pull the plug

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In reference to Richard Posner's "Is the Conservative Movement Losing Steam?" article, Nate Silver at 538 looked at education and exit polling, observing that "Republicans have gradually been losing the egghead vote:"

I wonder how that translates into their ability to recruit strategists and "thought-leaders" who can work on the campaign, policy and media sides and help to lead them out of their current slump.

Posner's article laments the decline of conservative intellectuals, noting that as "[l]eading conservative intellectual figures grew old and died [...] their successors lacked equivalent public prominence, as conservatism grew strident and populist:"

...it is notable that the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings. That the policies are weak in conception, have largely failed in execution, and are political flops is therefore unsurprising. [...] By the fall of 2008, the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Conservative intellectuals had no party.

To point out that this is not a recent development, here are the opening and closing lines of Michael Lind's 1995 Dissent essay "The Death of Intellectual Conservatism:"

The collapse of intellectual conservatism in America has been as complete as it has been swift.


Today, as always, it is possible to be an American intellectual who is politically conservative. But conservatism as an intellectual movement in the United States is dead.

It's been nearly fifteen years since then, and the conservative movement still shows no higher brain functions. Will someone do the humane thing and pull the plug?

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on May 12, 2009 10:54 PM.

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