Progressive Conservatism: How Republicans Will Become America’s Natural Governing Party
(Encounter Books, $41, 254 pages):
Progressive Conservative has negative connotations for Canadian social conservatives, but do not be turned off the title of F.H. Buckley’s latest book, Progressive Conservatism. In it, he argues against the elite capture of both the Democrats (woke activists) and Republicans (libertarians) that ignore working class Americans who have a more difficult time making ends meet and finding their love of country and kin increasingly under assault by the politically correct Left and globalized trade Right. Buckley, an early apologist for Trumpism, argues that the failures of the Republican Party over the past few generations to stop the radical Left at home while prosecuting failed wars abroad, opened the door to Donald Trump’s presidency in 2016. Buckley is confident that Trump’s ideas are ascendant in the Republican Party because his 74 million voters in 2020 demonstrated that, “Progressive Conservatism is what Americans yearn for. It’s not a thin ideology that ignores our need to bond with others, our family, neighbors, and nation.” Progressive conservatism, in Buckley’s formulation, is patriotic, prioritizes the “older values” that made society run smoothly, and opposes the “cultural barbarians” that tear down history and divide the nation along various identity lines. He says that what every conservative should want is “a mobile society where everyone who puts in the effort can get ahead.” Buckley argues that progressive conservatism is a new way of thinking about “taking back the culture” to stop “the Left’s long march through our institutions.” And because progressive conservatism “is curious about people and how they fare, not theories,” it eschews ideology, permitting government intervention when it works and embracing free markets when they serve human flourishing.