Part II: Honor and self-constraint can stave off tyranny.
America Must Replace Its Failed Elites
Conservatism, Inc. will say anything to avoid revitalizing our movement. We’re here to do it anyway.
Ed Note: The young founders of American Moment are committed to making vital changes in the conservative movement and injecting new energy into our coalition. We at The American Mind agree this must be done—and fast. Unfortunately, National Review, once a crucible for the best conservative thought, has become so defensive of its own position that it attacks any organization (including ours) which threatens to overturn the failed Republican leadership class. We are glad to host American Moment’s response to National Review’s ill-informed hit piece against them.
The old order that has dominated the Right for at least the last three decades is desperate to force its agenda on the country: endless foreign wars, cultural weakness, porous borders, corporate solicitude, and general apathy in the face of civilizational crises.
Fortunately, many are pushing back. Like many of our fellow citizens, we are determined not to go back to the failed consensus. That’s why we launched American Moment. Its mission is to forge a cadre of aligned and dedicated young people to serve in government and public-policy organizations to support strong families, a sovereign nation, and prosperity for all.
We are seeking to complete the long-overdue realignment of the conservative movement that President Trump jumpstarted. Unlike the multinational corporations that have captured the Right, we are striving to champion the legitimate interests of the American people.
An editor at National Review is not impressed with—and is apparently confused by—our effort. He writes: “the founders [of American Moment] do not disdain the idea of a Swampy elite, nor do they reject the predicates of the administrative state on which such an elite depends. Their main resentment seems to be that they are not the ones on top.”
In any presidential administration, there are thousands of appointed positions across the federal bureaucracy. Often collectively referred to as “the Swamp,” these officials wield enormous power over public policy of national import, including immigration, economics, trade, and foreign affairs. The constellation of advisors that surround a president and cabinet officials set the policy agenda of any new administration.
Even if the Administrative State were decimated tomorrow, restoring the constitutional order of the founders’ design, the majority of presidentially-appointed positions would remain intact. The question then remains: who will fill these thousands of positions? Ideally, young people who understand the great challenges of our time and are prepared to meet them. Making sure this happens is our primary goal at American Moment.
That is why we are launching initiatives like our Fellowship Program, which empowers young people without “connections” or rich parents—as well as those who do not have a college degree—to serve their communities and their country. An influential class of leaders, policymakers, and staffers is an inevitable reality of modern politics. We must fill these roles with engaged, committed people whose allegiance is with the majority of the American people and the preservation of the republic.
If we don’t act, the hawks who took us to ruinous war in Iraq, the free-trade absolutists who gutted our manufacturing base, and the utopians who continue to push for open borders will all waltz into the next Republican White House by boasting the “credentials” and “expertise” to lead. It is a shame that National Review seems so averse to new energy, so dedicated to disparaging and delegitimizing any initiative to revitalize the conservative movement.
The same National Review editor, in another piece, attacks New York Post Opinion Editor Sohrab Ahmari:
Whatever legitimate grievances of which Ahmari speaks, actually doing something about them cannot merely be a matter of wish-casting and fan service. It must be a patient, persistent matter of mind-changing, coalition-building, and policy-enacting—in other words, politics, in which the prospect of winning “decisively” is elusive at best.
We reject this characterization of Ahmari’s project, but we agree that patience and persistence are necessary in order to create the conditions for substantive change. Our incumbent ruling class has substantially destroyed American society. Now we must build anew.
We won’t achieve our goals overnight. Identifying, educating, and credentialing young leaders will take time. But we are persistent. With the hundreds of prospects that we’ve already identified, we can start to create a new cohort constantly fed by new talent—that is eager to serve our nation and serve it well. If that means throwing an occasional social event for them, so be it. The biggest problem with Georgetown cocktail parties has never been the cocktail parties themselves. It’s the indifference and unwillingness of most attendees to take responsibility for how they have failed the American nation.
Who will replace them? President Trump was a prominent outsider. That was key to his success. Now we need an entire cadre of young Americans motivated by the same values he represented to rise to the occasion and lead. Our mission is to build and equip this movement, and we will remain focused on it regardless of the old order’s circular firing squad.
Photo credit: Johnce
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.