Conservatism: What It Really Means in Modern America with Yoram Hazony

Conservatism: What It Really Means in Modern America with Yoram Hazony

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[00:00:00] Hey, everybody. The great Yoram Hasani is with us to talk about conservatism. What does it mean? It’s a really interesting philosophical and historical episode of those of you that might call yourself conservatives what actually is a conservative. He defines it rather well. You can email me your thoughts as always. Freedom at or support the Charlie Kirk Show at Slash Support. Get involved with Turning Point USA Today at TPUSA. TPUSA. Some sort of high school or college chapter today at TPUSA. Buckle up, everybody. Here we go. Charlie, what you’ve done is incredible here. [00:00:30][30.7]

[00:00:31] Maybe Charlie Kirk is on the college campus. I want you to know we are lucky to have Charlie Kirk’s running the White House, folks. I want to thank. Charlie’s an incredible guy, his spirit, his love of this country. He’s done an amazing job building one of the most powerful youth organizations ever created Turning Point USA. [00:00:49][18.6]

[00:00:50] We will not embrace the ideas that have destroyed countries, destroyed lives, and we are going to fight for freedom on campuses across the country. That’s why we are here, brought to you by the loan experts. I trust Andrew and Todd at Sierra Pacific Mortgage and Andrew and Todd Dotcom. Okay. We have a really special guest for you or someone that I have admired from afar for quite a while. He is the author of a new book, Conservatism A Rediscovery. And he is very well respected all across the world. He wrote another phenomenal book as well, which is the virtue of nationalism, which we could talk about as well as your his own. Welcome to the Charlie Kirk show. [00:01:35][44.9]

[00:01:36] Hello, Charlie. Good. Good to meet you. I’m glad to be on. [00:01:39][3.5]

[00:01:41] Yeah. Thank you for joining us. So conservatism a rediscovery. Why do we have to rediscover it? I thought that, you know, conservatives know what conservatism is. Walk us through this. [00:01:51][10.4]

[00:01:52] Well, in part, the argument is that conservatism is always a rediscovery. Conservatives are people who who are interested in maintaining traditions from the past. That doesn’t mean all traditions, obviously. But we’ve been living through a period in which, you know, pretty much anything that is is an important principle and important idea from the past is undermined and overthrown, sort of in sequence over the last few decades. So you begin with God in Scripture and from their nation and family. And now is, you know, male and female are up for grabs. And I think what we need to understand is that this is, on the one hand, we are watching a cultural revolution. There are people who purposely are undermining the, you know, the whole vocabulary of traditional ideas and principles that, you know, that held America and other Western nations together. On the other hand, you know, the deterioration is somewhat natural. If you look at history, nations have to have periods of restoration where where you rediscover the the most important ideas from the past, you know, from from from past generations, and you give them new life. So conservatism is always about that. But it’s it’s become especially complicated because over the last 30 years, especially, it’s been become common to say, you know, what is it that we’re conserving? Well, we’re conserving liberalism. We’re conserving individual liberties. We’re conserving conserving freedom. Obviously, there’s some truth to that. But the problem is that when the emphasis is exclusively on your freedom, you quickly lose the ability to transmit anything to future generations. I mean, you can see it. Kids lose the the intense desire to get married. They put off marriage. They put off having children. They put off if they’re in a marriage, they they fall out of it again. And all of this is the result of this over overthrowing of our capacity to transmit things from one generation to the next. So in my new book, Conservatism A Rediscovery, what I propose, both at the you know, at the national level, the family level, the personal level, I’m trying to propose a way of thinking about, you know, about our lives that isn’t only about our rights and our freedoms, but it’s also about how do you transmit something to future generations so that you know, so that your nation, your family will continue to to exist. [00:04:37][165.2]

[00:04:39] That’s that’s really helpful. So walk us through kind of what we would consider to be kind of post-World War Two liberalism. If I were to be honest, in 2014 and 15. I was naive enough to believe that real conservatives were actually small l liberals that we are the defenders of classical liberalism. You push back against this and you kind of also reject some of the fusion ism of the 1960s and kind of some of the liberal movements post-World War Two for some more audience that isn’t as well read into that. Give them a little bit of a taste of exactly what happened post-World War Two with this kind of, quote unquote, neo liberal orthodoxy that set in and how some even self-described conservatives would play ball with that. [00:05:23][44.0]

[00:05:23] Sure. I mean, the truth is that the the conservative movement in the 1960s, which was put together, you know, the quarterback was, as you know, was was William Buckley. But it was actually an alliance of liberals and conservatives, liberals meaning people who are who are people who are mostly concerned with with individual freedoms and conservatives who are much more concerned with the question of how do we maintain and transmit things from one generation to the next. And the reason for the coalition, I mean, there’s lots of times in places where, you know, liberals and conservatives were indifferent, were in opposing political parties, opposing movements. But in the 90. Sixties with the rise of socialism, you know, sort of across the board in America and Britain and other democracies. And and the threat of communism, obviously, of Soviet communism, which which was expanding rapidly. So in that situation, the right was kind of reconstituted as an alliance between liberals and conservatives. And that that alliance, which was solidified by, you know, the mid 1960s, I think it was I mean, I don’t think there was much choice. I think I think it was necessary that that’s important, not just for historical reasons, but because we may be facing something very similar today. But what happened is that that the the theory of how do you get liberals and conservatives to work effectively together against socialism and communism? The theory that was adopted was, I think looking back on it with hindsight, I think it was very problematic. The theory was that how do you get liberals and conservatives into a single movement? Mostly by privatizing the conservative part, meaning anything having to do with, you know, it was with Christianity, with religion, Bible, God, anything having to do with with family morals, anything having to do with pretty much was patriotism, the love of your nation and knowing its history, all of these things were mostly privatized. And the the the public side of the fusion was basically fighting for was mostly fighting for for for individual liberties against these, you know, threats from socialism and communism. So the result is I mean, this is simplifying, but the result was 1960s. Fusion is conservative. Fusion ism actually became a private conservatism and a public liberalism. That’s the argument that I make in my book. And look, there’s good things about it. I mean, that that fusion ism is to a large degree, that’s the movement that won the Cold War, that defeated the Soviet Union and rolled back socialism, you know, almost everywhere. So those are real achievements and they’re important. And I don’t want to belittle them. But on the other hand, I think that when you look at, you know, around 1989, 1990, the end of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall Falls. Ronald Reagan’s term of office is over. Margaret Thatcher is deposed in Britain. And what what replaced the the conservative liberal alliance and what replaced it was a you know, it was basically a universal liberalism. Like it has different names. Is that some people some people call it liberal internationalism, some people call it neoconservatism. It’s related in some ways to libertarianism. But but the bottom line is that, you know, to the shock of conservatives, the the early 1990s became a period where were conservative, what was called conservatism became just liberalism. So if up until that point, you know, conservative strategists I’m thinking of like a theorist like Irving Kristol, Bill’s father, Irving. Irving Kristol in the 1990s was still saying that conservatism has three pillars. Number one, religion, which he considered to be the most important one. Number two, nationalism like maintaining the independence of your nation and its its traditions and its its freedom to maneuver against, you know, international bodies and players. So, number one, religion, number two, nationalism. And number three, economic growth. So that that that’s that’s what you know, that was probably the most important theory from the 1980s, what conservatism was. But by the 1990s, religion drops out and nationalism drops out. And, you know, around 2016, Trump and Brexit, I, I think we saw a backlash. And what’s happening with the Supreme Court on abortion, I think is, is an integral part of this backlash that that there the idea that conservatism can conserve nothing but freedom and care about nothing but economic freedom. I think that idea is finished. It’s it’s run its course. I mean, it succeeded in dominating policy towards China, policy towards Afghanistan and Iraq, policy towards Europe. And what are we left with? We’re we’re left with this society that. Is decaying and and at war with itself. So what I propose in this book is a restoration of an earlier conservatism, which which is based on God in Scripture and seeks to, you know, for those parts of the United States and those parts of Europe where it’s still possible, see seeks to move towards a Christian and a biblical public public religion. And and the book goes into detail also about about why people need to do this at the individual level. It’s not just a matter of policy. [00:11:51][388.0]

[00:11:55] Hello, everybody. Charlie Kirk, your super important announcement. Look, when you swipe your credit card, you’re funding liberal causes dozens and dozens of times a month. Every time you swipe that card, you might as well do BLM, LGBT, BLM, LGBT. Clinton Foundation. But now there’s a choice. I got to know these guys. I made them check out the technology. I’m a partner with them. I’m all in. It’s called coin COAG and it’s a new credit card built for conservatives are moving all my credit card activity under coin and the coin credit card is an unlimited cash back visa credit card. That is just like every other credit card you’ve ever owned, with one huge exception. Every time you use the coin card, they contribute to conservative charities that support your values. I’m using it. You should do. Remember, we have to create a parallel economy and this is a great new option. Act now go to COAG and dot com right now to sign up to get a conservative coin credit card that’s COAG and dotcom join coin and let’s start spending right. So you mentioned that conservatism should be passing down one thing from one generation to the other. That’s a very agree, agreeable and simple thing. I think it’s terrific and it’s totally right. Why is it that conservatives haven’t been able to clarify that in recent years? Conservatives have a rights based belief. Usually when they say, they say, well, we believe in protecting individual rights, not as much of protecting good, true or beautiful things to preserve them. Why do you think that is? [00:13:24][89.4]

[00:13:26] Well, it’s the same thing we were just discussing because because the conservative movement just became more and more and more liberal. And when I say liberal, I don’t I don’t mean this in a negative way. I just mean that the focus is exclusively on I should be able to do whatever I want. You know? So it you know, it means that pornography should be widely available. And I don’t I don’t have to serve in the military. And I don’t I don’t need to get married and I don’t need people lecturing me about any of these responsibilities I have. So conservatism just it kept the name, but it lost the idea of conserving anything. And and so a lot of young people say, say to me, I’m sure you hear this all the time, what is the conservative movement conserved in the last two generations? And to go back to it requires us to have a new vocabulary that’s not just based on rights. It it it begins with concepts like like loyalty and honor. And in the book, I go into the question of let’s let’s say that you’re a parent. What what makes it possible for you to transmit ideas to your children? Or if you’re a teacher, what makes it possible? And the key to the whole thing, my argument is the key to the whole thing is, is honor. This goes all the way back to, you know, to the Ten Commandments. Honor your father and your mother, honor your teachers, honor old people. What is that all about? And my my what I what I propose is that people can’t learn anything when they don’t honor they don’t honor the people who are trying to teach them. Honoring somebody means that you you treat them as though they’re significant. You act out. You you in your words, in your deeds. You show that they’re more important than than other people think and more important than maybe you thought that that kind of honoring is, you know, it still exists. And in, you know, in Christian and Jewish society in some corners, but it’s mostly disappeared from the public liberal space. And and the result is that that even, you know, kids let’s say kids, kids go to schools that have been stripped of, you know, of of Bible or reference to God completely eliminated. And the the liberal assumption was, well, they can you know, they can hand it down in the privacy of their homes. What they didn’t understand is that if a child spends five days a week, all day long in an environment where there’s no reference to God and no reference to Scripture, then what’s happening is you’re dishonoring you’re dishonoring God in Scripture. And when you do honor those things, there’s no there’s for the great majority of kids don’t come out of it. And, you know, hear people talk about this. That’s not important. There’s no way that’s important. So so this is a way. [00:16:24][177.7]

[00:16:26] In America, the people are sovereign. You know, that when you study the Constitution, you know the study, you just look at it. And my go to place for the news. My go to place for what’s happening at a deeper level is Hillsdale College. Look, it’s no secret that Americans are more divided than ever. It’s not just over. Policies about will improve our beautiful country. Now people are debating whether America is great at all. And look, I got to say, Hillsdale, they go right into it. They’ve in Primus and they send it to you. And it’s unbelievable. We get it sent here to our office. I read every single word. Hillsdale College, run by the great Dr. Larry Arnn. And they have in Primus, which is a digest of liberty, and it’s so important. And Primus looks at the issues of the day from a constitutional perspective, reminding citizens always of our great heritage of liberty for 50 years. And Primus has featured speeches given at Hillsdale events by the smartest conservative thinkers and writers. These days, Hillsdale publishes people like Victor Davis Hanson, Mollie Hemingway, Mark Stein and Christopher Rufo. Over 6.2 million American households and businesses receive an Primus absolutely for free. And I know a lot of you are saying, how do I make sense of all the news? How do I make sense of all this nonsense? Well, in Primus is the way to do that. And I always look forward to receiving in Primus, my friends at Hillsdale College, and I want you to get a free subscription. It is free. They send it to your house. So you just go to Charlie for Hillsdale dot com. Maybe you’ve been to Charlie for Hillsdale dot com. Well, it looks different right now. It’s just a sign up for in Primus landing page. That’s Charlie for Hillsdale dot com Charlie for Hillsdale dot com. I can’t say enough good things about Hillsdale College. They are a special institution. Go to Charlie for Hillsdale dot com. Portions of this program the Charlie Kirk show. So I want to ask you just about this idea of fusion ism and how it might incorporate today. Would you think it’s a good idea for us to try to become partners or allies with people that are not conservatives, to try to defeat the woke left, to try to say that it’s a kind of a similar Soviet Union type threat. What is the national conservative response to all of this nonsense that we’ve seen kind of pollute our land? [00:18:43][137.1]

[00:18:45] Well, I do think that that we national conservatives, those of us who, you know, we’re nationalists and we care about the conserving and transmitting the traditions of our country. We we we don’t have 51%. And a lot of the remaining liberals in 2020, liberals were were kicked out of most of the institutions, or at least most of the liberal institutions in America and in England were suppressed and turned in the direction of this neo neo-Marxist wokeism. So there aren’t that many liberals left, but the liberals that are left are, you know, I’m thinking of, you know, people in the zone of Steve Pinker or Bill Maher or Barry Weiss and these kinds of. Joe Rogan. Sure. Right. Joe Rogan. Elon Musk is a really good example. You know, somebody who is fundamentally liberal and now he is he’s found himself on the right, but he’s not on the right because he sees himself as a conservative. He’s on the right because the the scale is just gone so far left that now he’s on the right. So I, I don’t think it’s possible to realistically to to move things forward in terms of elections, legislation, politics. But also, I don’t think it’s possible in the culture without without some kind of an alliance between liberals and conservatives. I think that that what’s really important here is that we don’t make the mistake again, that was made in the 1960s of saying, well, conservatism is liberalism or the public liberalism is conservatism. I think abortion is a really good example where, you know, if what you’re concerned about is, you know, just people’s freedom to do whatever they want, then you’re going to be in favor of of making abortion as available as possible. And conservatives say no. Conservatives say we have to have a a biblical or Christian framework that that we live in that gives the basic values for the society. And that’s obviously not possible everywhere in the United States or everywhere in Europe, but it’s going to be possible in some places. And so the crucial thing, the absolute most important thing, is that we distinguish that that people ask themselves, am I liberal or conservative? I think it’s important to draw a line because it’s so confusing. I think we need for young people to be saying to themselves, you know, do I actually think that that the national or religious in essence, is something that’s important as a framework for for for for the country I live in? If the answer is yes, then you’re a conservative. And we need to talk about what you personally can do to engage in the transmission of ideas and to the next generation in your personal life and in your church and and on a national scale. And if the answer is no, look, really just what’s important to me is individual freedom. I want everybody to leave me alone. Okay, so you’re a liberal. We know what that is. It doesn’t mean we have to hate each other. We don’t have to. You know, we can be friends with liberals, but. But they have a different worldview, fundamentally different worldview. And and we need to get clear that it’s something different. It’s not us. [00:22:25][219.7]

[00:22:26] Yeah. That’s a that’s a difficult connection when liberalism is kind of spread across the land. So how do you how do you go about trying to convince people to think more conservatively? Do you think it kind of happens naturally when the excesses of liberalism start to kind of fall upon itself, when it kind of just inevitably goes into some form of kind of fascistic authoritarianism, which is the obvious kind of conclusion of liberalism. It’s unsustainable by definition. If you just kind of continue to try to liberate one victim group after the other, eventually you’re going to run out of victim groups to do that. And then it’s less about justice and then more about revenge. How do we best go about doing that? [00:23:04][38.3]

[00:23:05] Yeah, well, I don’t I do not think that it’s natural that there’s just a natural, you know, this is in the 1980s. This is this is the argument that a lot of conservatives were making was that liberalism was on the ropes. It was going to it was waning, it was going to die, and that conservatives would just inherit everything. And they and they were right they were right to say that liberalism was on the ropes. But it’s not conservatives who inherited it, because it’s the new Marxists who inherited the collapse of liberalism. So I no, I don’t think there’s anything particularly natural about it. It requires work on the right today. We you know as well as anybody there on the right today, there’s all sorts of different little movements and thinkers. And some of them are are openly in favor of dictatorship. I mean, some of them are anti-Christian and anti Bible and anti-Jewish. Some of them are are not anti-Christian. But, you know, but they want a Christian dictatorship in the United States. They want to throw out the Constitution. They say that it’s failed. There’s all sorts of these kinds of things. They get more influential with every passing year. They’re growing rapidly. And if those of us who are in the space that says, look, the things that the religion and the Constitution and the national inheritance that came from the past, you know, it had some flaws. But it’s fundamentally good if if we don’t get practical about plug plugging kids into the the chain of transmission which, you know, a lot of the time that means finding a, you know, a church or synagogue, a religious community, where where the old system of honoring the past still exists and is. And an active handing down of things is taking place. If people don’t plug in to that, then there is likely to end up being some kind of authoritarian as they are conservative. And so the the the big demand of this moment right now is distinguished conservatives from liberals, distinguished conservatives from the kind of fascist things that are that we see happening on the right and and talk about transmission and who does it and how do we do it? [00:25:26][140.5]

[00:25:27] But how do you how do you suppose we go about enacting a lot of this? And obviously, you know, fascism is evil and awful, but do you think that there’s anything to this argument that we as conservatives seem to be willing to use political power to try and get us back to a conservative position? Right. This is kind of a debate that’s happening on the right current. Right. Which is whether or not we should be willing to use political power, for example, you know, using political power to penalize Disney. Right. For what they’ve done in Florida. What’s your perspective on that? Do you think that’s conservative in nature? [00:26:02][34.7]

[00:26:03] Absolutely. I mean, this this this argument that’s happening on the right, I mean, it’s it’s it’s very old at the American founding. And there were two parties. There were the Jeffersonians who basically thought leave people alone and don’t give power to government because, you know, because it’s just fundamentally evil. But the United States was not founded by Jeffersonians. I mean, the American Constitution was written by the other party, by the nationalists. The Federalist Party were the napkins of those days. And people like like Washington and John Jay and and John Adams. Hamilton Governor Morris was the guy who drafted the Constitution. These people were not icons. They were they were in favor of a strong central government. I mean, they wouldn’t have been in favor of 4 million people, you know, like we have today. I mean, they would have thought, that’s insane. But in principle, they wrote the Constitution of 1787 because they believed in a strong national government that exercises political power in order to do whatever needs to be done, in order to defend the public’s independence, its liberties, to defend religion. That doesn’t mean they didn’t care about individual liberties. But if you read the preamble to the Constitution, you see I mean, it says there’s seven principles that the American Constitution was was designed to advance. And those include a more perfect union. The general welfare of. Of the people. Justice. Defense. But in liberty. Certainly one of the seven. But but in my book, I am. I make the argument that a conservative needs to return not to Jeffersonians, who say only liberty is important. You need to return to the National Conservative Party that founded the United States, which believes that there are these seven principles that have to be balanced against one another. And that means using political power in order to advance those things that are crucial. [00:28:08][125.1]

[00:28:09] And also understanding what liberty actually is. Right. So Jefferson would have rejected licentiousness, but he was very appreciative of liberty, which is the pursuit of virtue. Their idea of liberty is completely different than kind of what we think liberty is today. They had no belief that liberty is being able to do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it. It’s having the freedom to be able to do what you ought to do, not whatever you want to do. Talk a little bit more about those seven those seven principles outlined in the Constitution, how that can kind of be a meaningful path. [00:28:41][31.5]

[00:28:42] Okay. Well, I I think the question is, what is government for? And the 1960s Fusion ism came up with an answer that everybody knows government only has the the the role of of defending and ensuring the liberties of individuals. That’s that’s Frank Meier’s book. And that that’s the idea that that ended up conquering conservatism 30, 30 years later. And what we’re talking about is a is a is a more traditional Anglo-American view. And it comes to us from from from England, and it’s adopted by the Federalist Party. And it sees, let’s say, the number one function of government that’s listed is is establishing a more perfect union. Now, think about that phrase for a second, a more perfect union that comes from the experience under the Articles of the Confederation ten, 11 years in which the United States was close to chaos because it didn’t have a strong central government. People don’t remember that George Washington couldn’t raise the army needed he couldn’t pay the army needed. And in the end, just moving the American troops to Yorktown required private donations. Private citizens wrote checks in order to be able to move the army to Yorktown so Americans could gain their independence. And the the the idea of a of a more perfect union, the first purpose of American government is that there’s such a thing as cohesion. There’s such a thing as as loyalty. As loyalty that the different parts of the country have to be loyal to one another. [00:30:29][107.4]

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[00:31:32] Well, I’d say two things. One, being a conservative means leading a conservative life. Know. So I know lots of young people who think it’s enough to support conservative policies, let’s say, you know, pro pro-family policies. But when, you know, when the Sabbath rolls around, instead of finding a a a faith community that they can join so that they can begin to participate in the transmission of ideas and principles from previous generations, they go to the beach, they go to the mountains. I mean, I think I think this is one of the toughest things for almost anybody is to understand why there used to be a Sabbath and as as a time for plugging into the tradition and learning how to build a family, learning how to make a marriage stick instead of, you know, just going in and out of relationships and learning how to raise children who honor not only their parents, but their nation. So the number one thing is people need to start thinking about living a conservative life, being a conservative person. It’s not just a political opinion. It’s something that you you live every single day. And if you do, things get better free for you and the people around you. And the other thing that I’d say is that I think the most damaging political trend of the last 70 years has been the the sudden discovery in the 1940s that the American Constitution requires a separation of church and state. And the truth is that the American Constitution didn’t require separation of church and state until the 1940 or 5060s. And the the liberal elimination of of religious principles as a guideline for public life, I think that’s done no end of harm. So we have to be looking both at living a conservative life personally. And we need to look at returning conservative ideas to government, which, you know, which is integrally related with making public the the religious and biblical foundations of of the nation and of its inheritance. [00:33:57][144.8]

[00:33:58] And so beautiful conservatism is something we must try to rediscover. Conservatism, rediscovery. I really enjoyed it. And everyone, please go check out a copy of the book Conservatism A Rediscovery by the great Yoram Mazzoni. Thank you so much for joining us and I hope to meet you in person sometime soon. [00:34:15][16.4]

[00:34:15] Thank you, Charlie. I hope it soon. [00:34:17][1.3]

[00:34:20] Thank you so much for listening, everybody. Email us your thoughts as always. Freedom at and support the Charlie Kirk Show at Slash Support. Thank you so much for listening. God bless. [00:34:29][8.7]

[00:34:32] For more on many of these stories and news you can trust, go to [00:34:32][0.0]



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