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Trump Redefined 1-20-18 By Dave Gunn PDF  | Print |  E-mail


1-20-18    By Dave Gunn


Trump Redefined


      Those of you who have been steady readers of my rants will remember that, during the presidential campaign, I wrote that then candidate Donald Trump was not a conservative, but rather a populist/conservative.  That he was not a conservative purist still made him eminently preferable to the shrill harpy far-leftist Hilary Clinton.


     The manner of governance exhibited by President Trump has forced me to redefine him.  I no longer consider Trump to be a populist/conservative, but rather an instinctive conservative.


     When I say that Trump is an instinctive conservative, I mean that his conservatism stems not from his intellectual grasp of and adherence to conservative principles, but rather from his “gut.”  In other words, Trump is not a doctrinaire conservative, but he instinctively moves in the direction of conservatism on most issues because conservatism makes sense to him as a matter of practicality.


     This is not to say that President Trump is in any way an ignorant man.  From all accounts he is well educated and well read.  However, his conservatism does not have the philosophical weight of a Russell Kirk.  It is more a matter of what actually works.


     For example, Trump made tax cuts a central theme of his campaign and of the first year of his presidency.  This is not due to his philosophical view of the proper role of government in a just society.  It is because he reasons, and rightly so, that corporations and individuals will prosper better when they can keep more of the money that they earn.


     Likewise, President Trump wants to ban transgendered individuals from the military.  This is not because of any moral objection he has to the perversion of sexual roles, but because he knows that the proper role of the military is to kill the enemy and break his stuff.  The military is not a place for social experimentation, but a necessary element in the preservation of the security of a nation.


     More than one political analyst has observed that Trump has accomplished more for the cause of conservatism in his first year as president than any modern president, including Ronald Reagan.  And the record is impressive, when one considers tax cuts, the elimination of the Obamacare mandate, the placement of Neal Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and dozens of conservative judges on federal courts, our relations with other nations, the revitalization of our energy production, the elimination of burdensome federal regulations, and many other factors.  How does one explain how much conservatism is accomplished by one who is not a doctrinaire conservative?


     It is this: conservatism is eminently practical.  It works.  As a successful businessman, Donald Trump instinctively seeks out that which is practical to accomplish his goals.  All Trump has done is to apply his instinctive practicality to the political realm.


     Remember what I said about Trump being an intelligent, well-educated and well-read man.  Suppose he would turn his mind toward the works of Kirk, Bastiat, Gilder, Sowell, and others.  What would be the result?  Suppose the practical conservatism of Trump met with the doctrinaire conservatism that some of us embrace.  Would that not produce a Trump even more alarming and more hated by the far-left? To be sure, an intellectually conservative Trump is the stuff of which liberal nightmares are made!



[Dave Gunn is the nom de plume of Dr. David E. Gonnella, Pastor of the Magnolia Springs Baptist Church in Theodore, Alabama.  The opinions expressed are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the church or its membership.]