Between The Old Right And New Right, There’s One Fault Line That Matters
It’s true that both the National Conservative Statement of Principles — which I signed — and the Freedom Conservative Statement of Principles are useful distillations of the so-called New Right and the Old Right. I say that as someone with a foot in both camps, working for the organization founded by the Sharon Statement and a group founded by its author Stan Evans. FreeCons cite the statement as their inspiration. I’ve spoken at NatCon as well. Like Michael Brendan Dougherty, as a NatCon signer, I have quibbles with both statements but could basically sign both of them as well.
That sentiment is certainly not shared by everyone on the right, new and old, but it reveals an essential point: The primary disagreement between NatCons and FreeCons is their priorities. This is not to minimize that disagreement. It is significant. With certain old conservative institutions run by stalwart defenders of the old agenda, it will be unworkable. But with Republican voters and average Americans, it will not.
Take, for example, the tax bill Donald Trump signed in 2017. Here was a standard bearer of the New Right expending immense political capital behind fiscal conservatism. It became the legislative highlight of his entire presidency, and not merely because Democrats after 2018 declined to cooperate with his administration, but also because the president and people who staffed his administration genuinely wanted to do tax reform and pushed the reconciliation effort hard.
Today, virtually no person in the national conservative camp will argue that was the right move. Importantly, though, virtually no person in the national conservative camp would in
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