Monday, April 25, 2016

Blood and soil

Keith Burgess-Jackson has an interesting taxonomy of conservativism: 

I'm not the first person to notice this, but there are different types of conservative. Ordinarily, there is no reason to distinguish them, but this year this is. Here are the types:
  • Idea conservatives.
  • God conservatives.
  • Blood conservatives.
  • Money conservatives.
  • War conservatives.
Ted Cruz, George Will, and Jonah Goldberg are idea conservatives. Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Ben Carson are God conservatives. Sarah Palin, Pat Buchanan, Michael Savage, Donald Trump, and I are blood conservatives. Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, and Paul Ryan are money conservatives. Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and William Kristol are war conservatives.

Some of this is self-explanatory. Some of this is less clear.

i) "Money" conservatives would suggest people whose center of gravity is business and economics. That's what orients their conservativism. But the examples that Jackson gives to illustrate the category are confusing. I think better examples would be Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. But perhaps he has something else in mind. 

ii) More provocative is the category of "blood" conservatives. This inevitably triggers associations with the "blood and soil" ideology that informed Nazism–as well as Afrikaner apartheid. Moreover, the association isn't just incidental. White nationalists have rallied behind Trump. 

Jackson links to a clip in which Michael Savage promotes English only in gov't and business (or the workplace). He says ballots should be in English. The only reason to have multiple language ballots is to make sure illegals can vote. 

I agree with him on English-only in the public sector. However, in the private sector, it should be up to the employer. Moreover, it's obviously beneficial to have businesses that can cater to customers of varied ethnicities. Likewise, if two employees speak Spanish or Laotian or whatever, there's no reason they shouldn't be free to speak to each other in their native language at work. Indeed, that might be more efficient. For that matter, if two gov't employees happen to speak the same foreign language, there's no reason they should be prohibited from communicating with each other in that language at work. 

iii) I assume Jackson uses "blood" as a synonym for nationalism, nativism, America-firsters and the like. 

Although "blood and soil" form a combined slogan, it's a simplistic slogan. On the "soil" side, many people identify, not so much with the nation as a whole, than a particular region. Likewise, there's the distinction between town and country. Some people are urbanites by choice while others prefer a rural location or lifestyle. For instance, are Southerners Americans first and Southerners second, or Southerners first and Americans second? 

On the "blood" side, many people identify more strongly with social class rather than race or ethnicity. Likewise, in more racially homogenous nations or regions, people identify and distinguish themselves more by religion or social class. 


  1. It would be helpful to quantify the various classes of liberals.

    1. I think calling the current left "liberals" has become kind of inaccurate. "Liberal" would mean that they value some notion of liberty, enough to be a front-and-centre value...but now with the left, we're seeing the undertones of authoritarian fascism come ever closer to the surface. I think true liberalism is only found with old-school liberals like Dave Rubin, Jim Webb, and...well, Bill Maher is kinda-sorta, but he's also caved to socialism.

  2. I remember being surprised when I heard that there is such a thing as "big gov't conservatives." I suppose the idea is that they are socially conservative, but not very fiscally conservative. I think one example provided was Bush (either one, I guess). Although Bush Sr. did reduce taxes and regulation, I don't think he had the kind of minimal gov't that someone like Friedman would envision.

    There can be some confusion of terms, too. I think that gov't should only consist of an army, a court system and (locally) a police force. I'm kind of ok with gov't making roads and basic infrastructure, but I don't think they should have a monopoly on it. Anyways, I had always thought of this as being referred to as "l'aissez-faire capitalism," but I've also heard it referred to as "minarchism." That might just be libertarians trying to create a big umbrella, though.

    Steve, I'm curious what you think of William Buckly - has conservatism passed him by? Are his works of any use to the modern conservative?

    1. That's cool to see another Christian with similar views. I too think government should only be in charge of defense, courts, police, emergency services and possibly local infrastructure.