A column recently appeared in The Miami Hurricane titled “Trump is not divergence from, but conclusion to American conservatism.” The column mischaracterizes the meaning of conservatism by failing to understand the fundamental objectives and principles that comprise conservative ideology.
Conservatism, as broadly defined by many prominent conservative thinkers, is an ideology that aspires to conserve the founding principles of the nation. These principles — freedom, individual liberty and small government — have not always been upheld. Conservatives wish to apply these principles ubiquitously, not just to a select few as leftists often claim.
Conservatism does not wish to conserve or recreate previous eras of the nation. There are, certainly, those on the political right who would like to return to the past — this sentiment is not driven by principle, but rather by racist and bigoted thought. Those who wish to return to the past, many of whom are members of the “alt-right,” which Trump often tacitly endorses, do not represent conservatism.
The alt-right — a truly deplorable group of white supremacists — believes that white race, rather than principles, makes America exceptional. Trump flirts with this notion, and believes that America is great simply because it is America.
This is absolute nonsense.
What makes America exceptional is not race, geography, or the colors of our flag, but rather the founding principles. This is conservatism and Trump has shown no interest in it. Trump corrupts conservatism.
Trump is a big-government, European-styled right-wing nationalist masquerading around as an American conservative. The Constitution is as foreign to Trump as decency is — which he lacks entirely. Trump is anti-free trade, pro-big government (including massive welfare programs), incoherent on foreign policy, and on immigration, as with many of his positions, is in a state of perpetual change, which leads to multiple incompatible positions. This wild inconsistency is the product of the absence of principles mixed with subpar intellectual capabilities. Electing Trump will destroy conservatism from within.
The future of the country cannot afford such a devastating turn of events. It is my hope that Trumpism dies on Nov. 8. The political right will have to wait four more years for another opportunity to save America from leftism.
Zach Gluckow is a freshman majoring in philosophy and political science.
Featured image courtesy Flickr user Gage Skidmore.