Between The Old And New Right, There’s One Major Fault Line

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The following is a transcript of remarks I delivered at the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting on Sept. 1. Panelists were asked to review the “National Conservatism” and “Freedom Conservatism” statements of principles.

It’s true that both the National Conservative Statement of Principles — which I signed — and the Freedom Conservative Statement of Principles are useful distillations of the so-called New Right and the Old Right. I say that as someone with a foot in both camps, working for the organization founded by the Sharon Statement and a group founded by its author Stan Evans. FreeCons cite the statement as their inspiration. I’ve spoken at NatCon as well. Like Michael Brendan Dougherty, as a NatCon signer, I have quibbles with both statements but could basically sign both of them as well.

That sentiment is certainly not shared by everyone on the right, new and old, but it reveals an essential point: The primary disagreement between NatCons and FreeCons is their priorities. This is not to minimize that disagreement. It is significant. With certain old conservative institutions run by stalwart defenders of the old agenda, it will be unworkable. But with Republican voters and average Americans, it will not.

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