To lament the conservative one first must know what he is and what he must do.
Evelyn Waugh once said:
"[Kipling] was a conservative in the sense that he believed civilization to be something laboriously achieved which was only precariously defended. He wanted to see the defences fully manned and he hated the liberals because he thought them gullible and feeble, believing in the easy perfectibility of man and ready to abandon the work of centuries for sentimental qualms."There are not many statements that more clearly and concisely illustrate what it means to be a conservative and the troubling nature of a liberal.
Conservativism, in any culture, has respect for said culture and it's traditions; the conservative isn't afraid of change but rather of liberal recklessness because he knows how hard civilization is to achieve and how easily it can be destroyed. A civilization, no matter how great, can quickly descend into chaos and the conservative knows it. He is the defender of civilization and tradition is his weapon.
Liberalism is the catalyst for cultural change both good and bad. The liberal is dynamic, experimental, radical and often intellectual. He challenges tradition and fights for change. Violence and revolution are the means to his ends but a lack of judgement is his curse. The liberal will destroy civilization more often than he improves it, but he can improve it.
Given a rational foundation, those two competing ideologies work in partnership. With liberals driving a society forward and conservatives steering away from danger, a nation can move forward indefinitely. It is only when irrationalism takes root that civilization decays from within and irrationalism is the hobgoblin of liberalism.
Conservatism will always fall back on tradition and thus, as long as a society has a strong rational foundation then civilization is resilient and durable. Protecting a rational foundation is, above all, the supreme duty of the conservatives because when they allow liberals to infect a society with irrationalism then that societies demise is almost certain. Liberals are allowed the luxury of immediate gratification, foolish utopianism, and grand experiments because good or bad, they will flourish and feel no guilt over what was lost but will simply move on. The conservative will follow the liberal's successes but civilization will follows the conservatives failures and protecting the rational philosophy is his greatest challenge and the only one that he cannot afford to fail. When the irrational finally destroy civilization it will do so with mantle of a defender of tradition.
The modern American conservative has failed in that task. The American left has long been infected with a particularly virulent form of irrationalism, one armed ironically and uniquely with a long-term strategy. The American conservative, never arming himself with a true rational defense, was simply no match Gramsci's marxism, Derrida's Deconstruction, or the left's long march to the institutions and his defeat was as inevitable as it was tragic.
The American conservative has been in trouble for many years but has occasionally shown sparks of life with Goldwater, Reagan, and even George W. Bush gave some us hope. He appeared to be a comfortably harmless president in the mold of Taft, Coolidge, or Harding. Someone that could hold down the fort till a better, braver, stronger leader would come to man the defenses more aggressively and more fervently than he. To say that we conservatives were wrong would be the most profound of understatements. George W. Bush is the physical manifestations of the intellectual rot within the minds of the American conservative. We had fallen further and sunk deeper than we ever expected and he showed us just how far: all the way.
I do not know exactly when the American conservative died but I know for certain now that he is dead. I also know that if no one will stand up and take his place to defend the rational and traditional America then this great and brilliant nation will die a meek and violent death.