I was advised to study the intellectual defense of Trumpism here, at the Journal of American Greatness. You might find it interesting. Bump up the typesize on your browser; for some reason they seem to think readers are 3 inches from the screen with a jeweler's loupe.

Just because it's tedious doesn't meant it's wrong. (They hate Kevin Williamson, but they might take note of the power of energetic writing.) It's as good an account of Trumpism as you'll find, but as I said in a comment somewhere around here, the authors seem to have a remarkable amount of confidence that Trump will implement the philosophy they have named after him. The last time I saw this much projection on a blank object my ticket said IMAX.

This they seem to know:

Reinsch opens with the well-worn complaint that I am "more intent on making Trump to be the candidate he wants, as opposed to the vulgar brute that he is." To which we say, yet again, that is exactly what we are doing and thanks for noticing.


Trumpism, as they describe it, is National Greatness. They cite the paleos - Buchanan and Sam Francis, presumably without the latter's fears of race-mixing and letting the blonde stock sleep with the lower dusky sorts. The authors harbor a general and specific animus towards the commutariat, the Davos crowd, the rootless internationalist, and there's a familiar tone of the faculty-lounge envy in their work. It's not so much rule by elites they don't seem to like it's rule by the wrong elites. But we'll get to that.

Two points stuck out. From the ABOUT page:

We support Trumpism, defined as secure borders, economic nationalism, interests-based foreign policy, and above all judging every government action through a single lens: does this help or harm Americans?

As the authors perhaps might admit, this is an oversimplification. Something cannot be good for all Americans, but good in general for the majority. It would be good for the majority to confiscate the annual accumulated wealth of anyone who makes more than $50 million a year, and distribute it in the form of vouchers redeemable for fruit. Of course that is not what Trumpism proposes, but when you start to introduce utilitarian calculations, then any sort of action that troubles a minority but benefits the majority is possible - and once you admit that, then the justifications for proscriptions are easily summoned.

There's no time frame for the "goodness" that actions might bestow, which means all sorts of things might be good. It is good for Americans to forgive all mortgages. It is good for all Americans to make college free. It is good for Americans to provide universal high-quality health care. It is good! For a while. Then it isn't.

Absent from their manifesto is the idea that the something Good for Americans might necessitate the expansion of the State. Perhaps because that doesn't seem to trouble them. A strong state is required for Greatness. They're all about Greatness.

But there's Greatness, and there's Goodness.

You can be good without being great – indeed America was good before it was great, maybe the first time a the nation became great because it was good. Putin's Russia aspires to be Great as the Soviet iteration; it would not be good. China is great, and its rise has allowed some new freedoms, but it has not cohered into an instrument that fosters liberty.

Anyway. Back to the site, which is the intellectual defense of Trump. This:

We are far more interested in understanding Trump as the phenomenon that has exposed the destitution of Reaganite conservatism rather than boosting or opposing his or anyone else's actual campaign. Likewise, we are far more interested in understanding his policy impulses better than he understands them himself, which means situating them within deeper historical and theoretical contexts, even those of which he never speaks and probably is not aware.

As Franklin said about second marriages, a triumph of hope over experiences.

Okay, ready? Because this is both dull and important:

I would rather assert, and the essay plainly asserts, that returning power to states or municipalities is an utterly futile endeavor, and Constitutionalism is an empty concept, in a culture dominated and defined by the (Burnham's term) managerial elite. Moreover, any viable American resistance to such an elite will require a new nationalist philosophy, which is my primary concern rather than any particular partisan tactic. There is no effective resistance without creating a new elite to replace the existing managerial class, and there can be no new elite without a philosophic principle that motivates both that elite and sufficient numbers of the public.

Meet the new commissar; same as the old commissar. Read the whole thing, if you like. It ends thus:

Returning to Trump, who despite--or perhaps because of--his buffoonery, deserves credit for opening this dialogue, readers may recall that he was recently criticized for unwittingly re-tweeting a quotation of Mussolini. He unfortunately chose something rather banal about lions and sheep. But Mussolini said two things worth applying to conservatism in the present moment: First that "socialism exists only as a grudge," and, second, that "it is not impossible to govern Italians, only useless."

In this vein I would state that contemporary conservatism, both in its managerial and antiquarian forms, exists today only as a grudge, and that returning to the limited government institutions of the Founding, absent the overcoming of today's managerial culture, is both impossible and useless.

So. The Constitution, limited government, local governance: useless, as long as the wrong people are at the helm.

Not saying that's the case here, but: some people don't give a rat's ass for the Constitution if it means more Mexicans. Others are impatient with devotion to that flimsy piece of parchment, because it impedes the steps necessary to restore Greatness. They mention Caesarism a lot, usually talking about other people's clammy, silly fears - but as one of their writers notes here and there, a rotten republic produces Caesars, and we're certainly a rotten republic, so a Caesar is inevitable - why not make him one of us?

And the "one of us" they choose is someone their site regards as an imperfect manifestation of the ideas he "represents," by which they mean he said some things. So a man of malleable ideas should be invested with the powers of Caesar?

"For now, the principal vehicle of Trumpism is Trump."

That's correct, if you drop the Ism. There is no Ism. Only Zuul.