After 47 years of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., not to mention the National Review conferences as well as the luxury cruises sponsored by numerous conservative outlets, it’s hard to imagine what a new conclave of the right could offer that was both original and memorable.
But, by most accounts, the National Conservatism forum July 14-16 not only met but exceeded the expectations of the 400-plus participants in Washington.
White House National Security Advisor John Bolton had a sit-down discussion on foreign policy with former American Enterprise Institute head Chris DeMuth and then took questions from the audience.
"And John showed everyone he was not the 'make war with everyone' neo-con he was made out to be, but which I knew was completely untrue," former National Review editor John O’Sullivan told us.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R.Mo, considered one of the Senate's finest legal minds, and Fox News' Tucker Carlson were among the speakers at the three-day event.
A project of the conservative Edmund Burke Foundation, National Conservatism brought a unique blend of speakers and panels.
Populist conservatism, the brand that helped fuel Donald Trump's election as president, was evident.
However, it was presented with both intellectual firepower and a strong emphasis on history.
Speakers such as scholars Daniel Pipes and O'Sullivan offered presentations showing the connection between the move of immigration and the current rise of nationalism in Europe.
Other speakers included "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance; former National Security Council spokesman and Hillsdale College professor Michael Anton (who spiced his talk on the dangers of imperialism with quotes from Thucydides, Machiavelli, and Montesquieu); and syndicated columnist Salena Zito, who spoke on "What’s This Revolt About?"
Simply put, National Conservatism was not your father's conservative political conference.
"I see lots of new faces here," said publisher Al Regnery, who has been attending conservative conferences since the early 1960s. "In fact, I look around and I probably know less than 10 percent of the other participants."
Regnery also noted that several of the speakers were new to American conservative audiences. He specifically cited Swedish journalist Paulina Neuding ("I never heard of her before"), who hushed the audience with reports of immigrants to her country settling into "no go" zones and first responders requiring police protection to put out fires in their neighborhoods.
If one thinks mass immigration and multiculturalism will work, Neuding concluded, "just think of Sweden."
John Sitilides, geopolitical strategist at Trilogy Advisors, told us, "as the left undergoes an internal crisis between power-centered leadership and ideological extremists, the right needs to shape its own future in preparation for the century’s decade and beyond."
Because "conservatism has been relatively static since the 1980s, albeit with the short-lived fuel injection of 2016," Sitilides said, "conferences such as this are wanted and needed."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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