"Why the Right Went Wrong" by E.J. Dionne Jr. - Anyone read it? Opinions?

I was intrigued because the National Review took the trouble to review this book as something they had to address. It looks interesting from theAmazon reviews.Anyone read it? Worth getting?

I haven’t read it, but Dionne is a great writer that should be taken seriously, which is why NR took him seriously.

As for how the right went wrong, the biggest problems have been letting the right get into identity politics, which just destroyed our brand among non-whites. And then on the economic front, supply side theory has prevented us from achieving our goals when we do win elections.

With the rise of Trump, it might be time to just break the party, let it fade into history, and let the Libertarian Party be the new right wing coalition. Young people like the Libertarian Party(or at least don’t hate it).

That writer actually – and earnestly, not ironically --uses the phrase “the intellectual legacy of Ronald Reagan.” :rolleyes:

Just because Reagan wasn’t an intellectual doesn’t mean that there isn’t a type of thought and view of the world that is closely attributed to Reagan (as the leader of a particular kind of movement), or more precisely, some of the intellectuals who advised or supported Reagan on various matters.

I think your rolleyes is a cheap shot.

That’s a pretty thin and elusive defense for your proposition, if you’re going to call “cheap shot” sincerely.

I haven’t read the book but I did read the NR review at the link you posted. The review seemed like a pretty earnest attempt to deflect and rewrite history so that conservatives seem “not all that bad” to the reviewer, IMO.

That said the book seems about on a par with a book on how the ground is wet after it rains and why to me; obviously for others YMMV (like the reviewer at NR, for instance).

Agreed. Ayn Rand isn’t a great philosopher, but she clearly has an intellectual legacy. Whether or not that legacy is stupid is irrelevant to whether or not it exists.

Well, the review says that Dionne overlooks the “fusionism” that has been the key to movement conservatism’s success since Goldwater:

Do you really think the movement can throw that over and survive? The Libertarian Party will never be anything more than marginal, you know, even if it absorbs the GOP’s libertarian wing, which, as Ron and Rand Paul’s bids for the Pub nomination have shown, is marginal even within the GOP. And the LP cannot absorb any of the GOP’s other wings – theocon, paleocon, neocon, bizcon – and remain what it is.

“Conservative intellectual” was already becoming an oxymoronic phrase in Reagan’s day. He might have had some degreed think-tank wonks advising him, but I doubt any of them could fairly be considered intellectuals. As for those supporting him from the outside, most of them would have been like George Will – he is no intellectual, he just plays one on TV.

In the short term, yes, but we need to start building a foundation again. I don’t believe all the demographic doom predictions, because such things don’t always work out the way they are predicted. But even if the GOP does survive in its current form(presumably by dominating among white voters), is that really where we want to be as a party? I was okay with the idea pre-Trump, but with so much of the party embracing him I’m not sure the party can survive in its current form.

The LP offers a better place to begin rebuilding. Of course, that means the LP will change too, but the LP, unlike the GOP, has appeal to young voters, and people of color are not automatically turned off by it. In fact, the LP was addressing many of the issues BLM has been up in arms about long before it was fashionable.

I guess a lot depends on what actually happens with Trump and also in 2020, but if Trump is the nominee we could do a lot worse than to back Gary Johnson and start setting down roots in the Libertarian Party.

If that’s true, then intellectualism is as stupid as many conservatives say. Because liberals are wrong about an awful lot of things. So either there is an actual intellectual battle, where sometimes the right wins and sometimes the left wins, or only one side is intellectual, and being intellectual doesn’t actually lead you to correct conclusions when philosophy, rather than science, is the issue.

Not yet, perhaps, but they will be the moment the Pauls’ kind of “libertarians” start joining. There’s a definite WN streak in that crowd.

Once you get past the bait of anti-war rhetoric and pot legalization, the core of Libertarian Party’s platform-the destruction of the American welfare and regularly state and thus roll back a century and more of progress is both violently reactionary and utterly unpopular should a candidate bother to campaign against it. I find it hilarious that you think there’s any large pool of Hispanic or black working-class voters hoping for a party that would abolish Medicaid and food stamps.

No doubt, no doubt. But not about any political issue I’ve ever seen you mention on this Board.

Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Of course intellectuals are not right all the time, in fact they can make whopping errors that lesser minds cannot even understand, we all know that around here; but that does not devalue intellectualism. Nobody is right all the time.

So intellectualism is wrong sometimes, therefore anti-intellectualism is a way to go forward?

This is a false premise. The solution to errors in intellectual reasoning is further inquiry, not the refusal to inquire.

I read about 10 pages into it on Amazons free preview. I’m 57 and I’m kind of interested in in it because I lived through a good chunk of this process, but I am not all that well informed historically about all the large historical machinery grinding in the background of the evolution of the GOP to where we are now. I voted for Reagan when he ran against Carter because Carter was (in my 22 year old opinion) a weak and ineffectual leader at a time when the US needed a leader.

Over time sometime (IIRC) in the early 2000’s the GOP gradually went crazy nuts and I started voting Democrat although I am still a registered Republican. As pissed as I was at Clinton for this sexual antics and disgracing the Presidency GWB’s insane, incursion into Iraq made me loathe him and all that he stood for. Over the past 8 years of Obama the GOP has just gotten more and more awful to the point they are effectively akin (IMO) to a pack of predatory cockroaches.

And yet once upon a time I voted GOP. The books seems like a good way to find out what happened that brought us to that pass.

How can one reliably identify an intellectual?

That’s just what Pol Pot said.

Perhaps the problem, especially in the universities, is an intellectual echo chamber, since conservative voices are rarely even heard or read. On many social issues, the same findings have been offered for 50 years with little in the way of advancement. It’s as if a few liberals got together and solved all the world’s problems sometime during the Kennedy years and are surprised that we’re too stupid to get it right.

For a start, having a policy platform and arguing based on some form of consistent logic. This takes out the High Broderites, who attempt to conflate “maturity” with an air-headed fallacy of the mean, the hooligans, who simply barrack for a side and demonize everyone who isn’t on their side, and the pure opportunists.

The people who are left are the ones who realize that policy has at least some role in running a country. They might have a totally insane policy, like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, but they’re neither snarling yobbos nor utterly insincere pieces of cotton candy. There’s something solid to their ideas which can be debated.

After that, real intellectuals recognize the role of intellectual honesty and, therefore, evidence and lack of inherent fallacies in crafting a good policy. The ones who don’t might be very intelligent, but they argue themselves into tight little epistemologically-closed circles which amount to castles in the air. Good art, maybe, but not workable politics.