WFB TODAY, CONT’D
As an heir of WFB’s brand of conservatism, I read Richard Brookhiser’s piece “WFB Today” (March 5) with much enthusiasm. I agree with many of Mr. Brookhiser’s insights into the current status of WFB’s conservatism and the need to rebuild its political platform. In terms of the interplay between conservatism and Mr. Trump’s rise to the presidency, I share Mr. Brookhiser’s concern as to whether we have sold our souls in exchange for a four- or eight-year lease on the White House. Still, I believe those of us who grew up on and still indulge in WFB’s writings and worldview can overcome the intellectual disingenuousness of supporting the current administration.
We support WFB’s legacy by continuing to advance open dialogue with those who share differing views. We can fight against restrictions on speech in the guise of political correctness and encourage our sons and daughters to have no fear when listening to opposing viewpoints and defending their own.
I did not have the privilege of knowing WFB personally. When watching him on TV and reading his work throughout my life, however, I perceived that he allowed open discourse of differing views for reasons that included his confidence in presenting his own views masterfully but also his trust in the truth of his ideas. If Mr. Trump’s conservative credentials and motives remain in question, perhaps we can shape them while grooming the next officeholders with the knowledge of what WFB’s conservatism can do to make sense of the modern world. WFB’s views are timeless, and will long outlast the current wave of vapid, political fury.
Green Bay, Wis.
Mr. Brookhiser fails to differentiate between informed admirers of Trump and common voters. Without parsing these two groups and their differing roles, I would assert that Mr. Brookhiser’s criticisms are too strong. The role of Mr. Buckley, Mr. Brookhiser, and the writers of this esteemed magazine is to hold the line of conservative thoughts and ideas. In this regard, they have continued to hold strong to their principles. I have not seen a flood of Straussians and econocons bending the knee to Trump. Trump has been chastised and pulled toward conservatism by those of Mr. Brookhiser’s ilk. Consider Trump’s cabinet and judicial nominees, and the supply-side tax law.
The other group one must discuss is the common voters. These people do not have the luxury of taking the long view of standing on principles. Their role is to make a zero-sum decision in the voting booth. This is an inherently short-term transaction, with the status quo hanging in the balance. The aim of the voter is similar to a Darrel K. Royal offense, advancing the ball inch by inch. Can you fault a taxpayer for choosing the man who vows to cut taxes rather than the woman who wants to raise them? In this regard, the voters made the correct decision.