Is Right Liberalism Conservative?

I had a good laugh after reading Ramesh Ponnuru and Rich Lowry’s article The Right Liberalism in the latest edition of National Review magazine.

In this article, the custodians of the tradition of Northern conservatism explain to their critics the significant difference within the liberal family between “progressive liberalism” and “conservative liberalism.” We are told the politics of the former consists of “working out the implications of liberal principles and acting to conform society to them” while the politics of the latter “thinks of itself as a set of practices that we have learned, through many centuries of trial and error, are pretty good at promoting human flourishing — especially when compared with the available alternatives.”

Whereas progressive liberalism “has a totalizing impulse that sets it at odds with religion, nation-states, the family, and civil society generally,” conservative liberalism “tends rather to emphasize the dependence of liberal political practices on pre-liberal or non-liberal cultural inheritances.” The upshot is that “conservative liberalism” isn’t as bad as “progressive liberalism.” Therefore, as the lesser of two evils, “conservative liberalism” presents itself as worthy of our support. Unlike “progressive liberalism,” “conservative liberalism” doesn’t want to destroy our pre-liberal and non-liberal cultural inheritance. It is just content to lose gracefully while striking a firm posture in the defense of its “principles.”

Here are some of the key questions that post-liberals are asking themselves:

  • Is the tango that goes on between “progressive liberals” and “conservative liberals” in the political mainstream a good thing? The answer is NO.
  • Should the American Right be defined by “conservative liberalism” and the dynamic of its opposition to “progressive liberalism”? The answer is NO.
  • Are the “conservative liberals” capable of restraining the “progressive liberals” from systematically annihilating our pre-liberal and non-liberal inheritance? Clearly, the answer is NO.
  • Is “conservative liberalism” viable in the long run? The answer is NO.
  • Does “conservative liberalism” promote human flourishing? The answer is NO.
  • Should we reject “conservative liberalism” in favor of something else? The answer is YES.
  • Should we organize outside of the ideological boundaries of “conservative liberalism” and challenge “progressive liberalism” from a post-liberal perspective? The answer is YES.
  • Is “conservative liberalism” as embodied in its most vocal and prominent champions in the United States like George Will, Charlie Sykes and David French capable of resisting the cultural avalanche coming from “progressive liberalism”? The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT.
  • Are “conservative liberals” our ideological allies? The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT.

The “conservative liberals” concede that the whole project of their ideological cousins the “progressive liberals” is “working out the implications of liberal principles and acting to conform society to them.” They also grant that liberalism, capitalism and democracy are an ideological solvent that tends to undermine the social order and the social fabric over the course of time. This is why “the work of conservative liberals,” which is to say the task of “preservation and renewal,” is “never-ending.”

Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru are essentially saying that our Western cultural inheritance is like a boat that has a gigantic hole in the bottom of it. The goal of the “progressive liberals” on the boat is to widen the hole as far as possible in order to sink at the fastest possible pace. The goal of the “conservative liberals” is stop anyone else from patching the hole and chunking the “progressive liberals” overboard. They are content to calmly sail forward into the future while having to constantly bail out the water even though this goes against the grain of True Conservatism.

Nickelodeon is pozzed in the age of 9-year-old Texas drag queens. Only “conservative liberalism” is weak enough to lose to this.

It is significant that this debate among social conservatives kicked off in the third year of the Trump administration during #PrideMonth over the issue of Drag Queen Story Hour. The spectacle of every multinational corporation in America promoting faggots and trannies parading through the streets while simultaneously censoring the internet and demonizing White Christian America as the Mexican border collapses underneath a tidal wave of illegal immigration tends to focus the mind. At what point can we simply acknowledge that “conservative liberalism” is a failure? When can we say game over and declare “progressive liberalism” the winner of that round of the culture war?

This should have happened after the verdict of the 2016 election, but it fatefully didn’t because of the institutional strength of Conservatism, Inc. in the donor class, Congress and staffing the White House which succeeded in neutering and obstructing the will of Trump’s coalition:

Strangely enough, social conservatives have been losing the culture war in spite of their numbers and electoral victories. The overwhelming majority of Republican voters are now authoritarian social conservatives. It is the glue that holds the Republican coalition together. Only 4 percent of Republican voters are lolbertarians. And yet, it seems like every Republican administration mysteriously delivers only lopsided policy victories on economic liberalism and foreign policy interventionism. Similarly, Democratic administrations only deliver victories on social liberalism. The result of this dynamic is that liberalism always advances and emerges victorious in every election cycle. It has metastasized over time through the body of our culture like a cancer that destroys healthy tissue.

Conservatism, Inc. and its ideology of “conservative liberalism” aka True Conservatism is the cause of the problem. The vast majority of Republican voters have moved on from Reaganism. The Republican coalition has become more nationalist, populist and dependent on White working class voters. The Republican establishment and its ideological apparatus, however, has not kept pace with the times. Whereas the Democratic establishment and Democratic voters are largely in sync, the Republican establishment is ideologically at odds with the beliefs and values of its own base. It constantly works to thwart their agenda and capture their energies to advance its unpopular foreign policy and economic agenda.

In order to see the problem, it will suffice to listen to a few Jeff Flake speeches:

Now watch Blompf win the 2016 election by exploiting the huge gap between the authoritarianism and social conservatism of Republican voters and the lolbertarianism of Conservatism, Inc:

This is why “post-liberalism” is viable and necessary:

In order for the Republican Party to survive and have a governing majority, it has to realign the electorate on the basis of authoritarianism and social conservatism, which in the process will eventually shift “classical liberals” and lolbertarians to their natural home on the Left. The electorate will repolarize between liberals and post-liberals. As much as the Republican Party doesn’t want to admit the truth, their angry White voters really are looking for a strong man to save the country.

The “conservative liberals” accuse the “post-liberals” who embrace this future of making “a virtue of lacking much of a specific program.” They acknowledge that the post-liberals want “conservatives to reorient their thinking, not just to reshuffle their agenda.” This is exactly right. We want the American Right to dump this failed ideology and its personnel because they are the problem.

The David French archive from June and July shows why “conservative liberalism” is constantly thwarting the populist and nationalist policy agenda in Congress. French has repeatedly defended Silicon Valley while attacking Sen. Josh Hawley’s bill to protect free speech on the internet. He went on The Bulwark podcast with Charlie Sykes and said that he has more in common with “progressive liberals” than he does with his fellow social conservatives at First Things. He went on the Reason podcast to find common ground with Nick Gillespie. While David French himself isn’t in power or obstructing the nationalist agenda, the mindset of Frenchism in Congress and the White House is a major problem. It is pointless to propose policies that go nowhere like Sen. Josh Hawley’s bill to regulate Silicon Valley or most famously the Trump border wall that are suffocated by “conservative liberals” in Congress.

The Left isn’t the problem so much as the lack of resistance from the Right which is infected by “conservative liberalism.” The Senate under Mitch McConnell is arguably the best example of this. It is the place where everything we have wanted to happen has quietly died without even being given so much as a hearing. Instead, the Senate busies itself with passing the anti-BDS bill for AIPAC, condemning Blompf’s plan to withdraw from Syria and Afghanistan and blocking Trump’s national emergency over the border wall. We watch as months turn into years because the mindset of “conservatives” in the Senate is that their job is to cater to wealthy donors and the pro-Israel interest while doing nothing for their “base.” They are currently boasting about their great work on passing criminal justice reform.

Nothing will change in our government until every last cuckservative like David French is discredited and tossed out into the political wilderness like Jeff Flake. Even then, they have to be replaced by personnel who do not share their liberal mindset and who are willing to do whatever it takes – bowties and “conservative liberal” principles be damned – to stem the tide of America’s cultural degeneration. It means people like us have to be brought into the fold, not marginalized.

About Hunter Wallace 10160 Articles
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9 Comments

  1. “Similarly, Democratic administrations only deliver victories on social liberalism.”

    Not true; Obamacare, expanded environmental regulation, Dodd-Frank (opposed by all Rs other than Walter Jones), partial expiration of Bush tax cuts, etc. Obama had only two years in which to pass meaningful filibuster-proof legislation, and while he did not use it especially well, he did use it. The SSM victory was delivered by a justice Reagan appointed after two previous failures in trying to appoint an SC justice. It’s not clear Obama’s changes re: prosecutions and school discipline were bigger issues than Obamacare and Dodd-Frank.

    It’s probable the working class/elite divide would have been larger had Trump come out against same-sex marriage (there is a strong correlation between SSM opposition and Trump support; much stronger than that between SSM opposition and Romney support), but it might have lost Trump the election, as 2016 was the first year in which the American electorate was more pro-SSM than anti. The SSM issue and the box of worms that it opened was one of the greatest cultural losses the American right has ever experienced.

  2. The difference between them is that conservative liberalism is the political expression of Grand Lodge Masonry, whereas progressive liberalism is the political expression of Grand Orient Masonry.

    • Laughable. Your god allows much worse monsters than him to walk around and even have enjoyable lives.

  3. It’s amazing that any of us still believe humans are at the top of the food chain. Even many lower animals kill or abandon their young when they sense a defective one. Except domesticated ones. What does that tell you? In Clown World, the normal ones are often killed or abandoned by their defective “parents.”

    This is the mental illness no one talks about. Maybe because it is so widespread.

  4. The Christian / Social Conservatives are being ignored by the Republican Party. The GOP and Trump going libertarian on the Gay issue should be reason enough for Christian Conservatives to stop Voting Republican. The Religious Freedom thing will never work. The liberals will never be happy with Christians having Religious Freedom. Gays will be forced on every Church in America. Preachers will be banned by law from even mentioning that Homosexuality is a Sin. Most Preachers will Cuck. However others will figure it out. All it takes is STOP THINKING THE JEWS ARE GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE! Read the Bible! Jesus Christ is the 1 and only way into Heaven. When Christian Conservatives figure that….Nationalism will be the solution. It’s Nationalists who have a No Compromise mentality on saving our Faith, Race, and Western Civilization. Deo Vindice !

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