Andrew Sullivan Renounces Conservatism

By Ben Cohen

I continue to be in awe of Andrew Sullivan’s blog – the commitment he has to sharing his every thought with his readers in a consistent and eloquent manner is an incredible feat. Sullivan posts from dawn till dusk every day, and I never tire of reading him. In a painfully honest moment of reflection, Sullivan discusses the political/philosophical revolution he has undergone after watching the movements he came of age in falling apart:

The conservative movement is another institution of a sort that has

come undone before my eyes. It really was a formative part of my

identity as a young man, and yet, for all the reasons I spelled out in

my last book, it is not a movement that I feel comfortable in any

longer. It actually appalls me daily.

What I could once dismiss as minor flaws – supply-side nuttiness,

near-idolatrous American exceptionalism, religious zeal – are now its

core, defining features. The way it has responded to the economic

crisis – a form of ideological autism – reflects a deep malaise. But,

although Obama’s pragmatic progressivism has many attractive qualities,

I cannot be a liberal. I do not have liberalism’s confidence in

government activism, I do not share its collectivist instincts, I find its

interest groups unappealing. I do not and never will belong.

Maybe this is adulthood finally arriving a little late: the

knowledge that everything is flawed and you just need to get on with

it. But a church perpetrating the rape and abuse of children through

the power of its moral authority is not a flaw; it’s a self-refutation.

A movement betraying its core principles in office and then parading as

a parody of purists is a form of anti-conservatism as I understand it. And a democratic country using torture

to procure intelligence it can use to justify more torture, and

prosecuting a war that never ends against an enemy that can never

surrender: this, whatever else it is, is not America as its founders

saw it. Again, it is a kind of self-refutation

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.