On Laura Ingraham’s website, Lifezette, Edmund Kozack laments the “Constitution worship” of those opposing the populist movement within the GOP:
The Constitution worship of those like Shapiro and Sen. Ted Cruz reveals that the mainstream conservative movement has largely forgotten the principle of imperfectability. The Constitution alone cannot guarantee some sort of political utopia. Man is fallen — a city on a shining hill cannot be guaranteed by a mere piece of paper. The fact that within a decade of the documents’ adoption the government was already trying to subvert it should be a clear indication of that reality.
Ironically, Kozack seems to have forgotten that the Constitution is based on the premise that Man is imperfect and that, therefore, his institutions of power must be restrained.
In its attempt to define conservatism in a way that dovetails its author’s nationalist populism, the piece draws heavily on Russell Kirk. And yet, he seems to forget one of Kirk’s central theses: That private property and freedom are inextricably linked. Something the current leader of the nationalist populists seems to have a problem with.
Never mind all that. Kozack’s original sin is in confusing British toryism of the Kirk/Burke variety with the more classical liberal American conservatism. It’s an important distinction that’s often glossed over.
This is what we mean when we say the nationalist populists have abandoned conservative principle: that, in rejecting classical liberalism and us “Constitution worshipers,” they reject everything that made American conservatism the unique foundation of the freest and greatest nation on this earth.