A Call to Glory

The question of the hour is “what is to be done?” 

Most conservatives, or “the base”, are now far ahead of their clueless leaders. They already know what is at stake, and they are exhausted by “crisis talk.” They are checking out of national politics and are more interested in the realm of the possible: state and local politics, how to build alternative or parallel institutions and communities, and how to navigate their lives. Likewise, elites who dissent from the system are looking internationally or at how to break out of blue cities and join businesses and organizations in red states that are not part of the woke cultural revolution.

Answering “what is to be done” is much harder than determining and revealing what is happening, and to a great extent it also depends on circumstances—one can try to dictate what rallying cries for specific action will “take” with the base or aligned elites, but no one entity or person can determine them, exactly.  

What is key now is pushing various proposals that are the kind of thing that should and could take. We all ought to do this to some extent like lawyers do: our overarching themes should be coherent, but there is plenty of room now to push for specific solutions in tension or even outright contradiction with each other.  

If one truly understands the circumstances, much more bold and upstream solutions are needed than what is currently on offer. Most importantly, those who can must now point people towards how to reclaim agency and “build their own regime” in an American context, using what resources both intellectually and practically that America yet possesses, and pointing them towards all manner of new movements attempting to build anew. 

Any real talk about what is to be done will entail selecting (and deselecting) the right Right-leaning leaders and what conservatives in the halls of power specifically fight for (policy) and protest. Also, half the country needs to begin acing as a market and should be encouraged to move to red counties in blue states and red states themselves while throwing major wrenches in blue state machines.  

The upshot is that we need a stream of memos pushing specific potential new responses to varied problems, from how to keep red states red to what really needs to be done to have a prayer of solving the corruption of our educational institutions. From specific ideas for mass protest and boycott to what new organizations need to be created. And we need to keep a running list we can match authors to for this purpose. Let the forward looking debates runneth over.

We also need to experiment with new language that points to new and more practical solutions. We need a movement that rejects apolitical fantasies while pointing towards promising, non-dystopian futures that do yet exist. We need a rhetoric that is pro-tech while being pro-people and pro-civilization. Etc., etc. Words need to match reality again, and we need to work hard to make them do so. But we also need words that open up new possibilities for a better way of life rather than triggering the same old doomer cascade of irony and bitterness again and again. We must call people to heroism and glory as well as concrete small actions and habits instead. 

This is the direction in which The American Mind—and we hope many others—is now headed. We welcome your thoughts as we lead forward.

Matthew J. Peterson (@docmjp) is Vice President of Education at the Claremont Institute and Editor of The American Mind. He directs Claremont’s annual fellowships and heads our initiative for a new center to support graduate level scholarship.