What Is American Conservatism?

What is American conservatism?

The American Conservative is holding a symposium on this question. Naturally, the question is being answered by the same group of people who are currently in charge of defining conservatism.

What does American conservatism look like from the outside or the Far Right? How would we define American conservatism? What does it look like from our perspective?

First, I would describe them as the least successful conservatives in world history. In the annals of history, it is hard to recall a time when more sweeping social social change has occurred in a shorter period of time than has occurred under American conservatism since 1955. Tucker Carlson announced on his show last night that equality under the law and free speech and middle class jobs should be defining issues of our times. In the twilight of the MAGA era, American conservatism has been reduced to this.

Second, I would say they are the loyal opposition. The primary difference between American conservatism and the Far Right is that the former is considered mainstream and respectable in our society. The personalities who participate in mainstream conservatism are considered legitimate in a way that is not true of White Nationalists. What is the source of their legitimacy and respectability? It is the mainstream media which is controlled by the American Left. These people are invited by the American Left to be their loyal opposition on the American Right. They agree to play by a set of rules which are defined and constantly being updated by the American Left like any Terms of Service agreement. This is why they are constantly purging their own ranks whenever “journalists” like Jared Holt of RightWingWatch patrol them and blow their whistles. This phenomenon is virtually unknown on the American Left.

Third, I would have to agree with Robert Lewis Dabney that American conservatism is “merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader.” Progressive liberalism is the front of the train and sets its course and direction. Conservative liberalism is the rear of the train that legitimizes and stabilizes each new social revolution. It has done this with civil rights, feminism, gay rights, gay marriage, DACA and most recently when Neil Gorsuch put his rubber stamp on transgenderism. The Trump era has digested and assimilated the previous social revolutions of the Barack Obama presidency.

Fourth, I would describe the philosophy of American conservatism as “conservative liberalism.” This is the values, beliefs, worldview and overall intellectual horizon of the American conservative movement. It exists to celebrate classical liberalism and free-market capitalism which is usually dressed up as “the American Founding.” American conservatism is opposed to progressive liberalism which stands for Big Government and socialism. Granted, it combines this with lip service and nods to non-liberal institutions like the “family” and “Christianity” and “virtue” and “patriotism” and the like.

The structure of the American conservative pyramid looks something like this:

The base of the pyramid is a sea of White Christians who are natural conservatives which is not the same thing as the ideology of conservative liberalism. These people are natural conservatives primarily due to their psychology and sociology. They are overwhelmingly concentrated in rural areas and small towns because these places are more settled. The people who live there are closer to nature and more attached to their communities. In contrast, the cities and suburbs are more unsettled and the people who live there are less attached to their communities, which makes them more inclined toward progressive liberalism. As recently as the 1940s, the South was a sea of natural Christian conservatives because it was rural, agricultural and highly settled. The same is true of other parts of the country like the Midwest.

Conservatism, Inc. is the professional class that sits atop the base of natural conservatives. The base of natural conservatives is stirred up by living in a state of perpetual social revolution. The job of Conservatism, Inc. is to harness the energy and resentments of backlash politics and manage discontent and channel it into electing more Republicans who always promise to do something about it. They exist to craft the mainstream rightwing narrative and to stabilize the system. These professionals tend to be more urban and educated than the base and far more sensitive to upper middle class trends. It is largely a lavishly funded jobs program for grifters and mediocre people who aspire to leap into more mainstream positions whenever jobs become available. As I previously noted, institutional conservatism is policed by leftwing journalists who work for institutions like the ADL and SPLC.

Ted Cruz is a great example of the sort of politician who has been vetted and elevated into office by professional conservatism. He is a performance artist who has spent his entire Senate career engaged in blowhard grandstanding. He doesn’t have a single natural conservative accomplishment of note to show for occupying his office. He is mainly there as a vote for the real conservative agenda which can be briefly summed up as tax cuts, deregulation, military pork, Israel and nominating pro-business judges. In spite of all the Sturm und Drang of the 2016 Republican primary, President Donald Trump and Lyin’ Ted (the Zodiac killer) have amazingly almost always been on the same page on policy questions.

Finally, the donor class and their institutions are at the apex of the conservative pyramid. These people purchase the Republican legislative agenda which always predictably reflects their interests. This is why the political capital of the 2016 election was spent on tax cuts, deregulation, Israel’s wish list, military spending and pet projects like criminal justice reform and police reform. The Republican donor class is disproportionately composed of Jewish billionaires who are socially liberal Zionists who tend to be private equity titans and hedge fund managers. This is why the GOP is so obsessed with Israel.

This is the structure, beliefs, role and purpose of the American conservative movement. In exchange for being treated as the legitimate and respectable champion of the American Right, it allows the American Left to set the Terms of Service for what is called the mainstream and the defining idea of the mainstream consensus as it has existed since World War II is “anti-racism.”

By anti-racism, I mean the repression of anything resembling White Nationalism down to even the most absurd past politically incorrect utterances. There is no other meaning of the term. Mainstream conservatives denounce identity politics and preach colorblindness and individualism to their audience of White Christians. In contrast, they make explicit appeals to blacks and other non-Whites on the basis of identity politics. Only Whites must be deracinated colorblind individualists. Jews can be full throated militant Zionists. Mainstream conservatives believe in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a colorblind utopia which the progressive Left abandoned as far back the late 1960s. There is nothing new about cancel culture. It has always been practiced by conservatism since the days of William F. Buckley.

What has been the long term result or footprint of the American conservative movement as it has defined the American Right over the past two generations?

First, it has succeeded in deracinating Whites and completely delegitimizing its own social base, White Christian America. No one in the American Right was given a mainstream platform to defend White people for to do so violated the anti-racist consensus and led to leftwing callouts. As a result of this systemic imbalance, literal black supremacists like Nikole Hannah-Jones have been allowed to become completely mainstream and to redefine the meaning of America with the New York Times 1619 Project. Mainstream conservatives destroyed the ethnic and cultural identity of their own social base in the name of “anti-racism.” Now, the meaning of “anti-racism” is being redefined to simply mean anti-whiteness. LGBTQ means #Pride which means anti-Christianity is our established religion. It was mainstream conservatives who created the woke hordes of psychologically damaged upper middle class White Millennial radicals through their own cowardice on race and culture.

Second, the American conservative movement has used its political power to score considerable victories on everything but culture. It faces no opposition in foreign policy in upholding the American Empire abroad. Strangely enough, absurd levels of military spending are relatively uncontroversial. Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and West Bank isn’t nearly as controversial as Donald Trump building a wall on the Mexican border. The American conservative movement has been extremely successful in lowering taxes on the wealthy and corporations. It has largely succeeded in deregulating Wall Street and Corporate America. It has succeeded in expanding international free trade and creating a globalized world economy which has impoverished its own social base, White Christian America, while creating a bloated oligarchy and crazed upper middle class which is currently in the process of destabilizing the country.

Look at the chaos unfolding around you. There is a pattern to it. Whether it is statues of George Washington being lynched by Antifa or Minneapolis abolishing its police department or the New York Times redefining anti-racism as anti-whiteness or the governor of Mississippi betraying his voters and pulling down the state flag to appease Walmart, everything you see on display is the bitter fruit of the hopelessly compromised and chronically ineffective junior partner of the American establishment. Previous generations would have never dreamed this could happen in the United States of America.

The problems of our age were the solutions of previous ages which have become a decadent consensus. The long term effect of both progressive liberalism and conservative liberalism passing the baton to each other as the Democrats or Republicans have taken turns with power has been a steady expansion of social equality and economic liberty. The result has been the growth of oligarchy and a kind of repressive libertarianism that advances liberalism and hollows out our culture while perverting it into its opposite: intolerance in defense of tolerance, hierarchy in defense of equality, tyranny in defense of freedom, bigotry in defense of openness, conformity in defense of individualism and even racism in defense of anti-racism. This aggressive push comes from the Left while the Right is content to repose in luxury.

The spirit of liberalism is diabolical. It is always either engaged in its project of loosening up the bonds of society, which it calls “freedom,” or tearing down and leveling the social order, which it calls “equality.” It also betrays its own values by bullying its critics. Life has become a blur of social revolution. We need to reverse course. Instead of loosening everything up and tearing everything down, we need to be tightening things up and rebuilding our social order. We need to scale back the social equality and economic liberty. We need more social stability and economic equality. Liberty and equality must take a backseat to the restoration of order, cohesion, continuity, stability, decency and normalcy.

Regardless of whether Donald Trump wins or loses the 2020 election, the American conservative movement and the Republican Party it services is not going to change. We tried to change it in the 2016 election. It didn’t work. It continued pursuing its long established goals and soon it will be engulfed in a crisis of its own making due to its failure to tend to the needs of its own voters. Why did it suddenly go extinct like the dinosaurs after its storied and lucrative career of subservience to the progressive Left? What aside from greed and cowardice possessed it to guide the nation toward this calamity?

America will never be the same after this catastrophe. This period of destruction is as necessary as forest fires though to clear away the rubbish so that the seeds of renewal can finally sprout. Scales must fall from eyes and illusions must crumble before men will see the Serpent has succeeded in turning the world upside down and start organizing to turn it right side up again.

About Hunter Wallace 12380 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. When you look back at the last 40 years, the key element of failure in conservatism in the USA, is the churches, all of them

    For its lesser but still large part, Catholicism got sold out by its Marxist pope John XXIII in the early 1960s, and Catholic dictatorship structure meant sheeple must follow … The USA of course never was primarily Catholic, even tho papists now control the US Supreme Court – 5 judges! – along with 3 Jews, and one pro-gay ‘Protestant’ to make the 9

    But the biggest visible, undermining collapse of the USA via religion, was through the Baptist Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority that helped get Reagan elected in 1980 … this is the key point in the collapse of USA ‘conservatism’

    That gang argued the ‘abortion is murder’ case aggressively, but then totally folded on the whole neo-con and liberal agenda, and the poison of that betrayal is what is unrolling today

    The abortion back-out was obvious … tho they inspired a slew of followers into murders, bombings and other attacks on abortion clinics and doctors – theoretically justified in their terms, if ‘millions of baby people were being killed’ – it became obvious that Falwell and others never believed their own rhetoric

    They became more Christian political sell-outs, in the tradition of Billy Graham, who was in the line of a group of USA political power-seeking clergy going back to Abraham Vereide in the 1930s, morphing into the ‘Prayer Breakfast’ scam of politicians in Washington DC

    Say what you will about Muslims, but they are holding the line on the traditional values of their own ‘holy book’, which no major leaders of Christianity – ‘christcuckery’? – are doing

    If all the religious leadership cucks, the people have little to ground themselves … but a religion based on a Jewish book, was always destined to work out that way

  2. Well said! Bravo!

    You know Hunter, I used to think I was smart and learned until I began reading your blog. You have a keen mind and a well-rounded education.

    Here is a question I have long pondered. If no one can talk honestly; then what are people really thinking? If you do a random poll and ask; “Are you comfortable with a homosexual or transgender person teaching your child in kindergarten or grade school?” I would wager that 80% would say, “Yes.” But is that really true? Is that really how they really feel? Does Mr. Wilson wearing a dress and makeup in the classroom teaching little kids give parents a “warm and fuzzy” feeling? Or are they consumed by horror at the idea?

    That is the question.

    I suspect that there are many more like us: but are we even close to a majority? 50%?

    • @Geir…

      Mr. Griffin has few peers in the realm of writing on the subject of American politics.

      He knows it, inside and out, and sees it from many angles, all at once.

      His specialty is the articulated autopsy of The American Corpse.

  3. Though I think the essay you wrote last year about the unraveling of the South is your best, this comes a close second. I liked the analogy of a train and conservative liberalism simply being one of the wagons in the back. It captures the way conservatives inevitably and predictably follows progressive liberalism.

    One part I did not fully understand was when you wrote that the problems of our age were the solutions of previous ages. Could you elaborate on that please?

    • Conservatism today is a product of Hayek and Friedman. Free market deregulation goes fist in glove with cultural degeneration, because if you have market deregulation, you put a lot of power into the hands of plutocrats – who push cultural degeneration, because then the society has no mechanism to hold these increasingly powerful plutocrats accountable, or to fight back against them, without the (now disrupted) shared cultural standards and values the society previously had. This is how we got to where we are today in the West, with the majority having no say in our government; voting is largely meaningless. Though the 2016 vote for Trump and the UK vote for Brexit, were votes of no confidence against the multicultural globalist system by white people – which this multicultural globalist system is actively working to destroy.

      — paraphrased from Striker on TPS

  4. Yep no matter who wins Biden or Blumpf you still lose and get a global homo Israel first president with a antiwhite anti christian agenda Theres no voting out of this

      • Means nothing? lol of course So you always support Israel no matter what huh? So are you okay with Israels genocide and proxy wars in middle east? Not to mention the displacement, dehumanizing treatment of Palestinians? This is okay with you its the Christian thing to do right? Or are you a atheist jen?

    • @Virtus

      So the Republicans are willing to throw out Columbus Day because they don’t want the average worker to get another holiday.

      Meanwhile, they give trillions of dollars to Wall Street every decade, massive subsidies to big business, open borders to cheap labor for corporations, and billions to the foreign nation of Israel.

      But at least they are being fiscally conservative by not giving workers an extra holiday, those lazy welfare bums are always asking for a handout! Why not try pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, or starting your own bank!

      • Or get your groceries on credit, like Wall Street Wilbur Ross said during the shut-down. Trump backed him up by suggesting the stores might take IOUs. This is who and what they are after lying about working for the common man with complete transparency at every MAGA rally. This ain’t great.

    • Let’s replace Christmas with Kwanzaa. Those genuflecting (while bending over pantsless) at the altar of St. Fentanyl Floyd are anxious to do it, so why not? As they’re antsy to make our society into an African-style sh!thole, just get it over with.

  5. Re: “progressive liberalism which stands for Big Government and socialism”:

    It stands for capitalism and opposes any true socialism or truly “big government” of the people for the people. “Progressive liberalism,” the so-called “left,” is not socialist at all. It is merely the other right wing of the one-party capitalist system.

    “The spirit of liberalism is diabolical. It is always either engaged in its project of loosening up the bonds of society, which it calls ‘freedom,’ or tearing down and leveling the social order, which it calls ‘equality.’ It also betrays its own values by bullying its critics”:

    The Democrats make many false promises to undo the extreme inequality created by capitalism, but when there is any threat of REAL leveling occurring, any threat to the interests of Big Money, the Democrats join the Republicans in stamping it out, but generally in a less forthright manner.

    “Life has become a blur of social revolution. We need to reverse course. Instead of loosening everything up and tearing everything down, we need to be tightening things up and rebuilding our social order. We need to scale back the social equality and economic liberty. We need more social stability and economic equality. Liberty and equality must take a backseat to the restoration of order, cohesion, continuity, stability, decency and normalcy”:

    There is no revolution. The media-sensationalized street protests against Israeli-style police state violence, the mass incarceration industry, et cetera, have no revolutionary plan or purpose, and they will be stopped as soon as they are no longer useful. Whichever right wing of the one party takes the next turn to occupy the symbolic throne in the White House, it will continue to serve the interests of the same super-wealthy elites, not the people, and inequality will continue to increase. Both right wings not only make equality take a back seat to the continuity and stability of the capitalist system, they kick it out of the car entirely. Both right wings give us nothing BUT “normalcy” (I do not like President Warren Harding’s neologism) because the system IS normalcy and normalcy is the system.

    “This period of destruction is as necessary as forest fires though to clear away the rubbish so that the seeds of renewal can finally sprout”:

    When the people are all burned out with failing efforts at “revolution,” and see that “revolution” never works, they will be fully resigned to their slavery and the system will then be fully secure without having had to really give a single inch, without having been forced to make even a single real reform.

    • By far the most intelligent post here.

      There is no “socialist left” in this shithole country.

    • HW;

      You know what conservatism is, it’s conserving the power of plutocrats while running a con on those who are normal white people with healthy instincts. For those who just want to have a decent job, financial security, no more foreign wars for foreign countries, crime free places to live, the wogs kicked out and ending cultural degeneracy there is nothing.

      The Republicans offer you a choice of shell games; Three Card Monte, a stacked deck or a slot machine that always comes up lemons. You cannot win so the best you can do is simply not play in their rigged casino, let it crash and burn.

      When it does the Democrats will discover that the cupboard is bare, Wall Street has already picked the place clean. Joe Biden’s administration will reap the whirlwind they and their Republican friends have sown these many years.

  6. The relationship between the left and conservatives is the same as between a man and a woman who plays hard to get and playfully resist his advances (with conservatives being the woman, obviously). Like the coquettish woman, conservatives love nothing more than to feign opposition only to have their walls broken down and finally succumb to the left.

    So ultimately, conservatism is playing the female role in a human courtship ritual.

  7. Bravo HW! A brilliant combination of sun and lightning and the essence of metapoliotics! I had to print this one off! On an unrelated vote happy birthday to David Duke, the Nelson Mandala of white America!

  8. An absolute tour de force, superb article. Thank you. I see on an unrelated note that you uncovered some new info about weev when he got let out of jail. Any chance of a deep dive into this?

  9. Conservatism has had many incarnations, but it’s pretty useless and doesn’t really appeal to us younger folks because its popular image is that of an old fart who merely opposes change he personally doesn’t like.

    Pre-WWII progressives were basically “Third Position”: pro-eugenics, immigration restriction, race realism, regulated capitalism, welfare state that benefits working and middle class Americans and not the two extremes, conservationism, foreign policy based on US interests.
    Post-WWII conservatives are plutocratic cuckservatives: pro-dysgenics, mass immigration, race denial, corporate interests, globalization, environmental neglect, foreign policy based on entangling alliances.

    Now, who has a better chance of preserving a successful nation state?

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