R. Emmet Tyrell Jr. is a storyteller. And boy does he have stories to tell.
He spent many of his formative years, philosophically, engaging with the great minds of the early conservative movement in America. And his remembrances of personal interactions with the likes of William Buckley and Henry Kissinger are rambling and yet deep.
That is the only thing wrong with Tyrell’s book, After The Hangover, and yet it is not such a wrong that I could not enjoy the experience of the trip.
After The Hangover is Tyrell’s prescription for conservative resurgences post W. He begins with reassurances that the conservative movement is not yet dead, despite what talking heads and the MSM love to say. His argument? They’ve been saying that a long time and conservatives keep coming back. In fact, in response to those claims of a conservatives having faced and failed their Waterloo in the election of President Obama, Tyrell pushes back and shows that it may be the Liberals who ought to be looking to their life support systems.
Tyrell is bitter that Liberals have taken, and been allowed to retain, the name Liberal, as the crops of Liberals going back to the 1970’s are not liberal at all in the true sense, but are a conglomeration of ideology- and issue-driven socialists. The environmentalists use green to argue for socialism, tax-and-spend Democrats use decrepit command economy theories, liberation theology African Americans find their history and their futures in Marxist ideas of heaven on earth.
And yet, he argues that it is the conservative, not the liberal, who is the happier person.
Conservatism is a temperament to delight in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This includes those parts of the pursuit that men such as John Locke discussed, the acquisition and exchange of property. Modern conservatism is a temperment, Tyrell claims, not an ideology or an anxiety. It is a love of liberty, not a misdemeanor.
The Liberal, on the other hand, holds this vast exception, among others. Temperamentally, the Liberal believes they are entitled to attain happiness, not just pursue it. And in their inability to attain that which they’ll go all wrong pursuing, they end up bitter and angry.
The reason Liberalism is still such a force is the Kultersmog. The collective smoke and debris of misinformation, inflated opinion, and the supporting armies of science and culture that work together to marginalize conservatives and obfuscate their ideas and words. If you can control the transmission of ideas and words you can control a populace. The counter to that, of course, is the internet. There is no way to control the transmission of ideas so completely as the old mainstream media did and wish they still did today.
Tyrell claims the structures of strong conservative though coupled with the increased grass-roots involvement and the uncontrolled nature of communication and media today spell the continued success of the conservative movement, and indeed it’s continued dominance and shaping of the discourse of America.