Friday, March 6, 2009

Attention, Evan Ramsey McLaren

You're 24 years old, OK? I've got ties older than you. When I was your age (groan) I was working as a nightclub DJ, driving a forklift during the day, and camping out weekends for Rod Stewart tickets (we part-time scalpers used to acquire our commodity in such manner). So excuse me for raising an eyebrow at this kind of rant:
The Republican Party, the conservative movement -- these are our enemies, we kept muttering amid the sad CPAC gathering of GOP robots and clowns. This petty hierarchy of shills, time servers, and girlish men (and boys) is supposed to represent a movement of principle -- of people -- and embody real opposition to established power arrangements and to the Left? What a bunch of unadulterated hooey.
The difference between Us and Them is not philosophical or intellectual. It is much more basic. Besides our heightened sense that the conservative movement is a top-to-bottom failure, we simply have too much backbone to function as obedient servants in their crummy, impotent army. . . .
Blah, blah, blah. Young Turks know everything, and nobody else knows anything. As much as I share the Young Turks' disgust with the creaky infrastructure of the GOP, I've got no taste for being lectured by a spoiled rich punk (Kenyon College tuition: $38K/yr) whose chief contributions to conservatism to date consist of editing a student newspaper

Were there any justice in the world, Evan, you'd be bagging groceries at Safeway and living in your mother's basement. And given the ongoing economic gotterdammerung, justice might be a lot closer than you think. I was also impossibly arrogant when I was your age, kid -- I'm pretty damned arrogant still -- but there was no Internet whereby I could embarrass myself by parading my arrogance for all the world to see.

Now shut up and get me a cup of coffee, punk. Don't make me get rough with you.

UPDATE: Kleinheider links. This McLaren kid is not worse than a lot of other 20-somethings in the political world. He just happened to wander into my crosshairs, a target of opportunity. I've done this rant before in various forms, and I suppose at some point it needs to be distilled into a carefully reasoned article, but let me recap a few of my basic points.

One of the problems with this whole "conservative youth movement" business is that "youth" today are used to being kowtowed to and petted by their elders -- the Gold Star Syndrome. They get all puffed up and think they know everything because they're praised to high heaven for any little thing they do. 

They're never rebuked, never assigned to do grunt-work and told that if they don't like it, "there's the door." They become ungrateful and disgruntled because they're not compelled to pay their dues. This has always been my beef with Ross Douthat, who graduated from Harvard and immediately landed a contract to write a book about . . . what it's like to attend Harvard.

Well, f--- you, Ross Douthat. Nobody ever offered me a contract to write a book about what it's like to attend Jacksonville (Ala.) State University, although that book would be a heckuva lot more entertaining than your ponderously earnest tome.

I've worked a lot with the Young America's Foundation, and at least Ron Robinson and his crew make kids work to deserve whatever recognition they get. (Not to give away any trade secrets, but let me advise kids: If you attend a YAF event, be assured that you will be observed and evaluated. They're looking for leadership qualities and organizational ability, and if you show up acting like a doofus, this will be noticed.) 

YAF honors students who can do the basic work of organizing: Raising money, scheduling events, coordinating travel, etc. And if you meet one of their best trainees -- name out of a hat, Matt Sauvage of GWU -- you recognize what the program accomplishes. And they push their trainees toward work of real political value.

Developing young conservative journalists, on the other hand, has become problematic in the age of cable punditry and a blogospheric environment where every 24-year-old who can compose a paragraph thinks he's the second coming of William F. Buckley Jr.

American Spectator managing editor J.P. Freire, whom I mean to praise highly when I say he's one of the least obnoxious of the Young Turks, is fond of saying that what we need is fewer Bill Buckleys and more Bob Novaks. We need fewer kids who want to lecture us about what Russell Kirk really meant, and more kids who don't mind getting their hands dirty doing the basic business of reporting the news.

So when I just happened to come across the McLaren kid denouncing CPAC as a "gathering of GOP robots and clowns" -- grrrrrr! My God, I could have introduced the boy to the legendary M. Stanton Evans, who is certainly not anybody's robot or clown. Evans was sitting outside the lobby bar all but unrecognized by the hordes of callow punks strolling past.

Exactly what has Evan Ramsey McLaren accomplished that he should dismiss so arrogantly these eminences gris of conservatism? Must seniority and estimable service plead for recognition from the likes of McLaren? Where is there in this young man's attitude anything of the chivalry that Burke celebrated?

Well . . . I could write a book. But I'm getting pretty damned tired of the outrageous displays of arrogance by these young writers who, by all rights, ought to be compiling "community briefs" at some small-town newspaper rather than lecturing their elders about "true conservatism."


  1. That's not a backbone. That's a stick rammed up your ass.

  2. Guess Joe Perry was right ... ain't no substitute for arrogance:

    (written and performed before the punk subject of this post was even a stain on the mattress, much less born)

  3. How does one get lectured to by reading the writing of someone else? Never mind.

    McClaren's contributions may be minimal, but at least he has not been facilitating the demise of the conservative movement by participating in its various self-destructive projects.

  4. I don't think Stacy specifically mentioned "insulting upward" as a way to get a million hits. Mr. McLaren may think this is part of "make some enemies." But it reads like the vast majority of flame posts on the web.

    When you're part of the noise, you are not part of the signal.

  5. The phrase 'children should be seen and not heard' was created for kids like McClaren. Perhaps he'll come back when he's actually achieved something in his life but that's likely to be a long wait.

  6. Good point about the Buckley vs. Novak. I'd also add that we could use a few I. F. Stone's (without the lying commie part.) There is a lot of news to be broken in all those Congressional hearings on CSPAN.

  7. but at least he has not been facilitating the demise of the conservative movement by participating in its various self-destructive projects.

    Other than the fact that he is exactly the problem - meaning he is one those mindless drones who has swallowed the MSM talking points whole, and now thinks he has some sort of gravitas and can lecture the rest of the conservative movement.

  8. I may never blog again.

    Although, having done some time at a small-town newspaper doing community briefs, I hope I can sidestep the "callous punk" moniker and stick with "FrankenBarbie."

  9. Paul Zummo: That's nonsense. If Mr. McCain will stop being Mr. Cranky Old Man for a moment, he could tell you that the folks that post over at Taki's Magazine aren't exactly the type to buy into the MSM narrative hook, line, and sinker.

    Like 'em, love 'em, or hate 'em, the Taki guys aren't happy with the state of the conservative movement.

    (Btw, what was the deal with the Jonathan Krohn presentation at CPAC? It's that type of novelty act that makes conservatives out to be a bunch of clowns.)

  10. I'm almost 59. When I was 24, I had been married six years and had two severely asthmatic toddlers. So I was busy with little time for naval gazing.

    I'm still married to the same man -- 41 years this July -- and the two asthmatics are grown and married with children of their own. Our daughter is an ER nurse and our son is an electrician.

    Our son, who's almost 40, recently reconnected with an old high school friend. The friend was always a pothead, always a laid-back liberal kinda guy, and he has always been employed.

    He told my son that he was reading what the Dems want to do and reading what the Repubs want to do and came to the conclusion, "God, I think I'm really a Republican!"


  11. Okay, Who pissed in his Cornflakes?

    God-a-Mighty McCain, grumpy much?



  12. Eh. I was kinda with you until this turned into a "damn youngin's and their MTV!" kinda post. I might not agree with this kid but he represents the way many of us feel about the whole damn conservative movement. But no, we'll let those guys who propped up McCain lead the way. After all, we've apparently given up on appealing to any youth movement. Instead we'll make the young, aggressive, passionate people shine the shoes of the oldsters.

    Just because they were born first.

  13. I went to Kenyon College, and my parents are both public high school teachers. I'm hardly a spoiled rich kid.

    From the Kenyon webpage:
    "Kenyon provides financial assistance to approximately 70 percent of our students."

    You could have found that out with about five minutes of research, but the truth wasn't really the point here, was it?