Let's Fix This Country

Who Are the New Right and What Do They Have in Store for Us?

Right off, we can't proceed without attempting a definition of "New Right", a term you perhaps have heard of but probably know little further, not least because, like antifa, it isn't a formal organization and has no consistent doctrine, other than a strident discontent with how things have turned out.

Mostly they are a well-educated élite who The New Republic identified as "radical young intellectuals", many of them PhDs, article illustration
Art by Brian Stauffer for Vanity Fair

with a wildly diverse set of political viewpoints that run from Marxists to monarchists, and yet looking to Donald Trump as the right man for the moment.

The new Republicans are the populist inversion of their pro-business, free-market predecessors. For them, woke corporations, big tech, leftist media, and the academic élite control everything "from your smartphone to the money supply to your third grader’s curriculum", as culture commentator David Brooks put it. The worship of free markets has allowed the runaway growth of big tech companies and other left-tilting corporations that through apps and social media dominate the culture while their free-trade dogma has exported jobs in the millions devastating working class communities.

At a National Conservatism Conference (NatCon) that Brooks attended, firebrand Rachel Bovard railed against "woke elites" for "dominating every cultural, intellectual, and political institution.” The enemy is the left-wing…

"the totalitarian cult of billionaires and bureaucrats, of privilege perpetuated by bullying, empowered by the most sophisticated surveillance and communications technologies in history."

New Right Republicanism champions a populist ethos that flips on its back the Party's traditional favoritism for Big Business.

Blake Masters, who ran for the Senate in Arizona in 2022 but lost to the Democratic incumbent, Mark Kelly, thinks that the liberal article illustration
Blake Masters

culture and free-market ideology has bottomed out and has led to a "dystopian hell-world",

"and the progressive left just remains the enemy. It's the enemy of true progress. It's the enemy of everything that is good."

When asked what he envisioned as a remedy, Masters offered…

"It's just families and meaningful work, so that you can raise your kids and worship and pursue your hobbies and figure out what the meaning of it all is."

disemboweling the deep state

A central tenet of the New Right is that the federal government must be purged. This debuted in the media when Steve Bannon attracted notice during Trump's first campaign for advocating the “deconstruction of the administrative state”. Bannon described himself as "a Leninist" because, like the Russian revolutionary he "wanted to destroy the state, and that's my goal, too". Bannon was eager to "bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today's establishment".

This has a parallel in a growing Republican position that Congress has ceded too much power to the agencies of the executive branch, which, along with presidential executive orders, are effectively lawmaking in the edicts and regulations that pour forth. "Administrative judges”, who are not judges but employees, conduct trial-like proceedings without juries within agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission where they, without external oversight, levy huge fines against American businesses. Conservatives bridle against the ideology of "expertise" which holds that expert administrators rather than elected legislators should make the decisions based on "settled science" that blocks dissenting views. They cite Anthony Fauci practically running the government with lockdowns during the pandemic and the administration pressuring social media to shut down anti-vax and anti-mask advisers during the pandemic as examples. They applaud the federal district court in Louisiana handing down a 5-4 decision in July that led to a temporary injunction ordering the government to cease communicating with private media.

The New Right's answer to the "deep state" seven years after Bannon is the same as his: to tear it out root and branch. J. D. Vance, author of best-seller "Hillbilly Elegy" about the poor of Ohio and West Virginia, who turned venture capitalist and, still in his 30s, then made straight for the Senate, offered that solution in a podcast interview a couple of years back:

"I tend to think that we should seize the institutions of the left and turn them against the left. We need like a de-Baathification program, a de-woke-ification program…I think Trump is going to run again in 2024. I think that what Trump should do, if I was giving him one piece of advice: Fire every single midlevel bureaucrat, every civil servant in the administrative state, replace them with our people."

"And when the courts stop you," he went on, "stand before the country, and say" — quoting Andrew Jackson's challenge to constitutional order — "the chief justice has made his ruling. Now let him enforce it."

Backing both Masters and Vance with $30 million contributed to their super PACs in the 2022 election was Silicon Valley article illustration
Peter Thiel
billionaire five times over, Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal with Elon Musk and was then the first outside investor in Facebook. He thought the 2020 election should not have been certified and in 2009 said, "I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible", yet the media hangs on his every word.

All three are aligned with the New Right, although it was a jaw-dropping turnabout for Vance. article illustration
J D Vance

Originally posting at #NeverTrump and once expressing concern in a Facebook post that Trump might be “America’s Hitler”, Vance would later apologize and say he was wrong calling Trump's border policy "reprehensible" and that "God wants better of us". He embraced Trump, agreed that the 2020 election had been stolen, and that Democrats were importing migrants to "replace the voters that are already here". The turnabout was so rapid that with Vance on stage alongside him at a Youngstown, Ohio, rally in 2022 Trump said, "J. D. is kissing my ass — he wants my support so bad".

progressives are the enemy

The New Right is outraged by their belief that the Left has captured the nation's most significant institutions — the news media, pop culture, the universities — and is using that control to foist its values on the public from transgender liberalism to Black Live Matter. They have agreement in pockets of government. Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz says,

“The left hates America. It is the left that is trying to use culture as a tool to destroy America.”

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio says much the same:

"We are confronted now by a systematic effort to dismantle our society, our traditions, our economy, and our way of life.”

Christopher Rufo, 38, has done more than anyone to stoke the war against the progressives. In City Journal, a publication article illustration
Christopher Rufo
of the Manhattan Institute, he wrote about the homeless crisis that, “We’ve ceded the intellectual and moral territory to misguided principles of tolerance, diversity, and compassion.”

He came upon a graduate-school-level academic discipline called "critical race theory" that contends that racism is systemically embedded in America's laws and institutions. He sounded an alarm that CRT was being taught in our schools, that our youth were being indoctrinated in White guilt. Whether widely taught or a fiction, it set off ceaseless media coverage leading to a flurry of bans voted by state legislatures against its teaching. Rufo proudly stated to The New York Times, “I’ve unlocked a new terrain in the culture war”. On Tucker Carlson's show he denounced CRT as the “default ideology of the federal bureaucracy” and called on then-President Trump to abolish the government's sensitivity training programs. Trump was watching and did exactly that by executive order.

In March of 2021 he tweeted that…

“We have successfully frozen their brand—‘Critical Race Theory’—into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category. The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘Critical Race Theory’…to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans.”


Curtis Yarvin, 48, was a software coder who started a blog that attracted a following for his most influentially codifying the key terms of the New Right. Made out as something of a loon by some, article illustration
Curtis Yarvin

but dubbed only partly in jest as Lord Yarvin or The Prophet by his compatriots, Yarvin is not to be underestimated, says writer James Pogue, who soaked up New Right thinking and talked with Yarvin (and Vance) at a NatCon in 2022. Yarvin thinks that it is a waste of time and political energy to fight the media/academic nexus that he calls "the Cathedral" over culture issues such as CRT and gay marriage. For conservatives to win America, Yarvin has argued as recorded by Pogue, is for "a Caesar-like figure to take power back from this devolved oligarchy and replace it with a monarchical regime run like a start-up." As far back as 2012, Yarvin thought that what the country needed was a "national CEO, [or] what's called a dictator."

The New Right has thrown aside the traditional Republican doctrine of states' rights, of shifting power away from the federal government to the states. While not changing the conservative passion for small government, the New Right has become statist, persuaded that only the central power of the state can effect the transformation of America that they espouse. No other force can break up the big corporations and force a cleansing of the culture.

David Brooks heard the same from Rod Dreher, a columnist at The American Conservative, who told him,

“We need to quit being satisfied with owning the libs, and save our country. We need to unapologetically embrace the use of state power.”

It was Dreher who urged Tucker Carlson to spend some time in Viktor Orban's Hungary where he lives.

For the sake of completeness, we should touch on the far-right integralists. Christian nationalists think the United States should declare itself a Christian nation, a near-militant movement that we have written about. Integralists take that further. Harvard law professor, Arian Vermeule formulated the legal theory of "common good constitutionalism" which asserts that “the central aim of the constitutional order is to promote good rule, not to 'protect liberty' as an end in itself”, and for that the state needs the spiritual authority of the church. Extremist integralists argue that citizenship should only be extended to the baptized and that the unbaptized should live only at the pleasure of the state.

the monarch they wish for

In mid-July the Times ran a lead story that laid out Trump's plans for his second term. No more would the various federal agencies go about their business with their customary independence. Trump would place control of the entire executive branch directly in his hands. All would need to seek Trump's approval of any policy before making a move, is how his intentions read.

In his first term, his handlers were able to dissuade him from rash power moves because he needed to seem presidentially becalmed enough to run for re-election. As his second attorney general, William Barr, just said…

"I found in his first term that the only way to really talk sense into him was to say this is going to hurt you and it's going to hurt your re-election chances, and so forth. He would then pay attention. So I am concerned that in a second term he will be off the hook. There'll be no way of controlling him and he will also surround himself with yes men."

Lest we forget, in 2019, Trump said, “I have to the right to do whatever I want as president.” And this past December, irritated by constraints, Trump called for the “termination of ... the Constitution.”

The hands-off independence of the Justice Department would end. We have no doubt Trump will use the department, its FBI, and the IRS to seek revenge against those who have ever challenged or spoken ill of him. “What we’re trying to do is identify the pockets of independence and seize them,” said Russell Vought, who ran the Office of Management and Budget under Trump.

John Kelly, the Marine four-star who served as Trump's second chief of staff predicts:

"It would be chaotic. It just simply would be chaotic, because he’d continually be trying to exceed his authority but the sycophants would go along with it. It would be a nonstop gunfight with the Congress and the courts.”

And while the Times doesn't raise the prospect, would he not ignore the courts as Yale Law graduate J.D. Vance proposed above?

It is Congress that constitutionally decides how much the government is to spend and on what programs, but Trump would claim for himself a right to "impound" funds — to not spend monies appropriated by Congress on budget items he disfavors — a practice banned by law during the Nixon administration — such as everything to do with climate. The blueprint for the second term is largely the work of the Heritage Foundation and is called "Project 2025". Already they have signaled, as a second Times report laid bare, the dismantling of "almost every clean energy program in the federal government and boosting the production of fossil fuels".

Trump plans to strip the employment safeguards of civil service employees meant to protect them from vengeful firing or wholesale dismissal. John McEntee, who first served as Trump's "body man" and then his personnel chief developing lists of those perceived to be disloyal, is with Trump again. He tells the Times

“Our current executive branch was conceived of by liberals for the purpose of promulgating liberal policies. There is no way to make the existing structure function in a conservative manner. It’s not enough to get the personnel right. What’s necessary is a complete system overhaul.”

The federal government has 2.2 million civilian employees, but only 4,000 of them are political appointees the president can remove. But among the 2.2 million are many who make policy decisions but, protected from arbitrary dismissal by law, are extremely difficult to remove. We already saw Trump in 2020 issue the Schedule F executive order reclassifying those career bureaucrats deemed to be in policy-making posts as employees who can be fired at will. With McEntee's lists in hand on 2025, we can expect to see a purge in the thousands.

The New Right will have its monarch.

1 Comment for “Who Are the New Right and What Do They Have in Store for Us?”

  1. I do not want a totalitarian right or left wing. The US Constitution is a document that guards against this. Yes the congress needs to take back it’s proper roll. The President and the Federal Bureaucracy have acquired too much power. Trump has shown that he has become a totalitarian and so has Biden. I do not want to live in a country with a dictatorial government.

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