What “cuckservative” theory gets wrong

Several years ago I wrote about a phenomena I dubbed “douchebag conservatives” — young men who self identify as members of the right not out of positive regard for conservative philosophy or politics, but because the right offers greater tolerance for their retrograde, politically-incorrect lifestyles.

Since then, the douchebag phenomenon has become more visible through the growth of so-called “alternative right” communities online, which further eschew mainstream conservative thought and conversation in favor of a few crude truisms about power, sex, and race. And since the sheltered nature of internet subcultures tends to incubate extremism, some have gone further still, reviving out-and-out white nationalism or fascism (or “neo-reactionism”) as the ultimate embodiment of self-interested political incorrectness. There is a popular alt-right site called, for instance, whose podcast is called “The Daily Shoah” and whose twitter icon is an oven.

This alt-right underground is enjoying a rare moment of attention among surface-dwellers at the moment thanks to one of their newest neologisms — “cuckservative” — proving a delectable inspiration for essays everywhere from Breitbart to the New Republic.

As a metaphor, “cuckservative” is neither intuitive nor precise. It alludes to interracial cuckold porn, in which a passive caucasian husband watches his wife be ravaged by a robust black gentleman. See, say the alt-righters, the husband is like today’s mainstream white conservatives — they submit to the strength of nonwhite power. Indeed, they probably envy and encourage it.

“Cuckservatism” thus describes a broad range of activities in which politicians and pundits fetishize the ethnic other, and bend politics to their terms. This includes amnesty for Mexican illegals, hiking nonwhite immigration, excusing and rationalizing black crime, and granting Israel a free hand to do what it pleases on the US taxpayer’s tab.

It can’t be denied some politicians on the right seem unduly fascinated with foreign cultures at the expense of their own. When I first heard the term “cuckservative” I immediately thought of Canada’s multiculturalism minister, Jason Kenney, who in an open effort to make the Tory party seem less bigoted, has not only ratcheted third world immigration to half-century highs, but staged endless photo-ops with communities of color, eating their food, wearing their clothes, and praying at their temples.

In an American context, the cuck par excellence is said to be Jeb Bush, who not only hails from a dynasty of establishment politicians famous for Hispanic outreach, but lived in Venezuela for several years, married a Mexican immigrant, and speaks Spanish fluently (particularly to Mrs. Bush, who is notoriously poor at English). Needless to say, if you’re into amnesty, he’s your guy.

Both men, incidentally, are huge Israel fans.

Because conservatives like Kenney and Bush are clearly comfortable changing not only their country, but themselves in the name of multicultural acceptance, it’s possible to read their behavior as deeply alienated, even self-loathing. But what the alt-righters get wrong is the assumption of motive. Since racists reject philosophy as the foundation of politics in favor of race, their understanding of motive is primitive, like all determinists.

There are conservatives who look at contemporary “white culture” and are repulsed by the vulgarity, superficiality, and soullessness that defines the modern output of America’s “traditional core.” The immigrant cultures of Latinos, Asians, and East Indians, in contrast, often appear far more religious, family-oriented, and decorous — in short, more conservative. Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, is envied by many on the right not because he’s exotic or hostile, but because his leadership in the global fight against Islamic fascism has been more principled and honest than that of President Obama.

To be sure, some of this is ignorant stereotyping. American Hispanics, for instance, tend to be quite politically liberal, perhaps understandably given how many Latin countries are under socialist rule. On everything other than foreign policy Israel is quite leftist as well — placed in an American context, Netanyahu would probably be, at best, a Giuliani-esque RINO. These influences are not universally benign.

But bound by reality or not, intentions matter. In any case, it’s hardly obvious the sort of douchebag ugliness that defines the alt-right scene — endless swearing and trolling, memes full of Third Reich nostalgia, an obsession with the mechanics of anal intercourse even this homosexual finds disturbing — represent a culture more virtuous than the quiet, conservative dignity of many immigrant families.

Douchebag conservatives imagine themselves to be frightening and provocative, and they undeniably are. They have produced arguments that deserve engagement. But an obsession with race and power blinds them to the nuances of their enemies, and the flaws of themselves.