When faced with defeat, a prudent person considers the possibility that something about his ideas, strategy, performance, behavior, personality, strength, intellect, morality, etc. may have contributed to the defeat.
The Thing that Used to be Conservatism–the Party of Personal Responsibility, if you please–has not done that for about 10 years. From the catastrophe of the Iraq War to the prostitution of American and Christian principles for torture to the Great Crash to the McCain nomination to the crowning surrealism of the Romney debacle and all of the delusional BS surrounding it, the Thing that Used to be Conservatism has indulged an epic stupid imprudence by refusing to face any facts about its own veil of illusion and has, instead, consistently chosen to find scapegoats. Result: Standard bearers like Rush Limbaugh making epic stupid declarations like this:
“Conservatism, in my humble opinion, did not lose last night. It’s just very difficult to beat Santa Claus.” — Rush Limbaugh
Yes. The fault is those “so-called Americans” with their hands out. The Thing that Used to be Conservatism did not fail; the unworthy American people failed the Thing that Used to be Conservatism. Man was made for the ideology, not the ideology for man. It has nothing whatever to do with the fact that a corporate welfare recipient and cynical duplicitous liar made extremely clear that Randian class warfare, militarism, contempt for the weak in a struggling economy, and utter moral rudderlessness (oh, and support for the current abortion regime veiled in prolife BS) were what the GOP stood for. The Volk revealed themselves to be unworthy of the greatness of the Leader and his Vision. National Review took a similar tack, declaring Americans unworthy of self-governance for failing the neocon ideology.
Again, the only conceivable reason Romney lost was because Americans who voted against him are moochers, takers, and Randian looters. The fault, dear Brutus, was in the voters, not ourselves. The hilarious hypocrisy about “taking control of and responsibility for their own lives” is particularly delicious coming from a movement that is seeking a way to blame everybody but themselves for losing. And manufacturers of illusion like Limbaugh, NRO and FOX are leading the charge.
“The lessons of Ohio are that Barack Obama is a skillful demagogue, that the ancients were wise to number envy among the deadly sins, and that offering Americans a check is a more fruitful political strategy than offering them the opportunity to take control of and responsibility for their own lives,” wrote Kevin D Williamson. “This is what Oakeshott had in mind when he wrote that liberty was something that many people simply are not equipped to “enjoy as an opportunity rather than suffer as a burden.”
The Greeks called this “hubris”. The Christian tradition, pride. It is the root sin: the thing that makes the devil the devil, got us kicked out of Eden, results in epic stupidity (among other things) and, in its current manifestation, loses the GOP elections and blinds members of the cult of the Thing That Used to be Conservatism to the bloody obvious fact that their movement is on life support for good reason. If they wish to treat with reality, “conservatives” need to stop congratulating themselves and start cultivating the virtue of prudence by facing the culture of illusion they have fostered for 10 years. You do this by learning to unflinchingly face what is so, even when the people telling you what is so are ritually impure and not Of The Tribe. You learn to do it by holding up your most cherished dogmas and shibboleths to actual criticism. You learn to do it by measuring what you think, believe and do by the teaching of the Church, not by trimming the teaching of the Church down to fit the ideology (that is, heresy) you are comfy with.