It’s more than a little amusing to see these Republican immigrants, who are US citizens but are not Americans, attempting to present their self-serving revisionist histories as not only genuine, but deterministic:
Avik Roy is a Republican’s Republican. A health care wonk and editor at Forbes, he has worked for three Republican presidential hopefuls — Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and Marco Rubio. Much of his adult life has been dedicated to advancing the Republican Party and conservative ideals.
But when I caught up with Roy at a bar just outside the Republican convention, he said something I’ve never heard from an establishment conservative before: The Grand Old Party is going to die.
“I don’t think the Republican Party and the conservative movement are capable of reforming themselves in an incremental and gradual way,” he said. “There’s going to be a disruption.”
Roy isn’t happy about this: He believes it means the Democrats will dominate national American politics for some time. But he also believes the Republican Party has lost its right to govern, because it is driven by white nationalism rather than a true commitment to equality for all Americans.
“Until the conservative movement can stand up and live by that principle, it will not have the moral authority to lead the country,” he told me.
This is a standard assessment among liberals, but it is frankly shocking to hear from a prominent conservative thinker. Our conversation had the air of a confessional: of Roy admitting that he and his intellectual comrades had gone wrong, had failed, had sinned.
His history of conservatism was a Greek tragedy. It begins with a fatal error in 1964, survived on the willful self-delusion of people like Roy himself, and ended with Donald Trump.
“I think the conservative movement is fundamentally broken,” Roy tells me. “Trump is not a random act. This election is not a random act.”
The conservative movement has something of a founding myth — Roy calls it an “origin story.”
In 1955, William F. Buckley created the intellectual architecture of modern conservatism by founding National Review, focusing on a free market, social conservatism, and a muscular foreign policy. Buckley’s ideals found purchase in the Republican Party in 1964, with the nomination of Barry Goldwater. While Goldwater lost the 1964 general election, his ideas eventually won out in the GOP, culminating in the Reagan Revolution of 1980.
Normally, Goldwater’s defeat is spun as a story of triumph: how the conservative movement eventually righted the ship of an unprincipled GOP. But according to Roy, it’s the first act of a tragedy.
“Goldwater’s nomination in 1964 was a historical disaster for the conservative movement,” Roy tells me, “because for the ensuing decades, it identified Democrats as the party of civil rights and Republicans as the party opposed to civil rights.”
Of course, white nationalism is, quite literally, the raison d’etre for the U.S. Constitution and was signed into law by George Washington in the Naturalization Act of 1790. This factual history offends Arik Roy, because he is not white and he is not an American national, therefore he has to revise history and transform it into something that allows him to redefine the definitions of “conservative”, “Republican”, and even “America”.
I’ve yet to see any liberal or left-winger make a statement more unequivocally equalitarian than Roy: “Until the conservative movement can stand up and live by the principle of equality, it will not have the moral authority to lead the country.”
Once more, we see that if you scratch a “conservative intellectual”, you find an anti-American. It is equivalent to stating that there is no moral authority outside of a mindless devotion to equality.
This sort of revisionist nonsense is where intellectual defenses of the proposition nation concept inevitably lead. There is no alternative, because it has no basis in history, fact, or logic. The propositional equality of “Americans” is every bit as conceptual and delusional and nonexistent as the economic equality of socialists, the herd equality of unicorns, and the animal equality of Animal Farm.
Some pigs always somehow end up more equal than others.
That being said, both the conservative movement and the Republican Party in its previous form are going to die. They will be replaced by the American nationalist movement and the American Party, which will claim the moral authority to govern the nation on the basis of actually representing the nation.