No, Patrick Ruffini: we don’t need William F. Buckley back

Patrick Ruffini is a youngish up & coming conservative who longs for the return of "William F. Buckley conservatism" and regrets what he calls the "Joe Plumberization of the GOP."

Well, first off, class warfare within the Republican Party dates back to at least the 1950s. Read the instant classic Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman’s Crusade for the gory details.

But let’s look at Ruffini’s specific complaints, which are echoed daily at The David Frum Website Nobody Reads and so forth.
Since Ruffini is the one trying to resurrect a cult of personality around one man, we have to concern ourselves with this particular individual. So:

The GOP does not need another William F. Buckley.

I sometimes wonder how it survived the first one.
That is, it doesn’t need as its guiding light a man of inherited wealth who never held down a real job. And who only accomplished what he did thanks to a retinue of loyal retainers, and that one thing every conservative woman writer desperately needs but alas, will never get to have:

A wife.

Nor does 21st century conservatism need a man who was actually lauded upon his death by other so-called conservatives (and, tellingly, many liberals) for befriending men whose views and actions he allegedly found repugnant (or should have), while treating fellow conservatives shabbily. 

It certainly doesn’t need a man prone to communist style purges of persons with whom he disagreed, often on matters of "distinctions without a difference" — and who very often turned out to be correct.

One would think that a man who called himself a friend of Whittaker Chambers would be more sensitive to the notion that the messenger may not always live up to our own carefully cultivated aesthetics or be "one of us."

People toss about the phrase "Buckley purged the movement of the Birchers" the way others mindlessly repeat truisms like "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" — without realizing that, in both instances, they are simply repeating a marketing slogan as received wisdom.

A fine prose style is an indicator of absolutely nothing regarding its owner.

Neither are charm, wit and class, which are traits any semi-successful con man or long haul serial killer can and must cultivate.

I’m reminded of the lines in a Diane Schoemperlen short story; the young female narrator falls in love with a man mostly because he looks so adorable when he sleeps. She says that it wasn’t until many years later that she realized this was, in fact, a fairly common phenomenon and not a sign of good character.

Frankly, Buckley often seemed, well, stoned to me (we alcoholics are notorious for counting how many drinks the other fellow‘s had…), and not just because he supported the decriminalization of pot, which is a cause only actual (boring) pot smokers embrace, to the point of turning it into what I call "the abortion of libertarians."

All that to say: looks like I was correct about the stoned part. And stoners can’t be trusted.

Also: Burke is mostly a curious anachronism, but generations of would-be righties have felt compelled to try to read him and that other unreadable "genius," Russell Kirk, on Buckley’s say so. Yuck.

Alas, Patrick Ruffini is another one of those ambitious careerist "conservative" party hacks with which we Canadians are all too familiar, but who do far more damage in the U.S. since they can get access to actual cash.

I’m glad but not at all surprised to see that Robert Stacy McCain more of less agrees with me.

As long as there is such a thing as "class," these disputes will continue within conservatism. The advantage we of the lower classes have is that we are not afraid to call it what it is, whereas Ruffini, Frum & Co. are forced to invent elaborate new theories to "explain" why their personal tastes represent "true" conservatism.

The likes of me, however, are happy to cut through the crap and sum it up in one sentence:

"You’re snobs and you’re boring. Shut up."

Kathy Shaidle runs FiveFeetOfFury. She is also the new Talk Radio Watch columnist for — why, YES, as a matter of fact! — WND.

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