The year is 1789. The country is France. The world is upside down; nothing is business as usual. Social disorder, poverty and a decaying moral fabric have led to societal collapse and spawned a revolution. Left-wing radicals will go on to storm the Bastille, subjugate the Church and murder the king. Fast-forward to today: The events of the French Revolution scandalize Americans' sensibilities as we read our history books. But ironically, most stateside conservatives have unwittingly adopted the Jacobin platform and worldview — just in a toned-down, sanitized form. The American Right has "executed our king," so to speak. But it's clearer than ever that we desperately need a return to big-government conservatism.
The current state of affairs serves as a refutation of soft right-wing politics. The prevalence of evil — e.g., tyrannical social media companies, a juggernaut liberal government and sodomy-friendly corporations — prompts one to wonder, what has conservatism actually conserved? The Right's obsession with low taxes and small government is a fatal flaw. It has actually enabled the slow creep of social, cultural and political leftism. Indeed, the talking points of the Right themselves take for granted an Enlightenment-style liberal worldview that has made unhinged contemporary progressivism possible.
Like their French forebears, the current Republicans, when push comes to shove, hold (and even champion) liberal values. And this has led to utter moral decay, such as the gaying of Gen Z, the dissemination of explicit sexual content in schools and the decriminalization of drugs, even hard drugs in some states — all in direct opposition to the common good, which is the very focus of government.
In the catechism, the Church defines the common good as "the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily" (§1906). And note well: Small governments, whether federal or state, by their nature, are simply not able to positively facilitate people reaching their fulfillment (i.e., the beatific vision), easily or fully. Big governments, on the other hand, can and have (think King St. Louis IX) created ordered societies in which virtue flourishes and salvation is within reach for all.
The only answer to a liberal worldview is an illiberal one. We must therefore become an illiberal people. This means the Right must forswear its uncritical acceptance of Enlightenment values. The conservative movement needs what the cool kids used to refer to as a "reality check." We need a complete paradigm shift.
It's simply not good enough to conform to classical liberal values more excellently than the Left. Rather, our victory lies in implementing our contrasting worldview with an iron rod. Imagine tasking the federal bureaucracy with upholding Christian values like chastity and sobriety. Imagine transforming the FBI into an institution that chases down coomers and tackles trannies. Picture turning the entire Justice Department into an enforcement arm of Christendom that makes Genghis Khan look limp-wristed.
What's more, the creation of such a regime would hardly even require the passage of new laws. We could simply place Christians in positions of authority to enforce moral laws that are already on the books. One thing's for certain: It is not enough to believe in the moral precepts of Christianity; we must impose them. We have to start thinking this way collectively. Our lives, physical and spiritual, literally depend on it.
There is a masochistic inclination within conservatism to fetishize small government. It's indeed become gospel in the conservative movement that we shouldn't expand the government, so that "if our enemies get back in power then they can't weaponize our own system against us." This facile idea has been tried and found wanting. A former president's house got blitzed by the FBI, and the current president called half the country a "threat to democracy" — all this happening despite the Right's longtime preoccupation with shrinking government because "government bad."
Let's be clear: There is nothing inherently good about a small government. The answer to bad government was never necessarily less government. The answer to wicked people in power is righteous people in power. You'll notice that the key word, nevertheless, remains "power." Of course, for conservatives, this means the power of Christ.
Former presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan — a Catholic — understood the importance of mixing the power of politics and religion. In the early 1990s, he pushed an "America First" agenda that was very similar to Trump's. In a speech at the Republican National Convention in 1992, Buchanan emoted, "There is a religious war going on in this country. A culture war. As critical to the kind of nation we shall be as the Cold War. But this war is for the soul of America." Not exactly your typical conservative talking point.
As recent history teaches, the only thing a small, weak government can do is temporarily stifle the enemy's plans — never actually stop them or put them in reverse. For example, the Paul Ryan led 2017–2018 House was a complete disaster. Health care reform didn't pass and the only upside was tax cuts for corporate fatcats. Unlike the gelding do-nothing Republicans of yesteryear, a powerful government, with virtuous people in charge can and will actually accomplish things. Now is the time for war, not appeasement. And only a Pat Buchanan-esque vision of America as a Christian nation will suffice.
In the wake of the overturn of Roe v. Wade and with the midterms only days away, conservatives have a chance to create lasting change. For the first time in a generation, we have finally won a battle. And not just any battle. We achieved the overturning of the most wicked judicial ruling ever. We have to keep pushing, however. The dandies in the GOP establishment want to take their first-in-a-lifetime "W" and do nothing else. That's why you hear Republican stuffed suits on TV chirp about the economy or call Democrats extreme for wanting late-term abortion when asked about it.
Politicians want to take your vote, hop into Congress and do nothing except manage the size of government. Real conservatives, on the other hand, must keep pushing and demanding a determined Christian nationalism.
This is the birth of a new age — one where we can correct the absurdities of Enlightenment thinking and restore Catholic values to our nation and our world. We must overcome the temptation to "live and let live," contemptuously rejecting libertarian cringe. We have the chance to be radiant lights in a dark period of world history. We can't pass that up for tired talking points about fiscal responsibility et al. We must be champions. We must be kings. We must be powerful and big.