Free trade is good for individual companies and consumers, and for the (often foreign) individuals with whom they trade. The rights of individual Muslims in America outweigh the concerns of native-born Americans about their safety. The implicit understanding conveyed by many in the “never Trump” movement is that the country is little more than a land mass containing individuals rather than an entity with obligations to, and capable of imposing obligations on, those who belong to it.
Trump voters disagree with this view. The America they want to “make great again” is not a land mass, a large, rules-based network that lets individuals coordinate with minimal transaction costs. It is instead a place, a people, a nation. Trump voters believe that they have upheld their side of the American social contract, while others — businessmen, politicians, journalists, professors — have violated it.
In past generations, American conservative philosophy and political leadership incorporated this strand of thinking into the movement. Writers such as Russell Kirk and Edward Shils would remind us that society has organic, primordial elements that no culture of individuality can erase. Leaders such as Ronald Reagan subtly weaved this element of thought into their invocations of American nationality. The “boys of Pointe du Hoc” were worthy of praise not because they individually made courageous choices, although they clearly did in the heat of battle. They were worthy of praise because they did their duty, they fulfilled their end of the national bargain. Reagan’s appeal to Americans, especially to the so-called Reagan Democrats, rested in part on the notion that he would always commit the country to fulfilling its end of the deal.This was published in the Never Trump bible, the National Review, the oldest conservative periodical in the nation's capital.
In the 1976 presidential debate, Carter asked America if you are better off today than you were four years ago.
Four years later, Reagan asked the same question.
NAFTA took effect in 1994, some 22 years ago.
Are we better off now than we were 22 years ago?
The boys of our Economic Pointe Du Hoc deserve something more for surrendering their jobs and their livelihoods to communist slaves in China -- even if Kevin Williamson and the people who fund the National Review believe otherwise.