Who Radicalized the Right?

The term “far-right” is applied far too liberally these days, but the Right has doubtless moved away from conservatism and toward a more radical form of politics. There aren’t too many defectors from Donald Trump’s camp who feel the man is too extreme. Rather, the argument from Trump’s right is that he is not disciplined enough to—as the online Right likes to say—“crush our enemies.” Whether Trump, Ron DeSantis, or some other figure is the Republicans’ nominee in 2024, the frontrunner will not win the hearts of the base by appealing to what conservatives are pleased to call “principle” and speaking in a trans-Atlantic accent. That person will do it by showing he is strong and can be a protector to half the nation. 

Of course, the whole purpose of constitutions is to limit power. In a constitutional system like ours, one is not supposed to be motivated by crushing one’s enemies. This has never been the inclination or aim of conservatives, who do not share the Left’s aversion to limits on political power. But things have changed. What happens when one side has no regard for the constitution or the limits of power? The goodwill of the conservative has been mercilessly abused, and he is searching for shelter from the obscene freak show of anarchy and disorder that has descended upon his country. 

Joe Biden is but the vessel of the deranged, domineering spirit behind the corruption. This malign force is not the beneficent liberalism of the founders, who cherished freedom of speech, religion, and opinion and, of course, the right to bear arms, and its implicit right of revolution. It is a tyrannical will that asserts total ownership of everything, proudly celebrates evil by calling it good, treats decent people like terrorists, exalts criminals and the insane, snatches children from their parents, and requires submission to itself—in mind and body—for citizens to earn bread.  

On top of it all, the means of democratic recourse appear to be slipping. Our elections are a Third World sham, and millions of foreigners with no right to be here live in the country without fear of removal. Their numbers are rapidly growing under the explicit protection of an administration whose party, in between giving lectures on the rule of law, brags about replacing and disenfranchising the country’s natives. 

The country is changing fast. A decade ago, the Left said, “We just want gays to be able to marry,” and now they say, “We just want to parade our depraved fetishes in public and sexualize children.”  

Faced with all of this, a Caesar who promises to sweep away the trash begins to look appealing to many. Especially when those on the other side are disingenuous, like our leftists, and appeal to principles they do not themselves believe in to get their way. No, the Left doesn’t care about constitutionalism, democracy, liberalism, or any of the high phrases that pepper their pompous speeches. Like a communist Popular Front, these are just words they use to put a benign face on tyranny, and blackmail their opponents into unilateral disarmament.  

Most on the Right have awoken to this, which is why, outside of a handful of naïve but sincere conservatives, few went out of their way to condemn Trump when he apparently called to suspend the Constitution. By the same token, there aren’t too many free-speech absolutists on the Right shedding tears for the liberal journalists briefly put on time out by Elon Musk. Why bother defending those who militate against free speech except to defend child drag shows and racialist propaganda in schools, and who would, if given the opportunity, censor all opposition from the Right without hesitation?

This may not be a “principled” way of thinking, as some conservatives understand it, but it is not an unreasonable approach in times of such enmity and trouble. The increasingly medieval nature of American politics has left many feeling that a faith in what used to be called principle is outdated and foolish. The two dominant factions now resemble hostile nations living under one government while speaking completely foreign languages. Consequently, politics has become a struggle for survival in which, because of universal suffrage, all are conscripted. The inconsequential noise of mutual recrimination leads many to tune out, but to do so, to remain unallied, is to let oneself be trampled. 

This is a sad state of affairs, but it is reality. The inducements for the Right to ditch conservatism are likely to multiply as the conflict deepens, convulsions of disorder worsen, and more people on the Right begin to realize they will never be left alone. The irony is that the Left, in the process of steamrolling normal people, may have created the very “fascists” they claim to be against.

About Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a Mt. Vernon fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a staff writer and weekly columnist at the Conservative Institute. His writing has also appeared in the Daily Caller. Follow him on Twitter @matt_boose. ‏

Photo: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

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