NR Trumped

National Review’s February 15 number, “Against Trump,” carries a leading editorial condemning the Republican presidential candidate as a man who “would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones.”  A subsequent article by Ramesh Ponnuru and Richard Lowry, “Toward a Conservative Populism,” effectively suggests a practical approach to realizing, or at least accommodating, such a thing—under the strict guidance of the “conservative movement,” presumably.  Unfortunately, the editors are looking in opposite directions at once, something a political strategist ought never to do.

Aaron D. Wolf, in Heresies (pp. 31-32), explains why conservatism by its very nature is not ideological.  Setting his argument aside here, ideologies (which Kenneth Minogue defined as Gnostic keys, reserved for a special few, that unlock the meaning of history according to a single formula that must never be questioned) are the playthings of pseudointellectuals, appropriated from time to time by unscrupulous politicians determined on establishing totalitarian control for themselves, but with little or no interest for ordinary people.  National Review has not been the...

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