/OP-ED: How the conservative movement is dying from the inside out
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OP-ED: How the conservative movement is dying from the inside out

“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” 

― Gustav Mahler 

Since the 2016 election, many political activist groups and student organizations have sprouted out to spread their beliefs, such as Students for Liberty, Young Americans for Freedom, and most notably, Turning Point USA. Many of these groups spread their viewpoints, whether conservative, liberal or libertarian, and the aforementioned groups have gained attention, specifically TPUSA, for their support for President Trump and for wanting to preserve and fight for American ideals and values, as well as conservative values. Their attempts, however, have been proven to be inadequate. 

While many young activists and commentators tend to look for influence by other popular figures like Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk, these people don’t really know what conservatism means. They are told that conservatism is all about “free markets, fiscal responsibility, and limited government,” all while they tend not to care about American history, culture, heritage or anything that makes our country great. This is what, I believe, will kill the conservative movement. 

Many of these leading figures of the mainstream conservative movement are all subscribed to a certain branch of conservatism known as “neoconservatism.” I’m guessing many of you reading this don’t know what this term means, but it is important to remember some of the people associated to this movement: George W. Bush (43rd POTUS), Dick Cheney (Former Vice President), Colin Powell (Former Secretary of State), Dan Crenshaw (U.S. Representative of Texas), John Bolton (Former U.S. National Security Advisor), Ben Shapiro and Nikki Haley (Former U.S. Ambassador). These people tend to be very hawkish in foreign policy, supportive of neoliberal economic policies and being socially and culturally ambiguous. If conservatism has turned into an ultra-capitalist warmongering ideology, then I am very disappointed. 

American conservatives need to learn that being “socially liberal and fiscally conservative” is no different from libertarianism, and libertarianism has no place in the conservative movement. Decades ago, the conservative movement and the GOP used to be the party of ideas and America, but now has turned into the party of tax cuts, economic growth and foreign wars. 

I propose that modern conservatives need to embrace the “America First” ideas. These ideas include non-interventionism or isolationism in foreign policy, economic protectionism in trade, restricting immigration and embracing traditional conservative values.  

The famous commentator and bestselling author Pat Buchanan once said that “If a country forgets where they came from, how will its people know who they are?”  

During these partisan times, it is important to note that we are all Americans, and we need to side together instead of being against each other. 

Sam Rix is a second-year Political Science major, UM Swimmer and paleoconservative commentator. His hobbies include reading, writing and exploring the political landscape.