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“Trumpism” is a concept commonly being tossed around these days. A “new” Republican Party of some sort is generally what this idea relates to, one which adheres to the policies and persona of Donald J. Trump. This characterization seeking to encapsulate the popular following that the 45th president enjoys, is misplaced and a flawed simplification of a much greater occurrence.
Within America, a sociopolitical paradigm shift has been under way. It challenges a prevailing left-wing, elitist and globalist worldview. This alien ideological superstructure contradicts America’s foundational principles. What we are witnessing is the consolidation of a major mass, popular movement.
Thomas Kuhn in his classic, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), put forth the notion of paradigm shifts. The American philosopher and physicist highlighted, conceptually, that consummate alteration in the patterns, understandings and practices within a scientific discipline, establishes a change in the operating model. While Kuhn limited his postulation to the natural sciences, the tenet has been accepted and widely referenced within the social and applied sciences as well. Thus, structurally, as far as sociopolitical systems and worldviews go, paradigm shifts have been a historic constant. One of these realignments is taking place in America.
The New Right: It’s characteristics and ideological frameword
A New Right has been forming before and increasingly since 2016. Broadly speaking, it is soundly Conservative, with classical Liberal undertones in the economic sphere. In more specific terms, it is nationalist, faith-based, populist (anti-elitist), constitutionalist, advocating law and order, individualistic, pro 2nd Amendment prolife, anti-Communist, freedom-centered, traditionalist, and capitalist-oriented.
While most within this movement identify themselves with the Republican Party, Independents and centrist Democrats (Blue Dogs) also comprise this abstract coalition. Being sustained by well-defined ideological underpinnings, this explains its broad appeal that transcend race, ethnicity, worker’s class, income level and education attainment. Genuinely, the New Right overshadows the limits of party affiliation, or other mechanisms of stratification.
Since the New Right is pillared within a general worldview and shares fundamental belief system principles, it is important to understand exactly its composition. Ideologies typically contain three components that help us better understand it. They are its epistemological, ethical and economic underpinnings. In the case of the New Right, its epistemology is clearly connected to the understanding that there is a transcendental order of a superior nature that interacts with temporal existence. In other words, it is supernaturalist along clear Christian faith parameters with Judeo-Christian values.
Natural Law and natural rights are at the core of any conventional political arrangement or social contract scheme it promotes. The inherent religiosity factor within it, does not exclude other religions or paths to God. The New Right’s ardent defense of religious liberty is all encompassing, plural and inclusive of other faiths.
The deference to Natural Law and Biblical foundations, concurringly place freedom, its existence and preservation, as a primary ethical ideal to uphold. A great portion of the New Right’s policies of choice are, consequently, geared towards protecting freedom and making sure that both, society and individuals, are and remain free. Equality, clearly another foremost ethical principle sustaining its ideological precepts, pervades its belief system. Thus, equality under the law, equal opportunity and protection are all understood as applicable equally to all members of society. It does not chop up doses of it in a discriminatory fashion to accommodate specific identity group agendas which foster inequality and censor’s free speech and equal legal protection covenants.
The New Right seriously challenges Marxist interpretations of “equality” which weaponizes notions of justice to precisely promote unequal applications of the law, henceforth bastardizing norms of equality and squelching public liberties.
The economic component of the New Right’s generalized ideological format is Classical Liberalism. Although some Libertarians may cringe when Adam Smith is associated with protectionism and the taxing of imported goods (tariffs) as a policy tool to protect national security, promote fair trade and combat unfair commercial practices, it is matter of fact that the accredited father of free markets did justify those measures in The Wealth of Nations (1776). This Scottish champion of capitalism was, above all, a moral philosopher.
The New Right’s embrace of classical liberal economic practices is tempered by the preeminence of moral principles and policy objectives that may call for the fettering of absolute laissez-faire economics, when such policies may endanger overarching factors such as freedom at home or national security. The New Right’s support for Trump’s China policy is a case in point.
Differences between the Old Right and the New Right
World War II, the Allied victory and the ensuing Cold War placed great weight on the economic realm in policies to contain Soviet communism. This is not to suggest that the American investment in military might to challenge Communism was not important.
The awesome military and intelligence operations across the globe, the bases in Europe, Asia and the wars, both direct and by proxy, in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, all attest to the resolve of the United States to fight the spread of socialism. This does not weaken the point, however, that from the Bretton Woods Agreement (1944) going forward, the economic order was given high priority and judged as an effective deterrent to war and socialist subversion. The cultural realm was taken for granted and, most unfortunately, the far-left took notice and capitalized on this.
The Old Right shares many of the values of the New Right. Both, after all, are inherently Conservative. The belief in God, a free enterprise market system, anti-Communism and love of country, are all well-established common denominators. The former was forged out of the post-World War II experience and incorrectly embraced the belief that through commerce, market mechanisms and international institutions, peace could be sustained and the evils of Communism, thwarted. The capitalist system, the Old Right surmised, would have a contagion effect if the socialists would try it. History proved them totally wrong.
By erroneously tying democracy with economic development when dealing with totalitarian regimes, the Old Right was, by definition, internationalist. When George H. W. Bush called for a “New World Order” he was depositing high expectations on globalism’s abilities to foster modernization abroad in the belief that commercial entanglements and falsely perceived chummy relationships would make the Communists better human beings.
The ensuing globalist system ended up wrestling power from national sovereignty and butchered the non college-educated middle class in America. The clear winners were elites in the West and Marxist dictatorial regimes (China, Vietnam). American mass society became, in exchange for this massive transfer of wealth, more alienated and indulged and preoccupied with cheap technologic devices and household appliances.
What is the New Right challenging?
Globalism, although initially championed singularly by the Old Right, found that it did not take long for the socialist movement to realize that if it worked for Vladimir Lenin, it could work for them. The New Economic Policy (1921) was socialism’s novel flirtation with capitalism, out of system-preservation necessity. The path chartered by Deng Xiaoping echoed Lenin and delineated an expansion of that concept when he argued that China’s revisitation of production relationships was wholly within the legitimate confines of Marxism.
Given Marx’s preference for “revolutionary action” over dogma (Thesis on Feuerbach), Deng was correct. Globalism became, soon afterwards, a useful ally in the struggle to make the world socialist. Subversives such as George Soros, bear witness to this new revolutionary class which embraced this methodology for gaining political power by confronting democracy on two main fronts: the economic and the cultural.
When Marx’s predictions miserably failed to materialize, certain Communist intellectuals came to the rescue. Georg Lukács and Antonio Gramsci were the first. The Italian Marxist rationalized the failings of Marx’s forecasts by noting that peculiarities within the capitalist system did not allow this to happen. Gramsci insisted that the focus needed to be on culture as the principal determinant in this conflict theory scheme labeled by Friedrich Engels as “Marxism”. Later, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcuse, a group of German Communists, referred to as The Frankfurt School, expanded upon Gramsci’s notions and developed Critical Theory, incorporating Freudianism and other major psychoanalytical tenets.
This new reformulation of Marxism, with its overarching emphasis on culture, became the vehicle of subversion at American universities following 1989 (Fall of the Berlin Wall). Grievance studies masquerading Marxism as Critical Race Theory, Critical Feminist Theory, Gender Ideology, Critical Queer Theory, Eco-Socialism and Political Scientism are just a few of the fronts that have assaulted American democracy.
Historic American paradigm shifts
The Old Right never saw any of this coming. That is why they have been displaced. The mass mobilization that has come to be this new Conservative movement, was years in the making. The political figure of Donald J. Trump was the cohesive agent which facilitated the manifestation of this naturally occurring social phenomena. Such deep-rooted popular movements, enjoined by associations and institutions that share the underlying ideological principles that bonds them, are the forces which throughout history are reflected in processes which we call paradigm shifts. This has occurred four times in American history: 1776, 1860, 1980 and 2016.
The American Revolution, its independence and the launching of a new political experiment in self-government, was an obvious paradigm shift (1776). The unsettled issues of slavery and its moral contradictions with the American Creed, laid on Abraham Lincoln’s shoulders the need to fight a great civil war and solve this seminal matter (1860). This second affirmation of America’s founding principles, that became the Lincoln presidency and the Union victory in the war, saw the notion of American exceptionalism be challenged by alien ideologies of left-wing tendencies that also contradicted America’s foundational values.
After 1989, as was highlighted earlier, the force largely responsible for bringing down the USSR, failed to eradicate Communism like the West had done more than four decades earlier with German, Italian and Japanese Fascism: propel laws to ensure that the political and cultural realms would be off limits for fascism. In great part, the overreliance on the economic charm of capitalism to detox socialism proved a recipe for disaster.
Marxism advanced through democratic institutions, its legal system and hegemonically dominated its universities and mass communications entities. The U.S. has been particularly plagued by this assault. The year 2016 was the year when the popular movement we are calling the New Right demonstrated its political clout by electing Trump. Thus, with the 45th president’s ascendency to power, a historic realignment began, not just undermining all socialist gains made, but inaugurating a strategy which combined global economic and political fronts in this fashion reinserting the American Creed back into public policy and in the cultural realm.
The visible appearance of militant terror groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa demonstrates that this upended understanding of Marxism that many explain in layman’s terms as cultural Marxism, is actively conspiring against the U.S.
The New Right goes beyond the Republican Party, or the important figure of Donald J. Trump. It is a paradigm shift in the making. Not even a well-orchestrated embezzled election can stop it.
Julio M Shiling, political scientist, writer, director of Patria de Martí and The Cuban American Voice, lecturer and media commentator. A native of Cuba, he currently lives in the United States. Twitter: @JulioMShiling // Julio es politólogo, escritor, director de Patria de Martí y The Cuban American Voice. Conferenciante y comentarista en los medios. Natural de Cuba, vive actualmente en EE UU.