File this one under "Dispositional Conservatism, Lameness of":
What conservatives have yet to do is confront the large but inescapable truth that movement conservatism is exhausted and quite possibly dead. And yet they should, because the death of movement politics can only be a boon to the right, since it has been clear for some time the movement is profoundly and defiantly un-conservative--in its ideas, arguments, strategies, and above all its vision. ...Oh, I'm sorry. Did we get our movement in your status quo? Oops.
The story of postwar American conservatism is best understood as a continual replay of a single long-standing debate. On one side are those who have upheld the Burkean ideal of replenishing civil society by adjusting to changing conditions. On the other are those committed to a revanchist counterrevolution, the restoration of America's pre-welfare state ancien regime. And, time and again, the counterrevolutionaries have won. The result is that modern American conservatism has dedicated itself not to fortifying and replenishing civil society but rather to weakening it through a politics of civil warfare.
American conservatism has always been counterrevolutionary conservatism, whatever Russell Kirk says. Even more than that, it's always been a youth counterrevolutionary conservatism. It was born at the 1960 Republican Convention among the "young fogies" who swarmed the halls with their blue and gold balloons. National Review reported, "They greeted Richard Nixon at the airport with Goldwater signs, and did the same thing for President Eisenhower the next day. They drove one Nixon aide into muttering in exasperation: 'Those damn Goldwater people are everywhere.'"
And then, of course, the let-down. Goldwater comes on stage. The room goes wild. And then he starts to talk:
"We have had our chance. We have fought our battle. Now, let’s put our shoulders to the wheel of Dick Nixon and push him across the line. This country is too important for anyone’s feelings. This country, in its majesty, is too great for any man, be he conservative of liberal, to stay home and not work just because he doesn’t agree. Let’s grow up, conservatives."(In the Youth for Goldwater suite, L. Brent Bozell turned away from the TV and said simply, "That son of a bitch.")
But the young conservatives didn't grow up, at least not the way he meant. They got up the next morning, and they got together, and they changed the world. (Watch the video of Barry's Boys. Go to 1:30 if you don't need a history lesson.)
Just remember, boys and girls, "la Contre-Révolution ne sera pas une révolution contraire, mais le contraire de la Révolution."