Our Samuel Goldman is now writing at The American Conservative’s State of the Union blog. Asking whether or not there can be a “decent” American Right for the 21st century—one which is suitable to this democratic age—he provides a link to Postmodern Conservative.
Mirroring some questions that Michael Walzer, in 2002, had for the Left after what he then deemed to be a successful military venture in Afghanistan—questions Walzer had regarding knee-jerk criticisms of the war as being beholden to the discredited ideologies of “rag-tag Marxism” and “blaming America first”—Sam likewise wonders if the Right has the resources to offer a similar analysis of contemporary conservatism.
In his post, Sam suggests that the critics of the Afghan war were in some way prescient regarding the failed policies of the last decade.
He even brings up the idea of American exceptionalism—
Can there be a decent Right?
The wisdom and justice of particular alliances or operations is not the issue. Rather, it is the ideology of American exceptionalism according to which all that the United States does is good, and all the good that is done has its source in the United States. From the French Revolution through the Cold War, conservatives resisted the delusion that any nation, class, or individual is the unique representative and judge of the human race. That is the principle on which a decent Right depends.
On the blog, Sam promises to explore what a decent Right would look like in foreign policy, economics, and culture. It sounds good, but after reading Ceaser’s excellent analysis of the idea of exceptionalism, I’m less inclined to find an adequate explanation of our problems in resistance to that particular “delusion.”