Why Conservatives Always Lose

We’ve often noted in this space that modern conservatives — and this is true on both sides of the Atlantic — seem determined to imitate their Progressive colleagues. It’s as if they say to the electorate, “Vote for us. We’re just like the liberals, only not quite so radical.” Dymphna’s most recent post talked about some of the reasons why the Right always seems to be singing from the same hymnal as the Left — just a quarter-tone flat and half a beat behind.

In the following article from Politically Incorrect, Manfred Kleine-Hartlage discusses the failure of conservative intellectuals to come to grips with the reasons for their perennial position on the sidelines. The author draws on a new book by Alex Kurtagic to highlight the need for intellectual depth and — dare I say it? — innovation in the thinking of those who would pass on the flame of traditional culture.

Many thanks to Hermes and JLH for collaborating on the translation:

Kurtagic: Why conservatives always lose

Those who live in any Western society and have still not lost the sense of reality know the oppressive sensation of living in a mad house where the patients have taken over and locked up the doctors: it is absolutely impossible to follow a news report, a political talk, or even a seemingly harmless cultural event, without being to a higher or lower degree openly bombarded with an ideology which deliberately misses any trait of reality; it preaches a “morality” which is the exact opposite of everything which has been considered moral for thousands of years; and whose sense and goal clearly consists of nothing more than the destruction of the fundamental principles of the social and political order, and not only that of a given order, but the order itself.

(By Manfred Kleine-Hartlage)

Much has been written about the creators of this radical change and destruction and about their methods (Anyone looking for actual books about this issue can check, among others, Gabriele Kuby’s magnificent investigative work The Global Sexual Revolution and Kerry Bolton’s equally empirically-grounded book Revolution from Above, which unfortunately is for now available only in English). Of course, what such works do not explain is the peculiar weakness of the other side:

Certainly, the Left is not only aggressive and unscrupulous, but it is also lavishly supported by its alleged opponents, the evil capitalists of the Rockefeller-clan, and it makes use of every political position of power it can occupy to misappropriate the money of taxpayers in order to finance leftist ideological productions and propaganda. But why has political conservatism, which only fifty years ago held bastions in Western countries, turned so powerless and compliant? Why does it not devise any proper counterstrategy to those of the Left, which are anything but secret?

Opportunism and treason explain a lot; but because there are by far not so many opportunist and treasonous conservatives, the problem must lie deeper.

Alex Kurtagic has investigated this question in the booklet: “Why Conservatives Always Lose”. It is a compilation of four essays, which have already been separately published on the internet in English language, but it is only after they were compiled into a volume of the Kaplanen series published by Antaios that the issue has been put in a concise and trenchant, but nevertheless all-encompassing and highly argumentative way. Kurtagic is one of those “wild right-wingers” (in which particularly the Anglosphere abounds) who does not fit in any category, and it is precisely for this reason that the leftist mainstream cautiously ignores them: one cannot pin on them the usual insulting labels without making a fool of oneself, and neither can one fight their arguments without being defeated.

Kurtagic has no fear of provocations:

My vision of the future is so bleak that I would find it laughable to care about any insulting label which one could pin on me. The price for the temporary cowardice today is the constant horror of tomorrow.

This cowardice is very extended, of course, and is has something to do with the basic drives of the individual, with needs which determine the direction of one’s behavior together with one’s political positioning before any “political discourse” could take place, before something like an argument could consequently dare to be mentioned. To these basic drives belongs the need to be socially considered, not to remain isolated, to have a high degree of self-esteem, and generally speaking, to feel well. This is a truism which just for these reasons is willingly ignored by conservatives:

In spite of having on their side the science, the data and the logical arguments, the right wing has for decades been in a state of retreat. This should be enough to make it clear that people need more than just facts in order to induce a change in their behavior. Nonetheless there are many who see themselves as being on the right side, and who indulge in the illusion that “unfortunately more enlightenment is needed”, that is: those who believe in equality know nothing about genetically-conditioned IQ differences; those who believe in Multiculturalism know nothing about the statistical frequency of black-on-white crime; those who believe in liberalism should simply read Spengler or Schmitt, (and so on).

The irony in all this is that the most blatant counterexamples which show us why this approach must fail stand daily in front of our eyes: the consumer society is not based on utilitarian logic, but on romanticism and daydreaming, behavior based on status and utopian illusions. And the ground for this is simply that these things work […]

That is why one is able to say with some justification that daydreamers who have the ability to contaminate others with their dreams are greater pragmatists that the self-appointed, pragmatically oriented rationalist who tries to convince others about common sense.” (p. 16 f.)

Kurtagic in this way turns against those conservatives who kneel daily before an alleged seriousness (which is defined by their enemies), and shows support for the dreamers and mavericks, the shrill strange characters, the paradise birds who are not so scarce on the political Right, and from whom the creative impulses should emanate if there is to be an alternative to the mainstream. Such opposition cannot be purely intellectual or political; it must show an artistic and aesthetic dimension, it must embody an attitude towards life, a style:

Those who choose a reality which is outlawed by the cultural establishment must resort to alternative networks and even unconventional methods… so the search for truth will be a question of lifestyle per se… (p. 19)

That does not mean, however, that the counter-culture should be confined to art, style and esthetics. The intellectual and ideological dimension plays a role, as the Left has sufficiently demonstrated.

A slogan on a poster, a convincing motto, even a Molotov cocktail and its specific physical goal all have an idea behind them, are distilled from complex concepts and value judgments which stem from some abstract plain. Millions of words are written before a banner is unfurled, a motto turns up in discussion or a bottle is filled with gasoline. The thug with a balaclava may well understand no single word of the theoretical texts that form the basis of his political movement. Nonetheless, he probably knows instinctively, from words, feelings and attitudes absorbed in his milieu, what goal his Molotov cocktail is intended to achieve, and why it must be this goal and no other. (p. 77)

Effective opposition, therefore, can only come from a functioning counter-culture with its own intellectual elite and intellectual discourse — if for no other reason than so that the hollowness of the Left’s claim to “intellectuality” is exposed. And this is basically not that difficult. In the end, this intellectuality consists of constructing lines of argument confirming the obvious. The Left gets away with it because, with purely political means and a considerable amount of intellectual and financial corruption, they have achieved a monopoly over the ideology-producing industry, especially the pertinent specialties in the universities.

The intellectual bankruptcy of the Left is a long-standing fact, hidden only by means of the artificial postponement of collapse. It will become public knowledge to the extent that a counter-elite is formed. Then many people, who only adhere to leftist ideas because the alleged intellectual elite do so, will have little difficulty in changing sides.

Unfortunately, conservatives are uniquely unqualified to develop such a counter-culture and such a counter-paradigm. Their whole mentality does not allow them to. Conservatives live from fear of change, and so tend toward sterile defense when such changes take place without their cooperation. In the end, they sigh and give up and decide it is the zeitgeist. They linger in nostalgia, focus on a past they cannot resurrect and can at best hope to mummify. By doing this, they above all spread boredom, and are born losers with “no sex appeal.” No one who understands that conservatives are born to complain while they run along behind the zeitgeist will be surprised at the constant treachery of parties like the CDU.

In the age of liberalism, conservatism is basically liberal. It does not defend tradition — whose relegation to oblivion it has cooperated in — but simply an older form of liberalism. (p.44)

This means that party projects initiated by disappointed conservatives against the current mainstream conservatism at best defend the liberalism of the-day-before-yesterday against the liberalism of yesterday (which itself is in defensive mode against the liberalism of today). Anyone who expects otherwise is deluding himself.

The correct opinion, which does not fall into the trap of this conservatism, is not right extremism, but something that Kurtagic calls “traditionalism” — an ambiguous and therefore somewhat unfortunate concept. (I prefer to associate myself with Norbert Borrmann’s suggestion to call what we are talking about “right” and accept the lack of acuteness of this concept.) The meaning of this traditionalism is, to be sure, not what is ordinarily thought of in that connection, and tends toward the memorialization of what is past. The meaning is rather what Martin Lichtmesz — quoting Gustav Mahler — describes in his foreword:

Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the passing on of the fire. (p. 9)

And Kurtagic expands:

Allowing for the ignorance of such things in our time, it must be emphasized that tradition does not seek a return to a fantasized, colorized past or to resume forgotten customs where they were abandoned. There may be good reasons why they were abandoned, and the institution of a new custom is often necessary to keep a tradition alive. A rediscovered tradition must be guided onward with an eye to the future. Continuation does not mean an endless repetition of the same thing.

If that is too abstract for anyone: a vivid example for the confrontation of a traditionalist position in Kurtagic’s sense (and mine) with a typically conservative one is to be found in my article “Krautkrämerhood” in my blog “Korrektheiten.”

Clearly, Kurtagic’s pamphlet thoroughly fulfills its promise to explain “why conservatives always lose.” Concisely formulated (and concisely translated by Martin Lichtmesz), it is a convincing analysis and a significant contribution to a debate which is overdue and absolutely must be held. Kurtagic indicates ways the opponents of the Left must go and directions in which they must think, if they want to finally stop inching along from one disappointment to another.

13 thoughts on “Why Conservatives Always Lose

  1. Note that immigrants (at least Turks in Europe) vote overwhelmingly Left in their adopted countries but Right in Turkey (Turkish law permits the diaspora to vote, pols campaign in Germany). In other words, they are voting for the welfare state in Europe because it benefits them. But they are not social liberals, as shown by their preferences in Turkish elections. Turkish study,


  2. Noblesse oblige.
    The conservative rejection of the association of individuals in King of Scots for the materialistic absolutism of Queen of England, any form of association is scorned upon as a collective conspiracy that challenges the crass conservative absolutism of the ultra individual.

  3. Imagine that you are trapped inside your house, which has just been robbed. Outside is the burglar who has just robbed you and he is giving away your possessions to your neighbors gathered outside. This is why.

  4. You want democratic style politics, res-publica … than go and get it.

    You want progressivness where its useful, socialism where its necesssary, conservatism protected ? Fine …….. and its very easy to get this.

    End with this cracyness of Multi Parties ….. its no use. Its segregationistic, its counterproductive ….. it DELIVERS LIES !

    And how to end such ?

    Very simple: 1 ) ALL Members of Parliamentt have to work at least two Thirds of their working time…. NON-POLITICALLY !

    They should help at the Police, in the hospital, in the communal services, on farms, in the industry, aso ….. there is only the need to get this people AMONG the people, MoP should work “with us”, sweat with us, have sorrows with us, think with us, debate with us,…… break away this unseen barriers of modern Facism.

    Which is Facism at its core center ?

    Yes — building gaps between the Governing and the People.

    End with these gaps …..

    By now we have instead of Democrats Souls who are even more into the Lies than most of the Aristocrates have been …. LEARNING TO LIE IS THE CORE “DISCIPLINE” IN TODAY MODERN POLITICS.

    We shall end this.

    And my programme to re-establishing RES-PUBLICA sights, minds and straight forward rationality is soooo simple …….. and 1) the core step.

    More to come.

  5. A little bit off topic, but not too far… Check out on the late Jonathon Bowden’s brilliant YouTube lecture on the Frankfurt School.

  6. Modern conservatism abandoned the maxim that there is a resource return from altruism and profit in commonwealth – an ultra-individualistic conservative stand alone is easy to take down, the defence of property begins in defending your neighbours yard not in an isolated (own backyard) siege mentality.

    The muscular liberal moral contortions of progressive conservatives do not change the fundamental human realities that are bonds of trust and interdependent associations.

  7. The reason why conservatives lose is far more simple than all of this psycho babble. In a nutshell the very values which make you a conservative predispose you to be at a disadvantage. Firstly conservatives are generally apolitical, they just want to get on with their lives, politics is just a means to an end- getting your rubbish collected, having decent roads, defending your country. Leftists are idealists and politics IS the end, and they politicise EVERYTHING, from waste disposal to education to what people feed their children.Conservatives are generally easy going they don’t hate anybody, and can work and get on with anyone, they disagree with leftists, can see where they are coming from and DON’T DISCRIMINATE .Leftists actually think that anyone who disagrees with them is cruel, uncaring evil, and they DO discriminate, once they get control of any organisation they only employ ‘politically sound’ people, and won’t tolerate unsound opinions. Conservatives, generally are realists they see observe, live in the world and react to it as it is, they don’t consider themselves morally or intelectually superior, see others point of view, consider themselves fallible and CAN be swayed by reason facts, argument. Leftists consider themselves to be morally and intellectually superior, they are ideologues and will never let any argument fact, reason sway them from their course, they have complete faith in the right and the righteousness of their cause, hence, even when they implement their policies, and it’s obvious that its not working, even causing great suffering they carry on because they think it will all come right in the end-and never win an argument with a leftist, they become very hurt and will at best blank you forever, at worst stick the knife into you at every opportunity.Conservatives see the value of morals, ethics, spirituality, values, attitudes in making things work and general happiness. Leftists are VERY materialistic and think that everything is a matter of resources (money). Conservatives accept the human condition, and realise that humans have faults, foibles, different levels of ability, ambition, application intelligence, honesty etc. Leftists think that if everyone was equal (somehow) (except for the party leaders), and they lived their lives as instructed,, then everyone would be happy.Conservatives have a high regard for TRUTH and integrity, generally don’t go in for bullying, don’t generally give a toss what anyone else eats, reads, feed their kids, drive etc. Leftists believe that THEY and only they have the answer to all of mankinds problems, and it is their DUTY to impose their views on the rest of the human race, for their own, and the common good, and this so important that the means justify the ends- lying, as a matter of course, bullying punishment, murder, genocide, all quite alright so long as the person doing it has the ‘right’ opinions and motives-it’ll all have been worth it when their ‘fair’ ‘equal’ society has been achieved.And that I believe is why we lose, and the fact that they are always in campaign mode. We, in the main just want them to stop interfering, pushing us around, telling us how to act, live think, we’d sooner be washing the car, mowing the lawn, down at the pub than commenting on political blogs. We’re stuck with reacting because we don’t have a particular axe to grind until they start pushing us around.

  8. PHIL, your opinion is interesting and can be quite true…

    …but if you want to change something in society, is there any other alternative than being a bit aggressive towards some structures or some people? Maybe you are so poor you do not have a car to wash or a lawn to mow? Maybe you belong to an oppressed minority? Or know people belonging to oppressed groups so that you can’t just be quiet any more and just go to the pub and drink?

    Those who have in their hand the “status quo” can afford to be apolitical, calm with the “laissez-faire” attitude. The others HAVE to be rude in at least one direction for make the things move. Otherwise, no change happens.

    But now in fact it is you “conservatives” who want to change something: make immigration policy more tight, get freedom of speech also to the “anti-multiculturalists” etc. Other people now consider YOU to be the rude ones (“always in campaign mode”) and the rest of people the peaceful ones who just want to live their lives, no matter their ethnicity or religion. There you are…

    Everything in society which does affect other people’s lives IS politics. It is not realist to consider yourself “apolitical”. If you do so, you take the status quo’s side.

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