Looking for the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop for person? Well, this may not be the perfect gift, but tomorrow Encounter Books will release—just in time for Christmas stockings!—the paperback edition of Patriotism Is Not Enough, available on Amazon at the bargain price of just $11.59 ($5.50 off the cover price).
The paperback edition features an all new preface. Because I finished writing the book before Trump was even nominated, let alone elected, I did not much factor him into the book, but the new preface makes up for that. A few excerpts:
I finished the manuscript before Trump had secured the GOP nomination, and I added a couple of brief references to Trump in the final edit, which was completed before his stunning and unexpected victory in the general election. Love him, hate him, or taking him (as I do) a la carte, the paradox of Trump is that this unintellectual man, who apparently doesn’t read serious material at all, has opened up the liveliest and most fundamental debate in American politics since the 1850s. He has disrupted both political parties, and it is still far from clear how the dust is going to settle. On the right, there was no such ferment among conservative intellectuals for or against George W. Bush, John McCain, or Mitt Romney. As I wrote in the Weekly Standard on the eve of the election in October 2016, “Who could have foreseen that the Great Pumpkin candidate would turn out to be a Black Swan event for conservatism?” . . .
Trump may not be a genuine Machiavellian, but he is sufficiently outside of the conventional framework for political advancement that he represents a “new mode and order.” One of the ironies of Trump is that among the large and distinguished Republican field in 2016 he invoked the memory and image of Reagan least, and at one point shocked the conservative establishment with his near heresy that “it’s called the Republican Party, not the conservative party.” . . .
More than just a rebuke to political correctness and identity politics, Trump’s victory is a vehicle for reasserting the sovereignty of the people and withdrawal of consent for the administrative state and the suffocating boundaries of acceptable opinion backing it up. You can see instantly why a large number of Americans responded to Trump’s slogan “Make America great again” because they could see that Trump is a forceful tribune against the slow-motion desiccation of the country under the steady advance of nihilist liberalism.
If Trump does not articulate a comprehensive and profound account of the crisis of our regime, he can at least be said to embody the necessary reaction to it, in part because he exposed the feebleness of conservatism, and in part because his implacable character is essential in the face of the powerfully established forces against serious reform. The charge of “Caesarism” surrounding Trump has merit, though Trump may be better understood as an example of how low our standards have sunk, that someone as crude and ill-equipped as Trump can appear as bold and fresh and all-threatening as to be thought plausibly a Caesar. That Trump can be made out as the only candidate since Reagan who has represented a serious challenge to the status quo puts in stark relief the attenuation of the conservative political thought and action over the last 20 years, and the near complete failure of aspiring Republican presidents to marry their ambition to a serious understanding of why the republic is in danger.
The paperback also includes, as paperbacks do, some quotes from the many reviews that appeared with the publication of the hardback edition in February 2017, and many of the reviews did take explicit notice of how the arguments of the book matched up with the arrival of Trump. One in particular stands out, from Carson Holloway writing in The Public Discourse. Here’s the conclusion, which is better than I can put it myself:
Hayward’s book is so timely precisely because the kind of patriotism he discusses provides a useful corrective for Trump-style nationalism. The patriotism to which Trump appeals is almost entirely affective and hardly at all intellectual. As has been observed many times, he almost never refers to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the founding more generally. . . Trump’s nationalism provides a useful corrective to a patriotism based only on philosophic principle. They are mutually correcting and mutually supportive. On the one hand, a patriotism that is based only on the principles of the founding cannot succeed in winning elections, because voters rightly demand that any political movement that seeks their support have some plausible plan to address their ordinary interests. On the other hand, a patriotism that is based only on the untutored loves and interests of ordinary voters cannot preserve our precious inheritance of a regime based on natural rights, the rule of law, and self-government. A movement that acknowledges each of these concerns amounts to the kind of patriotism, and the kind of conservatism, that can both win elections and deserve to win them.
So now you know what to do. If not for a stocking stuffer, then just consider it your patriotic duty. Sometimes buying a book is enough.