Christopher Bedford: Trump And Sanders, 55 Years After The Sharon StatementPosted: September 13, 2015
Are we conservative? It’s a question worth asking.
Christopher Bedford writes: When the biggest-drawing presidential candidate is a socialist, when the Republican front-runner is a reality TV star, it’s worth wondering if we ever really were. We: The Americans.
“So two months before John F. Kennedy would defeat Richard M. Nixon, 90 or so young men and women gathered at the Sharon, Connecticut estate of their young leader, William F. Buckley, to declare, ‘In this time of moral and political crises, it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.'”
Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan. These men bestrode 20th century politics, each standing for largely different things. So how could sound political conservatism be the reason for Mr. Reagan’s popularity when Messrs. Roosevelts each represent its rejection?
“The ‘certain eternal truths’ that followed were the most succinct explanation of American political conservatism since the Bill of Rights — and remain so today.”
Maybe the real reason all three ascended wasn’t necessarily their ideas, but how they made Americans feel in their moment of crisis.
“Fifty five years after Sharon, the things we stood for remain much the same. So make your case to America, conservatives. Now as much as ever.”
In our moment of crisis, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump seem to have harnessed something similar: A populism, which drawing its power from the industrialists, the Depression, the Malaise, the illegals or the bankers, has captivated the people.
All populists respond to the peculiar interests of their times, but beyond his ascension, Mr. Reagan was right for his. And his ideas — our ideas — are right for now.
Because populism being popular doesn’t mean right-thinking isn’t the solution, any more than eight disastrous years under this White House do. Thinkers from Thomas Aquinas to Edmund Burke flourished because they — their ideas, their values, their civilizations — were in grave danger, and long since, we’ve trudged through dark days to build the greatest civilization the world has ever seen.
It’s likely that America isn’t necessarily conservative now any more than it was in the days of Roosevelts or Reagans, but before the Republican Party — led astray by a quarter century of Bush Republicanism — settles for an easy, gut-level populism, remember that conservatives have had the solution in the past. And have those solutions still.
Because the truths that gird our philosophy are eternal, and there isn’t a more fitting day to remember what we believe than Friday– the 55th anniversary of the Sharon Statement and a pivotal moment in conservatives long march to the White House.
Disheartened by a half century of war and depression, the young adults of 1960 were children when their parents first exploded atoms, and they lived every day under the threat of that fire come again. America was beset by enemies foreign and domestic, and in the face of ascendant liberal ideology, GOP leadership offered not “a choice,” but “an echo.”
Just as today….(read more)
Source: The Daily Caller
Christopher Bedford is a senior editor of The Daily Caller, editor in chief of The Daily Caller News Foundation, and vice chairman of Young Americans for Freedom. You can follow him here on Twitter and Facebook.