I’m hoping to say more soon — although it may have to wait a couple weeks — about how the Porcher v. Pomocon debate either has changed, or needs to have changed, since it’s big opening episode in 2009. I believe I am the pomocon blogger most sympathetic to the Porcher cause, although perhaps that has made my criticism of them seem the most biting – here’s what I said then. Unlike some pomocons, I say the fight to restore the political and economic power of the small town that the Porchers call for is not one real conservatives can give up on, despite the way we need to be realistic about what is possible. Baby steps, I say. To me, to say that it’s over for localism, is to say that Tocqueville and Aristotle got politics wrong, and I can’t go there. So my basic position is this:
1) While postmodern conservatism can simply remain a particular school of conservative thought, Porcher-ism (I will be calling it the “new agrarianism” in a forthcoming essay), has to eventually produce a political movement, even if only in a few states or a smattering of localities, if its thought is to be taken seriously. You might say that’s unfair, but that’s just the way it is. It’s a tall order for academic blogger types, and yet one I sincerely want the Porchers, or those inspired by them, to achieve.
2) Such practical Porcher-ism becomes impossible if sustained Democratic victories sweep the nation, but not, oddly enough, if Republican ones do, which puts Porchers aware of this in the awkward position of (at least secretly) rooting and praying for Republican victories. Of course, thorough awareness of this might make such Porchers into pomocons! I know my saying that real Porcherism can develop only if the Republicans win or at least hold the Democratic tide steady will be a point particularly contested, as I am aware that it is, or at least was, a key Porcher plank that both partisan coalitions are incredibly harmful to the true cause. It just seems to me that the Porchers in 2008–2009 weren’t being honest with themselves about how toxic a long-lasting Democratic national majority would be for nearly all their key goals, besides a few environmental ones, and how flexible enough for their purposes, a Republican-dominated politics, or a 50-50 politics, would be. Perhaps they have changed somewhat about that “plank,” but for a variety of reasons, I have not been keeping up with their writing for the past several years. I know that at least one of their writers advocated voting Republican more often than not from the get-go.