Politics & Policy

Trumpism Is Just Two-Bit Caesarism

(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty)

Let us, as conservatives, seek guidance from those we admire.

The Federalist (No. 39) speaks of “that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government.” Hasn’t Donald Trump been a votary merely of wealth rather than of freedom? Hasn’t he been animated by the art of the deal rather than by the art of self-government?

EDITORIAL: Against Trump

William F. Buckley Jr. proclaimed, in the founding statement of this journal, that conservatism “stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.” Hasn’t Donald Trump always been a man inclined to go along — indeed, impatient to get along — with history?

In a letter to National Review, Leo Strauss wrote that “a conservative, I take it, is a man who despises vulgarity; but the argument which is concerned exclusively with calculations of success, and is based on blindness to the nobility of the effort, is vulgar.” Isn’t Donald Trump the very epitome of vulgarity?

In sum: Isn’t Trumpism a two-bit Caesarism of a kind that American conservatives have always disdained? Isn’t the task of conservatives today to stand athwart Trumpism, yelling Stop?

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