Governor Ron DeSantis has been riding a wave of popularity with “conservatives” across America ahead of 2024 as a defender of free market capitalism and liberty, but for those willing to look beyond the rhetoric, we see that the Florida governor is motivated by a heart of nationalism and fascism; and he governs accordingly.
Once the exclusive purview of Democrats and the Far-Left, liberty-killing big government has been embraced by so-called conservatives within the Republican Party under a rebranded version of conservatism called “America First” nationalism, a key component of the Donald Trump era.
This rebrand served as the inspiration behind the first annual National Conservatism Conference held in 2019, a get-together designed to explore new ways to use the hammer and sickle of big government to right the “wrongs” brought about by traditional conservatism; liberty and the Constitution be damned. According to organizers of the meeting, conservatism as traditionally understood had outlived its usefulness economically and culturally.
“Today we declare independence,” NCC organizer Yoram Hazony said at the inaugural meeting, “from the set of ideas that sees the atomic individual, the free and equal individual, as the only thing that matters in politics.”
In a keynote speech given by former FOX News host Tucker Carlson, we learned that big government was less a threat to liberty than the free market. “The main threat to your ability to live your life as you choose does not come from government anymore,” Carlson declared. “It comes from the private sector.” (Emphasis mine)
In its coverage of the 2019 conference, Reason.com concluded:
“The true object of the nationalists’ ire is much closer to home: They cannot abide individual Americans making social and economic choices they do not like. For consumers, the question might be whether to buy foreign or domestic. For a business owner, it might be where to open a factory.
“Regardless, the new nationalists have decided not only that there is a right answer from a moral perspective, but that government should force you to choose correctly.” (Emphasis mine)
National conservatism believes that traditional conservatives have paid too much attention to freedom and not enough to virtue; that they have grown infatuated with limited government when bigger government is needed. National conservatives claim to reject the socialist belief that the state can and should dictate economic activity, yet they call for “conservative” government to rein in the free market by using economic policy to “protect” national interests.
Subsequent NatCon meetings have reinforced the same heart of fascism and nationalism we are witnessing from Ron DeSantis.
In an appearance at the 2022 National Conservatism Conference, DeSantis accused “corporate America” of having too much power, and he declared his commitment to wield the hammer and sickle of big government against people who fail to meet his expectations. He further stated that the Republican Party should seek to replicate his agenda. (via BusinessInsider.com)
In an hourlong speech before the National Conservatism Conference, DeSantis said Republicans’ approach and thinking about big business needs to change, arguing that his experiences in Florida provide a “lesson for people on the right.”
“Corporatism is not the same as free enterprise, and I think too many Republicans have viewed limited government to basically mean whatever is best for corporate America is how we want to do the economy,” DeSantis said during his keynote speech before a crowd of friendly attendees at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort.
He accused “corporate America” of having too much power in America and of “exercising quasi-public power in terms of using their economic power to change policy in this country.”
“What I’m doing is using government to give space to the individual citizen to be able to participate in society to be able to speak his or her mind,” DeSantis said.
“And I think that’s an absolutely appropriate use of government power.” (Emphasis mine)
I’m pretty sure government is supposed to protect the individual citizen’s rights, not create them. But hey, what do I know? I’m just a traditional conservative.
Ron DeSantis’ track record as governor provides ample evidence of the fascism and nationalism he keeps in his heart and how his method of governing is unconstitutional.
In May 2021, DeSantis made good on his promise to destroy the free speech rights of so-called Big Tech when he signed a law he claimed would “[protect] the speech of Floridians who face being removed from social-media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook” while conveniently leaving out the part about the massive fines he would levy against social media companies for removing political candidates from their platforms.
DeSantis’ anti-free speech law didn’t last long. In July 2021, a federal judge blocked it because it violated free speech rights.
In April 2022, DeSantis signed the Orwellian-sounding “Individual Freedom Act” — aka the “Stop Woke Act” — into law even though it was a foregone conclusion that it would end up in court and that it would be found to be an unconstitutional violation of free speech.
After a hearing, a federal judge ruled in August 2022 that the “Stop Woke Act” was an attempt by government to constrain workplace sensitivity training in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
“Florida’s legislators may well find plaintiffs’ speech ‘repugnant.’ But under our constitutional scheme, the ‘remedy’ for repugnant speech is more speech, not enforced silence. Indeed, it is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail,” U.S. District Judge Mark Walker wrote in his 44-page decision.
Also in April 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis’ heart of nationalism and fascism was on display when he signed a bill revoking Disney’s tax status after the company expressed its displeasure with Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, legislation commonly referred to by LGBT radicals as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Instead of standing as a defender of free market capitalism and free speech, DeSantis determined that liberty was secondary to his presidential ambitions.
Of course, I don’t support the Disney pro-LGBT agenda nor their assault on traditional family values, but Governor Ron DeSantis’ use of government power to silence speech he doesn’t approve of isn’t the answer. Just because Democrats and the liberal media believe in the use of government power to advance the ideology of the progressive-left doesn’t mean Trumpist Republicans and the faux-conservative media should do the same to promote the ideology of the fascist-right.
The destruction of conservatism has been a work-in-progress by the Mitch McConnells of the Republican Party ever since Ronald Reagan handed over the reins to George H.W. Bush, but the Republican Party’s embrace of Trumpism, nationalism, and fascism has made it nearly impossible to know what conservatism is any longer.
Equally tragic in this comedy of errors — apologies to William Shakespeare — is how media conservatives in-name-only like Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson have embraced nationalism and fascism in the name of Trump and the Republican Party.
Governor Ron DeSantis’ heart of nationalism and fascism earned him a spot in the Gutless on Principles (GOP) Hall of Shame earlier this year, and it is the driving motivation behind his 2024 presidential ambitions.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.
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