Can “Conservatism” Save America?

Can “conservatism” save America?

The obvious answer is no, particularly if your brand of “conservatism” is tied to the Lincolnian nationalist myth.

That would be Claremont/Hillsdale conservatism. But even some of them are reassessing their belief that “conservatism” can turn things around.

Take Glenn Ellmers for example. In March he argued that “Conservatism is not enough.” I agree. Then he suggests that we need to read more Claremont Institute propaganda.

I disagree. If we want to salvage the federal republic, we need to move away from people like Glenn Ellmers, Michael Anton, and Harry Jaffa.

To be fair, he does get some things right: we have incompatible things in America and trying to force them together is not going to work.

But he also fails to understand the complex origins of American culture. America isn’t an idea, and American culture is the creation of an idea, a proposition nation myth. It is organic and rooted in deeply held and diverse folkways.

In other words, we don’t have an “American culture.”

Ellmers correctly postulates that we need to start thinking locally and acting locally. He doesn’t use those terms, but that is his point. Welcome to the party. Better late than never, which is funny because Ellmers thinks Claremont is leading the way.

The same Claremont folks that have called secession treason. Right.

I understand you can be blinded by your friends and what you study, but a little self-awareness would go a long way for the Claremont/Hillsdale folks.

Perhaps if they had been more interested in stopping the leftist assault on all things Southern years ago and not been a willing accomplice in the process, things might look different today.

Regardless, a listener sent me the piece, and I thought it needed to be covered.

I discuss Ellmers and Claremont in Episode 479 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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