The assault on national conservatism

There are no coincidences in politics, which is why when three different people attacked the idea of ​​national conservatism from three directions in the space of a day last week, it was worth noting .

National conservatism is the idea that people organize themselves into nations to achieve a variety of goals and that historical experience is important in creating a nation and shaping its values. In the case of the United States, these purposes are best defined in the preamble to the Constitution.

The National Conservatism Statement of Principles (which I signed) includes new ideas such as supporting national independence, rejecting globalism, recognizing the need for the rule of law, believing that religion is important both in in public life and in individual life, to believe that free enterprise is a good thing and to understand that strong families are essential to national survival.

In short, National Conservatives believe in everything that until about 50 years ago was the foundation of America.

Who could tackle such historically innocuous sentiments? Well, last week a professional provocateur (David French) wrote that these sentiments were “a direct threat to religious freedom! Oh dear.

Around the same time, a former congressman turned gadfly (Justin Amash) tweeted, “National conservatism is authoritarianism repackaged… [and] fundamentally rejects individualism and property rights…” Oh my god.

There are a few problems with these “thoughts”. Everything in the National Conservatism Statement of Principles – which, as a reminder, includes an explicit endorsement of freedom of conscience – is in the middle of the aisle of historic American political values, thoughts and actions. There is nothing in the principles that suggests or endorses anything authoritative. On the contrary, national conservatism honors the individual and the community.

The statement of principles is also on target with regard to property rights: “We believe that an economy based on private property and free enterprise is best suited to promote the prosperity of the nation and is consistent with the traditions of individual freedom that are central to the Anglo-American political tradition.He goes on to explicitly reject socialism.

I can’t make it any clearer.

The good news is that the fight’s third skater, Mary Imparato, editor for the Catholic newsletter Post-Liberal Order, only complained that the recent National Conservatism Conference in Miami didn’t include enough neoconservatives, Catholics or Catholics who believe that we should establish some kind of Catholic Republic here in the United States (called “fundamentalists” because they believe in the integration of religion and state).

Unfortunately, there are no more neoconservatives and the six Catholic fundamentalists were busy moving back into their parents’ basement that weekend. No, seriously, they couldn’t because national conservatism is not their cup of tea: this crew refused to sign the declaration of principles.

There were, however, many Catholics. There were two panels on Catholicism and National Conservatism at the conference (full disclosure: this columnist participated in one of the panels). In all, the Catholics spent a good three hours sharing their different thoughts on the world.

The biggest problem with all of this is that it’s an example of how our public discourse has become corroded and sterile.

How did we come to a point where someone pays attention to these people? What they have achieved in life is unclear, so anyone should listen to them. They don’t seem particularly marked by wisdom, intellect, or success in business, law, medicine, politics, or art.

What they seem to do the most is get paid to have opinions, whether or not they know the subject matter.

Good for them, but probably bad for the rest of us. Do they have insight or wisdom acquired either by examining the political theories they write about? Indeed, in this case, they attacked without bothering to pick up a book to read or a phone to talk to the intended target.

It’s a small wonder that some err when led by people who have no experience that can help people make sense of the world.

Since they are paid to have opinions, it is fair to wonder who, in this case, paid for them to have and share opinions on national conservatism that are unfounded and untenable.

There’s an old saying in the South that dogs don’t bark at parked cars. If you do something – and the National Conservatives clearly intend to do something – all kinds of dogs will start barking.

• Washington Times columnist Michael McKenna co-hosts “The Unregulated” podcast. He was most recently Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.

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