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Conserving 'conservatives' in the Trump era

Jonah Goldberg talks to Chuck Todd about the effect that the Trump Presidency will have on what it means to be a Conservative Republican.
Image: Romney And Cain Address Defending American Dream Summit
National Review Online Contributing Editor Jonah Goldberg addresses the Defending the American Dream Summit at the Washington Convention Center November 4, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The political definitions of “liberal” and “conservative” changed dramatically during the 20th century, and under a Trump Presidency, they continue to evolve. But Jonah Goldberg, a conservative author who does not align with Trumpian politics, considers himself lucky. “I certainly have been allowed to stay ‘me’” he said.

Goldberg made it clear that he has been writing against populism for almost 20 years, and he says he’s trying to preserve his definition of conservation and not give into “smashmouth stuff,” as he called it.

Chuck Todd sat down with Jonah Goldberg, conservative columnist, and of “Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy” for the latest episode of 1947: The Meet The Press Podcast.

While some Republicans have chosen to distance themselves from Donald Trump by refusing to identify themselves as “conservatives,” Goldberg insists that’s a mistake.

“Human nature is a constant,” said Goldberg. Everyone has instinctive survival tendencies that are shown through activities such as organized sports and politics. However, what’s different today are, “the institutions, the customs, the norms, the values that we inculcate into human beings.”

In Goldberg’s view, more people need to work at the sometimes mundane job of defending civilization. “It’s like riding a bike. If you don’t keep peddling, you fall down.”