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The Decline of Conservatism

February 25, 2017

Who would have thought that the most interesting news report today comes from the Belfast Telegraph.  In Ireland to accept a life achievement award from Trinity College Dublin, Hollywood director, Martin Scorcese admitted that he is a student of history and that these times are “scary.”

These times remind Scorcese of the 20s and 30s, times of radical change that softened the culture of Germany and Italy for the rise of totalitarianism.

Commenting on the principal persona of Scorcese’s Taxi Driver, Travis Bickel, he fears that the world is full of depressed loners who are drawn to violence.

Scorcese’s comments compel us to reflect on the meaning of the recent Presidential election in the United States, the growth of celebrity culture, and the diminishment of intellectual centers that once nourished our culture with historical insight, philosophical truths and encouraged our brightest to take “the long view.”

CPAC’s successful gathering last week confirmed the elevation of this gathering of American conservatives, first begun in 1961 by the editors of Human Events, into the first rank of events equal to the Academy Awards, the World Series and our national Party conventions. Just as CPAC has now “arrived,” so has it declined into a near senseless celebration of power.

Here’s one example: the Cabinet of President Donald Trump is recognized to be more conservative than the Cabinet of Ronald Reagan. But does anyone seriously argue that Donald Trump is more conservative than Ronald Reagan?

Celebrated at CPAC last week was a President of dubious character, a President who is not well read, indeed a President who doesn’t “read,” and who claims to be the leader of a “movement.”  Behind him is a Rouseauean publicist who dresses like the Leftists of Greenwich Village of the 1920s and claims to have founded something called the “alt right.”

I think we should watch Martin Scorces’s speech at Trinity College Dublin

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