As America determines the outcome of the election, it’s a good time for the modern right to engage in some much-needed self-reflection. For four years, we have revelled in mocking the American left for their faulty predictions and constant political rage – but to what end?
Yes, poking fun at the stereotypical left-wingers was (and is) a lot of fun. Still, it seems the right-wing of politics has confused purposefully provocative political speech or “sh*t-posting” with legitimate activism and political engagement. For four years, right-wingers distracted themselves with memes about angry lefties and comment section battles. Meanwhile, the left-wing media, big tech, and the Democrats had no such distractions and mobilised with a singular relentless political goal – a goal likely achieved in a Biden presidency.
It’s time for the right to mobilise with a single and relentless political goal of its own. We can undo the errors of the past by replacing conservatism with a movement of social and political change that brings us closer to the fundamental ideals of the west. This movement must see the economy as a useful tool to achieve social cohesion and prosperity, and not as a means unto itself. We must understand free trade is not a principle to adhere to, but an exercise in benefiting consumers that can go too far and hurt our nation. Law and order, a shared common language, a strong family unit, and cultural homogeneity based on Christian principles are the goals we must pursue.
Above all, we have to use the power at our disposal to achieve these ends. The government should not allow Facebook and Twitter to destroy our free speech because they’re private corporations. Those in power should not allow Marxist to indoctrinate our children in the schools we fund. The government should not allow parents to mutilate their children’s genitals or change their hormonal make-up. And no, rhetoric is not enough. No number of YouTube videos and Podcasts can achieve this end. Wishful thinking about the battle of ideas bringing about meaningful change is cute, but the truth is that the left’s progress came from the government, and only action from the state can undo it.
It is entirely possible, though not likely, that Donald Trump can remain President. Even so, this fact would not negate a single point in this article. Donald Trump, along with mainstream American conservatives, failed on many crucial issues. So as the wounds of defeat remain fresh, let us look back and address some of the many mistakes made over the last four years.
An excellent place to start is the illusion of victory. For four years the conservative movement gleefully proclaimed their neverending achievements: new judges, a booming economy, and sound foreign policy. And while these achievements are not insignificant, they were distractions from the more significant domestic battle taking place in plain sight. Social media giants began censoring the President’s supporters, and while Trump loudly condemned them, he did nothing to stop them. Four years later, Twitter is actively censoring President Trump himself.
Similar losses are evident in the cultural battle, where in the last four years the left has taken near-totalitarian control. And it’s no surprise considering the conservative culture war took place on enemy turf. Think of one prominent conservative “culture warrior” that doesn’t operate mainly on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube – the very same platforms that seek to destroy their movement. In essence, conservatives built up artillery that their enemies could eliminate with the click of a button. In the last four years, the left-wing invasion of every relevant cultural institution, including Hollywood, education, professional sports, and business accelerated dramatically. Does that look like winning to you?
Perhaps the most apparent reason for the losses of conservatism is the death of conservatism itself. True conservatism has been a walking corpse for a very long time, and there are two main reasons for that.
The first is, for conservatism to be relevant, there needs to be something left to conserve. There isn’t. Nearly every aspect of our society that conservatives deem worthy of preserving is long gone. Consider freedom of speech as an example. What are American Conservatives conserving there? Indeed, the government cannot jail a person for expressing an opinion. Still, that person can be booted from social media and have their life ruined by the mob. Free speech is like many other conservative causes: the appearance of it exists, but not the function.
The second reason for the death of conservatism is that we forgot what it is. Somewhere along the way, we forgot that small government, free trade, and capitalism are tools that we use to achieve an end in our society, but are not ends unto themselves. Unfortunately, conservatism has morphed into a mix of economy worship, liberalism, and leftist premises. For all his faults, Trump realised that numbers on a spreadsheet showing GDP growth did not eliminate the suffering of middle-class workers whose jobs were now overseas and whose wages were depressed by immigration. His actions in trying to address this infuriated many establishment “conservatives.” In the modern conservative movement, religious liberty, classical education, and social stability take a back seat to the economic machine.
The adoption of leftist premises is another knife in the back of the conservative movement. Today, so-called conservatives decry issues like identity politics while engaging in it themselves (see Turning Point USA’s black, Latino, and women’s leadership summits). More recently, conservatives celebrate the “year of the republican woman,” celebrating that many successful candidates this election happened to be females. Oh, and did you hear about Amy Coney Barrett’s adopted children? How cool is it that two of them are black?
In essence, the only thing that meaningfully separates modern conservatism from left-leaning libertarianism is a passive rhetorical endorsement of religious values, an ornamental rejection of political correctness, and a mostly disingenuous condemnation of legal prostitution and recreational drug use.
The likely reality is that Trump will not win. Despite all the hair-on-fire rhetoric about a Biden presidency, he’s probably going to govern like a typical corporatist establishment democrat and not a Marxist. Likely conservatives will go back to being court jesters and controlled opposition, only slowing the left’s agenda but doing nothing to reverse it. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Let us wave a heartfelt farewell to conservatism and the societal decline across the west that it has failed to stop. A social revival is possible, but it can’t happen alone.