Trump, many conservative intellectuals claim, is not a conservative; but the natural retort to them is what precisely, with their agenda of foreign wars, middle- and working-class job loss, and high rates of immigration, are they trying to conserve?"Conservatism" is a cast of mind, not an ideology, perhaps best framed as a question.
In Trump’s case, the answer probably is something like an Eisenhower conservatism, with big government and secure employment. Trump was a boy in New York when Ike was carrying the state by twenty-two points.
In two thousand years, did we get these things right?
Europe’s immigration crisis is more severe than America’s, but its newly ascending conservative parties are interested in approximately the same thing—a desire to conserve the best elements about the society of their parents and own youth, including such attributes as a secure and self-confident working class and a considerable sense of common and shared culture. One can denounce such aspirations as bigotry and xenophobia all one wants, but their durability suggests that they are universal, natural and deeply rooted in the human personality.Privilege is civilization. Institutions are civilization. Emergence trumps even Donald Trump.