The Heritage Foundation is looking for fascism’s new foot soldiers. It might not go well

We’ve previously reported on The Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025, an effort to provide a future Republican presidential administration with a pre-built agenda and an army of loyalists who have already been vetted. This would weed out anybody who might have qualms about bending the law in an administration planning mass deportations, a purge of those who are disloyal from government and the military, and the arrest of Donald Trump’s enemies.

A major part of that effort is assembling that army of loyalists, which is being done through an online pre-vetting process that will allow the next Republican administration to check that each potential administration hire is, in fact, a MAGA-style hard-liner.

Axios has now followed up on its prior reporting on that effort by obtaining and publishing the loyalty “questionnaire” Donald Trump’s team was subjecting hires to during the waning, ultra-paranoid months of his administration. Their premise is that it might be a hoot to compare that vetting effort to this vetting effort, and you know what? They’re right. It is a hoot.

You can go look at both versions here to see how the Trump administration’s 2020 loyalty tests and The Heritage Foundation’s “Talent Database” share a lot of similarities. The biggest difference is that the prior Trumpian version expected you to fill out large text boxes containing things like, “What part of Candidate Trump’s campaign message most appealed to you and why?” or, “What political commentator, thinker or politician best reflects your views?”

The revamped Heritage version has near-identical versions of the same questions, e.g.: “Name one person, past or present, who has most influenced the development of your political philosophy.” But it also tacks on a list of multiple choice questions that you must answer and that present explicit litmus tests for you to pass.

Do you believe that “The U.N. should have authority over the citizens or public policies of sovereign nations”? Do you believe that “The permanent institutions of family and religion are foundational to American freedom and the common good”?

Whether you do or you don’t, you’d better at least have the wherewithal to know how The Heritage Foundation’s army of ideological zombies wants you to answer those. It appears that this very long list of questions (“The police in America are systemically racist”) is meant to weed out people who are too stupid to know what the preferred conservative lies are.

Which, to be fair, is probably The Heritage Foundation’s most important priority. Fascist regimes don’t particularly care what is true and what is false, but you’d better believe they expect you to know, and rigorously, what you’re supposed to think is true or false. Whether you have the rote competence expected of a Burger King manager is not being tested here; the tests are all meant to weed out anyone but the most ideologically obtuse.

Heritage is looking for people like themselves, conservative loyalists who can keep insisting that Conservatism Is The Way no matter how many real-world disasters they leave in their wake. The ideal conservative administration would be full of Larry Kudlows, top to bottom. Not even the arch-conservative but jail-averse Bill Barr could pass muster with this crowd now.

Anyhoo, what’s intriguing about this effort to build a list of fascism’s most loyal future foot soldiers is that the application process is entirely online. You can just go fill it out yourself by going here, and the entry price is that you have to give The Heritage Foundation a valid phone number to send texts to. But there’s nothing that says people can’t lie when applying for jobs in a new Trump administration. Heritage reportedly has at least 4,000 applicants to sort through. They’re aiming for 20,000, but there’s nothing to say that non-Trump supporters can’t fill out their little forms.

And they can hardly expect that applicants won’t lie when the majority of the form is specifically asking people to lie about things like systemic racism and the utility of school voucher programs. Alternatively, there’s nothing that says you can’t tell the truth!

Name one person, past or present, who has most influenced the development of your political philosophy.

The person who most influenced my political philosophy is Richard Scarry. Richard Scarry taught me that even worms can drive cars if the cars are made of apples, and if worms can drive apple cars then why are we passing laws that say you can’t make cars out of apples? That seems bigoted against worms. I have a girlfriend in Canada who is a worm and drives an apple car and she says it works just fine except that they start to smell and you have to buy a new apple car every few days, but it seems like that would stimulate the economy quite a lot.

Name a book that has most significantly shaped your political philosophy, and please explain its influence on your thinking.

The book that has most shaped my political philosophy is the Richard Scarry book with the worm driving the apple car, because it made me realize that cars can be fruit and fruit can be cars and it made me think a lot about what our national transportation infrastructure would look like if you had separate lanes for fruit cars and log cars and normal cars. I drew what this would look like and I sent it to my girlfriend and she said it was cool. If you like, I can draw another one and send it to you. If I am in charge of the Department of Transportation I would draw one and make everybody look at it and I would make sure that if you wanted to drive an apple car you could drive an apple car without bureaucrats getting in your way.

See? Filling out forms like this is easy.

This is basically not much different from what Larry Kudlow and Ryan Zinke joined the Trump administration to do, after all, except we didn’t even get half-decent drawings of apple cars out of it. Look me in the eye and tell me The Heritage Foundation would be worse off recommending someone who filled out their entire application talking about Richard Scarry. If Ayn Rand’s life philosophies crashed and burned the moment these twits tried to model an Iraqi government after them, maybe Heritage needs to broaden its list of movement-approved ideologues.

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