Matthew Continetti has written an essay that is sure to get attention, as the Republican party tries to put itself back together. Entitled “Crisis of the Conservative Intellectual,” the piece traces the longtime conflict between “conservatism” (that is, the classic version that seeks to preserve institutions and that opposes modernity’s love of change) and “populism” (which opposes existing institutions and wants to change society).
This has come to a head in Donald Trump’s candidacy, which opposes the “establishment,” including the Republican establishment.
Continetti’s essay takes a historical look at this conflict, as well as the times when the two philosophies worked together, for example, to elect Ronald Reagan. In the course of doing so, he also talks about other competing versions of what conservatism is, such as the New Right, neoconservatives, social conservatives, the the religious right (which, he says, combined populism with the institution-conserving conservatism of the William F. Buckleys).
Excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]