Jacob the Jacobin

Senator Jacob Ellenhorn is What’s Wrong with “Conservatism”

Luke Phillips


A complaint was filed against USG Senator Jacob Ellenhorn by Diana Jimenez, the Executive Director of USG Program Board. Director Jimenez has called for Senator Ellenhorn’s resignation due to his behavior, and Senator Ellenhorn has threatened to call for hers if she does not rescind. He defends himself by claiming that he is being persecuted for his beliefs.

No one should be surprised. Senator Ellenhorn ran to be a member of USG on an anti-USG platform, vigorously opposed to basically everything our student government does. His USG career has been marked with obstructionism, complaints of anti-“conservative” discrimination by “career student politicians,” and a condescending disdain for his own position in student government.

He’s having the time of his life right now, having pushed and shoved and pissed off the student government liberals until one of them finally decided to fight back. He’s taking the opportunity to demonstrate how it was all a conspiracy on their part, when in reality it was all a conspiracy on his part.

Senator Ellenhorn has exhibited this behavior before. He’s also the President of the USC College Republicans, and in that role he has actively endeavored to make statements and bring in vile speakers designed to cause public outcry and draw the written fire of liberal student journalists. And every time one of these manufactured crises has exploded and the attacks have come in, Senator/President Ellenhorn has called in his official propaganda team to skyrocket him to minor national prominence- trashy right-wing “news” sites like The College Fix and Campus Reform.

And do you want to know the funny thing? His ideology is not even “conservative” in the true sense of the word- true conservatism is not about free markets, traditional values, or strong defense. True conservatism isn’t even an ideology.

True conservatism is about preserving what is worth preserving, through incremental reforms and cautious experimentation. It’s about cultivating nobility of spirit and demanding not conformity but character from every individual. It’s about looking squarely in the eye the evil nascent in human nature, accepting it, and having faith that through institutions, traditions, and moderation, individuals and societies can curb the bad and promote the good. It’s a disposition and a temperament– never an ideology.

What Senator Ellenhorn peddles and worships is nothing but an ideology, unmoored from conservative restraint. His idolatrous and callous behavior is the antithesis of true conservatism.

I’m reminded of a great passage in which an influence of mine, Peter Viereck, ripped William Buckley, the founder of modern “conservatism,” in the New York Times in a way that could now be done to Senator Ellenhorn:

Great conservatives- immortals like Burke, Alexander Hamilton, Disraeli, Churchill, Pope, and Swift- earned the right to be conservative by their long, dark nights…You do not earn a heart-felt and conviction-carrying conservatism by the shortcut of a popular campus clubman without the inspiring agony of lonely, unrespectable soul-searching.”

Senator Ellenhorn’s hostile rabble-rousing only hurts his own reputation, discredits the supposed “conservatism” he represents, and misrepresents the true conservative temperament represented by statesmen like Hamilton and Churchill. It is completely useless in the quest to curb very real liberal activist excesses in USG, being fundamentally obstructionary rather than reformist. And it paints other conservatives like myself in a thoroughly negative light.

Well, Senator Ellenhorn does not represent me, does not represent true conservatism, and does not represent anybody but himself. True conservatism is something much, much more beautiful than Senator Jacob Ellenhorn’s Jacobinism.

5 responses to “Jacob the Jacobin”

  1. why am i even here says :

    >”‘Conservatism’ means exactly what I want it to mean and nothing else!”
    >”Look! I looked up ‘Conservatism’ on Wikipedia and the definition is vague! What do you mean it’s obviously a term that means different things in different countries, so trying to define an obviously culturally-defined thing is hairbrained?”
    >”Both sides of the debate are stupid, and I’m the only one who’s right!”
    Ellenhorn might be an obnoxious prick, but this shallow diatribe shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone anywhere. “Preserving what’s worth preserving” is precisely what men like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro – the speakers which offended your delicate sensibilities – stand for. Like Ellenhorn, they make a point of advocating their positions in tongue-in-cheek, semi-offensive ways. It makes sense given who their opposition is, and denies said opposition the ability to easily write them off by calling them offensive/non-PC. Agree with them or not, it’s a winning tactic in modern public discourse.

    As usual, Luke Phillips has cowardly carved out an agreeably non-offensive position where his vague, unformed right-of-center opinions can safely nestle themselves while staying free of any serious scrutiny or debate. Phillips is EXACTLY the sort of manufactured, neutered quasi-opponent that radical leftists and those championing identity politics want to have on the Right.

    • nb22b says :

      You seem to have missed Luke’s point. When Luke talks about ‘conservatism,’ he’s referring to the overarching political doctrine and the associated temperament. The definition of conservatism is independent from the individual policy stances of conservatives in a given setting. A 1980s Russian conservative does not have the same ideology as a 2010s Japanese conservative, but they’re both conservatives in the same sense of the word. Try and argue over his semantics if you want, but he’s defining “true conservatism” in basically the same way as the Encyclopedia Britannica (“Conservatives…favor institutions and practices that have evolved gradually and are manifestations of continuity and stability.”).

      As a side note, I find it strange that you’re actually insulting someone for stating “an agreeably non-offensive position,” calling it “cowardly.” Luke is a moderate. Moderate stances don’t generally come across as disagreeable or offensive exactly because they are moderate. He doesn’t need to yell, calling his opponents “pungent beta male bollock-scratchers and twelve-year-olds” like one Milo Yiannopoulos. That’s denigration, not discourse.

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