Our friend and former colleague, Christopher Bedford, Executive Editor for The Common Sense Society, recently posted an op-ed on The Washington Examiner deconstructing the latest attempt by DC-based alleged conservatives to redefine or hyphenate conservatism.
Out of respect for the Examiner’s copyright we will only excerpt the piece, but you can read the entire column through this link.
The “Freedom Conservatives” (FreeCons) statement of principles came out in mid-July wrote Mr. Bedford, and their statement reiterates the basic totems Conservative Inc.™ has held to for 30-plus years (free trade, the deficit, immigration as “principal driver of American prosperity,” etcetera).
One writer said the statement marked “a new chapter in American conservatism,” which is an interesting way to advertise the last chapter in American conservatism. Another, at the thoroughly anti-conservative magazine Reason, called it a “much-needed breath of fresh air.”
The statement follows a year behind a similar document, put forth by the new right, or the “National Conservatives” (NatCons). NatCon-signer Michael Brendan Dougherty admits he finds little to quibble with in the FreeCons’ soft verbiage, but many of its signers have been explicit: Their reason to exist is to fight and exclude the new right* as associated with men like former President Donald Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Sens. J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), and others willing to wield government power to fight the revolutionary left.
The new right are “a faction of cranks” writes Avik Roy, a former Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney adviser, and the principal driver behind the FreeCons.
The statement, Reason posits, “is an implicit rejoinder to the National Conservatism statement of principles released last fall.”
Attempts “to use big-government means for conservative ends will lead to disaster,” the FreeCon Substack warns.
Five weeks in, the document has nearly four-times the number who signed America’s Declaration of Independence. Comb through the most notable, however. They include former Gov. Jeb Bush, whose soft Republicanism was roundly rejected by Republican voters despite $130 million from the donor class. They include Jonah Goldberg, a once-was whose latest cause is against the small-donor activists who upended the big-money party machine that pushed Jeb. They include Kevin Williamson, who works for Goldberg and thinks struggling white towns “deserve to die.” They include The View’s Alyssa Farah, who’s never taken a conservative position she hasn’t since repudiated.
Far from the signatories of the Declaration, the signers more closely resemble those who instead argued to send the king another letter while Boston burned. Indeed, the whole thing reads like it’s from a time before the enemy was at the gates. In his olive branch to the National Conservatives’ distrust of corporate power, for example, Avik Roy admits the GOP’s Big Business pals sold out on Obamacare and China. That’s true, but since 2010, Big Business also fought to force Americans to take a failed and deadly vaccine; donated billions to support deadly race riots; worked full-tilt to overthrow a populist president; and built, funded and supported a hospital and mental-health regime devoted to sexually mutilating kids.
The problem with how to fight non-governmental power is the core disagreement between the tired right and the new right. It’s a question of whether you think DeSantis should have punished Disney for pushing sexual degeneracy on children, or if you think it isn’t government’s role to protect its citizens from corporations. Was Gov. Asa Hutchinson right to allow parents and Big Pharma to chemically castrate children, or is it government’s role to step in?
*** “...Let’s call this group the remnant,” signer Matt Lewis suggests. “This is a biblical term, which can be defined as ‘What is left of a community after it undergoes a catastrophe.’”
But for Lewis and many of his friends, the catastrophe was the rise of Trump and the new anti-corporate (and often anti-war) right. The catastrophe was the loss of influence, and a path away from the donor class and toward those dreaded small-donor activists.
For the rest of the country, the catastrophe was the hallowing out of American industry, sold out by both parties over three decades in the name of free trade. The catastrophe was twenty years of failed wars waged by a military that would rather leave its top command posts empty than retreat from its devotion to abortion and sex-changes for the troops. The catastrophe is the radicalization of our schools, colleges, and psychiatric and medical establishments. The catastrophe is the retreat of America’s Christian faith, and its replacement with a new class of self-worshiping tech-priests on Madison Avenue and in Silicon Valley. The catastrophe is corporate America’s war on the actual remnant–those Americans clinging to life in the small, beaten-down, drug-ravaged towns Kevin Williamson wants to die.
Sure, there’s a fight coming, but it isn’t from the “Freedom Conservatives” – those few remainders of the controlled opposition who were never in on the joke. The real fight is against the people who controlled them, who gave them jobs at MSNBC and CNN and invited them to corporate-sponsored conferences so long as they behaved.
*Editor’s Note: These guys should be more properly referred to as the New, New Right, since the original “New Right” was an outgrowth of the movement inspired by William F. Buckley, Jr., Young Americans for Freedom, and the coterie of conservative thinkers, writers and activists, such as CHQ Chairman Richard A Viguerie, Heritage Foundation founder Ed Feulner, Speaker Newt Gingrich, the late Russell Kirk and M. Stanton Evans, and others who came into their political maturity in the Goldwater and Reagan campaigns. They were also called “cranks” by the Romney – Rockefeller Republican establishment of their day.
Tucker Carlson interview
Gov. Asa Hutchinson