The Consequences of Conservative Stockholm Syndrome (PODCAST)

conservative stockholm syndrome

Ideas have consequences. That’s what conservative intellectuals have been telling us for more than half a century – longer really as this is a truth that has been affirmed in both Athens and Jerusalem. But for all the lip service, conservative intellectuals don’t seem to believe it – not really. Not with the sort of belief that urges action.

Rather, they suffer from a sort of Stockholm Syndrome, empathizing with and seeking favor from their captors, in this case the American Left. Seth Leibsohn and I discuss the phenomena and the opportunity it presents for a restoration of American originalism.

The entire episode can be played in your browser by clicking the link at the bottom of the post or in iTunes by clicking below.

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About Chris Buskirk

Chris is publisher and editor of American Greatness and the host of The Chris Buskirk Show. He was a Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute and received a fellowship from the Earhart Foundation. Chris is a serial entrepreneur who has built and sold businesses in financial services and digital marketing. He is a frequent guest on NPR's "Morning Edition." His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Hill, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter at @TheChrisBuskirk

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24 responses to “The Consequences of Conservative Stockholm Syndrome (PODCAST)”

  1. “American Greatness” has had its 15 minutes. It chose to support a man who has no comprehension of the issues on which he speaks, one might say, so eloquently. It chose to support a man who has conned his supporters into thinking he espouses “greatness” but is widely known now to be scheming the creation of a media empire. It chose, worst of all, to embrace Calhounian principles as it mocks the principles of the founders and of Lincoln.

    Take a bow, Decius.

      • Right. Because for Trump supporters, the only ideas worth considering are the ones that confirms one’s own beliefs, regardless of how little evidence there in support of those beliefs.

        Consider what Trump would have you believe — that Obama “founded ISIS” and that our electoral system “is rigged”. This is the same man, a draft-dodging crony capitalist, who would have you believe that his claims to Billy Bush were merely untruthful bragging, despite his documented decades of depravity toward women.

        Decius would have you lap that up as “great truth” because it serves the narrative that the republic will be dead on November 8 if Hillary is elected — conveniently, thanks to Trump — and that we need a Ceasar, who will control a new media empire that Decius, Rush, Sean and Ann will all feature on — to save us all.

        Pure garbage. Good riddance.

      • It seems that you have come here a few times mainly to be either an antagonist (there is a specific word that is used for such folks in the internet sphere) since you are merely repeating some type of media bullet-points without addressing any of the substance of this blog / site. Otherwise you are an aggrieved supporter of some other candidate or of Hillary / fundamental transformation.

        Either way, you mentioned that Decius (that’s what you came here for allegedly, no?) has had his 15 minutes and presumably we will no longer seeing your immature and repetitive posts that do not rise above the quality of 15 year olds pablum on HuffPo or Salon boards.

      • Thanks for pointing out this tool’s uselessness. Time for a block!

      • It’s a given now that neither Decius nor his disciples here are willing to respond to the substantive criticisms of Trump’s candidacy or Trumpism itself.

        Trump’s great achievement, as Decius would have us believe, is his willingness to confront political correctness. But all Trump has actually done is supplant one form of PC for another form of PC.

        No serious person in the United States believes that the electoral system is “rigged” to ensure the defeat of Republicans. First, there’s no evidence to support this claim; and second, if the electoral system were indeed “rigged” there could then be no explanation for the dramatic increase in the number of elected Republicans throughout the United States, including traditionally blue states.

        All Trump’s candidacy has accomplished is guaranteeing the election of Hillary Rodham Clinton. That’s bad news for nameless schmoes like us, but for the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world, and now Donald and Decius, nothing could be better for their personal bottom line that having Hillary as potus.

        It wouldn’t be of great consequence if this were simply another elections message board. Those are a dime a dozen. But I know who these people studied and who they studied under. Leo Strauss would have been disgusted by Donald Trump.

      • No serious person in the United States believes that the electoral system is “rigged” to ensure the defeat of Republicans.

        Good grief, man! You’re supposed to be attempting to pose as a disgruntled (by Trump) conservative Republican, remember? Your left-wing programming keeps seeping through.

        There is an abundance of evidence that the electoral system is ‘rigged” to favor the Democratic party.

        1) There is evidence of wide-spread voter fraud. See the O’Keefe videos for the latest word on this, but the evidence has been piling up for decades.

        2) The Democrats have openly admitted that they are attempting to import more left-wing people and give them voting rights in order to cement their grasp on power.

        3) The Democrats have used their control of government to persecute and sometimes prosecute Republicans for the crime of engaging in politics. The IRS targeting of conservative groups engaged in monitoring voting was a notable example of this.

      • The evidence pours in each and every day. That you don’t see it says everything about you and nothing about the evidence. The reason that Republicans gain state offices is because the Left concentrates its time and money on national government which, being supreme, makes state governments increasingly irrelevant. The Left is more than happy to concede state offices to the Right as it (the Left) gains greater and more permanent mastery of the national administrative apparatus.

        And in any case, the Trump damage was done long before Decius showed up. If you and the other “serious” Republican Party Men had made a greater effort to promote a serious alternative candidate (candidate singular) when it mattered and not divided yourselves among a host of milquetoasts and box-checkers attempting to triangulate the Club for Growth, the AEI and the National Review editors, then maybe you wouldn’t be here now whining about Trump’s yuckinesss. If you want to see the source of the failure, look in the mirror more often.

      • Your utter mischaracterization of Decius’ arguments suggest either that you have not actually bothered to read them or that your reading comprehension is severely compromised. Also, your understanding of politics and life as simply one “narrative” competing against another, a term elevated to primacy by the Left, demonstrates you are afflicted with the very syndrome discussed in this podcast.

    • This website has more in common with Lincoln then the Vichy Conservatives of the NeverTrump Crowd.

      Lincoln wanted to win. You and the rest of the NeverTrumpers don’t.

    • Lincoln was a nationalist, a populist, and a protectionist. Much like Trump in fact.

      You are an international socialist elitist with a fondness for totalitarianism.

      • Lincoln was indeed a nationalist, depending on what one means by a “nationalist”, a word which means different things to different people. Lincoln stood for the preservation of the Union at almost any cost and was willing to compromise with the slaveholders to allow slavery to continue to exist where it already existed, but he opposed the expansion of slavery into the territories, even though agreeing to expansion into the territories would have averted the crisis of the house divided. In that sense, Lincoln drew the line in front of nationalism by placing the cause of justice before the interest of mere “nationalism”.

        Lincoln, however, was not a “populist”, at least not in any recognizable sense of the term. Without question he respected the sovereignty of the people, but he also respected the moral limits of sovereignty. The people, Lincoln argued did not have a majoritarian right to deny the rights individuals should those individuals find themselves in the minority. Lincoln was in no way a “populist” (and was actually thought of an elitist by many of his political opponents), although the image of Honest Abe, the rail-splitter who sprang from the soil of Kentucky is still a powerful image in the imagination of Americans.

        One would be on much more solid ground to favorably compare Trump to Teddy Roosevelt than Trump to Lincoln, though comparing DT to TR would still be an insult to TR, a man with an agile mind but one whose legacy can rightly be questioned.

        Lincoln the protectionist? Absolutely. At the time, the US was still in its infancy as an industrial power on the global stage. The nation financed its federal budget largely on tariffs, not an income tax although Lincoln and Congress did institute an income tax to finance the war effort. (And can the neoconfederates stop calling it the “War Between the States”, please?) It’s very fair to describe Lincoln as a protectionist, yet the American economy was nevertheless engaged a great deal of international commerce at the time, principally the export of cotton to England.

        Yet when one discusses “protectionism” one has to take into account economic context. The US throughout most of the 18th and 19th centuries the colonies and, later the US, were protectionist in the sense that we use the term today. Our economy was very small compared to the world powers of the day. By the time of Lincoln in the 1850s protectionism as such as standard economic dogma that was beyond dispute in the industrial north, but a source of bitterness among the Southern planting class.

        You’re on solid ground to describe Lincoln a protectionist. But what we know about Lincoln is that he adapted his policy agenda to suit the political and economic circumstances of the day. He knew slavery was a moral wrong, yet he was willing to accommodate slaveholder interests to preserve the Union. Protectionism was not up for a meaningful debate in the 1860s but the economic status of the United States of the 1860s is vastly different than it is now in 2016, and I would argue that the US is much stronger economically and militarily today than it was in 1861, when the prospect of the US devolving into a failed state was very real.

        Fast forwarding three score and change after the death of Lincoln, the US tried its hand at restoring a strong protectionist tariff — Smoot-Hawley — and it led to disastrous economic consequences. Whether we like it or not, the US today is the world’s leading global economic and military superpower. We can compete, and out-compete, the likes of China, Russia, India and Brazil, but were we to crawl back into a protectionist shell we’ll concede to the rest of the world trade with China et al, which would be a bad thing for most of us. The image of shop workers in Vermont selling their wares to other Americans and not having to worry about competition from abroad is a powerful image, but it’s an illusion.

        What Trump promises is the unilateral imposition of tariffs, most notably a 45% tariff on Chinese goods. And if that fails he promises a unilateral abrogation of all international trade agreements. It’s not likely that Lincoln would have, upon surveying our current economic circumstances, advocated either. At least it’s not likely that, given our experience experience of the 1920s and 1930s, that he would do so. When the panic of 1929 took root, the US enacted soaring tariffs and in doing so set off a global trade war. And of course, the great depression.

        The US was in no economic position to set off a global trade war in 1861, but it’s absolutely in a position to set off a global trade war so in 2016 should go down the path Trump urges us to go down. Whatever one may say about Lincoln it cannot be denied that he was cautious, prudent and calculated the likely effect of various options before him. He was not a rash decision-maker. The kinds of tariffs Trump has suggested would be rash, to put it mildly. Such tariffs would likely lead to a global trade war. We should think twice before setting off a global trade war.

        I did enjoy your dig at my “fondness for totalitarianism”, which at least didn’t go as the death threat by another poster (in another language)! Desperation and denial have set in. There will be no Trump revolution and there will be no lasting coalition led by Trump or Trumpism.

      • Dear God, you’re a long winded bore. You must be a college professor. Strive for some brevity and concision in your remarks.

        Lincoln, however, was not a “populist”, at least not in any recognizable sense of the term.

        The man who said that “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth” (emphasis was Lincoln’s) was a populist in the recognizable sense of the term.

      • The boring man is the man who can’t see that which is right before his very eyes. Trump paved the way for an inevitable and shockingly easy Clinton victory, yet he’s celebrated here as some kind of tribune of the people.

        As for the quote you took from Lincoln, it hardly proves that he is or is not a “populist”. Neither the founders nor Lincoln were populists, nor was Reagan. William Jennings Bryan was a populist. Huey Long was a populist. Hugo Chavez was a populist. Whatever you may think of the relevance of Lincoln today, his approach to politics was hardly populist.

        You really do need to brush up on your history. The disastrous effects of Smoot-Hawley are not in dispute among economists.

      • It’s always amusing to see the people who are working desperately to bring about a Clinton victory – people like you – pretending that they are not doing the thing which everybody can see them doing!

        Small children are under the mistaken impression that when they put their hands over their eyes, not only can they not see you, but you can’t see them. They can be excused because they are, after all, small children. No such excuse is possible for you pathetic NeverTrumpers. If Clinton wins, she will have done so with an enormous assist from “the conservative movement” and people like yourself, who have campaigned far harder against Trump than you ever did against Obama.

        And yet, in your own mind, nobody can see you doing it.

        Your childlike faith in “economists” is not a conservative trait. Your idols at the Cato Institute roasted Reagan for his protectionist actions back in the 1980s.

      • Good God, I just found this in your last post:

        “And yet the Civil War was precisely that – the Northern majority imposing its own view of rights on the Southern minority and denying the “rights of individuals” in the South to own slaves.”

        It’s not clear whether you meant this as parody or whether this is a serious critique of the North, that in your view the North imposed its view of rights on the Southern majority and denying the right of southerners to own slaves.

        I’m sorry to break the news to you, but the South fired the first shot. Southern slavemasters refused Lincoln’s offer to keep their slaves and bolted to form their own union of slave states. What Lincoln denied to the slavemasters was their desire to extend slavery into the western territories. The South lost the war and the cause for which they fought that war.

        Please consider what you’re suggesting — assuming this isn’t parody — that the North was wrong to “impose” its view of humanity, that slavery is morally wrong, on the South. If it is in your mind a cause for lament that slavery was abolished there’s not much I can say to change your mind, but it confirms the Calhounian spirit of support for Trump and Trumpism.

      • It’s not clear whether you meant this as parody or whether this is a
        serious critique of the North, that in your view the North imposed its
        view of rights on the Southern majority and denying the right of
        southerners to own slaves.

        It’s neither a “parody” nor a “critique”. It’s a simple statement of the facts of the Civil War. The North – which had the majority of the population – imposed its will on the South, which had the minority of the population. Your effort to pretend that the Civil War shows the necessity and goodness of opposing majoritarianism is simply preposterous.

        Please consider what you’re suggesting — assuming this isn’t parody —
        that the North was wrong to “impose” its view of humanity,

        At this point I’m painfully familiar not only with your inability to comprehend simple written English, but with your fondness for making up things in your own head and then attributing them to other people. If you managed to read into my words the view “that the North was wrong to impose its view of humanity” than that’s because of your own (extremely unAmerican and unLincolnian) view that “the majority” is by definition bad.

        I simply observed the indisputable reality that in the Civil War the North was the majority and the South the minority. You then filled in all sorts of moral shading based on your warped sense of right and wrong.

      • Severn, when you write the words…

        “And yet the Civil War was precisely that – the Northern majority IMPOSING its own view of rights on the Southern minority and denying the “RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS” in the South to OWN SLAVES.” (I’ll give you one more chance to admit this is parody, in which case you have played this well. Very well.)

        …you obscure or perhaps completely ignore several indisputable facts.

        First, Lincoln repeatedly assured the slaveholding states that their slavemasters could keep their slaves and that he would make no effort to abolish slavery where it already existed.

        Second, the South fired the first shot.

        Third, the North did not fight the Civil War to abolish slavery. At least not initially and even then not until the war was virtually won.

        These are important facts to take note of as they change the dramatically narrative you’re trying to create, that somehow the North was the aggressor for the purpose of denying Southerners’ their proper rights to own slaves.

        What Lincoln and the Republicans opposed was the alleged right of states to secede from the Union. As much as they may or may not have despised slavery (it varied wildly), even as late as 1861 a consensus held within the Republican Party that the federal government had no right to abolish slavery where it already existed.

        When you later claimed “I simply observed the indisputable reality that in the Civil War the North was the majority and the South the minority.” you deflty attempted to walk back your previous claim that the “Northern majority” “impos[ed] its view of rights” on the “Southern minority”. Those are two very different assertions. The first is a statement of empirical fact; the second (the first in time, from which the second was a walkback) revealed your true sensibility, that the North was the aggressor in the civil war, hellbent on undermining the “individual rights” of the minority.

        Sadly for you and other neoconfederate supporters of Trump, the indisputable historical truth is that the confederate states were the aggressor; their motive was the protection of slavery; Lincoln reluctantly went to war; and that only near the end of the war did the abolition of slavery become the “just cause” of the war.

        Believe what you want to believe, but you would be wise to honestly confront history.

    • It’s weird that “Party of Lincoln” returns to the American Greatness site repeatedly (like a moth to a flame?) just to lecture us ad nauseum about Trump’s, Decius’s, and our own inadequacies.

      Judging by the negligible number of “up” votes his (I’m assuming it’s a guy) torrents of words garner, he doesn’t seem to impress anyone else here.

      So maybe the crude explanation is the right one — he’s being paid by the word?

      If anyone else would like to marvel at how torrential those torrents are, go here: