Guest post: A generation of Limbaugh Babies

Originally a comment by Jeff Engel on Hannity no-awarded.

Movement conservatism has two faces (in several senses, yeah, but in this case)….

There’s the one facing the rubes, “the masses”, where you feed them raw meat and get them into the ballot boxes and screaming on talk radio. That one’s been anti-intellectual pretty much forever, certainly going back to the printing press, before it was “movement” conservatism at all. Now it’s Hannity; back in the day, it was pogroms then the KKK.

But there’s also the verbose, pretentious Buckley tradition, that draws in the college students who swallow conservatism but appreciate a well-formed sentence and being able to look down on people on the basis of money or education. They’ll be the ones fondly recalling Burke, Montesquieu, Chesterton, or at least Locke, Smith and Rand. (Whether or not they’ll be representing all or any of them well is another thing.)

Being able to look down on the Hannity sorts – or their audience, certainly – is a crucial part of being a Buckley-style conservative.

But there isn’t much room for the Buckley crowd to quietly run things and take the Hannity mob for granted as mere ballot box fodder nowadays. For one thing, there’s been a generation of superficial thinkers who have been drawing in the college students and leaving them with Steve Bannon, Christina Hoff Sommers and Milo Yiannopoulos as (kittens help them) intellectual icons, so the “thoughtful” conservative wing is penetrated by the mob. For another, whether that generation is even pretending to think, it’s of an age to be managing things, and it’s been raised as Limbaugh Babies.

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