and goodness.

This incident also provides a wonderful opportunity to point out that the slogan, “limited government,” is about as vacuous as the libertarian mantra “taxation is theft” which is held up as a corollary to the equally hollow non-aggression principle. Lahren argues, or rather, stumbles through a defense of her pro-abortion position by saying she is committed to the constitution and limited government. This childish appeal to conservative slogans gets at the heart of the matter because “limited government” and appealing to the document that is supposed to be doing the limiting doesn’t really tell us much about how to govern, and which policies ought to be limited. If you want to see how quickly “limited government constitutional conservatives” abandon this principled position, bring up cutting the budget regarding the military, intelligence agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, foreign aid, and our interventionist foreign policy in general. You will be met with a barrage of vitriol that only meets its match when mentioning the virtues of patriarchy to a 3rd wave feminist. There is simply no limit to the amount of money that ought to be spent, or number of federal departments that ought to be created, so that Jacobin infused Americanism can be spread throughout every region in the world. Limiting the Leviathan national defense schematic is anathema to a movement conservative; the greatness of liberal democracy must march forward unabated no matter the cost to the economy or to freedom.

The same can be said about the “free market” conservative allegedly committed to capitalism because it is asserted to be the best system for allocating resources with alternative uses. Any government intervention into the market to protect the American economy and culture is considered the reemergence of Stalin or Hitler or Lenin or Castro; basically any commie name jumping into the psyche of the conservative who exists to rehabilitate the Cold War and get back to the glory days of Goldwater and Reagan. Movement conservatives will sell out their neighbor to corporatism in order to not violate the sacred pages of Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose, but if in the name of national defense the government intervenes in the economy, well, that is just an obvious case of where the free market can be utterly, and totally ignored. The duplicity in this argumentative approach is a clear sign that ideology, rather than the intellect, is guiding the reasoning process.

So this idea that the movement conservative is for “limited government” in any meaningful way is totally bogus. It is as useless a principle in political philosophy as the non-aggression principle.


– Lucas G. Westman

[1] These descriptions of Post-WW II conservatism are accurate, but they do not discount the inherent flaw of the literature, which was to try to make conservative that which cannot by definition be made to be conservative, and that is the revolutionary character of liberalism.

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