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Thursday, April 18, 2019
THE CORROSION of CONSERVATISM: WHY I LEFT the RIGHT (kindle) by Max Boot
Published in October of 2018 by Liveright.
2016 was a moment of reckoning for political writer Max Boot. Boot wrote for all of the well-known Conservative publications - The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, etc. He appeared on TV shows and radio shows and describes himself as a "movement conservative". But, the rise of Donald Trump and his subsequent election made him change his registration from Republican to Independent in protest.
Why? In his own words: "In March 2016, I had written that Trump was a 'character test' for the GOP: 'Do you believe in the open and inclusive party of Ronald Reagan? Or do you want a bigoted and extremist party in the image of Donald Trump?' To my growing horror, most Republicans were failing the test."
I picked up this book because I felt the same way. There is no point in laying out all of arguments against Trump - everyone has heard them. Like Boot, I was dismayed that "...most Republican leaders showed that they were willing to discard their principles as mindlessly as a Styrofoam fast-food container if by doing so they could enhance their own positions and avoid the wrath of a powerful and vindictive leader."
So, like Boot, I find myself a Republican "in exile" - I have left the party. Like the Cuban exiles, I find myself on the outside looking in and wondering what the hell happened.
Over the last two and half years Mr. Boot and I have come to a lot of the same conclusions. One of them is that President Trump has brought to life a strong nativist and racist strand that was always a part of the Conservative movement, but a part that we had always assumed was a tiny and shrinking part. Instead, he has exposed it to have been just hidden away out of politeness. Boot points out: "No, not all Trump supporters are racist. But virtually all racists, it seems, are Trump supporters."
Also: "It is hard to know who is worse: Trump or his enablers. I am inclined to think it is the latter. Trump does not know any better; he has no idea how a president, or even an ordinary, decent human being, is supposed to behave. But many of his supporters do know better, and they are debasing themselves to curry favor with him because he controls the levers of power." Boot does not go into the Evangelical support of Trump. Boot is not a Christian, so it is not his fight. But, I am so you can take that same quote and apply it to the big name Christian leaders that attach themselves to this man and make excuses for him and see how my frustration is doubled.
In the end, this book will not change any minds. But, I found it helpful to find someone as well-written as Max Boot has come to so many of the same conclusions that I have have.
I rate this book 5 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: THE CORROSION of CONSERVATISM: WHY I LEFT the RIGHT by Max Boot.