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Most Black Republicans Aren’t True Conservatives

4 ¾ min

The Republican Party has been shamelessly embracing blacks on the sole criteria that they embrace capitalism and rehash stale talking points crediting dead Democrats for starting the Ku Klux Klan. Such overtures are acceptable to many, however, because the modern Republican Party rarely articulates a conservative message.

The party does excel at something, however, namely, as a conduit for black pundits to build large platforms. Essentially, blacks without meaningful conservative credentials are using Republicans to cultivate a following without increasing support for Republican politics or conservatism generally. But can we blame them when the only qualification required to be a conservative these days is to condemn the racist history of the Democratic Party?

After years of mainstream analyses, it is now firmly rooted in the mind of the Republican Party that it can only survive by becoming less conservative and pandering to minority groups. As a result, today’s Republicans proudly promote the big-tent model of conservatism, to their detriment. 

Although there are varieties of conservatism, the big-tent approach is remarkably unconservative. Conservatism is a specific philosophy with necessary component positions. To be a conservative in the West, one must wish to preserve an intellectual tradition of unique relevance to Westerners.

As such, conservatives typically discuss the importance of Judeo-Christian ethics or highlight the Greco-Roman intellectual heritage of the West. Specifically, American conservatives want to preserve the timeless wisdom of the Founding Fathers and to maintain the integrity of institutions such as Congress and the Supreme Court, as stipulated by the Constitution. Yet they also embrace the disruptive nature of innovations wrought by the free market, putting themselves squarely in the tradition of classical liberalism in this regard.

While markets are not unique to Western civilization, it was the West that created the legal ingredients necessary for capitalism to flourish. Hence one can contend that advocating capitalism is consonant with the conservative quest to preserve the uniqueness of the West. This is why communists seeking to destroy capitalism are revolutionaries, while the classical liberal defenders of free markets are obviously conservative.

Yet true conservatism is rather skeptical of unbridled free markets, and instead aims to manage change. It also prefers an economy dominated by small firms, rather than big corporations. Admittedly, markets disturb traditional sentiments; however, Westerners pioneered the institutionalization of free markets. As such, conservatives espousing classical liberalism are celebrating a type of conservatism.

These market issues are often what token black Republicans use to assert a utilitarian case for supporting the Republican Party. These black Republican celebrities argue that blacks are primed to vote for Republicans because free markets are a medium to uplift their people. The typical line is that Democrats have failed to ameliorate the conditions of black Americans, and as such, blacks should depart the Democratic plantation in favor of the free market agenda of Republicans.

This argument is politically savvy—but it’s not conservative. Black conservatism is focused on the free-market aspects of Western conservatism but disconnected from its cultural mandate. When blacks say that they are conservative they are primarily referring to their avowal of capitalism, even though some do also still express traditional cultural views regarding marriage. These are sensible views, but Republicans should not confuse them for true conservatism.

Furthermore, though blacks are less tolerant of homosexuality than whites, this does not reflect philosophical conservatism. Such reports merely suggest that blacks are traditional. Except for people like Thomas Sowell, Elizabeth Wright, and Walter Williams, black conservatism is divorced from the wider philosophical underpinnings of Western conservatism.

The problem with relying on black celebrities to boost the popularity of the conservative movement is that there is no indication that they truly appreciate the intimate relationship between conservatism and the intellectual tradition of the West. Arguing that law enforcement is not replete with systemic racism does not inherently make one a conservative.

Presently, the Republican Party is just a copy of the Democratic Party, aside from its stance on a free market economy. During the apex of its delusion, CPAC invited the equally misguided Young Pharaoh as a speaker, notwithstanding that he lacks a conservative worldview. Some speculate that he was only invited for noting that Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan.

Denuded of any truly conservative philosophy, Republicans are hoping that appealing to blacks will result in electoral viability, but history shows this to be a losing strategy. When conservatism is diminished to a mere critique of the historical anti-black policies of the Democratic Party, real conservatives have no option but to exit the Republican Party.

The only winners in this sordid affair are the black celebrities, who assume that exposing the dangers of Black Lives Matter reflects a conservative worldview. The acceptance of such personalities as conservatives indicates the profound mediocrity of the contemporary conservative movement. Simply offering a cogent rebuttal of one corrupt social movement should not be construed as truly conservative. People like Candace Owens may excel at critiquing identity politics, but they add no value to the real conservative movement. Conservatives who believe otherwise have been duped by the Republican Party.

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Image Credit: 

Flickr-Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Lipton Matthews

Lipton Matthews

Lipton Matthews is a researcher, business analyst, and contributor to mises.org, The Federalist, The Imaginative Conservative, Merion West, and American Thinker.

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bcmike
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Can buddhists Hindus and muslims be conservative? According to this author the answer is no. He believes only white Jews and Christians can be conservatives! Send Jews are often democrats. That leaves only white main stream and evanglial christians that can be conservatives. The author believes that black, brown yellow and red Christian's can't be conservatives. Because they often don't support western traditions and civilization. They support their own traditions and religions. As long as white cultural conservatives insist, they are the only true conservatives, then their form of conservatism is doomed to be a smaller and smaller minority. Adam Smith, Milton Friedman etc. conservatism was independent of religion and race. That is the big tent of conservatism.
 
 

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Beesoc
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Joe Biden doesn't sign off on executive orders funding progressive projects to the tune of bajillions of dollars to solve America's problems. If we gave 30 bajillion dollars for cancer pills, and big pharma cured cancer with those pills, then where is the next 30 bajillion dollars going to come from. Government funding operates on a massive scale which can't be competed against, and which perpetuates through controling the levers of power and money. Solving any problems does not serve their interests. Creating crises and novelties does. In it's fully fledged form, this is total nihilism. Thus, if you are not in favor of complete and absolute destruction, you are by definition a conservative. This might not suit Mr Lipton's nuanced and highly specific definition of conservatism, but Americans, at the moment, lack any coherent ideals, institutions, or plans to stand up for the preservation of the constitutional republic we've had had for over 200 years. The Republican party is not going to speak for the preservation of America. So far, neither to self-identified conservatives have much to offer. If they don't, then they just become another subset of liberal ideologies competing for totalitarian control in a collapsing system lacking in shared values. I understand that conservatives, by nature, are a little more slow moving than other ideologies addicted to the machinations of modernity, but I think it's worth pointing out that conservatism, rather than being trapped in the past, is actually a forward-looking ideology, unlike most other forms of liberalism, which are blinded by the constant quest for momentary power.
 
 

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jolachance
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Bizarre narrowly construed definition of conservatism used to reach a dubious conclusion. Attribution of mean spirited motivations to the “Republican Party”— an identity politics ploy and certainly not in keeping with conservative thought on the value of the individual vs. importance of membership in a particular group. Enjoy your time as a Democrat.
 
 

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dippitydo
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I love Candace.Owens and I would vote for her in a heartbeat. She’s a beautiful and intelligent human being. She is trying to save America like the rest of us. I don’t understand your article at all.
 
 

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BeckyScarlett
You have not done your research. Owens created a doxing site. Social Autopsy. Look it up. She had to take it down because she was outed. A real conservative would never dream of doxing people, much less create a site. I will never vote for CANDOX. Do your research. Owens’ only intention is self serving. A leopard doesn’t change its spots. You are being deceived. Most black folks who are aware of her background simply laugh at her. You really need to do your research. Owens is a grifter.
Karenvw
I'm replying due to my revulsion of Becky's overwrought tsk tasking of you - 5 times! Dennis Prager, an exceedingly conservative person, has her on his videos and promotes her. When someone makes an outlandish claim that "most people" - a 6th tsk tsk - I'm amused. Has this person really asked most Black people what they think of her? By the end of her supposed denouement of you, it's easy to imagine the spittle running down her chin.
M. Landry
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So who is a true conservative? The author implies one must have a thorough undergirding in Western philosophy to make the claim. But what about those who are more activist than intellectual? We need the Thomas Sowells, the Walter Williams, the Victor Davis Hansons, and others of an academic bent. But we also need the bright, articulate commentators like Sean Hannity, the late Rush Limbaugh, Ben Shapiro, and, yes, Candace Owens. And what about the steelworker, the stay-at-home mom, the bus driver who may not be able to articulate what the writer seems to expect, but in their hearts they know what is right. Are they not true conservatives? After all, they believe firmly in truths that are self-evident. And, of course, there’s Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-president, Donald Trump. Seemingly a political opportunist, President Trump probably advanced conservative causes more than any modern president. Objection to Candace Owens might be that her conservative thought may not yet be fully formed. So what? She became a conservative what? Five, seven years ago? I’d say she’s doing an amazing job in presenting and defending conservative values. Writer Matthew’s criticism of the Republican Party is accurate. Up to a point. It’s the national party that seems to be Democrat Light. But at the level of county committees and many state Republican organizations, there is a growing grassroots conservatism that is having an impact upon legislators and members of Congress. And in the grassroots are rising black stars taking positions of leadership in the party, leadership rooted in genuine conservative beliefs. One such individual in our state believes a major thrust of the Republican Party should be to educate people in conservative values. I’m against the big tent. But I also recognize that each of us has a different role stemming from our backgrounds, education, talents, and intellectual bent.
 
 

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Peigin
This is one of the problems I see in the GOP. Too many people want it all their way. I don't want us all marching in lockstep like the Marxist Democrats, but we need to be able to agree to disagree on some things and move forward with those things we do agree on. We don't need a big tent, but we don't all need to crawl into our own tiny little tents and carp at those who don't agree with us on every issue. We have a big fight ahead of us so we need to hang together lest we all hang separately.
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