liberalism

Trump, the GOP, and the Future of Freedom

I read Ben Domenech of the Federalist who asks, after observing the Trump phenomenon, Are Republicans for Freedom or White Identity Politics?  He does a fine and charitable job of surveying the underlying frustrations the GOP base has toward the party establishment and why to them Trump is an electrifying candidate. Yet, in his condemnation of the “Trump moment,” he tenaciously abides by all the crummy platitudes, incredible obliviousness, and supreme naiveté that warrants the cuckservative diminutive.

He writes:

Ultimately, Trump presents a choice for the Republican Party about which path to follow: a path toward a coalition that is broad, classically liberal, and consistent with the party’s history, or a path toward a coalition that is reduced to the narrow interests of identity politics for white people

Behold the obliviousness. The Republican party is, indeed, a broad, classically liberal coalition… of white men. The Republican party is and has been, particularly in the post-War era, an undeniably white party. It has never appealed greatly to minority voters, and every attempt the party establishment has made to reach out to minority voters has been an undeniable failure. Minority voting habits make this clear. Since 1976, for example, the GOP has never garnered more than 15% of the black vote in a presidential election. In fact, since 2000, no more than 10% of blacks voted for the GOP candidate. Hispanics, too, vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic candidate.

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Underlying this discrepancy is the implicit whiteness of the GOP’s classically liberal ideological predilections. Conservatives and libertarians, and liberals too, operate under this fallacious assumption that classically liberal ideas and institutions–the mores Americana, if you will, of individual liberty, concern for equality, respect for personal rights, regard for private property, markets, free speech, free association, etc.–are universal principles that can appeal to anyone on the basis of reason. This is emphatically false. These are values and customs with a cultural specificity, born out of the historical experiences of Anglo-American people and what they inherited from their origins in the British Isles and Western Europe.

It is this liberal inheritance, “our only real living link to the Revolutionary era and its truly revolutionary ideas about self-government,” that Domenech fears is being trampled by Trump’s populist identity politics. This is a sublimely idiotic contention.

Cast an eye over the world and one will see that American liberal values stand unique. Much of the rest of mankind is indifferent if not hostile to them. Even the Old World, who bequeathed to us a good deal of our own civilization and its liberal ethos, has since qualified and circumscribed much of its own liberal inheritance. Many of the immigrants coming into our country, especially across the Southern border, but also from Africa and the Middle East, arrive from low-bred peasant cultures, accustomed to nepotism and paternalism, and alien to high-trust liberal society. Freedom means little to a Somai or an Aztec, and neither are constitutionally fit for it. The “expansive view of the freedoms of a common humanity” that Domenech lauds as the lofty vision of a modern Republican party is high-falutin best left to the childish idealists of yesteryear. As Ann Coulter astutely reiterates in her public appearances, freedom and self-government will be empty words–and irrelevant–when the cultural underpinnings of such institutions are demographically displaced by foreign peoples.

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Your “natural conservatives”

The truth, then, is that the GOP has always been the party of white identity politics. Its values and policy platform most resonate with white Americans and white Americans form the overwhelming majority of the party’s base support. Donald Trump’s campaign has only made this more apparent and unapologetically so. Due to the changing and dire demographic situation facing the United States in the wake of the 1965 Immigration Act and as a consequence of bipartisan inaction on the Southern border, identity politics will be the inevitable new normal of American politics. The Republican party will emerge more explicitly as the “white party”, but only if it can overcome its infatuation with minorities and immigrants as the key to its electoral success. Is this to be deplored? The “vibrant,” diverse society of competing, irreconcilable cultures and interest groups to which America is currently looking forward is hardly ideal, but if freedom is to have a voice in such a society, it won’t be found outside the party of white identity politics.