I take great pleasure in baiting my friends into thinking I’m a flaming conservative. Credit my natural contrarianism; also an innate distrust of feel-goodism, which even the most humane liberalism can’t keep from curdling into something sinister. I won’t dismiss my Cuban-American upbringing either, or the inherent paradox in the exile community’s traditional embrace of the GOP: for all their contempt for government interference and admirable pragmatism, their success is due to the largess of U.S. Cold War politics, which in the business of saving them from dictatorial thuggery and Fidelism granted them social services unparalleled in the twentieth century — services and status enjoyed by no other immigrant community. The relationship between the U.S. and Cuba is Borgian in complexity. I’ve admired Burke and Macaulay for years; it’s only recently that I realized that the times have outpaced them. Their sobriety, once a palliative, seems as anachronistic as Shelley’s “Defence of Poetry.” In short, I can’t imagine how Hugh Hewitt, Mark Steyn, or any member of the Podhoretz dynasty can reconcile their paranoia and smutty writing with classic conservatism.
It’s news like this that confirms what the polls suggest: the GOP has lost the youth vote for a generation. When my het students suffer no embarrassment from admitting publicly that they have gay best friends, how are they supposed to react when even exemplars of the obsolete branch known as the Goldwater western conservatives have to get their jollies from playing footsie in an airport men’s room stall?