Another Brand is Proposed: Civic Conservatives
I am a civic conservative, a “civ-con.”
At the level of highest principle civic conservatism emphasizes the Unum in E Pluribus Unum and puts American national cohesion over any group interest. The intellectual origins of civic conservatism can be traced to George Washington’s Farewell Address.
Citizens by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.
As Washington scholar Matthew Spalding of the Heritage Foundation puts it: “Above all, the Farewell Address directs the American regime toward Union, or unity, rather than diversity. America must be something more than a league of states or regions, a collection of various groups and interests.”
In terms of contemporary policy, civic conservatism emphasizes the following principles: the equality of American citizenship; the learning of America’s history and values, properly understood; the imperative of assimilating immigrants patriotically into the American way of life (what we proudly used to call Americanization); and the indivisibility of American sovereignty.
The leaders of a serious civic conservatism would not simply rely upon “feel-good” personal stories or platitudes about “common values” and “living the American dream” as substitutes for policy. Instead, they would directly challenge the anti-assimilationist agenda of the past thirty years with the ultimate objective of “roll-back,” to borrow from the successful Jim Burnham-Bill Buckley-Ronald Reagan Cold War strategy. Like the old evil empire, the multicultural-“diversity”-PC machine is based on lies and riddled with “internal contradictions.” It, too, might crumble when confronted with real resistance…
Among the broad population, many so-called Reagan Democrats, as well as most average Republican voters, possess instinctive civ-con tendencies….Civic conservative issues are strongly supported by the general public, although often resisted by elites and special interests. They are an untapped source of strength for an articulate candidate who would internalize them and make them his own.
I think a lot of Americans long for a day when we’re just, ya know, Americans and everyone can embrace a shared national culture and heritage. And by the way, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for other group-based cultures, etc., it just means that those with a cultural heritage from other countries or groups should also embrace American culture as their own. An important and basic requisite for maintaining a strong nation is that it’s people identify with a shared national culture and heritage. In short, that they “buy into it.” If people continue to view America as only a place to make a buck and disregard the civic obligations that go with the financial (and civic) benefits, then America may indeed go the way of Rome.