The Poverty of Conservative Philosophy

60 Modern Age, Spring 2018

George Mason Legal Studies Research Paper No. LS 18-07

10 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2018

See all articles by F. H. Buckley

F. H. Buckley

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Date Written: April 4, 2018


The election of Donald Trump has exposed, for all to see, the poverty of American conservative thought. Yet even now conservative thinkers seem none the wiser. Their frozen-fixed principles remain unchanged, and they gauge Trump according to how he well comports with them. Even Trump’s supporters, for the most part, have failed to understand just what explains Trump’s victory, and the revolution in conservative thought behind it.

The four pillars of the Trump movement, themes that resonated with his supporters and which were largely ignored by conservative intellectuals, were mobility, jobs, religion and nationalism. What they gave us was a very different party, one that is socially conservative and economically liberal or middle of the road, the polar opposite of the libertarian’s social liberalism and economic conservatism.

Keywords: conservative, conservative thought, mobility, religion, jobs, industry, populism, trump, nationalism, economics, social liberalism, economic conservatism, economic liberalism

JEL Classification: J6, H11

Suggested Citation

Buckley, Francis (Frank) H., The Poverty of Conservative Philosophy (April 4, 2018). 60 Modern Age, Spring 2018. Available at SSRN:

Francis (Frank) H. Buckley (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-8028 (Phone)
703-993-8088 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics