News & Politics

In What Sense Is The Bulwark Conserving Conservatism?

In What Sense Is The Bulwark Conserving Conservatism?
Molly Jong-Fast, 26, who has written a memoir about her quirky childhood growing up in Manhattan, gestures during an interview at her apartment in New York March 22, 2005. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

CPAC is this weekend, which is of interest to the people at CPAC, the people who hate the people at CPAC, and possibly a handful of other people on the entire planet. When I moved to Washington, D.C., in January 2010 and almost immediately got crippled by a State Department SUV, I joked that the only good thing about the excruciating, years-long ordeal was that at least I didn’t have to go to CPAC.

If you want to attend CPAC, though, I don’t have a problem with it. You should do what you want to do with your own time and money. I may not like or agree with every speaker or attendee, but that’s true of any political conference, or any other gathering of two or more people for that matter.

That’s why I don’t understand what The Bulwark is doing. If you’re not familiar with it, The Bulwark is that new site from Trump bête noire Bill Kristol, and its humble motto is “Conservatism Conserved.” And this weekend, Kristol sent a socialist and abortion enthusiast named Molly Jong-Fast to CPAC to sneer at everybody.

Here’s a sample of Jong-Fast’s coverage of the event for The Bulwark:

CPAC: This Is Definitely the Bad Place

[Charlie] Kirk is something of a paradox. He’s a college dropout who travels the country trying to indoctrinate college kids into Trumpism. And after he’s lured them in, he seals the deal with “big government sucks” t-shirts and a complete lack of self-awareness. At CPAC, he put me into something of a rage when he claimed that “One of the things that Donald Trump has done is he has not changed the left—he has revealed them. This is who they have always been. They have always hated this country…”

Kirk was followed by the dragon of Budapest, Sebastian Gorka, who lectured the crowd about how socialism is bad and how Democrats love to kill babies.

This was also a recurring theme in her live-tweeting of the event: abortion is good, and anybody who doesn’t like socialism is dumb.

If you really want to conserve conservatism, it’s not enough to say Charlie Kirk and Sebastian Gorka behave oddly. It’s not enough to ridicule the foibles of those who espouse conservative principles. You need to outright defend socialism and abortion. Conservatism conserved!

There are a lot of things I don’t like about Gorka and Kirk and the rest, and when they say stupid things, they open themselves to mockery. But how is it conserving conservatism to sneer at pro-lifers for believing that abortion is killing a baby? How is it conserving conservatism to say things like “anti-choice” when you mean “pro-infanticide”? How is it conserving conservatism to roll your eyes at people who don’t want to live under socialism?

I can only assume that the minds behind The Bulwark are trying to stoke outrage. Troll the trolls. They’re conserving conservatism by behaving just like the people they think have ruined conservatism. Trumpkins love “owning the libs,” and the truth of a statement is secondary to how much it angers people they don’t like. So, The Bulwark is fighting fire with fire. Personalities trump* ideas in 2019 America, and if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

A thing can’t be true or false on its own merits. It all depends on how embarrassed you are by the messenger. “I’m not like those guys,” explained the true conservative.

Please note that I’m not calling on The Bulwark to fire Jong-Fast, or saying that she’s not entitled to her opinion. That’s not my way, because I’m not a liberal. But speaking as a cuck RINO traitor who probably wanted Hillary to get elected, I just don’t see how crapping all over conservative ideas is conserving conservatism. It might give you a visceral thrill to goof on individuals you hate, and if that’s all you want out of it, fine. But don’t condescend to me and pretend you’re accomplishing anything. In the words of the great Jon Gabriel, this is nothing more than a “weird, petulant shaming campaign.”

I don’t like Donald Trump, and I reserve the right to criticize him when I think he’s wrong. (See: Otto Warmbier.) I reserve the right to dismiss anybody who gets mad at me for expressing my honest opinion. The difference is that I’m not saying it for the express purpose of pissing you off.

But maybe this tactic will work out for The Bulwark. Best of luck, guys. I know I’m beneath your notice, but maybe one day I’ll get owned too for expressing my non-liberal opinions in a manner you find distasteful. After all, that’s how you conserve conservatism.

*Pun intended, probably.