We on the right tend to think of stuffy intellectuals insulated from reality as liberals. We cherish the stereotype of elitist, leftist eggheads who look down their noses at the little people, smug in their self-righteousness. Our intellectuals are the good ones, right? Aren't they the ones who would sit down for a beer with a truck driver?
Well...Decide for yourself. Take National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg, for example. The brilliant author (he wrote "Liberal Fascism", among others) recently penned a column excoriating mainstream conservatism for not denouncing the "Donald Trump Train: the so-called alt-right." According to Goldberg, the alt-right's "one unifying sentiment is racism - or what they like to call 'racism' or 'race realism.'" He continues, "One can't talk about the alt-right without acknowledging their racism." Jonah, you're better than such cliche. Granted, both parties attract a lunatic fringe, but he has been so sheltered in his policy-wonk, think-tank world that he has either forgotten or has never known how average Republican voters think. Donald Trump's ascension speaks just as much about dissatisfaction with the Republican Party as it does real or imagined racism or nationalism.
Unlike Goldberg, most conservatives and Republicans work in the trenches of a 21st Century economy that does not seem to reward hard work and dedication. One can argue the reality, but, in politics, perception rules. Maybe one can ask the Disney employees forced to train their own foreign-born replacements. It is not America's racial makeup that Trump addresses, it is how we see ourselves, our very character as a people. What Goldberg snidely calls a "white male fantasy" is the America that put a man on the moon, defeated the Soviet Union and was not afraid to put its own people first. Will we, once again, be a nation of doers and entrepreneurs, free of undue restraint, or will we succumb to dependency and lawlessness? Continued swarms of illegal, low-skilled immigrants (future Democrat voters) will change the very culture of this nation. Many have broached the subject only reluctantly, scared of being labeled racist or xenophobic. But we can have that conversation amongst ourselves. Conservatives don't call each other racist, do they, Jonah? Do they?
Conservative intellectuals, like their liberal counterparts, condescendingly point to changing demographics to make the case that Trump supporters (the dreaded white males) are afraid of dark-skinned peoples overtaking them numerically. Could it not also be that Goldberg (and Charles Krauthammer, among others) actually fears for his own
relevance? Who would want to sit down for a beer with Jonah Goldberg?
Donald Trump, as his supporters realize, is no ideologue. Thought obviously smart, he does not see the world in terms of conservative versus liberal or Democrat versus Republican. He sees challenges. He sees problems and picks the best people to solve them. That America should be great is not a concept he can defend ideologically - but then, he doesn't feel that he should. Trump possesses common sense, unfiltered by political correctness and the conventional notions of how a presidential candidate should speak. Goldberg and gang come across as nerdy eggheads in a feminized culture that demands a boost of testosterone. Enter Donald Trump. Americans are not clammoring for an American Enterprise Institute (of which Goldberg is a member) white paper on tax policy or a national symposium on Constitutional theory. They want a wall on the southern border. They want ISIS sympathizers removed from American soil. Conservatism, when not applicable to everyday reality, is meaningless to most people, just abstract theory. Conservatism must not only be discernible to working-class Americans, it must speak for them. Great leaders know that.
Granted, any successful movement demands intellectual firepower, and Goldberg has been an invaluable warrior on that front. Also, it is correct that a presidential campaign untethered from ideology poses a grave risk. But, as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. Some give the modern definition of a racist as a conservative winning an argument with a liberal. Jonah may consider himself more nuanced and principled than most, but the esoteric words 'racialism' and 'race realism' simply mean you've been called a bigot. Yes, conservative eggheads can be just as condescending as their liberal counterparts.