I used to read Chronicles and Sam Francis and was into some “Alt Right” things before it was the least bit fashionable. I supported Buchanan in 1992 and in 1996 (at least in the primary), and was fed up with the faux conservatism and international adventuring of the GOP, which came into high relief during their support for the immoral war against Serbia on behalf of Muslim Kosovo in 1999.
Michael Brendan Dougherty is a thoughtful, young conservative who reintroduces us to Sam Francis and his belief in the Middle American Revolution. In him he sees the outlines of what Trump has accomplished. I confess, I didn’t quite see it at the time, thinking, as I’m wont to do, that conservatism and nationalism and the like were doomed by ennui and demographics. Plus, I used to believe in free trade back then, and now I’m a proud protectionist.
In any case, maybe there’s a sliver of hope, as represented by the Trump phenomenon. That is, we have a small window of opportunity until the demographic deluge changes us forever.
But the Trump phenomenon also seems global and inevitable. America’s elite class belongs to a truly global class of elites. And everywhere in Europe that global class is being challenged by anti-immigrant, occasionally-protectionist parties who do not parrot free-market economic policies, but instead promise to use the levers of the state to protect native interests. In Russia, Putin’s populist nationalism has taken over a major state apparatus, precisely to avenge itself on the paladins of the free-market.
What is so crucial to Trump’s success, even within the Republican Party, is his almost total ditching of conservatism as a governing philosophy. He is doing the very thing Pat Buchanan could not, and would not do. And in this, he is following the advice of Sam Francis to a degree almost unthinkable. Here’s the concluding flourish of Francis’ 1996 essay:
I told [Buchanan] privately that he would be better off without all the hangers-on, direct-mail artists, fund-raising whiz kids, marketing and PR czars, and the rest of the crew that today constitutes the backbone of all that remains of the famous “Conservative Movement” and who never fail to show up on the campaign doorstep to guzzle someone else’s liquor and pocket other people’s money. “These people are defunct,” I told him. “You don’t need them, and you’re better off without them. Go to New Hampshire and call yourself a patriot, a nationalist, an America Firster, but don’t even use the word ‘conservative.’ It doesn’t mean anything any more.”