Skip to main content

The new millennial right?


In Tablet magazine, Washington Examiner editor Park MacDougald has written an essay on what its headline calls “The New American Millennial Right.” MacDougald argues that the intellectual worlds of conservatism and of the Republican Party have been in a period of intense internal debate since President Trump’s 2016 victory, a debate that has called into question parts of what he believes had been the Republican Party consensus, such as limited government.

That Trump won despite “the conservative journalists, intellectuals, wonks, think tankers, foreign-policy experts, and consultants who turned up their noses” at his candidacy “revealed their impotence,” in MacDougald’s telling. He focuses on young conservatives, a group he thinks are particularly open to the new pathways of thought that have since opened up within conservatism, in defiance of its supposedly impotent quondam mandarins.

One can raise quibbles with parts of this argument. Members of each “impotent” group were either more open to Trump from the beginning or have accommodated themselves to him since. Some of Trump’s most unqualified wins as president could be seen as representing “consensus” conservatism: a tax cut, conservative judges, deregulation. Yet even that consensus was a bit more dubious than the word itself might suggest (which he partly acknowledges). Etc.

But I want to focus, as MacDougald does, on the young. Much of his article consists of conversations and accounts of conversations with Washington, D.C., or New York-based young people: Hill staffers, publication editors, media personalities. From these, and from his own observations, MacDougald makes the case that heretofore niche conservative ideas, such as Catholic integralism, are having a kind of moment among young right-wingers. Maybe so.

I wonder, however, how truly representative these people are of young, right-leaning opinion as a whole. It seems rather that MacDougald has simply found and interviewed younger versions of the same kinds of people he argued Trump’s victory rendered impotent. These are, in his words, “the conservative journalists, intellectuals, wonks, think tankers, foreign-policy experts, and consultants” of tomorrow (or today), in embryonic form. (Indeed, in a telling aside, MacDougald admits to being one of these people, and to personally knowing at least some of them already.) Why, then, would not some future unanticipated development render them just as impotent as their forebears?

Here, MacDougald might argue that these young are the future because they are honestly grappling with changes on the right in a way that their predecessors failed to do. Perhaps they are. But to pick on integralism for just a second (as a Catholic myself!), it is hard to argue that Trump’s 2016 election means that America is ready to become a confessional state. And, more generally, it is hard to argue that some twentysomethings in D.C. and New York thinking it is means that a sea change is incoming for the American Right.

Journalists often contest headlines; I’ve done so myself. So perhaps MacDougald will argue that his article’s headline does not quite capture what he was going for (though I’d say it does). Less contestable, however, is the apt subheadline it received: “East Coast and West Coast Straussians do battle for the soul of Trump’s America, or part of it.” Emphasis added.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

First confirmed case of COVID-19 in Canyon

The Amarillo Area Public Health has confirmed 1 case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canyon.

"Due to sensitive information we are not able to share details regarding this case," the city said in a statement.

On Monday, Canyon Mayor Gary Hinders hosted a Facebook Live giving details of Canyon’s response to COVID-19 Status Level Red, which is aligned with the City of Amarillo and new Amarillo Public Health guidance.

Effective immediately, Amarillo Public Health has updated its coronavirus (COVID-19) Level to RED. This is the highest alert level, indicating there are widespread confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Amarillo and the surrounding area.

Hinders issued stay at home guidelines, that went into effect tonight, (March 30) at 11:59 pm and will be in place at least through Monday, April 13, 2020.

"We ask that residents stay at home except for outings essential to their own health, safety, and welfare and that of their family members," the city said.

Under these guideline…

Grocery stores impacted by COVID-19 outbreak

With the continued spread of COVID-19, many grocery stores throughout the area have been facing changes in operations as well as economic impacts.

Nancy Sharp, manager of communications and community engagement for the United “family,” which includes all Llano Logistics, RC Taylor, United Express, Amigos, Market Street and United Supermarkets, said COVID-19 has many people doing some fear-driven, panic-type buying, causing a significant increase in traffic in stores and people purchasing items.

The closure of dining establishments has also impacted sales as more people are cooking at home, which Sharp said has provided an increase to grocery stores across the country. The increase in traffic has also increased the amount of people who are working in the stores and the need for additional cleaning.

“We are cleaning multiple times a day, multiple surfaces. And so that has definitely increased the number,” Sharp said. “We're restocking several times a day; that also has increased th…

White House projects between 100,000 and 240,000 American deaths from coronavirus

President Trump's top health advisers said Tuesday that models show between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die from the novel coronavirus even if the country keeps stringent social distancing guidelines in place.

Without any measures to mitigate the disease's spread, those projections jump to between 1.5 and 2.2 million deaths from COVID-19.

The models, which were displayed at a White House press briefing Tuesday, underpinned Trump's decision to extend social distancing guidelines to the end of April.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, explained the data, urging the public to steel for difficult weeks ahead while expressing hope that the efforts would reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

“There’s no magic bullet, there’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviors,” Birx said, adding that it would be those behaviors that could change “the course of the viral pandemic.”

Second COVID-19 case confirmed in Canyon

The Amarillo Area Public Health has confirmed a second positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canyon. Due to sensitive information the City of Canyon is not provided details on any cases.

Last week, Mayor Gary Hinders hosted a Facebook Live giving details of Canyon’s response to COVID-19 Status Level Red, which is aligned with the City of Amarillo and new Amarillo Public Health guidance.

Effective immediately, Amarillo Public Health has updated its coronavirus (COVID-19) Level to RED. This is the highest alert level, indicating there are widespread confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Amarillo and the surrounding area.

Hinders issued stay at home guidelines, that went into effect March 30 at 11:59 pm and will be in place at least through Monday, April 13, 2020.

"We ask that residents stay at home except for outings essential to their own health, safety, and welfare and that of their family members," the city said.

Under these guidelines, all businesses, except those essenti…

First COVID-19 death in Lubbock: City confirms 10 additional cases

The City of Lubbock confirmed its first COVID-19 related death in a news release on Saturday. The individual was a male in his 60s who had underlying health conditions and was a resident of Lubbock, according to the release.

As of 5 p.m. on Saturday, the City of Lubbock has confirmed 10 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in Lubbock County to 41, according to the release.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has reported additional cases of COVID-19 in the surrounding areas to Lubbock County, including seven in Hockley County, one in Terry County, one in Gaines County, one in Hale County and one in Yoakum County, according to the release.

The City of Lubbock Health Department will continue monitoring individuals to reduce the risk of the transmission of COVID-19, according to the release.