"Conservatism" is no Longer Enough

Posted by $ Markus_Katabri 10 months ago to Politics
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All hands on deck as we enter the counter-revolutionary moment.
Let’s be blunt. The United States has become two nations occupying the same country. When pressed, or in private, many would now agree. Fewer are willing to take the next step and accept that most people living in the United States today—certainly more than half—are not Americans in any meaningful sense of the term.
I don’t just mean the millions of illegal immigrants. Obviously, those foreigners who have bypassed the regular process for entering our country, and probably will never assimilate to our language and culture, are—politically as well as legally—aliens. I’m really referring to the many native-born people—some of whose families have been here since the Mayflower—who may technically be citizens of the United States but are no longer (if they ever were) Americans. They do not believe in, live by, or even like the principles, traditions, and ideals that until recently defined America as a nation and as a people. It is not obvious what we should call these citizen-aliens, these non-American Americans; but they are something else.
What about those who do consider themselves Americans? By and large, I am referring to the 75 million people who voted in the last election against the senile figurehead of a party that stands for mob violence, ruthless censorship, and racial grievances, not to mention bureaucratic despotism. Regardless of Trump’s obvious flaws, preferring his re-election was not a difficult choice for these voters. In fact—leaving aside the Republican never-Trumpers and some squeamish centrists—it was not a difficult choice for either side. Both Right and Left know where they stand today… and it is not together. Not anymore.

Those who wanted to Make America Great Again may refer to themselves as Republicans, though many realize that, apart from Trump, the party does not really care about them. Many may also, in some loose way, consider themselves conservatives. But among these plumbers, insurance salesmen, gym owners, and factory workers there’s one question you can pretty much guarantee they never discuss with their family and friends: “What kind of conservative are you?” This question has virtually no bearing on the problems that overshadow their lives.

It is still a question, however, that occupies intellectuals, journalists, and the world of think tanks. And this matters, unfortunately, because however sensible and down to earth the voters may be, an effective political movement needs intellectual leadership to organize and explain the movement’s purposes and goals. This leadership is still divided into—to name a few—neocons, paleocons (not to be confused with paleo-libertarians!) rad-trads, the dissident right, reformicons, etc. A lot of these labels are a distraction. But before I reject these disputes as mostly irrelevant, let me make a couple of points about why we can’t immediately leave this debate behind—and so why an essay like this is necessary.

“The conservative movement” still matters because if the defenders of America continue to squabble among themselves, the victory of progressive tyranny will be assured. See you in the gulag. On the off chance we can avoid that fate, it will only be if the shrinking number of Americans unite and work together. But we can’t simply mandate that conservatives “set aside” their differences, no matter how urgent it is that they do so. So my goal here is to show why we must all unite around the one, authentic America, the only one which transcends all the factional navel-gazing and pointless conservababble.

Practically speaking, there is almost nothing left to conserve. What is actually required now is a recovery, or even a refounding, of America as it was long and originally understood but which now exists only in the hearts and minds of a minority of citizens.

This recognition that the original America is more or less gone sets the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy apart from almost everyone else on the Right. Paradoxically, the organization that has been uniquely devoted to understanding and teaching the principles of the American founding now sees with special clarity why “conserving” that legacy is a dead end. Overturning the existing post-American order, and re-establishing America’s ancient principles in practice, is a sort of counter-revolution, and the only road forward.

Knowing What Time It Is

Claremont was one of the very few serious institutions on the right to make an intellectual case for Trumpism. This is not an accident. Nor is it an accident that Claremont has never identified with any of the conservative (or liberal) factions. When commentators try to label us, they usually just say “Claremont conservatives.” “True MAGAs” is another label—occasionally used by those who think Trump voters inhabit yet another enclosure in the conservative zoo. In fact, however, they are not a partisan faction or an interest group at all. On the contrary, the position they represent transcends the conservative divisions by representing the true, non-partisan understanding of America. (Yes: this is a bold claim. I will defend it in a moment, along with the claim that Trump voters are essentially “Claremont conservatives.”)

The great majority of establishment conservatives who were alarmed and repelled by Trump’s rough manner and disregard for “norms” are almost totally clueless about a basic fact: Our norms are now hopelessly corrupt and need to be destroyed. It has been like this for a while—and the MAGA voters knew it, while most of the policy wonks and magazine scribblers did not… and still don’t. In almost every case, the political practices, institutions, and even rhetoric governing the United States have become hostile to both liberty and virtue. On top of that, the mainline churches, universities, popular culture, and the corporate world are rotten to the core. What exactly are we trying to conserve?

At a basic level, Trump understood this. His problem was that he lacked the discipline to target his creative/destructive tendencies effectively. But even with greater discipline, he still would have lacked the insight to discern and explain what needs to be destroyed and why. His presidency, especially in a second term, might have corrected this deficiency, except that Trump suffered greatly from an absence of good advisors who could help him make sound judgments. This is partly his own fault, thanks to his bombastic vanity, but partly not, since only a handful of such advisors exist—and these few, moreover, have long been unwelcome in the corridors of power inside the Beltway.

Conservatism, Inc. is worse than useless in this regard because it does not understand through perpetual study what Trump grasped by instinct. As if coming upon a man convulsing from an obvious poison, Trump at least attempted in his own inelegant way to expel the toxin. By contrast, the conservative establishment, or much of it, has been unwilling to recognize that our body politic is dying from these noxious “norms.” Keep taking the poison! it advises. A cynic might suppose that many elements on the right have made their peace with (and found a way to profit from) the progressive project of narcotizing the American people and turning us into a nation of slaves.
---continued at the URL provided
SOURCE URL: https://americanmind.org/salvo/why-the-claremont-institute-is-not-conservative-and-you-shouldnt-be-either/

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  • Posted by coaldigger 9 months, 4 weeks ago
    When Trump was nominated I argued that his potential Presidency could be a great opportunity for Objectivists if they could gain representation on his advisory team. My position was that he had some good tendencies but no philosophy or any set of rational ideas to guide his gut decisions. He obviously knew nothing about how to form a governing apparatus of competent, faithful associates and links to the power sources of congress. His hiring and firing and rehiring of lousy helpers was pathetic and he was constantly being betrayed and stabbed in the back. Out intellectual Objectivists leaders would have nothing to do with Trump and were not about to try to provide any guidance. Only John Allison was considered for anything and I didn't get the impression that he was supported to any great degree. The rest sniped and complained for four years. We, who believe so strongly in individualism cannot band together even in its defense.
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  • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 10 months ago
    I am a Constitutional Conservative. I've never hid that here and even debated folks of its merit (you know who you are, lol, that is if you're still here). I am no lemmings, nor am I sheep, nor am I docile or blindly compliant or obedient Let them come. I am ready to rebutt any aggression, that being any intrusion to my natural rights cemented in this nation by our Constitution.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    "I’m really referring to the many native-born people ... It is not obvious what we should call these citizen-aliens, these non-American Americans; but they are something else."

    I call them zombies. We are living in a zombie apocalypse. If you think about it, the parallels are so blatant they are hard to accept. These people refuse to think - they have no brains. They are controlled by puppet-masters (ie necromancers) and their sycophants. They wander around looking for people who have brains to torment and destroy. They seek only to tear down - not to create or build up. And they are relentless.

    The problem is that conservatism by its nature is non-confrontational. The zombies and their masters have no problems using coercion and force to compel people into the unwashed hordes. The only way to fight back is to ... fight. That means you have to stand firm for beliefs in the principles of America: individualism, hard work, accountability, no favors, equality of opportunity (as opposed to equity of outcome) and accepting that these ideals are precisely what makes this nation the best in the world. But that also means that one must have conviction of precisely those things. One has to be able to confront the horror that is this zombie apocalypse and realize that the only way to fight is to stand firm and reject their mindless attempts at coercion. Don't surrender your mind and your individuality!
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    • Posted by lrshultis 9 months, 3 weeks ago
      Please get off your cancel cultured attempt to classify those whom you don't like as non American and like the Nazis' vermin to be done away with. It wont be long for you to start making lists of those zombies to be shot in the head to save us all from being bitten.
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      • Posted by $ blarman 9 months, 3 weeks ago
        What are you talking about? I agree with the author that being "American" has little to do with the circumstances of one's birth and much more about the principles they uphold. Progressives embrace the mentality of the feudal lords of Europe which most immigrants were trying to escape when they came to America in the first place!

        "Cancel culture" is exactly the kind of thing to fight against. But realize that it really stems from those who want to eliminate truly American culture - the culture of personal responsibility, limited government, etc. "Cancel culture" is a leftist ideology implemented by the brain dead who refuse to think for themselves. It is a zombie-like mentality which is why I call it such. And it works so long as people are willing to surrender their wills, their ideals, and their principles to the unprincipled hordes and their zombie masters.
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        • Posted by lrshultis 9 months, 2 weeks ago
          The founders of the USA were able to understand that the states were on a continent, named 'America' in 1501. They did not name the United States of America, 'America'. They knew that the states were part of a continent and not the continent.


          No individual citizen of the USA should not end up defined away because you do not like them as was done for the vermin defined by the Nazis in Germany.
          I consider myself an Objectivist Libertarian Republican, one of those vermin Atheists whom, among others, many who are pushing for an US Christian Theocracy believe should be expelled from the USA as being un American.
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          • Posted by $ blarman 9 months, 2 weeks ago
            When did this ever turn to atheism? I espouse natural rights. Whether you want to derive them from the Judeo-Christian ethos or from none at all, it is the fact that you believe in natural rights which concerns me.

            Europe has long taken the view - and still holds it - that natural rights do not exist. That is why they have devolved back into socialism. They do not hold that the rights of freedom of conscience, speech, press, assembly, religion, or self-defense (especially against a tyrranical government) are inherent and inalienable but rather than all rights and privileges stem from government decree. That is why I refer to them as Feudalists; they still adhere to the doctrine that men are not inherently equal but that there exists a privileged class which may with impunity ignore the laws of the land with respect to their own conduct.

            In my mind, there are two kinds of atheists. There are those who believe in natural rights - such as many on this board and elsewhere - and there is also a second and very dangerous kind of atheist who does not believe in natural rights. They are communists/fascists/socialists/etc., ie feudalists. It is they who have perpetuated the greatest slaughter in history over the past 100 years, with low estimates approaching 80 million and high estimates double that. (By the same token, I also do not believe those who embrace Islam can properly be American because they also deny basic human rights and equality.)

            The concepts under which this nation was formed and built up have been those espousing equality of opportunity, equality before the law, the right to express one's self through association and speech, and the right of protection from intrusive goverment - as a short list. THIS is what constitutes the American ethos. All those who pursue elitism in status by virtue of political party, skin color, etc., openly disavow the American ethos. It is this latter category which I do not consider American: those who instead of working to provide for themselves demand that others do so for them - the looters.

            "America" has always been far more about concepts and ideas that geographical position. It is those ideas and their pursuit which have made this nation the greatest on Earth. It is to those ideals that I hold and I consider those who share those ideals true patriots of the American cause.
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            • Posted by lrshultis 9 months, 2 weeks ago
              An atheist is one who has not belief in the existence of a god or gods.
              Everyone is born an atheist due to not having a developed self with which to believe anything. Therefore an atheist.
              Some would say but his parents believe in god so he is an atheist. Just as some say that a child is Jewish if his parents are Jewish.
              I was born without a belief in a god and was not forced by my dear parents to believe anything. I was taught simple morality by my parents about honesty, truthfulness, etc.by stories about how people in the past had lived morally, i.e., by choice and the advantages to that kind of life.
              I am 81 and have never seen any reason to change and to believe in anything other than objective reality with no supernatural aspects necessary for its existence.
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              • Posted by lrshultis 9 months, 2 weeks ago
                As for objective reality, I admire works of Einstein and Ayn Rand and others but not their flawed persons. It is amazing what a mind can do when applied to reality without any supernatural ideas getting in the way as they do in some physics which does not recognize an objective reality.
                As to my parents, my mother came from an emotionally cold Norwegian family and my father from a extremely bigoted parents. They, except for fun things like the birth of babies and make believe things which could easily be seen through as Santa Clause and other little childish things by reading me the comics in the newspaper and what I like to hear about, accidents and fires, never told me that I was going to burn in hell like my aunt often did if I did not accept Jesus.
                Sometimes it was hard living on the edge of craziness, especially in public school where it was best to avoid most teacher who were bent on saving my soul, though most were good people interested in getting me educated.
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              • Posted by $ blarman 9 months, 2 weeks ago
                Again, I'm not sure where you equated my comments to mean that Americanism doesn't extend to atheists, but I regard atheists as being in one of two camps: those who are for natural rights and those who aren't. The former I have no problem with and would gladly share a foxhole with. How they get there could be a subject for a different discussion. I've seen people abandon religiousity and I've seen atheists embrace God. To each their own Pursuit of Happiness. And I sincerely hope they find it - Happiness that is.

                The unfortunate history of atheism is that it was primarily founded by those in the latter group - the self-appointed elitists. Marx himself wasn't so much an atheist but a Satanist who openly defied the Judeo-Christian notion of God. (It's right there in the first pages of his Communist Manifesto.) An unfortunate reality regarding atheism is that those atheists who respect natural rights are a distinct minority when compared with the elitists. It is these elitist atheists who get bent out of shape about war monuments which feature a cross, nativity scenes in public, etc. (It's like the so-called "moderate" Muslims. They probably exist, but the others get all the press.)

                I prefer to leave everyone to believe what they will - just so long as they show me the same courtesy.
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                • Posted by lrshultis 9 months, 2 weeks ago
                  There was not founding of atheism. Atheism is an attempt to disprove something (god) for which no evidence exists. I, therefore, do not waste my time on trying to prove the non existence of something without any evidence. The lack of evidence is enough to not spend any thought on something that does not even have a objective definition.
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                  • Posted by $ blarman 9 months, 2 weeks ago
                    It is impossible to start with a negative and from its lack derive a positive. Products of the mind pre-suppose the mind's existence. A hole is a representation of something being removed, but that which was removed prefaced the hole.

                    Thought one: every valid theory posits the existence of something and tests for it. If one proposes a negative it is an inherently false postulate because it can not be tested for and verified. This is illustrated in the postulation of "dark matter" which defines a type of matter which is matter and not matter at the same time. The bigger problem is that inherent in the definition of dark matter is the admission that it can not be proven to exist because of dark matters non-reactivity to everything. It's a dead end notion. It's an excuse for scientists not to re-examine or revise their calculations regarding the mass of the universe.

                    Instead, we must posit something of existence and design a test for the presence of that thing. As put by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle via the great sleuth Sherlock Holmes, "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." In order to verify something's non-existence, one would have to probe every non-proverbial corner of the universe and have an absolute knowledge of all of existence. [pause to think about that]

                    Thought two: finding something depends on being able to define it sufficiently to design a test for its existence. If one has never tried to define a thing, how does one know enough about the subject matter in order to derive an exhaustive test sufficient to either verify or disprove the hypothesis of its existence?

                    Whether God exists or not, I respect the right of every person to choose what they will believe and what path they will take so long as they respect my right to the same. Those atheists which support natural rights I will kindly fellowship with. Those which don't I will oppose as tyrants just as I would any theist who attempted the coerce me to their point of view.
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                    • Posted by lrshultis 9 months, 2 weeks ago
                      A hole is not a representation of something being removed unless defined as those tings sold as donuts holes. A hole is a hollow place in a solid body or surface.
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                    • Posted by lrshultis 9 months, 2 weeks ago
                      "This is illustrated in the postulation of "dark matter" which defines a type of matter which is matter and not matter at the same time. The bigger problem is that inherent in the definition of dark matter is the admission that it can not be proven to exist because of dark matters non-reactivity to everything. It's a dead end notion. It's an excuse for scientists not to re-examine or revise their calculations regarding the mass of the universe."
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                      • Posted by lrshultis 9 months, 2 weeks ago
                        Sorry my finger got jumpy.

                        Dark matter if it exists is matter and interacts gravitationally with matter. Unless General Relativity is wrong and gravity does not act the same at a distance, some kind of matter, which has been named 'dark matter' , is necessary to explain the rotation rates of some observed galaxies.
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                • Posted by Lucky 9 months, 2 weeks ago
                  Some good thinking but the -history- is weak.
                  Atheism goes back much further than Marx.
                  It owes less to Marx than Republicanism owes to McConnell.

                  Yes there is no match between atheism/theism and human rights for/against or being natural or given from the top.

                  What we have from classical Greece would put several Greek philosophers as atheist. Elsewhere, both Confucius and Buddha could be called atheists.
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          • Posted by TheRealBill 9 months, 2 weeks ago
            "The founders of the USA were able to understand that the states were on a continent, named 'America' in 1501. They did not name the United States of America, 'America'. "

            Not true. in the Articles of Confederation - the constitution preceding the current Constitution we find they actually refer to the confederation directly as "America":
            "To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting

            Whereas the Delegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled did on the fifteenth day of November in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventyseven, and in the Second Year of the Independence of America agree to certain articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia in the Words following, viz."

            That is the opening of the Articles of Confederation. This is then repeated just before the signatures of ratification:
            "In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands in Congress. Done at Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania the ninth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight, and in the third year of the independence of America." emphasis added in both to highlight it.

            Given that there were still British and Spanish colonies on the North American continent, it would be absurd to assert that the Articles were referring to the continent as a whole, and thus referred directly to the new confederation itself.

            Further, Jefferson uses the term "America" to refer to the country repeatedly in his letters and papers. For example:

            "We have for some time expected that the Chevalier de la Luzerne would obtain a promotion in the diplomatic line, by being appointed to some of the courts where this country keeps an Ambassador. But none of the vacancies taking place which had been counted on, I think the present disposition is to require his return to his station in America." - The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 11: 1 January to 6 August 1787

            That is but one reference of several in that letter alone. Consider as well from the same letter "He would be, as he was, a great man in Congress. Mr. Carmichael is I think very little known in America."

            These are clear references to the United States of America as "America" directly. There are more, and we have writings indicating this was not unique to them but was common.

            For example, we can see G. Cerrachi writing to James Madison with the lines "The affars of Europe and the accident of my exile from Rome simed to contributed to inforse in me this favorable idea, and for to prouve how the Glory of America was ingraved in My heart, I emploied all my time, tho under the proseution, by deply studing a general subject upon the Liberty of America," - spelling preserved; it was a different era.

            James Monroe wrote to James Madison (among other cases) "The price will I fear exceed what you expected, for by Dr. Edwards acct. the reports in America were very erroneous in this respect. "

            Or Zimmerman on the subject of the British impressing American seamen wrote: "Mr. Madison observed that the gentleman from Rhode-Island who made the motion now in question, thought it unnecessary to send agents to Great Britain, because America had consuls there. "

            Now while one could try claim that statements such as "in America" might refer to the being on the "continent of America", the many references to "America" specifically as a specific country/entity, such as "America had consuls there" or "Glory of America" can not be so dismissed.

            Further they also used the term "American" to specifically refer to the character or status of being of the United States, not the content of North America. For example, again Jefferson:

            "I am afraid, by the American papers, that the disturbances in Massachusets are not yet at an end. mr̃ Rucker who is arrived here, gives me a terrible account of the luxury of our ladies in the article of dress. he sais that they begin to be sensible of the excess of it themselves, and to think a reformation necessary. that proposed is the adoption of a national dress. I fear however they have not resolution enough for this. I rejoice in the character of the lady who accompanies the Count de Moustier to America,"

            Here we see both uses combined in the same paragraph: American papers referring to papers published the United States as well as "to America" referring again to someone going to the United States of America referred to as "America" as he does in a letter to Adams thusly:

            "P.S. Monsr. Houdon has agreed to go to America to take the figure of General Washington. in case of his death between his departure from Paris and his return to it we may lose 20,000 livres. I ask the favour of you to enquire what it will cost to ensure that sum, on his life, in London, & to give me as early an answer as possible that I may order the insurance if I think the terms easy enough. he is I beleive between 30 & 35 years of age, healthy enough, and will be absent about 6. months."

            Thus your claim that the Founders did refer to the United States as "America" is disproven by their own use of the word in those very contexts in both official documents beginning with the Articles of Confederation and extending through diplomatic channels, as well as private letters. While the name under the both the Article and Constitution refer to themselves as "The(se) United States of America", it is invalid to assert that the founders did not refer to the country they founded as "America".

            Indeed, when you really get into the contemporaneous documents you find they tended to use the term "United States of America" to refer specifically and almost exclusively to the federal government of the Confederation or Union, while the nation was in fact referred to as "America".
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  • Posted by j_IR1776wg 10 months ago
    "...But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States...." DOI T Jefferson

    Just substitute the Marxist Democratic Party for the King of Great Britain and you will know what needs to be done. Particularly, "... it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security..."
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  • Posted by $ 10 months ago
    Some points I agree with. Some points....ehhh...
    I would advocate that the half of society that still considers themselves REAL AMERICANS put away the Twitter and the Facebook, at a minimum. If they can't even do that small gesture, then enjoy the decline.
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  • Posted by $ Thoritsu 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    Well said.

    Trump was not the all-knowing, strategist, playing a longer game. He was an outsider, with good ideas about what to do. He was rejected by the totalitarian, self-licking ice cream cone establishment on all sides. Only a few times did the Republicans actually support him.

    His narcissistic texting buffoonery, and coarse messaging were obvious short comings that his many enemies pounced on, expanding the shortcomings (without merit) to stupidity, racism, and hate.
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  • Posted by $ DriveTrain 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    I'm an objectivist, and this whole site is predicated on objectivist philosophy. Not conservatism or Trump populist-conservatism. It's great that conservatives are interested in learning more about Rand's philosophy - at least I assume that's why they're here - but why do I get the impression that some conservatives here are making little or no effort even to familiarize themselves with... if not Rand's philosophy as a whole, then at minimum her general point-of-view?

    I submit that the problems facing America are a whole lot deeper than just factionalism among those at the non-collectivist end of the ideological spectrum. The problems are philosophical in nature, and it is absolutely vital that we educate ourselves about those philosophical principles and their application.

    Two excellent places to start that study - perhaps as "appetizers" before moving on to the main course that is Rand's novels (the simplest way to dive into her ideas) along with Leonard Peikoff's 1993 work "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" - are these two articles on, respectively, conservatism and the state of the Republican Party:

    "Up From Conservatism," the 2007 Folio Award-winning article by Robert Bidinotto:

    and "Crisis in the GOP: The Battle for the Soul of the Republican Party" by Ed Hudgins, published in 2011:

    Though 2020 presented us with a veritable "lesser of two evils" necessity at the voting booth (yes, the "Never Trumper" faction is arguably as unreasoning as the Trump bandwagon faction,) I think you can locate the sources of the Trump phenomenon within both of those critiques. If you want elaboration, I recommend two other Bidinotto pieces:

    "The Republican Crack-Up, Revisited"

    and "A Vote for #Neither"

    He wrote another valuable piece a couple years ago on his Facebook page - an analysis of the personality-cultism that's led so many Republicans to jettison their principles for the Trump bandwagon - but I don't think he's published it independently of FB. I recommend looking him up. He has a lot of important insight to offer, as does the rest of the objectivist community.

    We will survive on the basis of ideas, and only ideas. Not via latching ourselves to the coattails of any particular politician, especially one as militantly anti-intellectual as Donald Trump. As a grading of his Administration he could be ranked as "ok." But we need far better than "ok."
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  • Posted by term2 9 months, 3 weeks ago
    Lets push for a peaceful revolution of the left from the trump supporters. I will move to a more reasonable place if the country is split up
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