The 'Conservatarian' Collapse, Obama's 'Narrative' Dishonesty, and the Real Estate Anguish of Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Fifth Column welcomes Charles C.W. Cooke to talk #NeverTrump, idiotic writings, and more.


In a more innocent age, a.k.a. last year, there was still enough of a libertarian waft lingering in Republican political air to glean optimism (albeit with some skepticism) from such books as National Review staffer Charles C.W. Cooke's The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right's Future. While Cooke explicitly argued against judging his thesis through the narrow lens of whatever presidential politics was making headlines—a familiar enough argument!—it is nevertheless understandable in these authoritarian times to wonder What the hell happened to that whole constitutional conservative thing?

Cooke is the special guest on this week's episode of The Fifth Column podcast (which features Kmele Foster, Michael C. Moynihan, and myself), talking about this and all things #NeverTrump, plus the intentionally false narratives of White House foreign policy spinner Ben Rhodes, and the post-success real estate anguish of Ta-Nehisi Coates. There might even be some discussion of our old friend John McCain. You can listen right here:

Head over to the podcast website for info on how to subscribe, and also listen using iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. And enjoy this Reason TV interview with Cooke below:

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  2. Wow. That “real estate” article is some serious bullshit.

    1. “Boo-hoo, I’m rich and famous now, even if the luckiest people in the country are the ones who have never heard of me or my nonsense.”

      1. He should just admit that he wants to live in the suburbs.

        1. Unbelievable that anyone would invite this guy to come blabber on with his weapons grade stupid. Just proves, no matter how dumb something is, you can profit from it. Make up a new religion even dumber than spaghetti monster and you will have cult like followers. Make it so fucking stupid that you’re sure no one will buy it and you’ll get even more followers.

        2. Too many white people.

          1. I think he’s OK with that. He’s worried that his readers aren’t.


    2. My partner was 24. Our son was 11
      My partner?now my wife?

      Does anyone find it slightly grating when people use “my partner” to describe a traditional (hetero/sexual) relationship?

      I dunno, maybe I’m old fashioned. My ‘girlfriend’ is maybe too Jr. High? My fiancee too old timey? Although she may not have been his fiancee when she was 24. ‘My partner’ just sounds like the coldest, business-like way of describing a long term (presumably) sexual relationship. I got it when it became a way for gay people to describe a non-traditional relationship. But even for gay people now it just seems stuffy and formal.

      1. All of the people I know use wife or girlfriend. They’re all sane though, I try to stay away from insane people, like the type who would read Ta-Nehisi Coates and take it seriously.

      2. You’re overthinking it. Have some whiskey.

        1. *holds out tumbler, dons cheese eating grin*

          1. *pours thimble of The John Walker*

        2. I admit that’s entirely likely.

        3. If by whiskey, you mean…

      3. The girlfriend/boyfriend construct just sounds so juvenile, I think partner slipped in. There was always a dearth of relationship descriptions between X/friend and Fiancee and Married. But you are right it is unfortunate that the stiff and unromantic “partner” ended being the one settled on.

        1. All the other options are kind of shit too. No one wants to hear you talk about your ‘lover’ every time you mention them.

          1. “I’m Jerry, and this is my emergency contact, Paula.”

            1. WTF is wrong with ‘BabyMomma’?

              1. Because some of us use protection

              2. I’m old-fashioned; I prefer “shack-job”.

        2. I prefer the term “soulmate.”

        3. “Fuckbuddy”

          “Friend with benefits”


          “romantic interest”


          Yeah, no good ones.

          1. “She Who Sups Upon My Seed”

            1. If you are gonna go down that route, SugarFree, this subthread will deteriorate fast.

              1. “Consensual Fuckmate”?

            2. “Squish Mitten”

              “Dick Holster”

              And, for Longtorso: “Body Pillow”

              1. Her name is Miho Fukada, jerkface! She owns the third most successful cat cafe in Kyoto and they are going to get married!

                1. I will find you. And I will hit you.

            3. “Sister.”

          2. Pity that Scorching Hot Goddess of Wanton Pagan Lust is just too long.

        4. But you are right it is unfortunate that the stiff and unromantic “partner” ended being the one settled on.

          After I clicked ‘submit’ my fear was people wouldn’t get my point. You did. I appreciate that. When someone says “my partner”, I’ve literally gotten to the point where I don’t know what that means. In the early days of the great ‘gay acceptance’ that was a code word for your same-sex love interest. It made sense, but now that it’s proliferated, I don’t know if the person is telling me they’re gay, if they’re telling me it’s their girlfriend/fiancee/boyfriend/wife/husband, or it’s person they have a business relationship with.

        5. Liver donor.

        6. There was always a dearth of relationship descriptions between X/friend and Fiancee and Married.

          It’s even worse in German. There is no separate word for “boyfriend” and “(male) friend” or “girlfriend” and “(female) friend”.

          1. German, being a descriptive language, probably translates to “the person with whom I occasionally have sex”

            1. Actually, it’s the opposite. They just say “friend”. Since the word is usually used in an opposite-sex context, I guess the “sex” is just assumed.

              1. ‘Little prison buddy’ in German is same word as ‘France’ for some reason.

            2. And it is a single word made by combing the German words for ‘The’ ‘Person’ ‘With’ . . . etc.

              Come meet my Diepersonmitderichgelegentlichsexhaben.

        7. Inamorata, although I don’t know what the male equivalent would be.

          1. Inamorato?

        8. My friend in this situation just calls his girlfriend his wife, because that’s the nature of their (non-legal) relationship.

      4. Where did you get all these quotes?

        1. Sorry, I’m link diving. It’s the Ta-Nehisi Coates story.

      5. Until there’s a ring on the finger, I stick to “fuck-buddy.”

        1. “If you liked it,
          you should have stuck your finger in it,
          you should have stuck your finger in it,
          you should have stuck your finger in my ring!”

      6. The article was surprisingly free of his literary tics.

        My black body was 25 white years old. My partner’s black body was 24 white years old. Our son’s frail black body was 11 white months old.

        1. ha ha. that’s great.

        2. Ugh, it was bad enough. He doesn’t feel “safe” to live in Brooklyn anymore? Jesus Christ what a pussy.

          1. And can you imagine his apoplexy if a white writer said he didn’t feel safe in a black neighborhood and preferred to live with his own kind?

            He’s such a damn fraud. He shits out a bog-standard “you can never go home again” essay in racialist drag and The Atlantic falls over themselves to publish it.

            1. And can you imagine his apoplexy if a white writer said he didn’t feel safe in a black neighborhood and preferred to live with his own kind?

              Derbyshire did that already and look where it got him…

              And it’s not even white cops he’s afraid of – that, I could totally understand if not agree with the extent to which he is embellishing it – it’s white *people*. Like, Luke and Laura move in next door and suddenly he’s got to look around himself nervously.

              1. because it’s when the *white* people move into a place, that everyone says, “there goes the neighborhood.” that’s it for sure.

          2. Yeah, but he doesn’t want to admit it. So he made up a whole fucking story.

        3. Ugh, that “black body” shit. Who can take any writing like that seriously?

          1. And the worse part? He didn’t even come up with it. He cribbed from a James Baldwin essay.

      7. Totally agree. Partner is for business relationships.

        1. Just go with unmarried spouse.

      8. Does anyone find it slightly grating when people use “my partner” to describe a traditional (hetero/sexual) relationship?

        Significant Other. My family. Our 11 yr. old son and his Mom.

        I’m okay with it when it’s just the love interest of the year or whatever. When it’s the person that you’ve been living with for a decade, have children with and, presumably, no employment agreement or explicit business contracts with then, yeah, partner sounds obnoxious.

      9. Girlfriend is too jr high and fiancee doesn’t apply.

        Partner is a good way to describe it. And it *needs* to be cold and business-like. Love is great and all, but if the one you love is a crack-smoking layabout – maybe you ought to consider *not* closely tieing your future (and finances) to them.

        A lot of people would be better off if they took a step back and evaluated their SO in dispassionate light.

        ‘Course, I’m still single at my age so maybe there’s something to this ‘pay no attention to the man behind the curtain’ thing.

    3. Everything that Coates writes is some serious bullshit.

      1. I disagree. He is good on police anuses.

        1. Abuses, damnit.

          1. I liked it better the other way.

          2. That is a better johno than even John has been able to muster lately.

            1. Thanks, Citizen X. And for my next trick, I will do a flawless impression of cytotoxic. As soon as I finish all my homework.

              1. No you won’t and no you won’t

    4. It’s Ta-Nehisi Coates. What did you expect?

  3. what the hell happened to that whole constitutional conservative thing?

    It dissolved like the salt wife it was to begin with. Conservatives only care about the Constitution insofar as it agrees with them. When it produces a result they don’t like (4A criminal protections, 1A obscenity, privacy rights) they wipe their ass with it just as fast as leftists.

    1. All true. But it is not like Libertarians don’t do the same thing when it comes to getting their pony. Whatever you think of gay marriage, there no way in hell you can square anything like an originalist view with it being a constitutional right. Libertarians are all about originalism when it comes to the commerce clause or the 10th Amendment and it justifies the kind of government they want. When it came to gay marriage, then “hey man its a living breathing Constitution.”

      Not that conservatives are any better. As you point out they are not. But Libertarians are hardly without sin.

      1. I think you typed “gay marriage” where you meant to type “marriage”. It’s an understandable mistake.

        1. No. Marriage was recognized under the common law as a state law issue. The constitution was written giving control of family law and general law enforcement authority to the states not the feds.

          If you think state marriage is not recognized by the Constitution Hugh, I don’t know what to tell you other than you subscribe to the “the Constitution means whatever the fuck I think it should” school of interpretation.

        2. Where do you get this shit? Seriously, how the fuck does someone come to think that the Constitution outlaws state recognition and regulation of marriage? I can’t comprehend that kind of stupidity.

          1. I don’t think any rational libertarians argued that gay marriage was in the constitution. Rather, some of us argued that if the govt is going to ignore the Constitution and regulate marriage at the federal level, then the govt should not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

            1. The government never regulated marriage at the federal level. DOMA didn’t regulate marriage. It regulated what marriages the feds recognized. No one ever said states could not recognize gay marriages if they chose to.

              The bottom line is Libertarians were happy to embrace a living constitution when doing so gave them their gay marriage pony.

              1. The Constitution authorizes the Post Office, and I don’t agree with that. What’s the “sin” in that, John?
                Where it guarantees negative rights, it’s a useful tool. But I won’t pretend there’s virtue in absolutism. That’s why there’s an amendment process.

              2. John, you are playing at semantics. DOMA was clearly fed regulation of marriage. Please don’t tell me you supported that law.

                Also, who doesn’t want a gay marriage pony?

                1. Does it taste as good as gay cake?

                  1. I’ve had horse meat, and it is quite tasty. I imagine a pony would taste similar. But you can’t have your pony and eat it too.

                2. I am not playing semantics. Saying we don’t recognize something is not regulating what states could do.

                  1. But the Constitution does regulate what states can do. The Full Faith and Credit Clause in Art. IV, Sec. 1 requires a state to give “Full Faith and Credit” to “the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State” and that “the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.”

                    How that applies to marriage certificates I leave up to the lawyers, but just sayin’.

              3. Libertarians were “happy” about the tortured reasoning in that opinion? [citation needed]

                Being happy with the *outcome* does not mean being happy with the *means* that achieved that outcome. I figure you probably actually know this and are just being obtuse?

          2. I’m starting to think that “Instead of legalizing gay marriage, we should get the government out all marriage” line John’s been peddling for the past two years was complete was bullshit.

          3. I’m starting to think that “Instead of legalizing gay marriage, we should get the government out all marriage” line John’s been peddling for the past two years was complete was bullshit.

          4. how the fuck does someone come to think that the Constitution outlaws state recognition and regulation of marriage?

            Actually it does – but indirectly. Marriage ceremony/licensing/etc was a religious institution at the time of the Constitution. It (including divorce) was governed by ecclesiastical courts in England – and via establishment of religion in the colonies. It becomes a state-level concern in the constitution cuz of 1st amendment (states CAN establish religion but feds can’t). Two SC cases (1940 and 1947) prohibited states from infringing on 1st amendment – but by that point every state had already established marriage and the specific SC cases were not about marriage. So no one cared to draw the broader connection.

            And BTW – common law marriage is NOT (and can’t be) about the regulation of marriage. It is solely about a court’s post-facto recognition of what the couple has already done and presented themselves as before they find themselves in court – so the couple before the judge is treated AS IF they are married. But again, most states had already prohibited common law treatment of ‘marriage’ before the 1940’s SC cases – so ‘marriage’ became civil law in most places rather than common law.

            1. I’d also argue that the reason the SC completely ignored this in their recent ruling is because 100% of the SC justices are Catholic/Jewish – and neither of those two religions has the slightest deep comprehension of why the 1st Amendment came into being (ie Roger Williams – and the English civil war arguments between Puritans and Anglicans). To justices with that religious background, the 1st amendment is merely something they learn in law school.

    2. This is true, which is also why modern progressives hate the constitution in its entirety, because there’s nothing in there that agrees with them. You lost them at “enumerated powers”.

    3. There was never going to be such a thing as Conservatarian anymore than there’s ever going to be such a thing as Left Libertarians. Those on the left and the conservatives both hate us more than they hate each other.

      1. Libertarians are not conservatives and vice versa. If you try to be both you just wind up being a particularly dumb version of one or the other. It is what it is.

        1. I can go post on pretty much any other website for a while and it will unleash the most vile spittle flecked hatred from both conservatives and progressives, without even trying. Libertarians don’t do package deals, that’s what drives them so crazy. How can you want to cut taxes and support cannabis legalization at the same time? This cannot be a thing. It drives both sides to complete insanity, this is why they hate us.

          1. What I can’t grasp is the hard line (there is none). It’s a spectrum (of freedom, rights, etc) to me.

          2. Libertarians and conservatives can agree about some specific issues. But the reasons why they thing the way they do are almost always at least slightly different. It is not that one is better or worse than the other. They are just different and incompatible in many ways. You can’t fuse them.

      2. Liberaltarian. Left-libertarian is different.

        1. Yep. Huge difference. Liberaltarians like Wilkinson and the BHL crowd straight up support govt coercion. Most self-respecting left- libertarians like Richman, Long, and Chartier are actually anarchists.

      3. Those were simply efforts by the two mainstream parties to coopt us. Transparent efforts at that.

        1. Tonio for the win.

        2. Wait, I thought we were trying to coopt the GOP.
          That didn’t really work out.

  4. I enjoy the show, but I suspect I would enjoy it more if Moynihan were bound and gagged for at least half of it.

    1. You don’t like Sexy Mr. Burns?

      1. He sounds like an even more abrasive Will Arnet.

        1. Hmm… I can’t say for sure until he says, “…with club sauce.” Or he berates someone named Todd.

          I’ll be listening, Mike.

      2. -1 pocket of the pocket fox

  5. 1;25: “A general feeling that Republicans don’t live up to their rhetoric”

    He’s right, just too late.

  6. Been trying to listen to this all morning but work keeps interrupting me.

  7. “the intentionally false narratives of White House foreign policy spinner Ben Rhodes”

    Has there ever been anything ever said by an Obama administration staffer that wasn’t intentionally false?

    1. I’ve thought about this for a few moments here and came to the conclusion that the answer must be no.

    2. Well, the earth has definitely begun to heal.

  8. “the post-success real estate anguish of Ta-Nehisi Coates”

    Ta-Nahesi Coates has to be the most miserable person on the planet. He’s like the perfect progressive – nothing is ever good enough, you stupid bumpkins wouldn’t understand his searing, artistic pain, and everything that happens to him is proof of man’s inhumanity to man and of the racism that is keeping him down (but isn’t keeping him down so much that he couldn’t write a best selling book despite having no discernible talent). His narcissism is boundless:

    “But the world is real. And you can’t really be a black writer in this country, take certain positions, and not think about your personal safety. That’s just the history. And you can’t really be a human being and not want some place to retreat into yourself, some place to collapse, some place to be at peace. That’s just neurology. One shouldn’t get in the habit of crying about having a best-selling book. But you can’t really sell enough books to become superhuman, to salve that longing for home.”

    Really. When is the last time in this country a black writer was physically harmed because of something he wrote by racists? Point me to these examples, Coates, that lead you to believe you’re in danger.

    Oh, there are no recent examples? You’re just a total self-absorbed jackass who wants to pretend you’re in danger because it makes you feel important? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.

    1. The guy was angry that his son didn’t resent white people enough. He works his whole life to escape racism and finally builds this nice life for his son to live. And he is still pissed off because his son is living this nice life around nice white people and isn’t learning to resent and hate them enough.

      That is fucked up.

      1. A random white woman pushed his son and he went on a chapter long rant about how this proves white people don’t care about black bodies. He knows nothing about this woman – she could just be a huge bitch who’s like that with everyone or maybe she was having a bad day. Instead of considering this, he projects this ridiculous racial psychodrama onto her because that’s how he makes himself feel important.

        1. A random white woman pushed his son and he went on a chapter long rant…

          I wouldn’t assume that this actually happened the way he says it did, or that it even happened at all.

          1. It’s quite believable. Kid was not paying attention and was blocking the way. Suspect this was more of what we’d call a nudge or a shoulder touch. Apparently the “it takes a village” mindset has some unspoken exceptions.

        2. That “bodies” thing grates on me something awful. It’s so pretentiously obnoxious.

        3. +1 Carceral State

      2. He works his whole life to escape racism

        Nope. He’s worked his whole life to turn a profit from racism. If racism goes away, so does his golden goose.

        That’s why his son not hating white people enough is such an issue. What if it’s not just his son, but a whole generation of kids? Coates might have to get an actual job.

        1. Yes. You are right. I was just taking him at his word.

          1. Could you imagine his psychic turmoil when Obama was elected? I bet he thought the gig was up.

            1. Sadly, he is probably so adept and used to rationalizing anything that goes against his prejudices, he likely didn’t miss a beat. White people elected Obama to cover up how racist they are or to justify how racist they are. That kind of thing.

    2. Take it easy, Irish. Coates has a reason to exist:

      1. “In nauseum”? She seems like an unhappy person.

    3. nothing is ever good enough

      Thank you for that, Irish. That is one of the markers for the progressive mindset.

      1. They are “progressing” toward something. If they actually get there they’d have to shut up.

        1. Worse, they’d have to become conservatives.

        2. Everything is free, everyone is gay, free speech is eradicated, no one can voice alternate opinions, personal property a thing of the past, everyone is equal, no more rich people, no GMOs, no fossil fuels, no more white people. What else? Am I missing something? What happens at that stage? Do they just shut up and be happy?

          1. Boot, face, something something. It’s in that book, Nineteen or Four.

          2. You may say I’m a dreamer
            But I’m not the only one
            I hope someday you’ll join us
            And the world will be as one

  9. @30:25

    “When this happens, I turn purple”

    I do to. The press has suddenly decided that fact-checking a politician is their job– for Donald Trump.

  10. I like Kmele Foster’s criticism of Coates. Does that make me racist?

    1. Yes, and that makes Foster a race-traitor, lawn jockey and house negro.

      1. Uncle Thomas?

      2. Someone on here once said Foster is very wealthy. Does anyone know how he made his money?

        1. some kind of ownership over a telecom. seriously, I thought that’s what it was.

          1. From his (really brief) Reason bio page:

            “Kmele Foster is the co-founder and vice president of TelcoIQ, a telecommunications consultancy.”

  11. Love the discussion @36 minutes.

    Moynihan: 27 yr old reporters– he thinks 27 is a high estimate.

    1. You know who else thinks 27 is too great an age?

  12. “The Mcguffingization of politics” is an excellent observation. @ around 41:00

    1. “mcguffinization”. I even typo a fake word.

      1. It really is. There are plenty of examples where offense and defense changes depending on who is holding the football, too. The weren’t the roles switched 10 years ago with the debt ceiling and the Import Export Bank?

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