Great points as usual @David_Marshall. Of course, I tend to place much of the blame for the lack of integration of conservative ideas on the conservatives themselves, their overall lack of intellectually-grounded ideas, and their ongoing campaign to convince a large cross section of Americans that liberals are the spawn of the devil himself. As I see it, the GOP of today is not my grandpa’s GOP — it has largely been hijacked by a dangerous breed of anti-intellectualism and conspiracy theory that causes a plurality of the right to immediately distrust any and all forms of “expertise” that are not explicitly sanctioned by the right wing partisan media universe.
This is one of the reasons the rise of the IDW has been so exciting for me, even if I disagree with many of the ideas that come out of that camp. It’s the return of conservative intellectualism, the likes of which we have not really seen since William Buckley Jr. — an intellectual grounding I did not think would return to the GOP until AFTER Trump, but is instead beginning to surface in spite of Trump. I am personally much more inclined to agree, disagree, and enfold with this batch of conservative thinkers, as opposed to weak-minded opportunist hacks like Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, Tucker Carlson, etc., all of whom are unfortunately exerting far more influence upon the average conservative voter than anyone coming out of IDW.
I absolutely agree that culture has swung largely to the left, and I also agree with all of the criticisms that have been surfaced in regard to the many limitations and even pathologies of the left — some of which spring from green, but most of which come from an amber enactment of green values. However, I can also see very clearly that, in terms of our policies and overall governance, the U.S. has been swinging pretty strongly to the right over the last several decades, to the point where a mainstream Democrat today is standing on pretty much the same political platform that Eisenhower did, and then called a radical for it. It’s also worth noting that, while the left certainly has its fair share of crazies, those crazies are usually pretty well marginalized in the political process itself, and the loudest extremists typically fail to be nominated by their party. The crazies on the right, however, have been finding much more success finding their way into office. Which is one of the things that tells me that the excesses of the right are, at this point in time, far more dangerous than the excesses of the left, because the “alt-left” (whatever that is) is not finding nearly the same level of political traction as the alt-right.
This disconnect — a LL culture that is being pulled to the left, and a LR political body that is being pulled to the right — is certainly one of the major fault lines that has been opening beneath our feet over the last few decades, and which finally swallowed us all in 2016.
Which is why, whenever we have these sorts of conversations and strive for more “alt-center” perspectives, we need to keep our eye both on the political pendulum as it presents itself today, while also tracking how the ground has been shifting beneath that pendulum. Genuine efforts at radical centrism require a very keen understanding of how our politics have been changing over the last 20 years or so, or else we can fall into the trap of trying to balance x with y, while the value of x keeps changing alongside the Overton window. Otherwise that “centrism” gets yanked to and fro whenever a new voice of extremism finds its megaphone on the internet.
I personally continue to believe that, as long as we maintain “first past the post” voting systems, and are therefore necessarily locked into a two party system, the GOP will likely be the first major party to “go integral” — but not until the current GOP is fully delegitimized, smashed to pieces, and forced by changing demographics into new strategies of coalition-building that are not bound by ethnocentrism, and that require genuine skillful means messaging that can communicate across multiple values.
(A good litmus test to tell us when this process has actually begun — when the GOP begins to broaden their platform in order to appeal to hispanic Americans, whose cultural tendencies toward hard work, family values, and high religiosity makes them natural allies for world-centric conservatives.)
But that is not today’s GOP. No, today’s GOP is actively trying to stop an investigation into one of the most significant foreign attacks in U.S. history — an attack that was designed to threaten our faith in democracy itself — by dismantling public trust in our central law enforcement institutions. Which is about as un-conservative and un-patriotic (and particularly un-nationalistic) as I can imagine. The same party that is also bending over backwards to justify removing vulnerable children from their families, with no systems or even plans being created to reunite them. It’s state-sanctioned child abuse, and any ideology that can support this deserves to be burned to the ground and thrown into the dumpster bin of history.
So, as I enact the world, integral should be playing two different roles here — criticizing and fixing the left however and wherever we can, while simultaneously destroying and delegitimizing the current brand of the GOP so that it can re-emerge from its own ashes as an actual world centric source of conservative intellectualism.
I am starting to think this should be a separate thread, but I will keep it here since I did include some thoughts about how integral might find political expression in the future through the GOP. But that is still pretty far off on the horizon, I think