Before getting into this article I must give props to Mr. Slattery for noting the decline in sophistication of this blog in my relative absence. That was hilarious.
Now, Jeffrey Bell has been laboring in the conservative vineyards for some years (no Chardonnays) and is writing a book on social conservatism. This article is a preview. I have ever been amazed that social conservatism is so weak in Europe. But this gives some perspective. I wish I'd written this. Close to the top of the list of JJV dislikes are Rousseau, Jacobins and the French Revolution in general.
Here, Bell links up why social conservatives are also the most likely to quote the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln and Martin Luther King, and an additional reason the Courts warping of original understanding causes such consternation. I had not put this all together so clearly in my own mind until I read this.
In a piece filled with gems is this:
The proposed political way stations chosen by the left in its drive toward this vision have varied greatly. To name a few: abolition of private property (socialism); prohibition of Christianity and/or propagation by the political elite of a new civil religion to replace it; confiscatory taxation, especially at death; regulation of political speech to limit the ability of certain individuals or classes to affect politics; the takeover of education to instill new values and moral habits in the population; confiscation of privately held firearms; gradual phasing out of the nation-state; displacement of the traditional family in favor of child-rearing by an enlightened governmental elite; and the inversion of sexual morality to elevate recreational sex and reduce the prestige of procreative sex. This is, it must be emphasized, a partial list. (end quote)
That is a heck of a list, partial or not.
One of the things about Rousseau that is so off putting is that he had by his mistress four or five children and upon birth he had all of them sent to an orphanage never to be seen by him again. His modern followers busy themselves with destroying the institutions that nurture, support, and even propagate children, primarily the family.
I tend to pessimism as the bulwarks of social conservatism are breaking down. With fewer and fewer people in two parent families, the state taking over child care at ever earlier ages, the media saturated with Caligulian (or Rosseauian) sexual mores, the Church quiet or unwilling or unable to fight on many issues, the mainstream protestant sects almost wholly Rosseauized, feminism regnant in all professions and universities, it seems there is nothing to support it anymore.
The only cure appears to be that completely Rousseuized countries demographically implode. When everyone is cosseted by the state and told to self-actualize children cease to be an option chosen (and of course they are a choice not a normal consequence of married love) by enough people. So Europe disappears. But social conservatives have more kids than other people. It would be very funny if the Darwinian advantage went precisely to the people disproportionately inclined not to fetishize his ideas.
I think Mr. Bell is going to produce one good book.