Normally a supporter of Democrats—in the diaries, he voices support for the presidential bids of Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy, Frank Church (“promptly regretted it deeply”), and Bill Clinton (“without enthusiasm”)—Kennan was nonetheless profoundly conservative in his worldview.
How on earth could a Democrat be a conservative? The logic of Progressives continues to astound me. Kennan, in addition to being an ardent supporter of Democratic Party candidates, also expresses adulation for ugly racist stuff like eugenics and even goes so far as to express sympathy for Apartheid in South Africa.
Libertarians and honest conservatives have long known about the intricate links between institutional and scientific racism and Left-wing political causes. The logical outgrowth of this subtle racism can be found in many of the Left’s pet political causes, such as Affirmative Action or government housing projects. These are inherently racist policies and if you read the justifications for such policies you can see why they are a natural outgrowth of Progressivism.
The New Republic‘s David Greenberg is unable to put two and two together, however. To him, the fact that Kennan was a racist and an imperialist and a Democrat does nothing to show him why the Democratic Party is the party of reaction, of conservatism writ large in the United States.
By the way: Just because I think Affirmative Action and government housing projects are racist does not mean I do not support reparations for the US government’s theft of labor from slaves and theft of land from Native Americans. I just think there are better ways of atoning for our government’s sins than engaging in even more fruitless, racist policies.