The worst part about my trip to Washington, D.C., last week, was learning to drink iced coffee before the paper straw dissolves. The best part was hearing from the leaders of the only movement capable of preserving our republic: the New American Right.
Last week on my radio show, “American View”, I spoke with Mollie Hemingway, co-author of the bestselling book, “Justice on Trial – The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court.” I also spoke with former White House National Security spokesperson Michael Anton. Both have taken positions as researchers and lecturers at Hillsdale’s D.C. campus.
At the 10th annual Hillsdale College Constitution Day Celebration in Washington D.C., I heard the youngest member of the U.S.
Senate, Senator Joshua Hawley, R‑Mo., speak. Hawley reaffirmed what many in the audience already knew: 21st century America faces a challenge that no living American has ever experienced. Our ability to overcome that challenge will determine whether our constitutional republic lives on or continues to fragment beyond unrecognition.
The city I found myself in this last week offered a glimpse of where we are heading if Americans allow the selfish to drive. Putting aside my annoyance with the highly ineffective paper straws, which are more aggravating than one might think, I found myself constantly trying to desensitize myself to the problems of the modern American city.
As I walked under an overpass on the way to grab my morning coffee, I tried ignoring the stench of urine. I mustered to withhold any appearance of empathy I felt towards the homeless couple I saw eating from a can outside their tent, as to not draw their attention. I watched in a store line as the homeless woman in front of me emptied her cup of quarters to pay for a Swisher Sweet cigarillo.
Outside America’s cities, there are plenty of problems. Like most residents of American small towns, Hillsdale residents know these problems too well. And unlike many cities, conservatives cannot simply blame these problems on the poor governance of Democrat leaders.
For decades, Republicans embraced a policy of “all trade is good trade,” even as small towns watched entire streets of local businesses close and large box stores emerge. For the past 50 years, both Republicans and Democrats supported generous trade and immigration policies, which have played a role in wage stagnation and job outsourcing.
These problems have long been dismissed by a ruling-class as minor and unavoidable consequences that come with the many benefits of capitalism. Americans have been taught that buying cheaper stuff at Walmart outweighs the shuttering of locally-owned businesses.
Conservative politicians rarely discussed the negative aspects of a society believing simply having more material belongings constitutes human satisfaction.
As the social media age arrived, America’s consumption addiction only increased. Americans shamelessly reap the benefits of living in the wealthiest country on earth — and they should. Yet it’s hard to deny the negative effects of screen addiction, online popularity contests, and faceless conversations leave on America’s younger generation.
America’s suicide rate is the highest it’s been since WWII, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said. More Americans died from drug overdose deaths in 2016, than in the entire Vietnam War.
Combined with a loss of decent-paying jobs, affordable healthcare, and the breakdown of American institutions such as church and family, this bombardment of digital media created what Hawley has described as an “epidemic of despair and loneliness.”
The election of Donald Trump signaled change could be coming to the Republican Party. What was unclear was whether that change would be long-lasting and would ultimately be beneficial for our nation.
Listening to Hemingway, Anton, and Hawley this past week confirmed that a new type of conservatism has planted seeds beyond the gates of the White House grounds.
Hemingway taught how to expose truth, Anton explained principled realism, and Hawley provided clarity. The New American Right should adopt the ideas of all three if we wish to prevent our nation’s cancerous problems from spreading.
Hemingway exemplifies the importance of defending truth in a society that has frequently come to doubt its existence. As the senior editor for the Federalist, Hemingway makes no attempts to hide her own political views. But when she writes, she writes to inform. Hemingway holds transparency as the highest standard. She demonstrates through her writing that facts needn’t be omitted or twisted for political gain, because if you seriously believe in a cause, the truth will help, not hinder it.
On matters of foreign policy, Anton’s ideas challenge a military complex and globalist class that has forgotten about the toll endless wars have left on American soldiers and in our citizens’ wallets. Anton supported and articulated the President’s foreign policy long before most conservatives did. He defends the notion that President Trump can lead without being a hawk or an isolationist.
To believe in putting America first, Anton believes, is the return to a state of affairs where America demonstrates to the world what it means to actually allow people’s voices be heard – rather than a ruling class bound by a globalist ideology.
Hawley managed to articulate the concerns and principles of the New American Right better than any of his elected colleagues. Speaking at the Constitution Day last week, he described his admiration for the Constitution, but also cautioned that the depth of America’s current problems stretches far too deep for any number of conservative judges or politicians to fill alone.
“As important as getting good judges is, it is not enough to defend our Constitution, not now,” Hawley told the room. “The greatest challenge of our time cannot be resolved by courts because what is at issue in our time is the character of our republic and our ability to continue our self-governance.”
Hawley, similar to Trump, sees a divide that doesn’t separate along traditional partisan lines but instead between a ruling class and the rest of America.
“The great American middle is being pushed aside by a new arrogant aristocracy,” Hawley said. “These new aristocrats seek to remake our society in their own image. To engineer an economy that will work for them and few else. To fashion a culture that is dominated by their preferences. When they think of helping their fellow citizens, they think of making everybody else more like themselves.”
Who are these aristocrats? Hawley listed just a few: “Big banks, big tech, big multinational corporations, along with their allies in Hollywood, the media, these are the Aristocrats of our age. ” All of them share a common vice – they have abandoned what it means to be an American citizen and how to respect their fellow people.
Rather than find value in the principles and necessary institutions of self-government, they have sought their destruction. In replacement, they wish to impose rights around things that must be coerced out of others.
Justice has been redefined as anything they deem healthy for their societies. Radical policies with regard to healthcare, immigration, and climate change are just a few of the so-called solutions proposed to fix the citizens and parts of societies they see as ill-educated. Many of the corporations they work for support their agendas in the hopes of benefiting from their regulation-making friends. And of course, those who oppose them are considered deplorable.
“The political establishment on both sides look the other way, rehearsing and rehashing the political debates of thirty and forty years ago,” Hawley said. “I just want to say to you, there is no time for that any longer.”
Hawley is right. For the past three decades, conservatives have been busy praying for another Ronald Reagan. Meanwhile, the battlefield has transformed. America’s greatest threat is now internal.
Fortunately, outspoken leaders of the New American Right provide Americans with a path upward.
Trump told the world on Tuesday, “The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots.”
Ben Dietderich is a senior studying political economy.