My Bloggingheads Debut!

Conservative journalist Michael Brendan Dougherty, who happens to be the politics editor at Business Insider, and I rapped on Bloggingheads about violence, the market, and the right—as well as Michael’s crazy funky love.

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Washington Squares, posted with vodpod


  1. Danny Bates March 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm | #

    This was conversation was so strange to me. Michael basically agreed with your entire argument about what motivates people on the right. Yet he didn’t immediately want to denounce right wing ideology.

    It makes me thing their is just something deeply psychological about whether a person will identify with right wing or left wing ideologies.

    • linda March 27, 2012 at 2:01 am | #

      Congratulations on a very thoughtful and respectful interchange on the animating ideas and psychology of political and social reaction. Contra to the comment above, it seems to me that ‘reactionary’ politics and practices are less ‘ideology’, and more profoundly a view about the animating virtues and practices necessary to maintain a status quo which the proponent believes maintains something of value, which is in ‘danger’ from the forces unleashed by emancipatory movements from below. I agree with Corey Robin that what is sought to be maintained are generally the priveleges and (real)pleasures of the exercise of personal power, and less ‘money’ in the direct and immediate sense.

      I am not a US citizen, but your brand of conservative politics is almost wholly absent from my country (Australia)today, for which every-one in my country who is not rich should be grateful.

      Significantly the closect thing to the contemporary US version of reactionary romantic politics was an offshoot of the Australian Labor Party formed by conservative Catholics in the 1950’s called the Democratic Labor Party. It was conceived of and run by a reactionary conservative, called B.A. Santamaria. His philosophy (scepticism towards finance capital and unbridled capitalism and approval of the small scale pesant farmer as the proper foundation of a healthy polity)and society’s foundational truths based on the heirarchy and dogma of the Catholic Chuch, mirrors almost perfectly the type of populist politics that results from smart reactionaries engaging in a contest of ideas and political practice in a post enlightenment polity, of which Australia could be a poster child. Tal about embedded liberalism!

      In practical political terms, this rump of the ALP, which split to form its own party in 1954, prevented the ALP from forming federal government for 18 years, by reliably directing preferences to the Liberal Coalition parties (not ‘liberal’ in the US sense-conservative status quo party), all the while railing at the inadequacy of the protestant elite who ran that formation at stopping the liberation movements of the 60s, particulalry feminism with its promise/threat of women’s unavailability to play their proper roles as assigned by the Church.

      Once the ALP won federal government in 1972, the DLP folded, and the movement that gave it its animus (anti-modernist elements in the Labor Party who used anti-communism to shield it from the criticism that it really formalised sectarian struggle in the labour movement), either died or joined the Liberal(Conservative) Party.

      However there are some people who still hold to the scepticism of its founder, Santamaria, towards unbridled capitalism and therefore refuse fusion with the traditional forces of capitalism and its conservative supporters, and one such person (a blacsmith) won a senate seat in the federal election in 2010. He was the first DLP candidate to do so since

      Corey Robin’s exegis on the philosophical roots of both social conservativsm and economic libertarianism, both of which yearn for a more modern and contemporary version of serfdom, has been excellent and long

      I wish the progressive movements in the US all the best. They need it, and so does the rest of the world. Heaven help us all if there is another war in the Middle East, or that plutocracy continues to run unchallenged by any movment from below in the US.

  2. swallerstein March 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm | #

    A fascinating conversation that brings out, if not the best because the best is still to come,
    something close to the best in both of you.

  3. Todd March 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm | #

    Corey, were the conservative “outsiders” like Burke true arrivistes? This notion of a “truly authentic” power and privilege that can only be bought with work (of some kind) strikes me as coming from that kind of a background and mentality. It also strikes me as something believable by someone who, by virtue of an already better-than-usual inheritance, is strenuously trying to set himself apart from “real inherited privilege” ie _not_ the arriviste, almost like an embarrassment of having only a little bit more than most.

    • Corey Robin April 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm | #

      It’s relative. Was Burke born into poverty? No? He was the son of a relatively wealthy accomplished lawyer. But you have to put yourself back into the second half of eighteenth century Britain. Anti-Catholicism was intense, and being Irish — with a mother who remained a secret practicing Catholic — was no picnic. You should read Conor Cruise O’Brien’s biography: it’s very good on these details.

  4. BillW March 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm | #

    OT, but still of interest if you’re into workings of the conservative mentality:

    Over the last several decades, there’s been an effort among those who define themselves as conservatives to clearly identify what it means to be a conservative,” Gauchat said. “For whatever reason, this appears to involve opposing science and universities and what is perceived as the ‘liberal culture.’ So, self-identified conservatives seem to lump these groups together and rally around the notion that what makes ‘us’ conservatives is that we don’t agree with ‘them.’

  5. Toni Lovergood June 4, 2012 at 9:20 am | #

    I do accept as true with all the concepts you’ve introduced in your post. They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are very brief for novices. May you please prolong them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

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