For many reasons, I have watched the recent electoral season with horror and frustration. Now that it’s over, I view the next four years with something closer to anger and disappointment.
This is why:
I believe that conservatism – as a political philosophy – is, at its best, a coherent, rational way of seeing the world. From the time of Edmund Burke (at least), its proponents have warned that the unintended effects of making changes have continually been underestimated; that changing something that you do not understand is likely to cause more, and more complex, problems than it solves.
I believe that a functional and philosophically consistent conservative political party is one of the necessary tools that will help to improving the lives of normal Americans and our standing in the world.
I believe that globalization and capitalism, although they are imperfect and need elements of government oversight, are, so far, the best way of pulling large groups of people out of poverty that humanity has.
I believe that the power of government should be limited, and that the government intervention in the free market, if necessary at all, should only take place after much contemplation, fear, and trembling. An individual politician, attempting to call out individual companies or industries in an attempt to manipulate them to do his bidding, has no place in a free market economy.
I believe that in recent history, the United States has been too slow to lead, too quick to go to war, and too quick to conflate these two ideas.
I believe that the character of our elected leaders matters.
I believe in the rule of law.
I believe that the Constitution should be respected and taken seriously.
I believe that all Americans – and all people – are made in the image of God, and should be treated with the respect and dignity that this entails.
Donald Trump has repeatedly and deliberately repudiated all these things. Worse, he has done it under the banner of a political party that, given its history, should be motivated to stand for them. Worst of all, he has left the Republican party in a position where they are not equipped to embrace any of this points, or any coherent political ideology at all, for the foreseeable future. If I take as my belief that a functional conservative political party is a vehicle that is helpful to the future of America, I cannot support someone who wants to wreck the vehicle. As a result of Donald Trump, the Republican party has never, in my lifetime, been less conservative than it is now. What is left of the party has descended into rank populism, has done its best to marginalize or run off conservative intellectuals, and is held together only by its fear and hatred of things that, at best, it understands poorly, and may not understand at all.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Now is the time for principled dissent. Now is the time for resistance.