It’s not my practice to get political in this blog, but I feel compelled to point out that something truly weird is happening in the US conservative movement. Here and here Harvey C. Mansfield is openly advocating “one man rule” for “stormy times”, and here we find Thomas Sowell daydreaming about something rather like treason. (Sowell: “When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can’t help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup.”)
Sowell’s weepy piece suggests that he simply cannot bear the thought of the party he favors on the losing side of any argument.
Mansfield is more sophisticated and dangerous, putting forth such polished Newspeak as “A free government should show its respect for freedom even when it has to take it away.” Strangely enough, I’m not concerned about whether or not the government may “respect” my freedoms as long as it leaves me the use of them.
I wish Mansfield, as an apostle of Leo Strauss, were spending more time reading Aristotle and less time reading Machiavelli. He might come across the concept that “one-man rule” is the least stable of all governments.
In any case, reading these pieces left me wondering: is this how American conservatives want themselves perceived in this run-up to an election year–as advocates of tyranny? If that’s a winning electoral strategy, we’re all in trouble–American or not, liberal or conservative.