Should-Read: The only flaw in this piece is a lack of a proper definition of "conservative". And that leads the very sharp Henry Farrell into some fuzzy thinking here. Wanting to see a quarter of women in America hanged is not "conservative": it is radical: Henry Farrell: Who has any use for conservative intellectuals?: "The firing of Kevin Williamson has led, predictably, to outrage from other conservatives, and in particular from anti-Trumpers like Bill Kristol and Erick Erickson...

...I can’t help thinking that much of their outrage is rooted in fear. Conservative intellectuals are in a very awkward historical position.... The conservative movement perceived the need for intellectuals, both to hold their own fractious coalition together through ‘fusionism’ and the like, and to justify their goals to liberals, who dominated the space of serious policy discussions, and could possibly stop them. Liberal policy types, for their part, needed to understand what was happening among conservatives, and perhaps hoped to influence it a little. The result was that conservative intellectuals were in a highly advantageous structural position, serving as the primary link between two different spheres, which didn’t otherwise come much into contact. As network sociology 101 will tell you, this allowed them a fair amount of arbitrage....

Now, however, the game is up.... Conservative intellectuals defected en masse from Trump, thinking that it was a fairly cheap gesture of independence, but Trump got elected. Not only did this damage these intellectuals’ personal ties with the new administration and the conservative movement, but it opened up the way for a conservatism that basically didn’t give a f--- about policy ideas and the need to seem ‘serious’ any more. The result is that conservative intellectuals don’t have all that much influence over conservatism.... [And] without such influence over conservatives, these intellectuals’ capital with liberals and the left is rapidly diminishing too. If conservative intellectuals don’t have much of an audience within conservatism itself, why should people on the opposite side listen to them any more?

Their actual ideas are... mostly not that strong.... The only plausible case for paying attention to conservative-intellectuals-qua-conservative-intellectuals, is that perhaps the pendulum will swing back after Trump, and the old regime be restored..... You wouldn’t want to betting serious money on it.... Stephens, Williamson (up until this afternoon) and the others are running on fumes.... The actual liberals and leftwingers that are the audience for publications like the Atlantic don’t want anything to do with these people...

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