Moving Past Conservatism

Ryan Williams, President of the Claremont Institute, has a great essay up today at Real Clear Policy in which he makes a case near and dear to the American Greatness project: conservatism is dead and we don’t need to try to resurrect it. Well, he’s more elegant about it than that but that’s the foundation of his overall argument.

As he says,

Rather than build a new conservative movement based on a fusion of new ideas and policies, why not marshal the wisdom of the American Founding and its political tradition to help deepen and elevate the new and interesting political coalition on the Right energized by Donald Trump’s remarkable candidacy and victory?

He calls this new project “Americanism,” which “can serve, once again, as the ground of a common citizenship.” Following the scholarship of Thomas G. West of Hillsdale College, Williams grounds this venture on the natural rights principles of the Declaration of Independence and then connects them to important areas of public policy.

On immigration, for example, the Declaration’s enunciation of natural human equality “leads to the necessity for consent among the members of the political community and the equal rights of citizenship.” Since government is created through a social compact of free and equal people for their benefit alone, this means that the people through their representatives have “the absolute right to decide whom to admit as new members of that political community.” If only that was the case today!

This sounds like a great project, and I will be very much looking forward to the next steps.

About Tom Doniphon

Tom Doniphon is not, as you may imagine, an iconic character from John Ford's greatest western. He is, rather, a writer in the Midwest. The moniker, suffice to say, is a pseudonym.

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