The brain waves of the American right continue to be erratic, when they are not flat-lining.

What’s more surprising — that a leading conservative scholar would admit that his entire movement may be brain dead or that he thinks the movement’s best hope is … wait for it … Glenn Beck.

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Steven F. Hayward is “the F.K. Weyerhaeuser fellow at the American Enterprise Institute” who has, his bio notes, “written biographies of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and of Winston Churchill.”

I think it has been obvious for a while that the conservative movement should be renamed the conservative stagnation:

But who would have imagined a leading conservative intellectual like Hayward would make the following damning admission in his concluding paragraph:


The single largest defect of modern conservatism, in my mind, is its insufficient ability to challenge liberalism at the intellectual level, in particular over the meaning and nature of progress.

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Of course, if Hayward is what passes for a conservative intellectual these days, then the phrase is obviously little more than an oxymoron, since AEI’s website contains an inane 2004 piece by him titled, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” that repeats a litany of long debunked denier talking points and concludes “global warming theory all but evaporated.”  Or how about his 2003 piece asserting, “Even the lowest of the IPCC’s emissions projections is probably too high, which means that the projections of global warming may be too high as well.”  That last sentence would be true — if you only reversed “low” and “high” [see U.S. media largely ignores latest warning from climate scientists: “Recent observations confirm … the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised” — 1000 ppm”].

But I digress.

Modern conservative has nothing to say about the meaning and nature of progress.  What more proof could there be than the hero Hayward turns to in this Dark Ages for the right wing:

Beck, for one, is revealing that despite the demands of filling hours of airtime every day, it is possible to engage in some real thought. He just might be helping restore the equilibrium between the elite and populist sides of conservatism.

No, Hayward isn’t writing a piece for The Onion.  But he is stuck in the same anti-science, anti-intellectualism that blinds all conservatives.  Remember:

But even outside of the realm of climate, Beck is a pure anti-intellectual wing-nut, as these factoids collected by a CAP intern make clear:

  • Beck stated that he “hates” the families of 9/11 victims because of their “complaining”
  • Beck argued that President Barack Obama hates white people or “white culture”
  • Beck claimed that President Obama and Congress are trying to turn the United States into a “fascist state”
  • Beck joked about killing filmmaker Michael Moore, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi
  • Beck compared this administration’s policies to those of 1930’s Germany and Saddam Hussein-era Iraq
  • Beck refused to debunk myths of FEMA “concentration camps” and governmental slavery
  • Beck claimed that President Obama’s policies are driven by a desire to attain reparations for slavery
  • Beck compared former President Jimmy Carter to Kim Jong-Il, calling Jimmy Carter a “waste of skin”
  • Beck called the fat
    her of abducted and murdered American business man Nick Berg a “scumbag”

Yes, the American Enterprise Institute annoints Glenn Beck the new intellectual leader of the conservative movement stagnation.  You can’t make this stuff up.

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