Tags: trump | salvini | conte | russell kirk | conservatism

European Conservatism Explained At A Critical Time

European Conservatism Explained At A Critical Time
John Gizzi (right) interviews Italian author-philosopher Francesco Giubilei (left) & Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist (center). 

Sunday, 01 September 2019 08:30 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Last week, the apparent downfall of the politician considered Italy’s “man for tomorrow” by conservatives and President Donald Trump’s surprising comments on the situation left conservatives in Italy and the U.S. confused and disappointed.   

That man was Interior Minister Matteo Salvini — best-known for his hardline against illegal immigration but also a devotee of the ax-the-tax line made famous by Americans for Tax Reform head Grover Norquist (with whom Salvini met during a recent trip to Washington). 

Salvini made an attempt to bring down the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in an obvious play to force immediate elections — which, polls show, would have put his League Party in power with Salvini as prime minister.

Conte, however, embraced decidedly non-conservative parties to form a new, center-left government and remain prime minister. To the dismay of conservatives in both Italy and the U.S., President Trump tweeted support for Conte remaining in power.

To understand this situation, many on the right in and outside Italy are turning to Francisco Giubilei, a twenty-something Italian author and philosopher.

“Donald Trump's tweet was very surprising because it came at a delicate time when there was discussion for the creation of a new government led by Conte and supported by the Democratic Party and the Five Star Movement — the most left-wing government in the history of Italian republic,” Giubilei told Newsmax.

He went on to voice his view that “Trump, after the G-7 summit understood that in Italy, Conte would remain premier and decided to support him to have an ally in the future.”

In so doing, Giubilei explained, “Trump gave the impression that he was in favor of the new government and against Salvini, his natural ally.”

Explaining Italian conservatism is something Giubilei is doing frequently of late.

Press interest in him comes at a time he has produced The History of European Thought, his sixth and latest book.

“I think that Italian and European conservatism in general is separated from the American conservatism,” Giubilei told Newsmax during a recent trip to the U.S., “So, I think that there is not one American conservative – except perhaps for [Dr. Russell] Kirk – that influences our conservatism. That is because our conservatism is quite different from American conservatism.”

(Kirk, who would have turned 100 last year, is the author of the epic tome “The Conservative Mind” and one of the premier thinkers in the postwar conservative movement).

Giubilei emphasized that “it is also difficult to define one European conservative, because an Italian conservative is different from a French conservative, and both are different from a Spanish conservative. So I can’t say one name that influences all. Maybe in the political view, Ronald Reagan. But in a cultural view, I don’t know.”

Giubilei did note that the late historian Samuel Huntington and his 1993 book “The Clash of Civilizations” had a strong impact on European conservatives. In “Clash,” Huntington argued that future conflict between civilizations will be over differing cultures rather than politics.

Moreover, he said, “G.K. Chesterton has an influence, especially for the Catholics, because he wrote a lot of books that are linked with the Roman Catholic religion.

But Giubilei quickly added that “the conservative in Italy is influenced more by the Italian authors that are not well-known abroad.”  

He specifically singled out Giuseppe Prezzolini, a leading commentator on Italian culture who wrote an autobiography at age 30 entitled—incredibly—“The Failure” and then went on to craft some of the most important planks of modern conservatism. He died in 1982 at age 100.

According to Giubilei, “Prezzolini rejected the welfare state and centralized control due to his distrust of the state, placing his trust in the tried and true traditions of hierarchy, the time-tested traditions that govern society.”

As Italian politics continues down an ever-mystifying path, it seems that one certainty is Francesco Giubilei will be called upon increasingly to try to explain it. 

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Last week, the apparent downfall of the politician considered Italy's "man for tomorrow" by conservatives and President Trump's surprising comments on the situation left conservatives in Italy and the U.S. confused and disappointed.
trump, salvini, conte, russell kirk, conservatism
Sunday, 01 September 2019 08:30 PM
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