Just when you thought the Tea Party had been tamed, it's claimed one of its highest profile victims in the GOP civil war:
In the biggest upset of the year, the No. 2 Republican in the House, Eric Cantor, has lost to his tea party opponent in his primary in Virginia, CNN projects.
As an old-school conservative who learned is politics at the (figurative) feet of Russell Kirk, I find the Tea Party's populism unpalatable, for precisely the same reasons Kirk rejected earlier strains of populism:
Populism, in effect, is what Walter Bagehot called the "ignorant democratic conservatism of the masses." It is the tendency later called Populism that Tocqueville dreaded when he wrote that the triumph of democracy might lead to the stagnation of the society of the future, all change being resisted by the conservatism of mediocrity and complacency. ...
Populism is a revolt against the Smart Guys. I am very ready to confess that the present Smart Guys, as represented by the dominant mentality of the Academy and of what the Bergers call the Knowledge Class today, are insufficiently endowed with right reason and moral imagination. But it would not be an improvement to supplant them by persons of thoroughgoing ignorance and incompetence.
Hence, my initial reaction is dismay:
House Majority Leader Cantor Defeated in Primary http://t.co/WXnCd7LSQw > GOP civil war? Tea Party run amok! Dems will win by default.— Stephen Bainbridge (@ProfBainbridge) June 11, 2014
Since the tea party seems determined to turn the GOP into the proverbial circular firing squad, however, those of us of a more old school persuasion need to figure out where to go that doesn't give aid and comfort to the left. Hence, a preliminary proposal: