I've decided that Mark of Western Survival, who also blogs only sporadically, is right: it's better for one's posts to be infrequent but worthwhile, than to post the kind of incessant, trivial, vapid one-liners as we see from, for example, Kathryn Jean Lopez at NRO. Of course, it would be great to come up with something astute and thought-provoking nearly every day, as do Vanishing American and Lawrence Auster, but not everyone's schedule (nor intellect) permits this.
I must say that the time constraints I've been under have got me thinking about the liberal nature of our society and the disadvantages conservatives face: I believe it takes more time to be a conservative than it does to be a liberal. This is because liberalism is so thoroughly entrenched in our society as to be the "default" view in most situations. Liberals can therefore take their beliefs for granted; they don't really need to be able to justify them, because they know that most people around them will simply assume that their claims are correct. Conservatives, on the other hand, must spend extra time studying to buttress our arguments, both in order to advance conservative views, because we know that the instant we make a conservative claim we will be called on the carpet for it and will need cold, hard facts to back it up, and to refute liberal ones, because we know that any off-the-cuff rebuttals we offer that are not backed up by "official" citations will simply be assumed to be wrong.
For example, this morning in our small group session, the same liberal black young woman I have referred to previously objected to the term "Caucasian" which was used in a written scenario we were given, on the basis that it was "outdated" (so? Why is it outdated? Must we assume that everything old is bad?) and because it was coined as a contrast to "Mongoloid" and it means "the beautiful people." Now, this claim that the word Caucasian means "beautiful people" sounded totally bogus to me, but I had no basis on which to object to it. I knew that it comes from the Caucasus mountains, but I wasn't sure where that name in turn came from. When I got home, I did some Googling and found the apparent origin of the tale--Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, the German naturalist who came up with the idea of dividing humanity into Caucasians, Mongolians, Malayans, Negros, and Americans, had written that the Caucasus region had produced "the most beautiful race of men." That's it. The word itself is just the name of a mountain range, nothing more. But I, not knowing this at the time, had nothing to say. And whenever this happens--a liberal claim is made and no conservative counterarguments are offered--liberalism wins a small victory.
And what could I have done? There is no way I could have anticipated that this subject would come up, and even if I could have, I don't have the time to spend an hour every evening prepping myself with conservative rebuttals of liberal arguments. I and a liberal classmate can sit in lecture all morning, spend all afternoon reading textbooks, spend all evening organizing our notes, and then at 10:00 PM he can turn to me and say "it's a travesty that the wealthiest nation in the world doesn't recognize health care as a fundamental human right and provide it free of charge to all its citizens." And that that point, it's 10:00 PM and I'm ready for bed; I don't have time to spend hours reading John Stuart Mill and John Locke and Tocqueville and Thomas Jefferson, studying the classical and traditional American concepts of liberty and self-government which contradict this claim, when I've already had to spend hours reading medical textbooks. The liberal, however, faces no such hurdle. The hours spent reading medical textbooks do not interfere with his ability to advance liberalism, because all he has to do is make his claim; the surrounding society gives him the benefit of the doubt.
This is why I'm less optimistic than some of my fellow traditionalists about a revival of traditional America. I fear liberalism already has too strong a foothold in our society. As I put it in an unpublished comment sent to VFR a few weeks ago,
You are correct to point out that both you and Mark, in speculating on how white-majority America might restore itself, are speaking of the coming into existence of something that does not now exist, and that is what we must hope for. The biggest question that comes to my mind is, how can this happen given the extreme and pervasive liberalism of the younger generations? The last generation to have a real memory of traditional America, of what it was like to live in a society where liberalism was not the dominant way of thinking, are now dying out. My parents' generation were the ones who rebelled in the Sixties, but at least they grew up in a world where their parents listened to classical music in the home, they had to read Shakespeare and Wordsworth in school, they learned about the Magna Carta, the Mayflower Pact, and George Washington crossing the Delaware, it was unacceptable for an unmarried couple to live together, homosexuality was unspeakable, there was no affirmative action and it was understood that this was basically a white Western Christian society, etc. They have some memory of that world, and might conceivably return to believing in it if conditions became bad enough.But they're now turning the reins over to my generation, who are totally cut off from that tradition, having no memory of it, no knowledge of what it's like to live in anything other than modern liberal society, whose only "knowledge" of traditional America comes in the form of the extreme liberal caricatures of it we're so used to hearing: it was a horrible oppressive dark past where women couldn't vote or be educated and were kept barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, blacks had to sit in the back of the bus, everyone was sexually repressed because the extent of the typical birds-and-the-bees talk was "lie back and think of England" and condoms weren't available to 13-year-olds, and so on. Even I, a product of public schools in the 1980s, feel woefully ignorant of such things as literature for someone who considers himself a traditionalist--for example, I read your comment on Scott of Powerline's appllication of Yeats's Easter 1916 to the Dartmouth controversy, and couldn't understand what you found so wrong with it (unless you meant that because Yeats was expressing some admiration for the revolutionaries, the poem just wasn't particularly applicable to this situation.) Frankly, it's hard to imagine any significant number of my peers adopting anything like a self-consciously white-majority traditionalist philosophy, no matter how bad things get. My personal perception is that there are just too many of them who would never return to the "dark ages" when we silly white-bread people were so ignorant that we didn't understand that everyone is different and you have to tolerate and accept all viewpoints and lifestyles, who would literally rather die than become "racist" or advocate "authoritarianism."I don't mean to be pessimistic and say it can't happen. I agree with you, that as long as we're hoping for something we should hope and work toward the restoration of traditional America which would have historical continuity with the nation that was founded in 1776, rather than the effective dissolution of that nation and its replacement with something which, though traditional and Western, would not be the same nation. I just have not been able to think of a way of surmounting this enormous obstacle presented by the loss of connection to the old America, and our pervasive liberalism, so deeply ingrained in the younger generations that it's as natural to them as breathing. As long as that stands in the way, very few people will want to fight for either the restoration of America or secession from it.
I have to admit, as I re-read that, I was thinking of my medical school peers, and they might not be the most representative sample of the American population. Unfortunate as it is, at this point in time, the cognitive elite in our society tend overwhelmingly to be liberal, and medical students--well, no one wants to admit this, but we had to take an IQ test to get in. Furthermore, only 53% of my class is white, and these Orientals and Indians are not likely to be at the vanguard of a white-majority traditionalist resurgence. So maybe things look worse from where I stand than they do in many other segments of society. On the other hand, the cognitive elites are the standard-bearers and rule-makers, and the time constraints of being a conservative, the necessity of extra studying just to be able to hold our own against liberalism, when many of us have daily lives to attend to, while liberals can get on with their lives while making liberal arguments unopposed if conservatives have not done our homework, make me wonder if control of our society can ever be wrested back from liberals who seem determined to drive it into the ground.
I would be interested in knowing what other conservatives and traditionalists think about this.