UPDATE 8.25.22: These words, written back in 2019 are as true now as they ever were. Many people, having endured the lockdowns and restrictions of the pandemic era now understand the value of “strong families, resilient faith, and a thriving middle class,” better than ever. Lockdown governors struck at the heart of all those values, pulling families apart while some died alone in hospitals, shutting churches and blocking the faithful from their worship, and absolutely devastating the American middle class with life-destroying business closures. Please reread this piece today and remember what America stands for.
Is there a “goal for America?” If there were, Johnny Burtka, [former] executive director of The American Conservative, has done a good job of laying out what it might be, strong families, resilient faith and a thriving middle class.
Johnny, a friend of mine, and the former face of The American Conservative, explains that a new national conservative movement is coalescing on three basic principles:
- that big business is a greater threat to liberty than big government
- that identity politics is a Freudian fraud
- and nation building is a chimera
Burtka, writes in The Washington Post (abridged):
There has been much intellectual ferment on the right since the 2016 election but never a public gathering of this scale explaining what Donald Trump’s victory means for the future of the Republican Party. Under the auspices of the Edmund Burke Foundation, a new group of self-described “national conservatives” gathered to proclaim that big business is a greater threat to liberty than big government, that identity politics is a Freudian fraud and nation building is a chimera. In short, the aim of this new conservative politics is not more freedom but strong families, resilient faith communities and a thriving middle class. If the influence of Russell Kirk, American conservatism’s founding father, provided the intellectual framework for the conference, Pat Buchanan’s pitchfork populism replaced William F. Buckley’s Northeastern elitism as its animating spirit.
Trump won in 2016 by tapping into Midwestern voters who were socially conservative and economically nationalist. This constituency was not represented by a single think tank in Washington. But if this new movement succeeds in building an army of institutions, scholars and politicians, what would its agenda look like in practice?
As relates to culture, national conservatives would aim to support families by being pro-life for the whole life.
In foreign affairs, national conservatives’ goal is to protect the safety, sovereignty and independence of the American people.
After touring all 67 counties in Pennsylvania during the 2016 election, author and reporter Salena Zito told conference attendees that the Republican Party is now the party of America’s working and middle classes.
Read more here.
Originally posted on July 23, 2019.
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