One of the biggest questions for the Right is, “Do you know what time it is?” The correct answer is, “It’s fighting time.” The question that follows from that answer is, “How do we win?” I suggest that in order to find the answer, we must combine the forces of both the old and new elements of the political Right.
A mashup is when two very different songs are combined in a way that allows them to blend into one. The result is not better than either in its own right, but shockingly well synced and something altogether new. Consider Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II” paired with The Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive.” Seems impossible . . . and yet.
The need right now is to mash up the fighting spirit and counterrevolutionary ideas of the National Conservatism (NatCon) wing with the old-school values and institutional power of Conservatism, Incorporated (ConInc.). Seems impossible . . . and yet at the third iteration of the National Conservatism Conference in Miami last week, we saw the first mix of a NatCon-ConInc. mashup. It rocked.
The intelligentsia of the NatCon movement have been sounding the alarm that neo-Marxism is here and has been working to destroy our Republic for decades. But it is not enough to be right. It’s essential to have a viable infrastructure and access to the levers of power to accomplish the right changes. Throughout this assault on our country, ConInc. has happily chugged along with its robust infrastructure and access but at every turn demonstrated a failure to grasp much less act on the increasingly imminent threat.
Meanwhile, the woke Left took over the nation’s major institutions. We lost everything that matters, except the Supreme Court. We owe that saving grace to Donald Trump. He was the face of a populist movement that was sick of ConInc. and the weak-kneed Republicans who campaigned like firebrands and governed like Democrat Lite.
Trump put three justices on the Supreme Court and gave us maybe a generation of breathing room to launch our counterattack. Had Hillary Clinton won in 2016, instead of celebrating the end of the evils of abortion on demand, we would have seen it enshrined as First and Second Amendments were consigned unceremoniously to the shredder.
The problem is that Trumpism and Make America Great Again, by themselves, are not a coherent ideology, governing philosophy, or a political platform. And they are far too dependent on one man. We need to coalesce around something larger and more lasting. We need a movement that recognizes the dire situation of the country; and, has substantive solutions and the will to impose them on an unwilling bureaucracy. This must include the ability to explain these principles to a large enough number of American voters to win elections.
During the Trump Administration, the forces of ConInc. tried to straddle the line, backing Trump when it suited their needs and opposing or even obstructing when he became unruly. This validated one of the complaints from the new Right: The country club Republican crowd would rather lose while claiming the moral high ground, than fight to save the country if it means getting dirty.
The Heritage Foundation is the leviathan of ConInc. The only way this mashup works is if the foundation actively joins the fight. At NatCon3, we heard a very strong message from Heritage’s new president, Kevin Roberts, in which he said unequivocally, “I come not to invite National Conservatives to join our conservative movement, but to acknowledge the plain truth that Heritage is part of yours.”
The importance of that statement should not be diminished. It is a stunning admission that we must join or die. As Benjamin Franklin said, “We must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” It is also shocking and heartening to hear that Heritage, with a budget that dwarfs that of basically all the other attendees combined, recognizes where the leadership about the current crisis originates.
Roberts closed his speech with the same question I asked at the outset: “What time is it in America?” He answered with a call to arms that many of us have been waiting and pushing for: “It’s time to work together and it’s sure as hell time to fight.”
There is plenty of animosity and mistrust on both sides. But we have not faced a more existential internal threat since the Civil War. We either band together to fight and win, or we get picked off one by one as the country disintegrates into the hellscape the Woke Left calls a socialist paradise.
A mashup of NatCon-ConInc. is now on offer, but it will not be an easy job for the engineers and producers to mix it into an anthem for our new supergroup. What will it sound like? Does it have a good beat? Can we dance to it or, more importantly, rally the troops with it? The real challenge is forging a combined cohort that emphasizes strengths and reinforces weaknesses for both.
It’s easy to identify strengths on both sides. NatCon has the people who have been calling for a full-fledged counterrevolution for years, though mostly without the resources or power to enact real change. It’s fair to say that NatCon had the right ideas for the current crisis.
The strengths of ConInc. are legion. The Republican establishment has had the money and connections, but too often ended up compromising with an opponent who never reciprocates.
It’s all well and good to shout, “We must fight back.” Someone needs to do the math and identify the economic policies that actually work, and this is where ConInc. shines. How will we even contemplate our tens of trillions in debt? What is the answer to our ancient nuclear arsenal? How does the much larger Chinese navy stack up against our “pride” and pronoun infected sea forces?
Roberts’ speech announced Heritage was part of the new Right, but the signs have been showing for a while now. While I may differ with their defense and national security chief, Jim Carafano, on Ukraine and some other issues, his properly belligerent attitude toward the domestic enemies trying to sunder our Republic has been a breath of fresh air.
A key element of a successful mashup is we cannot and should not expect agreement on all things. We have always been a party and movement of competing and differing ideas. It makes us stronger to have our viewpoints challenged by smart people who share our most important goals and ideals.
There are a significant number within the NatCon camp who think the tipping point may already have passed. “Do you know what time it is?” was popularized by David Reaboi who also wrote a piece about a national divorce. Michael Anton was famously prescient with his Flight 93 election essay and he has continued that vital work. Now, to mix the metaphor, he sees our ship of state having already hit the iceberg. He continues the fight while impeccably dressed and forced to seize the galley so as to serve us intellectual haute cuisine as the band plays on.
There is also a renewed sense that the Left has overplayed its hand and that, while it is surely late in the game, we have the momentum. Yoram Hazony, one of the founders of the NatCon movement, gave a clarion call for a return to the religious roots that made this country strong. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida laid out a list of achievements fighting back and winning against the woke mob that no other leader in this country can match. He said if illegals were sent to Florida, he would redirect them. He made good on his promise when just days after he spoke, the Florida illegals were flown to Martha’s Vineyard.
The tolerant leftists there promptly deported them off the island and over to the nearest military base less than 48 hours later. Given the opportunity to live their professed values, they failed. They didn’t want illegals littering their opulent playgrounds. Only once they are trained to serve as domestic and landscaping help will they be fit to return. One of the greatest allies we have in this conflict is the unrestrained hypocrisy of our leftist opponents.
What attributes does a new Right need to succeed? One is the realization that we are a team, a band of brothers and sisters, fighting to save our Republic from the woke neo-Marxists who now run it.
Working together has never been an easy thing for us. There has always been a problem of too many groups scrapping over finite resources. Also, too many people and groups are striving to be the lead dog. Continuing the animal references, eagles don’t flock. As I remind people, however, lions do hunt in a pride. We all need to look for the one thing we do uniquely well and partner with those who have complementary skills.
The other vital reason to team up is to reinforce weaknesses. When I was on a Special Forces team, everyone was packed with powerful skills. Each of us also had dangerous weaknesses. It was important to identify those to ensure the rest of the team was aware and could provide covering fire where needed.
Our adversaries on the Left have always excelled at working together for a common cause and even sacrificing themselves to ensure the hive survived. We can’t operate that way because we are not herd or flock animals. We can, however, work much harder to lock arms with those in the shield wall next to us. That doesn’t mean we can’t still push each other around a little and even get into some bar-clearing brawls over hot button issues. Once the broken policy planks are cleared away, however, it’s time for the back-slapping and blubbering reminders of, “I love you guys.”
National Conservatism is the antidote to wokeness and the tonic that can restore this country to its proper greatness. NatCon I am and hope you are, too.