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In Post-Trump Right, Republicans must return to Republicanism as Moral and Philosophical Guide

Excerpt from Republicanism for Republicans, National Affairs, Winter 2019.

“To build a new, post-Trump right, we need a new political language in which to express ourselves. Where will we find this new vocabulary, which might reach beyond the term “conservatism” as an organizing principle? The answer is right under our noses, hiding in plain sight. The project of intellectual and moral renewal on the right is best founded on the principles of republicanism. The challenge is to develop and articulate the principles and program of the republican wing of the Republican Party.

Republicanism, in the most basic sense of the word, simply means support for a republican form of government. This alone, these days, can suffice to position you clearly on controversies of the utmost importance. Beyond that, in intellectual history the term refers to a political tradition in early-modern Europe and North America, stretching from Machiavelli to Madison and Jefferson via Milton, Harrington, Sidney, and Montesquieu.”

I had expressed, that this was a pipe dream in The Irony of an Anti-Liberal Republican Party: Synthesis of Republicanism and Conservatism, not Possible. Republican Party is now the Trump Party.

For Post-Trump Right, Republicans must return to republicanism as moral and philosophical guide, argues Brink Lindsey. Firstly, I must say that I do not think one party could alone embody republicanism. Republicans must prepare for Post-Trump era, if infighting over the next couple years is likely to consume the GOP, except this will not happen. Many undesirable elements, racial attitudes, myths and iconic political figures that represented the image of the Party would have to be reevaluated. New thinking is needed, which is now highly unlikely to come about.

Noam Chomsky described the Republican Party as a radical insurgency off the spectrum, and that the Democrats today are what used to be moderate Republicans. Republicans want to revive “real Conservatism,” which represents a political tradition, that has been historically adversarial to the liberal tradition, democracy, humanism, the Enlightenment and republicanism. The Republican Party of Conservatives masks itself under the guise of being the United States Founders’ original intent.

Brink Lindsey argues, that the answer for Republicans is staring them in the face — in their very name. Therefore, the real question for Republicans should not be “what is real conservatism,” but what is the republican philosophy — the roots of the liberal tradition, of ancient democracy and republicanism. There are conservatives, that do, but they construct an antithesis to liberal education, democracy, religious pluralism, and ethnic diversity. The founders drew upon historical sources about the Carolingian Empire and its ruling dynasty, the Ottoman Empire, and Greek city-states, and republicanism is a long lineage from which to draw inspiration.

Republicans seem only interested in winning, spiting the left and liberals, and gaining political power. We see what they do with that power. I am interested in breaking the political game and cycle of the illusion of a democracy. Constituents of both respective national parties ought to keep in mind, that one party cannot rule, or govern this country, unless you want to abandon the Republic for a One-Party, or Fascist State? This game we play is not a sign of a healthy democracy as we are told, but a broken and lost one. We cannot afford to play the four to eight year party cycle any longer, and we are a country out of time. Many so-called believers in Democracy do not want to see the day the party or the political side they loathe actually improve. We actually need it to, and we ought to contribute to that. The problem is that, the Republicans refuse to self-reflect, preferring to rabidly blame everything on Leftists, and other conspiratorial forces, even if that means censoring and alienating Republicans, while crying of being alienated by society.

“The Republican Party, meanwhile, has long been a party of ideology, created in the 1850s with a much more specific guiding principle in mind: stopping the expansion of slavery. Ever since, that difference—one party, a pragmatic alliance; the other, an ideological one—has meant that the Republican Party is more prone to ideological fights blowing up into potential existential crises. (…) In contrast to the Republicans, the Democrats’ founding purpose was always more about process than a specific ideological end. And like the Republicans, the Democrats have also experienced periods of purposeless wandering, long-term minority status and internal division. Indeed, the history of the Democratic Party has been, to some degree, a series of efforts to infuse the organization with an ideological identity while holding a diffuse coalition together.”


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