from Clay Routledge at National Review, Roy Moore and the Decline of the Conservative Mind- He and Trump are right-wing manifestations of victimhood culture.
The biggest threats to conservatism are psychological, not demographic, trends. As an actual philosophy of life and not just a low-resolution tribal marker, conservatism thrives when people are mentally resilient, self-reliant, and strongly invested in the interpersonal bonds that make small government viable: family, friends, and community. At the national level, all of these psychological characteristics are in decline, and with them, so is principled conservatism.
Though it may be tempting, it would be a mistake for liberals to see these trends as politically favoring them or helping the nation. A decline of principled conservatism doesn’t mean we will see a rise of liberalism or the diminishing of tribal politics. This brings us back to the ascension of Trump and the potential election of Roy Moore. The issue is more qualitative than quantitative. Low-quality conservative candidates won’t stop Republicans from tactically signaling their conservatism and finding ways to win elections. Regardless of the state of the party, people will probably continue to vote for their Republican tribe for a number of reasons. But will they personally live up to and favor political candidates who live up to conservative values? Winning elections is not the same as using conservative principles to address pressing social and economic challenges.
In many ways, Trumpism reflects the right-wing version of emotional safety and victimhood culture many conservatives criticize. Trump’s self-aggrandizing and fragile ego are emblematic of the self-esteem movement. Considering his age, he was ahead of the curve. Trump also employs safe-space tactics that have become all too common on many college campuses. Instead of promoting freedom, he champions censorship of speech he finds offensive and verbally attacks those who disagree him. Trump isn’t the future of conservatism. He is a prophetic warning of its retreat.