In Steve Burton's thread on the UKIP, commentator Old Atlantic said,
They aren't hated like BNP is. They are respectable, so they will chicken out in the end to do anything.
Well, I think of myself as a cynic, but that one made even me blink. Yet one can see the point. And that point leads to the following depressing conjecture:
Every political party that at time t is conservative and not loony will eventually either cease to be conservative or become loony at some time t+.
One cause of this dynamic is the fact that plain, ordinary, traditional conservative views are as much hated by the left and treated as being as much beyond the pale as really crazy views. In the present (new) stage of the culture war, the shrillness is reaching a point of diminishing returns, and it is hard to tell how much more shrill the left could be about, say, a person who believes that homosexual acts are immoral if instead he were a Holocaust denier. It's the grade inflation of leftist outrage.
A perhaps unexpected effect of this is that, to hold on to one's conservative moral views, one has to be prepared to be thoroughly hated and demonized. But once you get inured to being thoroughly hated and demonized, you sometimes find yourself in the same group with people with other views for which they are hated and demonized, who have latched onto your party. I've called this elsewhere (though I don't have time to find the link, and it was in a combox) "ideological static cling." Hence, unfortunately, the ranks of R.P. supporters (please do not mention his full name in the comments thread for fear of Google-led trolls) contained a disproportionate number of 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and the 9/11 conspiracy theorists also courted the Constitution Party candidate and were, at least, not completely rebuffed. Similarly, the super-traditional followers of Lefebvre among Roman Catholics ended up, embarrassingly, containing at least one Holocaust-denying bishop.
If, on the other hand, a party purges these loony elements, there is the very real sociological danger that the party will become worried about respectability in and of itself, which will inevitably lead, under pressure from the left, to their losing their original conservative credentials.
What do my readers think about this dynamic? And can anything be done about it?