August 12th, 2022


Catch-Up Conservatism

Mark Steyn

By Mark Steyn

Published Dec. 21, 2020

Catch-Up Conservatism
Every morning, like millions of other conservatives in the United States, I wake up to multiple pleas from Republicans to send money NOW!!! to save the Senate. The latest garbage polls show Perdue a quarter-point ahead and Ms Loeffler half-a-point behind, but, given the rate at which the dodgy mail ballots are pouring in, it's either going to be a double-header Dem landslide or a narrow enough win for the rock-ribbed two-thirds conservative majority of the Supreme Court to be terrified of hearing any lawsuit on the subject. So the GOP need even more of your dough to prevent the Dems from taking the Senate...

Well, okay. But I just wish these Republican establishment types would occasionally cough up something in return. Here's what I wrote a year ago - December 16th 2019. It helps explain, I think, why (voter fraud aside) Trump 2020 was not Trump 2016:

As Kate Smyth, doyenne of the Sydney branch of The Mark Steyn Club, put it:

Conservatives are those with positions supported by the left ten years ago, as they say.

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Indeed. In 2000, when the Vermont Supreme Court mandated same-sex "civil unions", American conservatives were outraged. By 2010, when the left had moved on to gay marriage, conservatives were supportive of civil unions but insisted marriage was an ancient institution between a man and a woman. Now, the left having won that one and moved on to transgenderism, conservatives profess to be a bit queasy about transitioning grade-schoolers.

So you can take it to the bank that by 2030 rock-ribbed Republicans will be on board with penises in the girls' changing rooms, but determined to hold the line against whatever the left's next cause du jour is: human cloning, mandatory transitioning for delinquent boys, voting rights for animals.

There really isn't much point to conservatism that's just leftism ten years late, is there? It's like that ITV+1 satellite service they have in Britain that offers you the ITV schedule but an hour later, in case you were caught in traffic heading home. If you're considering on which side to bestow your tribal loyalty, the left is right quicker; the right is left behind - but only for a few years until they throw in the towel. If you're all headed to the same destination, why not ride first class on the TGV instead of the creaking, jerking stopping service? Justin Trudeau's vapid modishness was perfectly distilled by his campaign catchphrase of four years ago: "Because it's 2015." But that beats waiting till 2025 to say "Because it's 2015".

While we're on the subject of the northern Tories: Because the late unlamented Andrew Scheer finessed his views on same-sex nuptials as lethargically as did Barack Obama, he was flayed by the Canadian media as some fire-and-brimstone social conservative of televangical inflexibility. I wish. As I wrote the other day, he's as unmoored from principle as Boris Johnson, but without the countervailing strengths of being able to stick it to the other guy and to pass himself off as a human being. He was particularly contemptible in the hours before my appearance at the House of Commons Justice Committee, as I may discuss in detail one of these days. Yet the never-learn Conservatives are minded to replace an entirely hollow man with someone just like him, only more so.

It is surely telling that the only issues on which the right has made any progress at all in moving the ball in its direction - Brexit in the UK; illegal immigration and a belated honesty about the rise of China in the US - had to be injected into public discourse by two outsiders, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. And indeed in the teeth of opposition by the establishment's catch-up conservatives.

Catch-up conservatism gives the game away: The right has lost the knack of persuasion, and increasingly doesn't even bother to try.


Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human rights activist. Among his books is "The Undocumented Mark Steyn: Don't Say You Weren't Warned". (Buy it at a 54% discount by clicking here or order in KINDLE edition at a 67% discount by clicking here. Sales help fund JWR)