David Frum: An Open-Minded Neoconservative?

Chris Roberts, American Renaissance, September 10, 2016

Is there even enough common ground for a debate?

For anyone who has followed him over the years, David Frum has been an embodiment of everything awful the “establishment right” had to offer. A strong proponent of the Iraq War and a ferocious critic of its opponents on the Right, Mr. Frum was very cozy with the George W. Bush administration, writing speeches for the president and later a book defending and glorifying Mr. Bush’s foreign policy. Mr. Frum then went to work for the neoconservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, until they fired him because of his defense of Obamacare.

Mr. Frum also had his own website for a time, FrumForum.com, which specialized in attacking anyone to the right of him for being too “extreme.” The now defunct website boasted about its endorsements from leftists Joan Walsh of Salon and Stephen Colbert, and it sold coffee mugs that read, “Drink Coffee Not Kool-Aid — FrumForum.com.” He stopped writing for his website in 2012, and began writing regularly for liberal publications such as The Daily Beast and The Atlantic. For about a decade, Mr. Frum seemed to be nothing more than a warmongering neoconservative who wanted to impress the Left by attacking the Right.

David Frum

David Frum

Yet over the course of the last two years or so, Mr. Frum has changed. To begin with, he has conceded that the invasion of Iraq was a failure, and now urges a more cautious and restrained foreign policy. But more importantly, he has become one of the louder and more respected voices for immigration restriction.

After Donald Trump’s immigration speech in Arizona, Mr. Frum wrote, “It shouldn’t be offensive to consider the interests of Americans before those of illegal immigrants.” Early this year, after the New Year’s Eve attacks in Germany, Mr. Frum tweeted:

Mr. Frum’s writings for The Atlantic consider, often at great length, the consequences of current immigration policies for the West, and invariably call for much greater restriction. After Harvard’s George Borjas revealed the flaws in studies claiming mass immigration had little effect on the wages of low-education natives, Mr. Frum was one of the few columnists to report these findings. Last year, after the San Bernadino shooting, Mr. Frum noted that our immigration policies foolishly ignore the interests of Americans, and cited politically incorrect statistics on the high rates of immigrant crime and welfare use.

While all of these points are obvious to us, they are very rarely made by prominent commentators. “Conservatives” such as David Brooks, George Will, Jonah Goldberg, and William Kristol never talk about these things. And Mr. Frum manages to make these arguments in The Atlantic, which is prominent and well respected but painfully liberal most of the time. A lot of its content is no better than that of Salon: Ta-Nehisi Coates asking for reparations, or calls from “conservatives” to take “police brutality” more seriously. Mr. Frum managed to get this into The Atlantic:

When economists minimize the impact of immigration on wages, they aren’t denying that immigration pushes wages down in the jobs that immigrants take. They concede that immigration does do that. They celebrate that immigration does that.

While his essays on immigration tend to be long and full of data, Mr. Frum complements them with visceral tweets about the direct human cost of immigration. Sometimes it seems like he might even be checking the news stories posted here at American Renaissance:

He is, of course, not one of us. Mr. Frum refuses to support Donald Trump, though he does not delight in attacking him the way so many at National Review do. Sometimes he parades his anti-racism and affection for American blacks. For example, after leaked emails revealed the Democratic National Committee’s secretive maneuvering against Bernie Sanders, Mr. Frum tweeted:

This tweet is so silly it is hard to imagine Mr. Frum himself believes it. “Level-headed” blacks sent Barack Obama to the White House twice, and support far-left candidates, so long as they are black. Has Mr. Frum forgotten the presidential candidacies of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton or figures such as Marion Barry?

As with so many Republicans, Mr. Frum makes me wonder: “How can you understand so many details, but refuse to see the bigger picture?” He believes both the US and Europe should close their borders for cultural, economic, and security reasons. He bemoans cultural fragmentation and moral relativism. He longs for a moderate, but right-wing government paired with a relatively free-market economy. This is a “white” worldview, and only whites will support the changes he wants. White racial consciousness fits perfectly with all of Mr. Frum’s political preferences, except for his opposition to white racial consciousness.

Unlike many “conservatives,” Mr. Frum is often willing to debate ideological opponents. He has appeared twice in debates hosted by Intelligence Squared, and was recently on a panel at the Center for American Progress, one of the left’s most formidable think tanks.

If Mr. Frum can debate someone like Joan Walsh, author of the book, What’s the Matter With White People? surely he can consider the views of American Renaissance. David Horowitz did so 15 years ago, and even presidential candidates are talking about us these days.

So, Mr. Frum, why is white identity wrong? What is wrong with achieving your goals through an explicitly white movement? The logic of your positions leads straight to white consciousness. So, Mr. Frum, we’d love to hear from you: (703) 716-0900 or [email protected]

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Chris Roberts
Chris Roberts is Director of Special Projects at American Renaissance.
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