The Christian Science Monitor

What does it mean to be ‘conservative’ in the Trump era?

As a conservative writer and thinker, F.H. Buckley has a certain reputation for wit and a wry sense of humor.

A professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, he’s written about the morality of laughter, invoked “the once and future king” to describe former President Barack Obama, and accuses America’s wealthy elites of enjoying “redneck porn,” his term for political stories that objectify all those “deplorables” sniffing Oxy in places like West Virginia.

Yet as he’s become one of the foremost intellectual defenders of the unapologetic nationalism of President Trump, many of his right-leaning peers have begun to question Mr. Buckley’s conservative bona fides, just as they have the president’s.

And the former Trump speechwriter, who volunteered early to help his insurgent campaign, has been in many ways deliberately provocative, appropriating at times a leftist vocabulary to describe the nationalist energies that have come to dominate the Republican Party, and which many say have challenged core conservative principles as never before.

“I had this one moment where a prominent member of Congress talked about the Tea Party as “right-wing Marxists,” Buckley says. “And I thought, ‘Aha, that’s moi.’ ” In Canada, his country of birth, he might have even been

Roots in ‘classic liberalism’A ‘class warrior’ of the rightThe future of the Republican Party

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