Today, on “Death of Conservatism Watch”…


I will admit I was surprised when not only the usual opportunistic blowhards, but even a number of very respectable and impeccably anti-Trump people among those who call themselves “conservatives,” were disgusted with Ross Douthat’s suggestion that our constitutional order is built on the assumption that political leaders (“elites”) have something unique to contribute that hoi polloi desperately need, and don’t have of themselves. It’s not simply that these so-called conservatives disagreed with the wisdom of recognizing a role for elites in our constitutional order. They were appalled. And they identified Douthat’s heresy as a betrayal of “conservatism,” rather than an expression of conservatism (which is what it was, insofar as that word still has a meaning).

So now conservatism is identified with populism not only among the blowhards, but among respectable Never Trumpers.

But don’t worry. “This Is Not a Crisis.”

2 Thoughts.

  1. Greg, I believe the reason that Douthat’s editorial touch such a nerve is that so many conservatives (really, so many Americans) no longer trust the elites that run our institutions, and often run them into the ground. I believe there is very good reason for that distrust. Not sure if you’ve seen this Ben Domenech’s piece on this in the Federalist: “Blame the Elites for the Trump Phenomenon” but I found it particularly clarifying.

    • That’s all correct, and Douthat says the same in the twitter chain I linked to. The question is not whether the elite have been derelict in their duties, but whether they have any duties.

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