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[Miami, FL] The National Conservatism movement held its first conference in December 2016, and its third conference was held this week in Miami. This conference is organized by the Edmund Burke Foundation, with support from the Heritage Foundation, the Claremont Institute, Hillsdale College and other conservative institutions. Around 1,000 people attended over the course of three days, and Governor DeSantis delivered a spirited address during the first evening.
Panels included: American industrial policy for national defense against China; ESG investing, which means taking woke Environmental, Social and Governance considerations into account when investing, and conflicts with the fiduciary duty of investment managers to maximize returns for their customers; Constitutional interpretation after the demise of Roe v. Wade; Protestant and Catholic contributions to national conservatism; and securing election integrity.
However, why do conservatives need to add “national” to their identity as conservatives? The founders of this movement believe that, since the end of the Cold War particularly, certain conservative principles and institutions, like free-market economics and multi-national corporations, respectively, have been captured by a globalist and internationalist mindset. In this mindset, we are not citizens of our nation-state, but citizens of the world, cosmopolitans. The goal of the globalists is an international secular administrative state of expert technocrats, and a policy-making judiciary legislating from the bench. Nat Cons, on the other hand, insist that free-market capitalism must be put at the service of faith, family and the nation.
America is an exceptional nation, among other things because our national identity is not defined by our ethnicity, ancestry or bloodlines, as with other nations, but by our ideology and belief in the principles and institutions of the American Creed. These are set forth in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the Mayflower Compact of 1620, Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star-Spangled Banner, et al, contra the Supreme Court’s finding in the 1947 Everson case of a separation of church and state.
The Judeo-Christian roots of the American nation, which is engaged in an errand into the wilderness, provide the foundation for our commitment to faith, family and nation. By the way, this was the campaign slogan earlier this year of Mayra Flores, the first immigrant from Mexico to be elected to Congress. In turn, this commitment provides the basis for the success of our free-market capitalism, national defense, space exploration, and other national interests and endeavors, but it is under attach today from woke progressive Marxism.
For example, Rod Dreher of The American Conservative warned that Christians in today’s American Babylon must learn to survive like Christians behind the Iron Curtain: we must cling to the truth and live not by lies; we must learn to suffer for our faith; we must cultivate our cultural and historical memories; and we must form small groups to share and sustain our faith. A refugee from North Korea reported that she has observed more anti-American hatred while studying at Columbia University than in her home country.
A core insight of Nat Cons is that only a conservative society and culture can sustain liberal politics and economics. Liberal in the sense of classical liberalism, constitutional republics and free-market economics; conservative in the sense of embracing Judeo-Christian faith, family and traditions. Freedom without virtue is unsustainable; only a virtuous people can be a free people. The late Andrew Breitbart reminded us that politics is downstream from culture, but culture itself is downstream from faith.
In practice, this means that Nat Cons support: returning manufacturing to America; preventing technology transfers to China; opposing the legalization of addictive substances; circumventing Big Tech censorship; school choice; secure borders, safe streets and the rule of law; energy independence; election integrity; and other conservative policies. They agree that innovation is our strength, together with cognitive diversity of skills, temperament, background and experience, but not ethnic and sexual diversity quotas.
Tom Klingenstein of the Claremont Institute observed that Donald Trump embodies the leadership qualities called for today: he puts America first; he exposed the corruption of the mainstream media, law enforcement, the intelligence agencies and the rest of the administrative state; he is patriotic and loves America; he does not suffer from white guilt, opposes affirmative action, and does not think that America is systemically racist; but he was let down by many of his appointments.
Given the rise of the Free State of Florida as a refuge from woke progressive Marxism, not only in Cuba and the rest of Latin America since 1959, but also in the Blue States of America today, and especially the rise of Governor DeSantis as a champion of freedom, it is not surprising that the Nat Con movement would want to hold its latest conference here. After all, Florida is where woke goes to die!