Conservatism is increasingly a monolith: the impending white Christian nationalist takeover of the United States

Ukraine

Joe Barnes, “Germany ‘deliberately watering down’ EU embargo on Russian oil,” Telegraph, May 27, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/27/germany-deliberately-watering-eu-plans-embargo-russian-oil-imports/

Dominic Nicholls, “Vladimir Putin’s forces are running out of tanks,” Telegraph, May 27, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/27/vladimir-putins-forces-running-tanks/


Gun nuttery

Pennsylvania

Julia Felton, “Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rules against Pittsburgh gun regulations,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 27, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pennsylvania-commonwealth-court-rules-against-pittsburgh-gun-regulations/

United States

Here is an example of why, instead of seeing conservatism as diverse, as I did in my dissertation,[1] I am increasingly seeing it as monolithic in the form of white Christian nationalism:

Here, amid acres of guns and tactical gear inside a cavernous [National Rifle Association] convention hall, the proximate cause of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, was not a rifle, but mental illness, shadowy forces of evil or, as one man in a “Let’s Go Brandon” T-shirt put it, the “destruction of our children” by the teachings of the left.[2]

“[T]he ‘destruction of our children’ by the teachings of the left”[3] mirrors current bigotry against LGBTQ+ folks.[4] It rationalizes sexual repression and censorship of pornography.[5] And here, it excuses a capitalist libertarian attitude toward constitutional rights, including alleged gun rights.[6]

I had excluded capitalist libertarianism and neoconservatism from this conservative monolith[7] but on further consideration, I realize that the white Christian nationalist embrace of capitalist libertarian positions on gun control and COVID-19 mitigation measures compromises[8] the distinction considerably: Capitalist libertarians—call them the irresponsible hedonist capitalist libertarians—often hold socially liberal positions directly contradicting social and traditionalist conservative sexual repression, but a tension was also present between those capitalist libertarians who advocated socially liberal positions and those—call them socially conservative capitalist libertarians—who felt that individuals, if in their light “free,” would make an individual moral choice for “virtue.”[9]

I believe a similar tension exists within neoconservatism, between those who strongly advocate social and traditionalist conservative views, and the last-minute “never Trump” movement that failed to stop Donald Trump from winning the Republican nomination for president in 2016.

In Uvalde, a makeshift memorial of white wooden crosses had gone up for the 19 children and two adults slain [at Robb Elementary School]. But at the NRA meeting in Houston, less than 300 miles away, the shooting had been reduced to a sling stone in the broader culture wars. The slaughter, it was universally agreed, was a tragedy. But gun owners saw themselves as set upon, too.[10]

This sense of aggrievement—some National Rifle Association convention attendees even accuse “the Left’ of pushing the Uvalde shooter to kill, so as to advance an argument for gun control[11]—mirrors that of paleoconservatives, one of the tendencies making up this conservative monolith, who see whites as victims of a conspiracy among “Blacks and browns.” It mirrors the aggrievement of social conservatives, another of those tendencies,[12] who are seizing upon what they see as their last chance to assert control over the country.[13] It mirrors that of authoritarian populists, Trump’s original base,[14] who have, for a thousand years, seen themselves as exploited by a wide-ranging political, economic, and academic ‘elite’ they identify with ‘liberalism.’[15]

Here, finally, is what links white Christian nationalism with support for police white supremacist gangs[16] that I have seen together with the white supremacist militarism and gun nuttery so prevalent around Pittsburgh:[17]

John Thomas, a Republican strategist [who] works on House campaigns across the country . . . said he could envision cutting an ad featuring a Republican’s remarks at the conference: “When times were tough, and the weaker RINOs [Republicans In Name Only] and liberals wanted to take your guns, you know, such and such stood up for your right to protect yourself and your family.”[18]

White Christian nationalist aggrievement is rationalized as protecting their families[19]—their children.

So, with portions of capitalist libertarian and neoconservative tendencies, call it roughly six of the seven tendencies I had identified in my dissertation,[20] now forming a monolith, the resulting typology appears as:

  • White Christian nationalism
  • Irresponsible hedonist capitalist libertarianism
  • “Never Trump” neoconservatism

The consequence is an extraordinarily powerful movement, encompassing nearly all conservatives as white Christian nationalists, that I believe Democrats are helpless[21] to stop in the elections of 2022 and 2024[22] allowing Republicans, as white Christian nationalists, to complete their longstanding project to subvert voting rights and establish a permanent right-wing dictatorship in the United States.

David Siders, “‘It’s straight out of a playbook’: At NRA convention, conspiracy theories abound,” Politico, May 27, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/27/nra-convention-uvalde-shooting-00035842


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  2. [2]David Siders, “‘It’s straight out of a playbook’: At NRA convention, conspiracy theories abound,” Politico, May 27, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/27/nra-convention-uvalde-shooting-00035842
  3. [3]David Siders, “‘It’s straight out of a playbook’: At NRA convention, conspiracy theories abound,” Politico, May 27, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/27/nra-convention-uvalde-shooting-00035842
  4. [4]Sneha Dey and Karen Brooks Harper, “Transgender Texas kids are terrified after governor orders that parents be investigated for child abuse,” Texas Tribune, February 28, 2022, https://www.texastribune.org/2022/02/28/texas-transgender-child-abuse/
  5. [5]Marjorie Heins, Not in Front of the Children (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University, 2007).
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Deconstructing the second amendment,” Not Housebroken, November 30, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/10/04/deconstructing-the-second-amendment/
  7. [7]See update for May 19, 2022: David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” Not Housebroken, May 25, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/
  8. [8]David Benfell, “What we owe anti-vaxxers in a life-threatening pandemic,” Not Housebroken, December 18, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/09/28/what-we-owe-anti-vaxxers-in-a-life-threatening-pandemic/
  9. [9]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  10. [10]David Siders, “‘It’s straight out of a playbook’: At NRA convention, conspiracy theories abound,” Politico, May 27, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/27/nra-convention-uvalde-shooting-00035842
  11. [11]David Siders, “‘It’s straight out of a playbook’: At NRA convention, conspiracy theories abound,” Politico, May 27, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/27/nra-convention-uvalde-shooting-00035842
  12. [12]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  13. [13]See update for December 10, 2020: David Benfell, “When it’s over but it isn’t,” Not Housebroken, December 21, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/11/27/when-its-over-but-it-isnt/
  14. [14]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  15. [15]David Benfell, “Barack Obama asks, ‘Why is it that the folks that won the last election are so mad all the time?’” Not Housebroken, November 4, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/11/04/barack-obama-asks-why-is-it-that-the-folks-that-won-the-last-election-are-so-mad-all-the-time/
  16. [16]David Benfell, “Stephen Zappala’s resignation would be nowhere near enough,” Not Housebroken, January 4, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/06/03/stephen-zappalas-resignation-would-be-nowhere-near-enough/
  17. [17]David Benfell, “The banners and the guns: Flagrant racism in Pittsburgh,” Not Housebroken, April 6, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/09/20/the-banners-and-the-guns-flagrant-racism-in-pittsburgh/
  18. [18]David Siders, “‘It’s straight out of a playbook’: At NRA convention, conspiracy theories abound,” Politico, May 27, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/27/nra-convention-uvalde-shooting-00035842
  19. [19]David Siders, “‘It’s straight out of a playbook’: At NRA convention, conspiracy theories abound,” Politico, May 27, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/27/nra-convention-uvalde-shooting-00035842
  20. [20]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  21. [21]David Benfell, “Democrats and contradiction,” Not Housebroken, January 20, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/11/18/democrats-and-contradiction/; Benjamin Hart, “The Democratic Party Is Extremely Unpopular Right Now,” New York, May 16, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/05/the-democratic-party-is-extremely-unpopular-right-now.html
  22. [22]David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” Not Housebroken, May 25, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/

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