The Poverty of Conservative Philosophy


The election of Donald Trump has exposed, for all to see, the poverty of American conservative thought. Yet even now conservative thinkers seem none the wiser. Their frozen-fixed principles remain unchanged, and they gauge Trump according to how he well comports with them. Even Trump’s supporters, for the most part, have failed to understand just what explains Trump’s victory, and the revolution in conservative thought behind it.

The four pillars of the Trump movement, themes that resonated with his supporters and which were largely ignored by conservative intellectuals, were mobility, jobs, religion and nationalism. What they gave us was a very different party, one that is socially conservative and economically liberal or middle of the road, the polar opposite of the libertarian’s social liberalism and economic conservatism.