Feature 07.24.2023 6 minutes

Not the “New Right” but the True Right

Lincoln memorial columns view from below, Washington DC, USA

There’s nothing unprecedented in a return to America’s foundational ideals.

Kevin Slack’s compelling piece, “The Constitution, Citizenship, and the New Right” makes it clear that we stand at a critical juncture in our nation’s history. The article astutely points out the challenges posed by unelected bureaucrats who wield their unchecked power to make, enforce, and adjudicate rules.

While the critique is valid, it is essential to remember that the presence of these bureaucrats is not inherently detrimental as such. There is a conceivable world in which they could provide stability, expertise, and continuity in the administration of public affairs. The crux of the matter lies in ensuring that these individuals reflect our shared ideals and truly represent the people they serve. Those of us to the right of center must seize this opportunity to reassess the selection and accountability mechanisms for these positions, ensuring they are filled by individuals who truly represent the interests and values of our society.

The article also sheds light on the emergence of parallel systems as a response to the perceived failings of our current institutions. While the creation of these parallel systems is a commendable initiative, we must not overlook the potential benefits of reforming and taking over existing institutions. These institutions, with their established structures, resources, and influence, can be harnessed for the common good. The challenge lies not in abandoning these institutions but in transforming them from within, aligning them more closely with the ideals and needs of the society they are meant to serve.

In essence, the article presents a compelling critique and a call to action for the so-called New Right. As we respond to this call, let us remember that our approach must be balanced, combining reform of existing institutions with the creation of parallel systems. Furthermore, while we scrutinize the role of unelected bureaucrats, let us ensure that they are representative of and accountable to the society they serve, rather than dismissing their role outright. The path ahead is challenging, but with a clear vision and unwavering commitment, we can steer our society toward a future that truly reflects our shared ideals.

With these considerations in mind, the term “New Right” should be emphatically rejected. There is nothing new about the principles that have defined America going back centuries. Neoliberalism and neoconservatism represent significant deviations from the bedrock of our political norms and conventions. Our mission should be to recover a true Right, founded on the examples and ideals that have defined the larger history of our nation.

Holding Out for Heroes

In its present form, our democracy rests precariously on the shoulders of big business and the media, two behemoths that harness their financial prowess to establish and maintain their legitimacy. There’s a common misconception that our current lack of political legitimacy arises from a shortage of financial resources. A more astute analysis, however, reveals that the real deficit lies in the paucity of heroic figures.

American heroes such as Alexander Hamilton, Henry Clay, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Donald Trump constitute an illustrious lineage of individuals who dedicated their lives to their nation, all the while championing the common cause—for the people. Their political legitimacy was ratified, but not created, by vote counts alone. Rather, their legitimacy stemmed from their unyielding pursuit of the common cause of the people and the expansion and growth of America.

The heroes of yesteryear were tested and tempered in the crucible of political crises and the struggle against common foes. Hamilton waged a battle against anti-federalists, TR stood firm against the railroad barons and industrial titans, and Trump took on the shadowy machinations of the Deep State.

In his incisive analysis, Professor David Azerrad posits that America requires a just leader who rewards friends and punishes enemies. Such leadership is the cornerstone of genuine political legitimacy. On the other hand, rampant individualism and the decline of the West are pressing issues that demand our immediate attention. If we misconstrue the Founding as a progression toward the illusory beacon of individualism, we inadvertently integrate our moral failings into our political fabric.

Societies are not built on individuals but on households, congregations, towns, cities, and counties. When conservatives focus solely on resurrecting an individualistic ethos, they risk succumbing to the zeitgeist of the 1960s. The mantra of “Be everything you can be” leads down a slippery slope, culminating in radical gender ideologies and endorsement of inappropriate relationships. Some argue that better individuals make a better nation, but how can we cultivate a virtuous and religious populace without a shred of shame, without societal mechanisms where people can be corrected within their households, congregations, and communities?

Political resistance emerges as a paramount theme in our discourse. As evidenced during the COVID-19 crisis, we already have a robust resistance movement in this country. The pandemic revealed the widespread fraud and groupthink amongst our political elites. Still, it also unmasked a resolute base of millions of people who refused to comply with vaccine mandates, mask rules, or partake in the melodramatic narrative of the pandemic.

Many observers have lauded Governor Ron DeSantis as the embodiment of American conservatism. However, this should be seen as a baseline rather than the zenith. Governors and local officials must be rewarded for their efforts in creating defiant red states that resist federal overreach and panic-driven policies.

Male and Female

Any real vision of a healthy civilization requires unapologetic ideals for the two sexes, differing yet complementary. This fundamental spiritual resource has been critically undermined by radical feminism, which dishonestly downplays the natural differences between men and women, leading to confusion and conflict in interpersonal relations. While the dignity and worth of women and men alike should be affirmed, men and women are not interchangeable blocks that can be swapped at a moment’s notice. Each sex has unique strengths and roles that should be celebrated and upheld, not minimized or distorted.

 Men should want to be risk-takers, confident in asking women out and not delaying marriage and family-building. They should either strive for self-improvement or actively seek partners. Men should also be prepared to create that business or secure that new job, avoiding the monotony of 9-to-5 desk jobs that won’t sustain a single-income household. Where possible, they should stay near their families of origin, who provide invaluable support as their own families grow.

Men should serve as pillars in their congregations, regularly attend church (even when traveling), and engage with fellow men in their congregations. They should not nitpick about theology but rather choose a congregation and raise their family within that community. Men should be vigilant defenders of normalcy, careful in their patronage of businesses, and unafraid to confront the cultural malaise that seeps into their lives. They should speak out even when it is awkward and avoid taking the media too seriously. Better yet, they should consider not owning a T.V.

The importance of imparting the truth to our children cannot be overstated. Parents need to teach their children the fundamental differences between right and wrong, healthy and harmful relationships, and the importance of respecting the institution of marriage. Husbands must listen to and cherish their wives, because their wisdom is unparalleled. Women were created with a unique purpose, and men were not meant to be alone.

Women should honor their fathers and heed their words. Earthly fathers may err occasionally, but with prayer and effort they can show forth the image of our Heavenly Father, who guides us toward righteousness. Women should also develop skills that will enable them to nurture their loved ones: not just patience, love, and a gentle spirit, but practical abilities such as cooking, first aid, gardening, and teaching. They should surround themselves with godly women who speak the truth, aspire to the same heavenly reward, and pursue godly femininity. The feminist ideal of the careerist woman, a disastrous holdover of the industrial revolution, continues to wreak havoc. Instead women should strive for the most honorable work of being a household manager. Women are destined for higher purposes than mere wage labor in a cubicle. Finally, women should encourage their partners toward righteousness—avoiding nagging, but also refraining from passive acceptance of wrongdoing.

Furthermore, as we delve deeper into the sphere of politics, we must grapple with the unnerving reality of the degradation of our public education system. Liberal ideologies and a skewed interpretation of our nation’s history have infiltrated our schools, producing generations unfamiliar with the core tenets of American values. The Left’s stranglehold on our educational system has sowed seeds of discontent and division among our youth, with radical doctrines such as critical race theory and gender fluidity undermining traditional family values and faith. However, we remain resilient in our efforts to reclaim the narrative and reintroduce our children to the principles of freedom and responsibility that underpin our nation.

The role of the church in our society is also of paramount importance. Religion has been a cornerstone of American identity since the inception of our nation, providing a moral compass and a sense of community. Despite attempts to secularize society and denigrate the role of faith, we maintain that the church is an invaluable institution that sustains and fortifies our culture. The resurgence of Christian values is essential in restoring our society’s moral fabric and in guiding individuals to lead virtuous lives.

On Solid Ground

Having established a secure foundation at the family level, Americans will be in a better position to consider the bigger picture. Our foreign policy, long dictated by neoconservatism and neoliberalism, has been marked by interventionist tendencies that have drawn us into endless wars and conflicts. In contrast, an America First policy would prioritize the security and interests of our citizens. While cooperation and diplomacy are incredibly important to good statecraft, we should not shy away from acknowledging that securing our national interests should be the driving aim of our foreign policy.

The role of a free and fair press in our democracy cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, the mainstream media, with its monopolistic tendencies and ideological bias, has forsaken its role as a provider of impartial and accurate news. The rise of alternative media platforms offers a glimmer of hope, fostering a culture of critical thinking and skepticism that challenges the status quo.

The American economic landscape needs revitalization. A return to policies that promote domestic industries, safeguard our workers, and encourage entrepreneurship is crucial in rebuilding our economy. The trade policies of the United States need to reassessed, and globalist influences that jeopardize our economic security must be resisted. Embracing economic nationalism is not a rejection of free trade but a recognition of the need for fair and reciprocal arrangements that uphold American interests.

It is crucial to realize that America is not merely an idea—it is (or at least, was) a culturally homogeneous nation, anchored by a collective reverence for faith, family, and the dignity of labor. This way of life still permeates the heart of the nation, though it has become subtly masked in the socio-political landscape. Simply travel through any red state today, and you can witness ample signs of Boniface-style destruction of the Left’s sacred idols.

In today’s context, territorial expansion may be mostly infeasible. But the expansion of our economy remains a viable and imperative pursuit. We must recognize, though, that our ill-advised policies have subsidized the outsourcing of our industries, leaving us with a precarious economic structure built on binary digits perched atop shifting sands.

Our nation’s beauty and environmental heritage should be preserved for future generations. Conservatives, with their inherent respect for tradition and continuity, are natural stewards of the environment. We should champion responsible conservation efforts and sustainable practices, without succumbing to alarmist climate narratives that seek to impose restrictive regulations and undermine our economy.

Conservatives must be cognizant of the seismic shifts in the American social landscape, which offer both challenges and opportunities, providing the impetus for political realignment and national regeneration.

On this front, the impact of globalization and technological advancements on the American workforce cannot be overlooked. Automation and offshoring have eroded our industrial base, leaving many of our workers unemployed or underemployed. We argue for a return to an economy that values manual labor and vocational skills. Our nation needs artisans, craftsmen, and tradesmen, just as much as it needs white-collar professionals. Our education system should encourage career diversity and equip our youth with skills that are integral to our economic vitality and national resilience.

Not Finished Yet

The depersonalizing effects of urban sprawl are very real. We should promote the idea of human-scaled, mixed-use neighborhoods that foster a sense of community and belonging. We should also support policies that encourage homeownership and protect property rights.

In our fight against the overreach of big tech companies, we are committed to protecting digital privacy and opposing censorship. We call for increased regulation and accountability of these companies, in order to protect the rights and freedoms of our citizens in the digital age.

Our stand on the sanctity of life remains unwavering. We reject the culture of disposability promoted by abortion and euthanasia, and we advocate for the protection of the unborn, the elderly, and the disabled. We uphold the value of every life, from conception to natural death.

Lastly, we revisit the importance of preserving our national heritage and history. While acknowledging the flaws and mistakes of our past, we insist on a balanced and respectful interpretation of our history. We oppose the erasure of historical monuments and the revisionist narratives that distort the legacy of our forefathers.

In all these endeavors, our goal is not to retreat to a romanticized past but to steer our nation toward a future that respects our historical roots, upholds our cherished ways of life, and promotes the common good. The path ahead may be fraught with challenges. But we are committed to pressing on, fortified by our faith, our love for our country, and our unyielding belief in the ideals that have made America the beacon of hope and freedom it is today.

We stand not for a “New Right” but for the enduring principles of our forefathers, principles that have stood the test of time. Our aim is to realign the American spirit with its true north, guided by the principles of liberty, prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness, under the banner of the stars and stripes. The storm may be upon us, but we will continue to illuminate the path toward a future that upholds the dignity of the community, the sanctity of the family, and the sovereignty of our nation. United in purpose, we will press on, steadfast in our conviction that America’s best days are yet to come.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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