The Nihilism at the Heart of Trumpian Populism

The National Conservatism Conference wants to impose ideological coherence on Trumpism. That may be impossible.

The second ever National Conservatism Conference took place a few weeks ago. David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, attended the event—and what he saw terrified him.

This reaction is understandable: Brooks’s conservatism is a very different model than the one presented at the conference. His detractors on the right would contend that the single biggest weakness of Brooks’s brand of conservatism is its near total lack of any discernibly conservative positions. But those of us who find in Brooks’s version a far saner alternative to the ascendant conservatism of the past half-decade would likely come away from the event just as rattled.

In his write-up for The Atlantic, Brooks begins with a mini-profile of Rachel Bovard, a conservative activist.

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