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It’s Time to Rethink Conservatism’s Core for the Road to Victory Ahead

Posted by Matthew Fletcher ● Jan 4, 2021 6:18:59 PM

Going forward on the long road to victory, the nationalist right needs to rethink exactly
who it is that it relies on for its intellectual and scholarly backing.

New voices have arisen in the Trump era that truly have traditional, conservative and
America First values. They bring a refreshing sense of intellectual vigor and an
unwavering dedication to the core values of the American right.

And then there are those who ride their reputations as conservative thought leaders
who are, honestly speaking, neither. In fact, using their older bona fides as cover, they
have spent the last four years undermining the America First movement, President
Trump and traditional conservatism, all while serving a globalist agenda.
Take, for instance, the Heritage Foundation. (Take my wife, please.)

For the past four years, this overly funded think-tank has happily ridden the coattails of
President Trump while doing what it can to undermine the most important goals of his
presidency. Now, Trump isn’t even out of office and the Foundation is showing how eager it is to return to the failed Paul Ryan brand of GOP politics. Doubtless, Heritage thinks it can raise money from conservatives forever, regardless of what ideology they are actually pushing.

The nationalist right must reject this. If Heritage abandons President Trump’s
political realignment, then it doesn’t deserve a single cent of funding. It deserves
to be torn down and replaced. 

Revolver News has done an excellent job summing up five reasons why America First conservatives must deny Heritage of a dime until they change their tune.

1. Heritage is rejecting efforts to remedy catastrophic coronavirus
lockdowns.

President Trump just signed a $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package. The
package is filled with pork for all kinds of programs, including foreign aid. The
one part of the bill that is indisputably worthwhile is a new $600 payment to
ordinary Americans to offset the government-imposed dislocation from the
pandemic lockdowns. Arguably, the payments should be much higher (and
Trump fought for just such an increase). But Heritage takes the opposite view.

After tens of million of Americans had their lives totally derailed by hopelessly
inept government officials, Heritage wants them to go uncompensated.

“More Stimulus Checks Aren’t the Answer,” Heritage says in a recent article for
its website. The article argues that a coronavirus payment isn’t needed because,
among other things, Americans’ average credit card debt burden has gone from
terrifying to merely enormous: 

Through the first three quarters of 2020, Americans repaid a record-high $119 billion in credit card debt, according to a WalletHub Credit Card Debt report.

That’s great news, especially considering that the average household
credit card debt is down 11%, or $950, from this time last year. But the
fact that Americans are able to pay off such significant credit card debt
suggests that the majority of households do not need stimulus checks.

That’s 2012 GOP thinking in a nutshell: the average American only has $8,000 in
debt piling up 15-25 percent interest a year, so apparently they don’t deserve
anything to offset months of government-mandated lockdowns.

The article only gets worse from there. According to Heritage, direct payments to
Americans do nothing to stimulate the economy because, as hyper-rational
economic actors, they will all deduce that more borrowed money today means
higher taxes in the future, and they will have to save for them. Not only is this an
insane simplification of how actual people behave, even Heritage’s own analyst
doesn’t believe it. The exact same writer has spent years touting tax cuts even as
the national debt has grown.

By the end of the article, Heritage reveals its own solution for the coronavirus
calamity: Vague libertarianism.

Sending another round of so-called stimulus checks would be ineffective
and wasteful. Instead, policymakers should reduce barriers to income
opportunities and make it easier for individuals to earn their own
paychecks.

Just “remove barriers to income opportunities” and make it easier for Americans
to work as Uber drivers. That’s Heritage’s prescription for a healthy America.
If that vision sounds at odds with what Donald Trump ran on, it’s no surprise. The
Heritage Foundation has spent years undermining the president while posing as
supporters of his agenda.

2. From the beginning, Heritage was undermining President Trump’s
agenda on immigration and foreign policy.

Prior to the 2016 election, Heritage harshly attacked Trump’s core immigration
platform. Heritage fellow Mike Gonzalez complained to NBC that Trump’s plan to
curb legal immigration “ignored the benefits” it gave to America. During Trump’s
presidency, Heritage did embrace tough actions against illegal immigration, and
promoted necessary reforms like ending birthright citizenship. But at the same
time, Heritage fought to prop up America’s endless inflow of legal immigrants. In
2018, Heritage’s Mike Inserra pushed for no cuts to America’s annual legal
immigration, combined with the abolition of America’s per-country immigration
cap. This reform would do nothing to help Americans, but it would help big tech
lower wages by expanding the endless importation of tech workers from India.
Recently, Senator Mike Lee fought to do exactly that.

The old adage that personnel is policy applies equally well to think tanks as it
does to Presidential administrations. Ever since Heritage Foundation caved to
the left-wing mob and fired the conservative Harvard Ph.D. working on its
immigration policy (who incidentally was recently hired by the Trump
Administration), it has not had a single full time employee working on public
policy of immigration.

While Heritage’s record on immigration is spotty, its record on foreign wars is
suicidal. Throughout all four years of Trump’s presidency, the foundation has
demanded the perpetual extension of the endless, useless war in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, it also released papers promoting military action against Syria.

3. Heritage has slavishly defended the growing power of Big Tech at the
expense of American workers.

While big tech’s censorship power grew more and more powerful, Heritage
(which receives donations from Google) published mindless papers touting “free
enterprise” as the solution to powerful monopolies choking off the speech of
ordinary Americans. Early in 2020, Heritage’s Robert Bluey attacked Tucker
Carlson for criticizing the foundation’s perspective:

It should come as no surprise that Heritage supports empowering
consumers rather than government to influence the private sector. We are,
and have always been, champions of free enterprise and critics of
government intervention.

Why not let platform owners choose what content they will and will not
allow—and what their customers demand? Do Cleland and Carlson
honestly believe government would do it better?
Conservatives have repeatedly shown they can outmaneuver the left on
their own—without government intervention. Just as conservatives
flourished on talk radio and cable TV when the government stopped enforcing the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, so too have conservatives on the
internet.


It’s just that simple! Just outcompete Facebook, Google, and Amazon, and free
speech and conservatism will flourish. It might even work, if “free-market”
conservatives hadn’t allowed a few tech companies to grow so large they rival
national governments in how much power they wield. But they did, so no
solutions need to be sought. Heritage isn’t interested.


4. Heritage embraced the big lie about American racism.

Worst of all, after George Floyd’s death, when America was convulsed with riots
and the left launched its most ambitious cultural offensive in decades, Heritage
Foundation president Kay C. James was there to egg it on:

Racism in America is a fatal wound. Every time another incident occurs
we put a Band-Aid on it, but the Band-Aid keeps falling off. Band-Aids are
not enough to ever stitch this country back together. The arrest of fired
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Friday on charges of
manslaughter and third-degree murder is a welcome step, but it is just a
Band-Aid.

Nothing can bring George Floyd back to life. But if his horrific and
needless death proves to be a turning point to make Americans finally end
the ugly racism that stains our nation’s history and afflicts us like a cancer
of the soul, he will leave behind a legacy we sorely need.

James had many tears to shed for criminal and drug addict George Floyd, but
none for Kyle Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse’s politically-motivated crucifixion has
been studiously ignored by Heritage, as has that of former Atlanta police officer
Garrett Rolfe. James’s op-ed, like so much of what her organization fights for,
was indistinguishable from what CNN would say, except that it is dressed up as
being “pro-Trump.”

5. Heritage has abandoned Trump and his voters after the 2020 election.

(Now that paths to victory for President Trump are narrowing,) Heritage is happy
to abandon him. For years, Heritage has published content on voter fraud, and
how common it actually is all over the country. That should make them a leading
force in rejecting the flawed 2020 election results and calling for legislative
intervention or other measures. But right now, with the presidential election being
snatched away through blatant foul play, Heritage is nearly silent (except, of course, for its effort to fundraise off of the stolen election). A few tweets have popped out, and one fellow has written about preventing future election thefts, rather than combating the one happening right now. For Heritage, Donald Trump’s unpredictable realignment is an annoyance, and they’ll be happy to see him go. Soon, they can go back to openly pushing their agenda, rather than quietly undermining Trump’s. The question, naturally, is what value the Heritage Foundation actually has. Supposedly, it is a venerable “conservative” institution. But this is a ruse. It distinguishes itself in Washington by combining bush-league credentials with an establishment aligned agenda. It is a fundraising engine that largely takes advantage of well-meaning patriotic donors who have little inkling of how spectacularly the foundation fails conservatives on foreign policy, on Big Tech, on riots, and now, on the greatest economic assault against the middle class ever mounted.

After four years of Donald Trump, it wants nothing more than to spend the next
eight as a safe, lucrative opposition group.

That’s not what we are about. The America First movement that President Trump began and that will carry on long into the future until our victory is no longer content to stand athwart history (vainly) yelling “stop,” to paraphrase the old National Review motto.


What we want – what we must do – is seize the reins of power and institute a truly right-wing, nationalist agenda. These old institutions have failed. The passive, establishment conservatism of the past brought America to the point where a movement of patriots had to assemble to make America great again.


This is where we are, and this is the road ahead. The long march through the halls of
power for the Right begins now, and it means eschewing the fetters of the old order that
would slow our progress.

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