Describe your ideal world.
In my ideal world, we would have lots of collective goods. A short list would include a healthy culture, a fair economy, a strong religion, a clean environment, excellent public health, strong borders, strong families and a positive sense of ethnic identity. We would be able to feel at home in our own countries again because our coherent nations would be run for our benefit as a place for our descendants to flourish. We would also have individual liberty, but it would be fenced in within these boundaries.
Now, let me ask you a simple question: is it possible to attain any of these collective goods under the paradigm of conservative liberalism and libertarianism which comprise the mainstream liberal Right? Both of these varieties of rightwing liberalism are built on individualism, selfishness, secularism and materialism. They both hold as a matter of principle that individual liberty is the highest and only good in life. They believe that constitutional government exists to protect that good and no others.
This is where I part ways with the rightwing liberals. While I grant that individual liberty is a good, I do not believe it is the only good. I do not believe that the government exists solely to protect individual liberty. In fact, I believe individual liberty can lead to a miserable dystopia when taken to absurd extremes. I believe in limiting individual liberty in order to balance it with other collective goods. If I could trade excessive individual liberty and equality for more ethnic and cultural cohesion, I would do it in a heartbeat.
The coronavirus pandemic has sharpened and highlighted the division between the liberal Right and the non-liberal Right. The liberal Right simply does not believe in collective goods like public health, worker safety and preserving the environment. It only pretends to believe in collective goods like “family values” or “strong borders” to win elections. It never fails to prioritize and cater to business interests after the elections are over. In contrast, the non-liberal Right is horrified by the idea of allowing a raging epidemic to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans while simultaneously devastating the economy.
How can the economy flourish if the coronavirus becomes endemic in the United States? Why would anyone believe the economy can flourish with a sick and less productive workforce with staggering medical bills? Why would anyone believe that consumers wouldn’t alter their behavior to avoid getting and spreading the virus? Why should an individual have the right to essentially poison the rest of society? From even a sheer cost/benefit perspective, does allowing an individual to poison the rest of society even make economic sense? Haven’t we reaped vast economic benefits from previous generations eradicating infectious diseases like yellow fever and malaria? If those diseases had not been eradicated by public health measures in the 20th century, could we ever have developed large swathes of our country? What about our national parks? Haven’t we also reaped vast economic benefits from preserving the environment?
We are radicalized moderates, not extremists. None of the things that we believe in are “extreme.” It is the liberal Right that is “extreme” because it only values one good. Healthy people have a positive sense of identity, identify with other people in their tribe and community and feel connected to and invested in its past and future. This is normal for all human beings. It is “conservative” to want to preserve your inheritance as a birthright for future generations. It is “liberal” to want to transform your nation into an economic zone for it can become a playground for the wealthy. It is “liberal” to be a rootless wanderer with massive psychological problems who bounces around the country like a pinball to market forces to consume material goods. It is “liberal” not to care about anyone else in your community but only to think about yourself. Similarly, the liberal Left only cares about equality, which is why it revolts against nature because it is unable to accept the limits of human biology. It is two sides of the same coin.
It is true that we believe in diminishing and reducing the scope of individual liberty and equality in order to create a better and healthier society by elevating other collective goods. By having a cohesive nation with strong borders, we are limiting the freedom of the wealthy to exploit foreign labor. By protecting the family, we are limiting the freedom of spouses to dissolve marriages on a whim. By banning the pornographers, we are limiting the freedom of women to sell lewd images to their beta orbiters on the internet. Virtually everything that we want and need to do as a society puts us at odds with rightwing and leftwing liberals who oppose us for wanting to reverse the worst excesses of liberalism.
I’m ready to leave them to their rights and liberties and their truths and conspiracies. None of it is worth what we have traded in order to live out their awful vision of a good society.