On June 16th, 2015, Donald Trump declared his intent to run for President. A lifelong Democrat and progressive populist, Donald Trump took aim at the heart of the Conservative Movement and found it. Indeed, unlike Libertarians, Conservatives, and Constitutionalists such as Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul, Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal, Donald Trump identified the real motivation behind the conservative movement in America – and it wasn’t Conservatism.
Our Government has been poorly run and the American People feel as removed from their Representatives as they possibly could; and Donald Trump, to his credit, I suppose, named the source of their anger and lit a fire. It doesn’t matter that Donald Trump is the most liberal Republican to run for office since Herbert Hoover. Trump told America that they were right for feeling angry…feeling angry about our open borders, and our stagnant economy, and our woefully feckless and inefficient government.
Donald Trump has no solutions. He understands that conservatives never really did care or think too much about solutions in the first place. All they really wanted was to watch their political parties burn to the ground. They want justice. They’ve been wronged and they want to watch those who’ve wronged them hang; and we mustn’t worry too much about what comes next.
Nietzsche, having peered into the darkness of Man, once wrote,
And how clever such an ambition makes people! For let’s admire the skillful counterfeiting with which people here imitate the trademarks of virtue, even its resounding tinkle, the golden sound of virtue. They’ve now taken a lease on virtue entirely for themselves, these weak and hopeless invalids—there’s no doubt about that. “We alone are the good men, the just men”—that’s how they speak: “We alone are the homines bonae voluntatis [men of good will].” They wander around among us like personifications of reproach, like warnings to us, as if health, success, strength, pride, and a feeling of power were inherently depraved things, for which people must atone some day, and atone bitterly. How they thirst to be hangmen! Among them there are plenty of people disguised as judges seeking revenge. They always have the word “Justice” in their mouths, like poisonous saliva, with their mouths always pursed, constantly ready to spit at anything which does not look discontented and goes on its way in good spirits. (Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, Essay 3, section 14).
Whenever I see a mob, I think of this section. It can be applied to religious fanatics, political populists, anarchists, nihilists, or any other mob which forms for the purposes of destruction, without any intent or capacity to rebuild what they’ve destroyed.
How I pity the intellectuals who thought they were leading a thoughtful movement of conservatism! They were leading a mob they did not understand; and because they did not understand them, they were deprived of a majority of their followers, not by an intellectual, but by a man who knows how to excite and control a mob.
The effect? Let’s just admit it. The Conservative Movement is dead. Conservatism is an intellectual movement, predicated upon thoughtful consideration of historical experience. There is room to disagree about solutions, but we were not to disagree about reality in the first place. What role, I wonder, does reality play in this new populist masquerade? Truly, all this movement has become is the unification of gasoline and a torch without any consideration for tomorrow’s rising sun.
I’ve never been a fan of our political elite or our establishments, but I always assumed that once we (the grassroots) defeated them, that we would institute the thoughtful discipline and respect for authority requisite of a positive change. My own naivety astounds me and I am embarrassed. I looked blindly upon the angry masses and assumed they were angry men and women with solutions. Sadly, they were simply angry and angry only.
The rise of populism within the Republican Party won’t make me turn my back and walk away. In a way, I am truly thankful. I embrace our future decades with eyes wide open. Whatever Donald Trump really is, he’s not Hillary Clinton and he’s not Bernie Sanders.
In truth, Donald Trump is simply the first member of the Corporatist Establishment to figure out how to win the support of mobs on the left and the right.
There is still a Republican Party to rebuild. I hope, that despite our current misfortunes, that we can rally together to support our Republican intellectuals locally, in Virginia, and our Representatives in Congress – wherever we find them. Many of us believed that now was our time. We were wrong. The road is long, but the distance must not dissuade us. Accepting reality for what it is and dealing with it is what conservatism is all about.