I am a conservative, not an anti-Leftist

I said on Twitter that while Donald Trump is not a conservative, he is an anti-Leftist. (I am talking about his personal philosophy, not his policies. Trump’s policies have been very conservative, and much better than I ever expected.) That Trump won the nomination and has such a devoted following should teach us something about fighting back against the Left.

And fight back we should. Many conservatives have been fighting back for a long time, from Ben Shapiro and Rush Limbaugh to yours truly. When we are unfairly attacked or lied about, we should aggressively push back against those attacks and counterattack. Republicans were sick of weak-kneed leaders who buckled under pressure every time they took a political hit, especially when the counter was so easy and obvious. True leaders do not run away from conflict. True leaders run into conflict to stand for critical principles.

But we should not confuse being an anti-Leftist with being a conservative. Our opposition to the Left must be based on solid conservative principles and a coherent political ideology, not simply a childish desire to “own the libs” or “fight fire with fire.” Pushing back should be motivated not by getting political “wins” but by pushing for principles like private property rights, low taxes, limited government, religious freedom, individual liberty, gun rights, and protection of innocent human life. Sometimes advocating for these principles means we have to call a liar a liar, or point out hypocrisy, but policy should always be the end goal.

It is not enough to “own the libs” on social media or to defeat various Democratic policies or candidates. We have to be moving the ball down the field and we must have a clear objective for what we will do when we win. Those clear objectives should be reflected in the ideological commitments of the candidates we elect. How can we possibly define “winning” of we do not have a clear conservative standard to uphold? The answer is simple: We cannot, and that means that all of this “winning” will ultimately lead to defeat.

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