Wednesday, April 12, 2017

There Is Nothing New About Donald Trump's Conservatism

This article was written by a historian who reviewed a large variety of conservative movements in the US.  One of America's leading conservative intellectuals William F. Buckley led a revival of conservative thought in the 1950's by eliminating most of the fringe ideas, like the John Birch Society, and the KKK from his conservative ideology,  Buckley was a big hit among college conservatives who were a minority on many campuses.  Under Buckley, they banded together in a new organization that they called Young Americans For Freedom.  David Brooks was one of the leaders of this organization.  It should not be surprising that David Brooks has found it difficult to explain Donald Trump's appeal among many conservatives.  Trump's conservatism consists of fringe ideas that were excluded form the movement by William F. Buckley.  This article describes the fringe movements that inspired a variety of conservatives in our history.  There is nothing new about the far right movement in the US today.  The concluding paragraph in this article is quoted below. 

Future historians won’t find all that much of a foundation for Trumpism in the grim essays of William F. Buckley, the scrupulous constitutionalist principles of Barry Goldwater or the bright-eyed optimism of Ronald Reagan. They’ll need instead to study conservative history’s political surrealists and intellectual embarrassments, its con artists and tribunes of white rage. It will not be a pleasant story. But if those historians are to construct new arguments to make sense of Trump, the first step may be to risk being impolite
 The political debate in France today is also much different than the old fashioned distinction between  the left and the right.  It is between a modified form of populism and liberalism.  The new populism is really about a perceived threat to cultural identity from immigration and globalization which are supported by the economic idea of neo-liberalism.  The new liberalism also has little to do with far left ideas that were common in the past.  It is more about cultural liberty.

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