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Conservative Vibes for Our Time

That’s what Nat Con II was all about: getting inside the vibrations of modern life.

What do we mean by “conservatism” these days, anyway? That was one of the questions always present (stated or unstated) at the National Conservatism Conference put on by the Edmund Burke Foundation in Orlando, Florida, late last month. It was the second such conference, NatCon II, the first one having been held in the summer of 2019. How is this new conservatism different from what has gone before? Is it different? About 750 people, many of them young, went to Orlando to find out.

William F. Buckley Jr., the founder of National Review, wrote years ago that he knew, if not what conservatism was, at least who conservatives were—confessing at the same time that it was easier to know who a liberal was: “Spin me about like a top, and I will walk up to the single liberal in the room without a zig or a zag and find him even if he is hiding behind the flowerpot.”

Some of the “conservatism” of the Orlando crowd is a reaction, and rebuke, to the Republican establishment, especially some (maybe many) of the Republican office holders in Washington—e.g., the 13 Republican members of the House of Representatives who voted for Joe Biden’s trillion dollar “infrastructure” bill (and who should spend the rest of their time in Washington behind —in?—flowerpots). They are “Chamber of Commerce” Republicans, people who care only about business and the bottom line, not about how we get to that line, or how many people have to get stepped on, or fired, or replaced by Chinese workers (or slaves), to get to that line. National Conservatism is something different—something more proudly American, “Trumpist,” the liberals might claim, accusingly, though it has little to do with Trump, and his name was mentioned only occasionally at the conference.

And “National Conservatism” is not exactly Reaganesque either, as a number of speakers pointed out. But that’s not surprising: Reagan took office more than 40 years ago, and there is no reason to suppose he would have proposed, as the solutions for today’s problems, the solutions he proposed then.

Even Buckley was criticized by one speaker, who said his famous cry for “standing athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!’” was simply not sufficient. But Buckley never said it was. That iconic phrase appeared in the first issue of National Review in 1955. But there was a whole lot more.

Buckley wrote: “[National Review] is out of place because, in its maturity, literate America rejected conservatism in favor of radical social experimentation [Doesn’t this remind us of open borders? Critical race theory for kids? Gender optionality?]. Instead of covetously consolidating its premises, the United States seems tormented by its tradition of fixed postulates having to do with the meaning of existence, [Justice Kennedy’s infamous “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life” anyone?] with the relationship of the state to the individual [you vill vear your mask und vhere are your vaccinations papers?], of the individual to his neighbor, so clearly enunciated in the enabling documents of our Republic.”

And Buckley continued: “Conservatives in this country—at least those who have not made their peace with the New Deal, and there is a serious question of whether there are others—are non-licensed nonconformists; and this is a dangerous business in a Liberal world, as every editor of this magazine can readily show by pointing to his scars. Radical conservatives in this country have an interesting time of it, for when they are not being suppressed or mutilated by Liberals [mind you, this was decades before Google, Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook], they are being ignored or humiliated by a great many of those of the well-fed Right [Hmm: Republicans In Name Only?], whose ignorance and amorality have never been exaggerated for the same reason that one cannot exaggerate infinity.”

“Not made their peace with the New Deal”! Holy smoke! Of course, the New Deal was younger then, dating from about 1933 to 1939, less than two decades before the founding of National Review. But who these days is calling for the repeal of anything?

Christopher DeMuth, the chairman of the conference, said in his speech that three of the critical foundations of nationhood are religion, locality, and family. Exactly. The dedication in Buckley’s first book, God and Man at Yale (1951), reads: “For God, For Country, and for Yale . . . in that order.”

DeMuth’s speech illustrated a point Buckley made in an address to the Conservative Party of New York State in 1964. Buckley said: “Modern formulations are necessary even in defense of very ancient truths. Not because of any alleged anachronism in the old ideas—the Beatitudes remain the essential statement of the Western code—but because the idiom of life is always changing, and we need to say things in such a way as to get inside the vibrations of modern life.”

That’s what Nat Con II was all about: getting inside the vibrations of modern life.

Published:

November 11, 2021
American Greatness

Citizenship, Immigration, And Race In Biden’s America

The partisans push for the end of voting.

As thousands of illegal migrants from all over the world invade this country—some of them sick with Covid-19 and some surely criminals—they are not just unstopped by border patrol agents (acting under the president’s orders) but actually encouraged by the president himself to come illegally. Meanwhile, Attorney General Merrick Garland has issued a warning to states about…voting rights.

We pause for just a moment to burn three pinches of incense (four, and we’d have to get EPA approval) to the great goddess of Delay who kept Garland off the Supreme Court. Garland, dishonestly promoted by his backers as a “moderate,” is a rabid partisan you wouldn’t want to see serving on a traffic court.

Garland’s “warning” about voting rights was just left-wing Biden administration blather. “The right of all eligible citizens to vote is a central pillar of our democracy, and the Justice Department will use all the authorities at its disposal to zealously guard that right,” he said.

The point of his remarks, of course, was to scare black Americans and divide the country. States have been passing sensible voting laws designed to prevent the chaos deliberately engineered by Democrats before the 2020 election—under the guise of making it easier to vote during the Wuhan pandemic—from happening again. That’s why Democrats are cranking up new Chinese Flu restrictions now: so they’ll be in a better position to loosen voting requirements again before the 2022 elections.

Speaking at the National Constitutional Center in Philadelphia on July 13, Biden said there is “an unfolding assault taking place in America today, an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote. We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole—since the Civil War.”

And neither is this hyperbole: That’s a load of hay.

But Biden and Garland have a problem: the Supreme Court recently upheld a new Arizona voting law that will make it harder to cheat. A newspiece in the New York Times put it this way:

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave states new latitude to impose restrictions on voting, using a ruling in a case from Arizona to signal that challenges to laws being passed by Republican legislatures that make it harder for minority groups to vote would face a hostile reception from a majority of the justices.

But an NBC columnist, Scott Lemieux, no doubt expressed the Times’s real thinking:

On the last day of its current term, the Supreme Court…continued its war on voting rights with its decision in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee. And though Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion attempted to strike a modest tone while giving states more leeway to make it harder for people of color to vote, it is clear that this court will smile upon even the worst vote suppression efforts being undertaken by Republican legislatures.

So what’s a poor Biden administration to do? Answer: try to scare black Americans into thinking racism is rampant in the Republican Party while flooding the country with illegal aliens to whom, in the name of equity, the right to vote should be given.

You have to admire the chutzpah of the Democrats—and wonder if Republicans have any of their own. Democrats complain about voting laws, while not enforcing immigration laws. The federal government is supposed to enforce those laws by “arresting, detaining, and removing noncitizens.” When was the last time that happened? Where is Merrick Garland when the law is undeniably being broken, and to a massive extent?

The number of illegal aliens crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is at the highest level in more than 20 years, and many of them have Covid-19—but hey! Who cares? U.S. Customs and Border Protection has said it caught more than 180,000 migrants in May. That was up from 178,000 in April and 172,000 in March, and in fact was the largest monthly total since April 2000.

Why? Because Biden discontinued a number of Trump’s immigration policies, especially constructing a wall at the border and requiring migrants seeking asylum to remain in Mexico while they wait for their cases to be heard.

The Biden administration is currently flying illegals from Texas to other places—mostly to Republican states, apparently. Then the Democrats will push to grant them all citizenship and—presto!—Democrats will win elections until the country collapses.

Here is some icing on their cake: a guest essay in the New York Times by a far-out left-winger named Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, described as “a journalist who has written extensively about citizenship.” Her piece is titled: “There Is No Good Reason You Should Have to Be a Citizen to Vote.” Do not read it unless you’re on life support and not expected to survive.

Now do you get it? The Biden administration intends to flood the country with lawbreakers, promise them amnesty from precisely the lawbreaking that got them here, and then let them vote by sending in a Corn Flakes box top with an “X” on it.

We’ll see how long Garland’s “eligible citizens” voting standard retains any meaning in the most woke administration in history. And how long this country, the Land of Hope, will survive when voting is uncoupled from citizenship and a belief in the rule of law.

Published:

August 18, 2021
The American Conservative