Dissertation followup

In my dissertation, I presented a scheme of seven distinguishable though overlapping tendencies of conservatism. However, my inquiry into a specific topic, conservative attitudes toward undocumented migration, however, failed to support two distinctions, those being between authoritarian populists and paleoconservatives and between social conservatives and traditionalist conservatives. The failure to support the latter of these distinctions was not entirely surprising;1 social conservatives are allied with traditionalist conservatives on most issues2 and on this topic, these tendencies shared a disagreement over whether to prioritize compassion or biblical law.3

The failure to adequately distinguish between authoritarian populists and paleoconservatives, however, was surprising even in itself, but even more so in the way that paleoconservatives sometimes appeared more, rather than less, enlightened than authoritarian populists. Granted, this is damnation by faint praise: Paleoconservatives favor segregated societies and believe that harmony is impossible in ethnically or racially mixed societies.4 Yet, in one article, the author argued against "dehumanizing those outside of one’s own group, and ignoring crucial commonalities due to the horseblinding effect that accompanies the inculcation of extreme prejudice." While this author presented what he labeled "ethnic chauvinism" as a lesser of two evils, the other being "white ethnomasochism,"5 I felt this claim was an improvement over the reflexive hierarchically invidious monism (an "us" versus "them" mentality, favoring "us") expressed by authoritarian populists.6

On this page, I organize followup efforts:

  • Syria, 2016: In 2013, the Syrian government called U.S. President Barack Obama's bluff, crossing the "red line" he had decreed by attacking civilian areas with chemical weapons. After much dithering, Obama sought authorization for military action against Syria. Forgetting how Obama's handling of this matter had been universally condemned, I am presently collecting articles associated with each tendency for analysis.