Conor Friedersdorf is the Atlantic’s resident right-leaning columnist. He wants you to know how problematic the conservative movement has become.
Conor has done a good job bringing up the faults of the movement: mainly, that it exists as a sort of entertainment, providing emotional catharsis without actually having any roots in the governing structure of the United States. Rush Limbaugh can make hilarious jokes about illegal immigrants, but he has no real constituency in the think tanks and public bureaucracies which actually administer the country. These entertainers can electioneer for politicians, but those politicians have little real ability to foster change.
There are a set of solutions that would work. Conor is throwing a tantrum about people taking their civics classes at face value, believing that elected officials have authority, and that the legitimacy of the state flows from the consent of the people that the state governs. Faced with what the people actually believe, Friedersdorf is shocked and horrified that they are governed more by emotion than reason, by ressentiment rather than a sophisticated understanding of political philosophy. Yes, the people are xenophobic, antisemitic, boorish, and low class.
Yes, all this is true. The people are morons, and most probably shouldn’t be permitted to drive a compact sedan — much less to have any say in the operation of a government.
The most direct way to both make the United States more conservative, overall, in its governance while also ending the demagoguery is to put a stop to the tyranny of the popular vote. Without the popular vote, popular political entertainers will lose much of their ability to interfere with the political process. It will also formalize the existing arrangement of the state — which diverges dramatically away from the civics-class arrangement that people tend to believe exists, in error. Ending the popular vote will also give Washington more flexibility to keep society progressing to a glorious future. A good second step would be to kick the most recalcitrant states out of the union. Reconstruction was tried; Reconstruction failed. A smaller, leaner, more progressive United States will emerge, while the rest will be able to regress at their own pace.