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The Irony of an Anti-Liberal Republican Party: Synthesis of Republicanism and Conservatism, not Possible

U.S. conservative movement in its early history did not even like the Republican Party.

Why There cannot Be a Fusion of Republicanism and Conservatism?

“…if you read David Brooks’s columns, what he espouses could be called conservative but is certainly very different than what William F. Buckley has espoused. And Buckley has written that if the Republicans want to be a governing party they need to adjust, that it can’t just be an ideological movement, that Republicanism and conservatism need to fuse in some sense.”

Conservatism vs Republicanism

I disagreed when stating in Republican and Progressive Pioneer: Giuseppe Mazzini’s Political Thought and his influence on President Woodrow Wilson: ‘Republicanism is not a Conservative tradition, although certain American thinkers have called for a fusion of Republicanism and Conservatism. I argue, that this is nearly impossible.’ I covered this similarly in Late to the party… | A Look at Hayward’s Review: The Liberal Republicanism of Gordon Wood, where I write about Win McCormick demonstrating in Liberalism After Liberalism, that the civic republican tradition is a lost treasure (Feb. 16, 2018). Then you find articles like Take It from a Rockefeller (Republican), We Can Revive the GOP , who saw Trump as a virus. It is far too late to stop him, as it is the Party of Trump now.

Conservatism vs. Republicanism was written in 2007. The idea of a fusion is now a pipe-dream, even for the “Rockefeller Republicans,” unless they are waiting out President Trump’s terms. However, the new incoming class of Republican Senators may mean, back tot he usual for this party once there is no Trump any longer to pressure them, due to his popularity with the GOP voter base.

Many conservatives right now don’t care about the ideological side of conservatism. The current strategy is about winning. It’s also all about color-shading your Pepe memes, and “triggering” “the left.” The conservatives also believe the other side is an absolute peril to the future of the country, and this is what motivates them, in addition to conspiratorial beliefs.

In the Hayward article, the conversation here is much more related, when quoting James J. Sack’s From Jacobite to Conservative. It speaks of the “ubiquitous right-wing hatred of Dissenters.” What Sack states of the Right in the eighteenth-century — the era of Republicanism, demonstrates, that the American Right today expresses the same pathology and opposition characteristic of the European Right in the eighteenth-century, so how could the American Right today expect a fusion with Republicanism? There has been a constant and fundamentally philosophical strain on the party.

The conservative movement fundamentally changed the Republican Party. At the present, the U.S. Republican Party have unapologetically embraced into their body all kinds of elements that have boldly surfaced or dissented, such as the alt-right, paleo-conservatives, neo-Nazis, neo-confederates, and Generation Identitarians. These are not people I want to share space with; nor feel one should have to fight within any party, or association for.

This old 2007 article Conservatism vs Republicanism from The New Republic told us, that the conservative movement in its early history did not even like the Republican Party, but in fact were suspicious of it, and were not tied to a political party. We learn this even when reading about the history of the modern (post-fifties) American “Religious Right,” and their attitudes to the Republican Party. This changed during Reagan’s era, which would give the Republican Party the identity and rhetoric we are familiar with today. I suggest it rather go by the name GOP alone, or The Conservative Party, since that is what they chiefly care about.

Norman Podhoretz once said of this new burgeoning conservative movement of the 1980s, “we are not a partisan operation,” but this changed by the time of the Clinton administration, history tells us. This was in the time of William F. Buckley, considered the intellectual godfather of the movement.

“The important thing to keep in mind about American conservatism is much of it—and this is not said in a denegrative way, as it goes to the essence of modern conservatism—is as much about rhetoric as it is about policy. (…) So the essence there is a kind of maneuverability. And what Buckley says in the piece is that rhetoric precedes policy; so to be a kind of card-carrying, acceptable, ideological conservatism is often just about certain things you say, certain cultural values, religious values, political values. This is why Reagan was able to oppose a lot of what we now think of as the ideological agenda of the right, and hardly ever be criticized for it, even from the activists, or what Garry Wills calls the hard workers, the ones who actually win primaries and get people elected and drive the agenda of the party. So as long as someone talks the talk they really don’t have to walk the walk so much, and they can constantly make the sorts of real-world adjustments that any real-world political figure does.” (ibid)

The Republican Party was in a inter-war, but now, it is the “Party of Trump.”

When Katie Arrington won the race for Congress after the lose of Mark Sanford, she declared:

“We are the Party of Donald J. Trump.”

Donald Trump, speaking on the State Department said:

“The one that matters is me. I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be.”

Senator Bob Corker spoke of the actions earlier in the year of Republican lawmakers as contributing to ‘cult-like behavior,’ and that the Republican Party had degenerated into a cult. The American Conservative identity is now considered to be essentially “anti-Liberal” (“the left,” the “They”—who hate us, the “evil,” demons, the “diseased”, “liberalism is a mental disorder”), and those voices, or conservative intellectuals are now very dim (Friedrich Hayek Tried To Warn Us –…/he-tried-to-warn-us/). The voices who are not, are those who conformed to Trump; but when he leaves office, how will these people function? How could the “Republican Party” repair its image?

“He [Trump] is winning,” they see and say.

The young are not thinking of conservatism in the sense W. Winston Elliott III speaks of it in A Conservatism of Hope. It is likely to never be a cohesive fusion of Conservatism and Republicanism.

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