Jay Hoffmann

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A New Conservatism | Foreign Affairs

In the wake of Trump’s defeat, analysts have pondered whether his brand of populism might represent the conservative future. But this misunderstands his role. There is no discernible Trumpism independent of Trump himself.

Writing in Foreign Affairs, former Romney advisor Oren Cass offers an alternative view on the future of conservatism, one that I don’t think other conservatives will be quick to embrace, but one that I think could have a future as the GOP moves from a majority party to a minority party fighting to exert control.

Crass draws heavily on the most traditional of conservative thinkers, Adam Smith and Edmund Burke, throughout the piece. What’s interesting to me is that he seems to think that conservatives have a place in the modern labor movement. Citing Adam Smith’s notion that “the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with the prosperity, and fall with the declension, of the society, on the contrary, it is naturally low in rich, and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin,” Crass believes that the labor movement’s embrace of the worker against the unregulated capitalist is, in fact, not incompatible with what conservatism could look like.

I’m not saying I could ever find myself among the conservative movement, I doubt I could. But one that stands lockstep with the labor movement would be… hard to avoid.