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Thread: How Alex P. Keaton Predicted The New Conservative Movement

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    Default How Alex P. Keaton Predicted The New Conservative Movement

    The premise can be debated but as a Gen Xer I loved Family Ties as a kid and was definitely a huge fan of Alex P. Keaton. Great memories reading this column.




    How Alex P. Keaton Predicted The New Conservative Movement

    Alex P. Keaton, the countercultural conservative from the 1980s sitcom 'Family Ties,' tells us a lot about the new conservative movement.


    For people of a certain advanced age, the first openly Republican or conservative fictional character they can remember is Alex P. Keaton from the NBC sitcom “Family Ties.” The role launched Michael J. Fox’s career, but it did something else, too: in many ways, Alex Keaton predicted the conservative movement that we see emerging today. Energetic and aggressive, Keaton was an unapologetic conservative character at a time conservatism was in many ways an apologetic underdog.

    It is important to note that Alex P. Keaton was born in 1965, the very first year of Generation X. The comic tension he provided was his rejection of the 1960s hippie ethos of his progressive parents. He is arguably the first manifestation of something that is now a staple of our society, the countercultural conservative. Conservatism as counter culture has reached an apex in the age of Trump. But its seeds can be seen in this old NBC sitcom. Keaton might as well have said, “Okay, Boomer.”

    When the show launched in 1982, and indeed for the following three decades, most conservatives in the media were very unlike Alex P. Keaton. The Platonic ideal of the late 20th century conservative pundit was a George Will, or a William F. Buckley. Both operated with a kind of outsider status, Buckley in particular, although still a conservative hero always seemed to be operating from a defensive crouch. He stood athwart history, he looked for the conservative who was most electable. The mantra coming out of the 1960s seemed to be, “We will eventually lose, but we can lose more slowly.”

    This was not the way of Alex P. Keaton, the first Gen X conservative. He was joyous and confident in his conservatism, a kind of Reaganite happy warrior. And it is interesting to note that this character was an iconoclast for supporting Reagan, even though in the show’s third season Reagan won an absolute landslide of an election against Walter Mondale. Surely there were millions of Alex P. Keatons heading off to college or the workforce, yet in the eyes of Hollywood this type was still a freak.

    As it turns out, there were a lot of Alex P. Keatons, and just as the character would be, they are now in their 40s and 50s and for the first time taking institutional power within conservatism. The new energy that the Gen X conservative is bringing has everything to do with being countercultural. In fact, it might fairly be said that Gen X had no culture, only countercultures. The conservative of the past was of the past, always seeming to want to wind the clock back — to the 1950s, back to some American ideal unsullied by the riotous 1960s.

    But the conservative contemporaries of the hippie Boomers were in some ways ill-equipped to fight those who had bested them in defining a generation, so it would fall to the children of the flower children to challenge the shibboleths of Woodstock. Every Gen X kid who grew up rolling his eyes at stories of communes and anti-war protests, who has a nostalgic disdain for Crosby, Stills, and Nash, carries in him the essence of the new conservative.

    Although we like to center Donald Trump in everything these days, what we see looking back to Alex P. Keaton and the almost-adulthood of Gen X is that Trump is a manifestation of the new conservatism, not its creator. The pugnacious nature of the former latchkey kids, the last generation to play outside without a cell phone, lies at the heart of Trumpism. The question for conservatives used to be “How do we stop losing?” now it’s “How do we keep winning?”

    It is interesting to wonder if Alex P. Keaton would have voted for Trump. I tend to think he might not have in 2016, but I tend to think he would in 2020. He would have come to see, as many who were incredulous about Trump, that the blusterer in chief from Queens showed a way out of constant apology, towards a positive right, interested in building, not simply conserving.

    Gen X will not hold power for long. It is a tiny generation, and those born after 1980 are already installing themselves as the new arbiters. But what the kids, and by kids I mean most of my editors, will inherit from Gen X is all about Alex P. Keaton. A winning smile, a joke, an anxiousness for the fray. The old conservative movement has given way, and in its place stands a generation willing to fight, and unwilling to accept their parents; 1960s as the be all and end all of what America is.


    https://thefederalist.com/2020/01/28...tive-movement/

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    Quote Originally Posted by cawacko
    It is interesting to wonder if Alex P. Keaton would have voted for Trump. I tend to think he might not have in 2016, but I tend to think he would in 2020. He would have come to see, as many who were incredulous about Trump, that the blusterer in chief from Queens showed a way out of constant apology, towards a positive right, interested in building, not simply conserving.
    I think he's got it backwards.

    I think Keaton WOULD HAVE voted for Trump in 2016, but after four years of seeing what a lowlife pile of subhuman scum, and what an embarrassment Trump is to the nation that he's dragging down into his NYC sewer, I believe Alex would have a hard time doing it again, as will likely a lot of people who voted for him the first time.

    As for the article overall, clever if not roundabout attempt to legitimize and downplay the damage Trump is doing to our democracy and society.

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    I see no relation at all to the Alex Keaton of the '80's and conservatives of the present. I do agree that he would not have voted for Trump in '16 and would in '20.
    That's true of lots of voters including me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymoose View Post
    I see no relation at all to the Alex Keaton of the '80's and conservatives of the present. I do agree that he would not have voted for Trump in '16 and would in '20.
    That's true of lots of voters including me.
    No true Conservative would ever vote for Trump
    Apollyon

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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymoose View Post
    I see no relation at all to the Alex Keaton of the '80's and conservatives of the present. I do agree that he would not have voted for Trump in '16 and would in '20.
    That's true of lots of voters including me.
    In 2016 Trump conned a lot of people into voting for him who have now had four years to see what an abomination he is how they got duped into thinking he would shake things up, but in a way that wasn't destructive to the values they held.

    Unlike Trump supporters in 2020, Keaton was intelligent and had a conscience and a sense of decency. So even though, like a lot of people, he might have bought into the Trump fervor at first, he would probably be repulsed by what Trump turned out to be.

    People who still support Trump even after seeing what a joke he is, never really had much if any, morals, values or decency to begin with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marxist Mason View Post
    No true Conservative would ever vote for Trump
    No true AMERICAN would ever vote for trump.

    I don't think Trump supporters really even understand what being a true American means.

    Just like conservative Christians don't really understand what being a true Christian means.

    They love to talk the talk, but refuse to walk the walk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
    No true AMERICAN would ever vote for trump.

    I don't think Trump supporters really even understand what being a true American means.

    Just like conservative Christians don't really understand what being a true Christian means.

    They love to talk the talk, but refuse to walk the walk.
    Don't assume these modern day far right fascist,and fake Christians are real conservatives
    Apollyon

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    Quote Originally Posted by cawacko View Post
    The premise can be debated but as a Gen Xer I loved Family Ties as a kid and was definitely a huge fan of Alex P. Keaton. Great memories reading this column.




    How Alex P. Keaton Predicted The New Conservative Movement

    Alex P. Keaton, the countercultural conservative from the 1980s sitcom 'Family Ties,' tells us a lot about the new conservative movement.


    For people of a certain advanced age, the first openly Republican or conservative fictional character they can remember is Alex P. Keaton from the NBC sitcom “Family Ties.” The role launched Michael J. Fox’s career, but it did something else, too: in many ways, Alex Keaton predicted the conservative movement that we see emerging today. Energetic and aggressive, Keaton was an unapologetic conservative character at a time conservatism was in many ways an apologetic underdog.

    It is important to note that Alex P. Keaton was born in 1965, the very first year of Generation X. The comic tension he provided was his rejection of the 1960s hippie ethos of his progressive parents. He is arguably the first manifestation of something that is now a staple of our society, the countercultural conservative. Conservatism as counter culture has reached an apex in the age of Trump. But its seeds can be seen in this old NBC sitcom. Keaton might as well have said, “Okay, Boomer.”

    When the show launched in 1982, and indeed for the following three decades, most conservatives in the media were very unlike Alex P. Keaton. The Platonic ideal of the late 20th century conservative pundit was a George Will, or a William F. Buckley. Both operated with a kind of outsider status, Buckley in particular, although still a conservative hero always seemed to be operating from a defensive crouch. He stood athwart history, he looked for the conservative who was most electable. The mantra coming out of the 1960s seemed to be, “We will eventually lose, but we can lose more slowly.”

    This was not the way of Alex P. Keaton, the first Gen X conservative. He was joyous and confident in his conservatism, a kind of Reaganite happy warrior. And it is interesting to note that this character was an iconoclast for supporting Reagan, even though in the show’s third season Reagan won an absolute landslide of an election against Walter Mondale. Surely there were millions of Alex P. Keatons heading off to college or the workforce, yet in the eyes of Hollywood this type was still a freak.

    As it turns out, there were a lot of Alex P. Keatons, and just as the character would be, they are now in their 40s and 50s and for the first time taking institutional power within conservatism. The new energy that the Gen X conservative is bringing has everything to do with being countercultural. In fact, it might fairly be said that Gen X had no culture, only countercultures. The conservative of the past was of the past, always seeming to want to wind the clock back — to the 1950s, back to some American ideal unsullied by the riotous 1960s.

    But the conservative contemporaries of the hippie Boomers were in some ways ill-equipped to fight those who had bested them in defining a generation, so it would fall to the children of the flower children to challenge the shibboleths of Woodstock. Every Gen X kid who grew up rolling his eyes at stories of communes and anti-war protests, who has a nostalgic disdain for Crosby, Stills, and Nash, carries in him the essence of the new conservative.

    Although we like to center Donald Trump in everything these days, what we see looking back to Alex P. Keaton and the almost-adulthood of Gen X is that Trump is a manifestation of the new conservatism, not its creator. The pugnacious nature of the former latchkey kids, the last generation to play outside without a cell phone, lies at the heart of Trumpism. The question for conservatives used to be “How do we stop losing?” now it’s “How do we keep winning?”

    It is interesting to wonder if Alex P. Keaton would have voted for Trump. I tend to think he might not have in 2016, but I tend to think he would in 2020. He would have come to see, as many who were incredulous about Trump, that the blusterer in chief from Queens showed a way out of constant apology, towards a positive right, interested in building, not simply conserving.

    Gen X will not hold power for long. It is a tiny generation, and those born after 1980 are already installing themselves as the new arbiters. But what the kids, and by kids I mean most of my editors, will inherit from Gen X is all about Alex P. Keaton. A winning smile, a joke, an anxiousness for the fray. The old conservative movement has given way, and in its place stands a generation willing to fight, and unwilling to accept their parents; 1960s as the be all and end all of what America is.


    https://thefederalist.com/2020/01/28...tive-movement/
    I'm sorry but this had to have been written buy someone who was born after 1985. Alex Keaton was representative of the Reagan Republican Movement of the early to mid 80's. I ought to know cause I was part of that movement. To see that he predicted the "New Conservative Movement" is complete non-sense. He was representative of the conservative movment of that time.

    Alex Keaton was sure as hell not repreentative of the modern take over of the conservative party by rural redneck working class conservatives that it is not. Not even bloody close. Holy Fuck, Keaton's hero Nixon would be classified as a communist by today's Republican party.

    Alex, and young Reagan Republicans of that era like myself would fucking be (and now mostly are) centrist Democrats today....Young, Educated, Urban/Suburban professionals (at that time). We sure as hell weren't redneck working class rural populist goobers that are the heart and soul of the modern conservative Trump movement today. They were still Democrats back then.

    I call this article "BULLSHIT", considering I was there and participated in the Reagan Conservative movement of the 80's. The author doesn't know what they are talking about.
    Last edited by Mott the Hoople; 02-14-2020 at 10:29 AM.
    You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marxist Mason View Post
    No true Conservative would ever vote for Trump
    Fits to me. I'm very much a liberal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
    In 2016 Trump conned a lot of people into voting for him who have now had four years to see what an abomination he is how they got duped into thinking he would shake things up, but in a way that wasn't destructive to the values they held.

    Unlike Trump supporters in 2020, Keaton was intelligent and had a conscience and a sense of decency. So even though, like a lot of people, he might have bought into the Trump fervor at first, he would probably be repulsed by what Trump turned out to be.

    People who still support Trump even after seeing what a joke he is, never really had much if any, morals, values or decency to begin with.
    Then there's liberals like me who considered him a joke in '16 and converted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymoose View Post
    Fits to me. I'm very much a liberal.
    Quote Originally Posted by anonymoose View Post
    Then there's liberals like me who considered him a joke in '16 and converted.
    Moose shit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
    Moose shit.
    What is inaccurate about the description in the link?

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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymoose View Post
    What is inaccurate about the description in the link?
    What I was responding to was the fact that you call yourself a liberal without making the distinction between classical and modern.

    From your own link....

    Both modern American conservatism and social liberalism split from Classical Liberalism in the early 20th century.

    At that time conservatives adopted the Classic Liberal beliefs in protecting economic civil liberties.

    Conversely social liberals adopted the Classical Liberal belief in defending social civil liberties.

    Neither ideology adopted the pure Classical Liberal belief that government exists to protect both social & economic civil liberties.

    Conservatism shares an ideological agreement on limited government in the area of preventing government restriction against economic civil liberties as embodied in the ability of people to sell their goods, services or labor to anyone they choose free from restriction except in rare cases where society's general welfare is at stake.
    You are a conservative by modern standards in that all you really care about is economic liberty, including gun rights, etc. But I haven't seen you express concern about protecting social civil liberties from Republicans who are actively trying to chip away at them.

    So your claim to be a liberal is, as I said, moose shit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
    What I was responding to was the fact that you call yourself a liberal without making the distinction between classical and modern.
    And you call yourself a liberal without making the distinction between classical and modern. Modern liberals have given liberalism a bad name.
    Last edited by anonymoose; 02-14-2020 at 07:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mott the Hoople View Post
    I'm sorry but this had to have been written buy someone who was born after 1985. Alex Keaton was representative of the Reagan Republican Movement of the early to mid 80's. I ought to know cause I was part of that movement. To see that he predicted the "New Conservative Movement" is complete non-sense. He was representative of the conservative movment of that time.

    Alex Keaton was sure as hell not repreentative of the modern take over of the conservative party by rural redneck working class conservatives that it is not. Not even bloody close. Holy Fuck, Keaton's hero Nixon would be classified as a communist by today's Republican party.

    Alex, and young Reagan Republicans of that era like myself would fucking be (and now mostly are) centrist Democrats today....Young, Educated, Urban/Suburban professionals (at that time). We sure as hell weren't redneck working class rural populist goobers that are the heart and soul of the modern conservative Trump movement today. They were still Democrats back then.

    I call this article "BULLSHIT", considering I was there and participated in the Reagan Conservative movement of the 80's. The author doesn't know what they are talking about.

    A lot has changed politically from the '80's (and '90's). From a Democratic perspective there's no way a Bill Clinton wins today running on a 'third way' platform stressing welfare reform and getting tough on crime. That would never fly. Reagan also won 49 states in 1984. Do you think there's any chance someone could pull that off today?

    Your Alex Keaton types of the '80's are executives and running companies today. Would/are they supporting Trump/and or Republicans?

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