Culture Wars/Current Controversies

“National Conservatism”: The Neocons’ Latest Scam

Why am I not surprised? “National conservatism” is just neoconservatism reinventing itself with a less Friedmanite economic platform, with a faux Christian Democratic and/or populist presentation instead. And the usual collection of “conservative” dupes are already on board. There’s nothing like 60 years of failure to bolster one’s confidence in ultimate success. This…this!…is somehow supposed to be the “right-wing” resistance to “wokeness.”

This is the YouTube channel for the American section of this “national conservatism” movement. As you can tell, it’s the same shit. Neocons and their assorted dupes, stooges, and useful idiots. Basically, Prager U with a pretended Thomistic intellectual gloss.

What is interesting, however, is that there seems to have been a genuine split between neocons who want to work this “national conservatism” and/or Trumpist/populist angle, those who want to continue to work the Goldwater/Reagan angle (e.g. Shapiro) and those who are now working the neoliberal angle (Kristol, Brooks, and Frum, for example).

By Daniel Luban The New Republican

Yoram Hazony has written the closest thing to a manifesto for intellectuals on the right.

Last week, the Ritz-Carlton in Washington played host to a much-hyped conference devoted to “national conservatism.” Hosted by the newly-formed Edmund Burke Foundation, the conference sought to sketch the blueprint of a right-wing nationalism shorn of its uglier elements (the mission statement cast itself “in stark opposition to political theories grounded in race”). The keynote speakers were Tucker Carlson, John Bolton, Josh Hawley, and Peter Thiel, but the impresario behind it was the Edmund Burke Foundation’s chairman, Yoram Hazony, whose speech announced that “today is our independence day” from neoconservatism and neoliberalism and called for a return to “Anglo-American traditions.”

While Steve Bannon has won the headlines, Hazony has emerged in the last year as the leading proponent of a more high-toned conservative nationalism. His current prominence is linked to his 2018 book, The Virtue of Nationalism, which has quickly become the closest thing the movement has to an intellectual manifesto. The book has received rapturous reviews across the right-wing press and won the 2019 Conservative Book of the Year award. While it gained plaudits from the more intellectually respectable precincts of the right (it carries blurbs from leading conservative Trump critics Yuval Levin and Reihan Salam), it has also been acclaimed by the MAGA crowd. In April, former Trump official Michael Anton (another participant in last week’s conference, better known as the pseudonymous author of the 2016 screed “The Flight 93 Election”) invoked Hazony’s book as the intellectual basis for a supposed “Trump Doctrine” in foreign policy—a hard-nosed yet non-crusading creed rooted in the recognition that “there will always be nations, and trying to suppress nationalist sentiment is like trying to suppress nature.”



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