Debating the once and future conservatism

It is with mixed feelings that I report that New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait vastly prefers Max Boot’s book on conservatism to mine.

As it happens I also like Boot’s book (actually quite a bit), but I think Chait is fundamentally wrong in his view of conservatism.

For the last several years, Chait has been arguing that the rise of Donald Trump is proof that conservatism was always and everywhere thoroughly racist, morally bankrupt, and populated with hypocrites and authoritarians.

This is, ironically enough, the mirror image of the argument made by those on the right who also insist that we should regard Trumpism as a logical, consistent, and organic outgrowth of conservatism. That is, of course the view from the (Sean) Hannitized right, which insists that conservative opposition to Trump is a form of apostasy.

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