We Must Build a New National Conservatism

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently traveled to Latin America to attend the Americas Summit as the main representative for our nation. He acquitted himself well, even in the face of some negative attention from the leftwing Latin American press.

That conference came on the heels of a few rough months of pressure from the anti-gun left in the wake of the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Now, Rubio has had some time to breath, he’s taken in all of the swirling controversies, and he has a message for America.

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I am a conservative because I seek to conserve the principle at the core of the American project: freedom. It is the freedom to live a virtuous and meaningful life supported by family, community, faith, and the dignity of work. Today as much as ever, our nation needs a political movement that seeks to conserve freedom, because these core elements of American life are being threatened.

The American work culture — being able to earn enough to support a family — is under attack from global economic elites out of touch with working Americans. Insulated from the disruptions created by globalization, they care more about the profits multinational corporations can make doing business in China than they do about American workers losing their jobs.

The family, the single most important institution in all of society, is buffeted by economic pressures that discourage family life, and by social engineering that seeks to replace it.

The faith of our fathers and the traditional values it teaches are now routinely mocked, ridiculed and increasingly silenced by liberal elites in the press, Hollywood, and academia, denying millions of Americans their place in the public square.

The American community — a nation sharing a common homeland and destiny — has been abandoned by the political Left and Right. It has been replaced by a democracy of the fittest, which pits Americans against one another on the basis of purchasing power, religion, race, ethnicity, or even who they voted for in the last election.

What happens to a nation when the only economic-policy options offered are narrow economic growth without redistribution, or narrow economic growth with redistribution? Or when the social security provided by strong families is replaced by accumulating wealth or by becoming dependent on government programs? What happens when what is right and wrong is relative instead of rooted in absolute truth found by faith? What happens when citizens of a nation abandon their shared inheritance for the identity politics of wealth, race, or ideology?

What happens is what we are witnessing in America today. And while this state of affairs threatens the security of our nation at home, the failure of the liberal order to see and rectify similar insecurities in countries across the globe threatens our entire political system. This failure has left millions of people vulnerable to the ancient temptation of authoritarianism.

We are in the middle of a geopolitical competition between democracy and dictatorship. In far too many places, authoritarianism seems to be winning, while democracy and liberty are coming under assault. Authoritarian leaders in Russia and China, Turkey, and even the Philippines argue that democracy leads to societal chaos and national decline. They point to the heated divisions and unsolved challenges of the preeminent democratic republic in the world, the United States, as Exhibit A.


Read the entire op-ed here.

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