The unmitigated failure of conservatism is now beyond undeniable. Even the Hillsdale crowd is beginning to recognize it.
What is conservatism in America today? It’s hundreds of millions of dollars a year spent fiddling while Rome burns. It’s ideas with little to no consequence. It’s getting trampled all over by History, but while yelling Stop!
Conservatism is the seven cheers for capitalism and the deafening silence on demographic change, feminism, and corporate malfeasance. It’s the same tired cast of speakers blathering about limited government almost a century after the New Deal. It’s the platitudinous Reagan quotes and the worn-out Buckley anecdotes. It’s the mindless optimism and the childish exhortations—if something can’t go on forever, it won’t!
If it were only that, conservatism would simply be a harmless persuasion for nostalgic Baby Boomers. Or to be more generous, one big Benedict Option to offer a semblance of an alternative to the pervasive progressivism of our age.
But conservatism is also the endless wars, the nation-building, and the outdated alliances. It’s the free trade fetish. It’s the foolish libertarianism that hates the government more than it loves America. It’s the unconscionable refusal to clamp down on immigration.
Worst of all, conservatism is the cowardice and accommodation in the face of leftist hegemony. It’s the long list of enemies to the Right. It’s the court eunuchs and other members of the controlled opposition who offer an echo, but never a choice. It’s the faux grandstanding while living in fear of being called a racist.
Admittedly, this is not the whole of conservatism. There are still dissidents, contrarian thinkers, and courageous gadflies who refuse to lick the boots that crush them. Alas, their voices are, more often than not, drowned out by those of the conservative establishment.
If this is conservatism, then we may be inclined to say, let the conservatives keep it. Perhaps the time has come for patriotic Americans tired of the Left desecrating all they hold dear to go beyond conservatism?
Conservatism may indeed be unsalvageable at this point. The old guard is too heavily invested in—nay, it benefits too much from the status quo to own up to its failures, correct its leftward drift, and reground itself in the realities of the 21st century. Its business model works, as evidenced by the hundreds of millions of dollars that flow into its coffers each year.
And yet conservatism, in its dotage, cannot shake the nagging suspicion that it no longer speaks to the country it loves, in particular to those who have no living memory of the Cold War. This dawning realization could be amplified through probing questions: is America today more conservative than it was when the conservative movement began 70 or so years ago? Is conservatism itself as conservative as it was then? On the off chance that the conservative agenda were to be implemented, would it fundamentally transform the United States of America and lead to conservative hegemony (or would it simply save us money and buy us time)?
Across the board, the answer is a resounding no. Conservatism must therefore overhaul itself. If it refuses, then it should be left to die with the passage of time. A new Right, in any case, is already overtaking it.
Call us whatever you will – New Right, Alt-Right, Nationalist Right, American Right, or Crusader Right – but our ideas are inevitable because the truth always breaks through in the end.