A new Right, with fewer rights

If you’re wondering what the “New Right” is all about, the simplest explanation is this: imagine the old Left was socially conservative.

The New Right’s primary think tank is the Claremont Institute, an organization created to support limited government. But the New Right enthusiastically favors big government — provided the big government is run by social conservatives.

How do we know this? Because the New Right keeps saying so.

As Claremont fellow Josh Hammer wrote in a September post on The American Mind, a Claremont blog:

Against this backdrop, the deplorables’ imperative to fight back revolves around four core tenets. First, at a most basic level, understand what time it is in this late-stage republic. The oligarchs of our ruling class are not going away, and they have seized an enormous amount of control over what was once our robust system of government. The hour is very late.

Second, and relatedly: reconceptualize our side’s own approach to the rule of law. To borrow from David Azerrad, we need to get comfortable wielding the levers of state power as our opponents do, to “reward friends and punish enemies.”

Josh Hammer, “The Subjugation of the Deplorables,” americanmind.org

Arguing that America’s government has been corrupted by “oligarchs” who can be beaten only at their own big-government game is a drum that Hammer, an opinion editor at Newsweek, pounds regularly.

Sohrab Ahmari and other proponents of this big government “conservatism” call it “common-good conservatism,” framing their philosophy against a strawman of libertine libertarianism backed by vile oligarchs:

For all its claims of newness, Ahmari’s brand of Roman Catholic integralism resembles a nativist variation on George W. Bush’s Compassionate Conservatism — with less compassion, less conservatism, and lots of coercion.

As I’ve written about previously, the New Right loves Viktor Orban, the authoritarian prime minister of Hungary. Here’s Ahmari cheering for price controls:

The New Right’s authoritarian inclinations aren’t so much a streak as they are the movement’s defining characteristic. While the integralists may see themselves as correcting an oversight of the founders, the reality is that America’s government is constitutionally limited because the founders had experience with people like them.

Pedro Gonzalez, another Claremont fellow, recently said Americans who migrate across state lines should be disenfranchised if they move from a Democrat-run to a Republican-run state:

Ryan Girdusky, a New Yorker who works for a super PAC created by New Right billionaire Peter Thiel, also called for a “carpetbagger tax” targeting Americans who move to red states from blue states:

Never mind that Thiel lives in San Francisco, and the DC-based super PAC Girdusky works for is backing Thiel employee JD Vance, who moved from California to Ohio so Thiel could buy a Senate seat.

Like his peers, Girdusky spends a lot of time decrying free markets, arguing instead that the federal government should decide what’s good for everyone:

Then there’s Vance, whose unflinching enthusiasm for central planning I documented in my previous post. Vance seems to agree with Bernie Sanders that the government should require cereals to be Made In America:

In response to a complaint from the New York-based “Bull Moose Project” that New Right ideas are unfairly smeared as socialist, I pointed out that they’ve endorsed Vance, who lobbied against repealing Obamacare because he supports Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

Vance’s fellow travelers at New Right “American Moment” were (or acted, at least) thrilled:

Although Vance has received $10,000,000 from Thiel — a Facebook board member — for his Ohio Senate campaign, Vance has centered his campaign on regulating Big Tech into submission.

Did I mention that Thiel just so happens to be the founder and top shareholder of federal Big Data contractor Palantir, which would be well positioned to help enforce government content moderation rules against social media companies?

If Vance’s outcry over social media platforms suspending Marjorie Taylor Greene seems a bit overwrought, consider how Hammer reacted:

As furious as it makes the New Right that voluntary use of social media platforms run by liberals requires agreement to platform terms, they get angrier when a libertarian reminds them of that fact.

Vance expounded on his outrage in a Breitbart interview:

To summarize this small sampling of “bigger government to own the libs” ideas New Right thinkers have shared in the past few months…

  • Groceries are expensive? Feds should impose price controls!
  • Liberals are fleeing blue states? Red states should take their money & voting rights!
  • Kellog’s makes cereal in Mexico? Feds should ban its sale in the USA!
  • Not everyone has health insurance? Feds should push more people onto Medicaid!
  • Twitter suspends users who violate Twitter’s terms of service? Feds should rewrite Twitter’s terms of service!
  • Facebook suspends users who violate Facebook’s terms of service? Feds should rewrite Facebook’s terms of service!
  • Tech companies make money on data customers agree to give them? Feds should ban this!

No wonder the New Right hates conservatives who hold the principles Claremont used to.

A C.S. Lewis quote conservatives have for years applied to politicians on the Left serves equally well as a warning about the “common-good conservatism” proposed by the New Right: 

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” 

C.S. Lewis