Friday, April 30, 2010

John Derbyshire, from We Are Doomed:
I dislike modern American liberalism very much, and believe it to be poisonous and destructive, as well as arrogant and false; yet I'm at ease in a roomful of New York liberals in a way that, to be truthful about it, I am not in a gathering of red-state Evangelicals. Setting aside our actual opinions about this, that, or the other, I'm aware that in the first gathering I'm among people with whom I have, at some level and in some key respects, a shared outlook; and in the second gathering, much less so. . . .

You won't find many people willing to admit to being a metrocon ["metropolitan conservative," a term Derbyshire coined], but the precincts I live and work in are thick with them. I conduct much of my social life among conservative journalists and editors. I know dozens of these folk. They are metrocon almost to a man. And of course woman, though the willing-to-admit quotient is even lower among gynometrocons.

Here, for example, is a question asked by the Gallup polling organization in May 2008: "Do you think homosexual relations between consenting adults should or should not be legal?" Forty percent of Gallup's respondents said "should not." Yet I'm pretty sure that not one of these journo-school metrocon acquaintances of mine would answer "should not" to that question. . . .

I and my metrocon pals, including your favorite conservative TV pundit and the editor and staff of your favorite conservative periodical, therefore stand to the left of 40 percent of Americans on this key social-conservatism topic. Not just 40 percent of conservatives, 40 percent of Americans.

It's the same with many other issues. Did human beings develop from less advanced creatures, with or without God's guidance, or did God create Man in his present form? The public split 50-44 when Gallup polled that one, also in May 2008, whereas my guess for the metrocons would be more like 90-10 at worst. . . .

Looking across the pond at the country of my birth, where there are no powerful conservative lobbies—no Second Amendment warriors, no Christian Conservatives, no Right to Life chapters—I see what happens when conservatism becomes a merely metropolitan cult. Conservative politics in Britain has become marginalized and impotent. Things aren't quite that bad here, and it hasn't been I and my metrocon pals who prevented it. It's been the legions of authentic conservatives out there in the provinces. Metrocons can't carry this thing by themselves. Carry it? We can't even pick it up.

And religion is the real ballast out there, keeping what remains of American conservatism upright and steady.