Jacob Heilbrunn is Editor of The National Interest and the author of They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons. (December 2017)

Follow Jacob Heilbrunn on Twitter: @JacobHeilbrunn.


Donald Trump’s Brains

The cover of the spring 2016 issue of the Claremont Review of Books

The Political Theory of the American Founding: Natural Rights, Public Policy, and the Moral Conditions of Freedom

by Thomas G. West

American Greatness: How Conservatism Inc. Missed the 2016 Election and What the D.C. Establishment Needs to Learn

by Chris Buskirk and Seth Leibsohn
A battle for the future of conservatism is in effect being fought between anti-Trump conservatives—those who, like Eliot A. Cohen, David Frum, and Stuart Stevens, see him as a sinister mountebank who is destroying true conservative principles—and pro-Trump conservatives associated with the Claremont Institute, which for years has been discussing the Federalist Papers, the dangers of progressivism, and, above all, the wisdom of the German exile and political philosopher Leo Strauss. For some both in and out of government, the Trump presidency is a deliverance—or at least offers tantalizing promises of an audacious new conservative era in domestic and foreign policy.

His Anti-Semitic Sources

On March 4 and March 5, 1995, Reverend Marion Gordon “Pat” Robertson sent separate letters to The New York Times defending his 1991 book, The New World Order, against charges of anti-Semitism. In both statements, Robertson placed particular emphasis on his book’s scholarship. In his March 4 statement, Robertson wrote: …


National Conservatism: Retrofitting Trump’s GOP with a Veneer of Ideas

Fox News host Tucker Carlson discusses “Populism and the Right” at a National Review Institute conference, Washington, D.C., March 29, 2019

The Burke Institute’s conference on “National Conservatism” was a Trump-inspired counter-revolution, a conservative colloquy that aimed at creating a catechism purged of the verities of the Reagan era: a crusading foreign policy and an idolatry of free-market economics. Usually, intellectual movements precede the rise of political ones, but in this case, Trump’s camp followers are reverse-engineering an intellectual doctrine to match Trump’s basic instincts. The new national-conservatives want to form what Burke called “little platoons” to ground conservatism based on what they see as an Anglo-Saxon heritage.

‘The Weekly Standard’: A Record of Failed Regime Change

The Weekly Standard’s editor, William Kristol, in a discussion at the National Press Club with Peter Thiel, Washington, D.C., October 3, 2011

For most neocons, journalism has never been more than a Leninist means to an end—to form an intellectual vanguard. For it is political influence that the neocons crave. Kristol worked to destroy the 1993 Clinton Healthcare bill and sought to mold first Dan Quayle, then Sarah Palin, into his political homunculi. During the 2016 primary, he desperately cast about for a viable candidate to oppose Donald Trump and incurred much ridicule when he floated the name of David French, a writer for the National Review