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Ricardo Duchesne discusses the rise of liberalism and the accompanying dispossession of whites.

American moral and political philosopher John Rawls in 1971


What’s happening in the West is so patently absurd, the willful suppression for decades of increasing black-on-white violence, the flying of the rainbow flag everywhere, the demonization and falsification of European history, the insistence that black failures are a product of systemic white racism, the powerlessness of governments to stop endless waves of migrants, the total prohibition of any form of white identity — all combined with the slow erosion of the principle of open scientific and journalistic inquiry to promote or cover up these lies. The situation is so wildly unreasonable and morally inappropriate that reasonable people cannot but believe it is the product of some malevolent force acting from the outside, rather than a product of the West itself, a hidden agenda concocted in secret corridors, cultural Marxists “marching through the institutions,” a “Kalergi plan” enacted by a mysterious Austrian-Japanese politician, the product of nihilistic and self-destructive “spiteful mutants” or “psychopathic narcissists” with a zeal for “social justice,” or a grand strategy conducted by a minuscule group of Jews in secret since ancient times without Europeans even noticing it.

Westerners were attacking their own history for its shortcomings instead of exhibiting confidence about their unparalleled achievements under the illusion that the problems of the world were mere products of backward customs and irrational prejudices that could be eliminated with a proper rationalist education.

The argument I will make is that the ultimate reason for the current ethnocidal path of the West is to be found in its unique ideology of liberal pluralism and its principle that all humans are alike in their inalienable freedom to decide for themselves their values and lifestyles. The very ideology that brought the West so much success in the modern era, liberalism, is the major, long-term reason for the current decomposition of the West. This perspective does not preclude the role of short-term factors in accelerating, intensifying, or spreading this ethnocidal path. The zealotry of Jews in the pursuit of cultural pluralism and demonization of white identity is definitely a proximate factor in the radicalization of liberalism in the post-WWII era. The weakening of persisting sentiments of ethnic affiliation and nationalism in continental Europe by Anglo Atlanticists in pursuit of a unipolar liberal world to advance “the progressive values of an open society” across the world should not be underestimated. The very success of liberal individualism in creating relatively affluent lifestyles, with lots of entertainment and enticing pleasures, has undoubtedly produced a complacent psychological disposition among middle-class whites, weakening even further the natural ingroup instincts that liberal values dilute. As we were warned long ago by the aristocratic ancient Romans: comfort breeds weakness and effeminacy.

My emphasis, however, will be on liberal pluralism, which is based on the principle of equality of rights, as the ultimate cause, or the “real reason” for the current ethnocidal path of Europeans. It may seem that I am reviving James Burham’s argument that “liberalism is the ideology of Western suicide” articulated some 60 years ago. Burham’s concern, however, was the West’s global retreat from its colonial empires and lack of confidence in the face of communist expansion. He viewed this retreat as a product of the naive liberal view that humans are potentially a perfectible species capable of relying on their rational capacities to create a world of nations coexisting in a state of mutual economic prosperity and equality. Westerners were attacking their own history for its shortcomings instead of exhibiting confidence about their unparalleled achievements under the illusion that the problems of the world were mere products of backward customs and irrational prejudices that could be eliminated with a proper rationalist education.

My way of emphasizing liberalism will be very different. While there is an intellectual current within liberalism, as we shall see below, giving special prominence to the actualization of human perfectionism through the development of the faculty of reason, the cardinal principle of modern liberalism is that every human should have equal liberty as a moral agent capable of deciding what to believe and what way of life to pursue. In other words, the central principle of this ideology is not the advocacy of any doctrine, be it rationalism, empiricism, or hedonism; it is, rather, the advocacy of a political setting within which every person is equally free to make decisions about the “good life” based on their conscience as long as they don’t seek to undermine the political setting within which this pluralism is possible.

Blaming cultural Marxism, or the Left generally, is a preferable option among dissidents. This is so because the dissident Right, lacking an ideology of its own, an alternative doctrine with fully developed concepts and moral values, is fundamentally dependent on liberalism, wishing to return to an earlier version of this ideology. Marxism, fascism, and liberalism are “world-outlooks,” that is, systematic accounts of the nature of the world, with their own economic doctrines, anthropologies, accounts of history, epistemologies, ethical theories, aesthetics, offering meaning and purpose to their followers. The contemporary dissident outlook is an inconsistent mixture of views, borrowings from fascism along with populist feelings rooted in natural sentiments and instincts without a theoretical framework, feeding off liberalism itself, an earlier “classical” version, sustained by race realism. Race realism is not an ideological world view but a scientific theory. Dissidents know that fascism is no longer able to garner mass support after its defeat by liberalism in WWII. What dissidents want, including white nationalists, is a liberalism that accepts race differences and understands ingroup ethnic behaviors. They point to the acceptance of slavery by the “classical liberal” Founding Fathers and to the persistence just a few decades ago of white-only immigration policies in all Western settler states. We will see below that this betrays a misunderstanding of the inherent moral ideals of liberalism.

Traditionalists have been the only ones (I am thinking of de BenoistKerry Bolton, Alexander Dugin) to carry a frontal attack on liberalism as such, holding its inherent individualism responsible for undermining every collective (racial and sexual) identity in the West. But traditionalists have not been able to grapple consistently with the ways in which the traditionalism of the West has always coexisted with some degree of individualism, monogamous families freed from polygamous kinship networks, equal civic status and participation in politics for free adult males, what is now known as a “civic-republican” form of liberalism, in complete contrast to the non-Western world. They have been unwilling to admit, moreover, that traditional non-Western societies became relatively stagnant intellectually after their Axial Age (800-200 BC) cultivation of Confucianism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism; and that the celebrated aristocracy it identifies with “traditionalism” in the West had been transformed by the 1700s into mere courtiers of the absolutist states, or a weak decentralized class parasitically collecting rents from a backward peasantry, devoid of its former heroic ethos of sacrifice, outcompeted by an entrepreneurial bourgeoise marching through history with its modern liberal ideals. Traditionalists also tend to view liberalism as an economic doctrine of capitalist individualism without adequately appreciating its ideal of the equal right of human beings to decide for themselves their own values, without being told by a state what to think, what religion to practice, or what choices to make in life.

Until last year I accepted the claim that cultural Marxists had successfully carried out a “long march through the institutions” against an otherwise sensible liberal culture prevailing before World War II in the West, when individual rights were understood in a libertarian and ethno-nationalistic way. Liberalism, before this march, I thought, guaranteed powerful liberties, freedom from arbitrary arrest and seizure of property, open scientific inquiry on all subjects including freedom to express views about racial differences, sustained by monogamous traditional family values. This was indeed a liberalism in which freedom of association was understood to include the right to refuse to associate with members of certain ethnic groups, the right of leaders to decide which immigrants were best suited to Western culture, even the right to discriminate in employment practices. But this nationalistic liberalism, I believed, was gradually infiltrated by leftist ideologues in the post-WWII decades, leading to a very different illiberal landscape characterized by the imposition from above of politically correct beliefs, multicultural relativism, gender pronouns, and group-identity politics for “racialized” minorities.

The idea that cultural Marxists are in charge, originally articulated by dissidents, is now also widespread among mainstream conservatives in their opposition to “critical race theory.” It is also common among those who identify the heavily Jewish Frankfurt School as one of the intellectual agents behind cultural Marxism. Paul Gottfried was one of the popularizers of the term cultural Marxism, observing that the ideas of the Frankfurt School “encouraged a war without quarter against bourgeois institutions and national identities.” Gottfried, however, blamed cultural Marxists in general, or the post-WWII New Left, not just the Frankfurt School, for the defeat of liberalism. In his book After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State, he carefully explained that the Left did not just topple the old state but almost imperceptibly over the twentieth century managed to create a whole new form of governance, a “managerial” or “therapeutic” state with a capacity to engage in the engineering of souls via multiple educational and social programs imposed from above by centralized authorities, along with regulations and speech codes dedicated to the modification of behaviour, with trained bureaucrats exacting major penalties against employees deemed to be in violation of anti-racist, anti-sexist and anti-gay codes. He insisted recently that liberalism reached its “heyday in the 19C” and “has been growing ever weaker since,” away from its “biblical morality, a strong nuclear family, and constitutional government.”

Rawls’s Theory of Political Liberalism

As I see it now, cultural Marxism — devaluation of traditional family, promotion of racial integration, criticism of European ethnocentrism, promotion of gender fluidity — is rooted in the fundamental principles of liberalism. The conception of liberalism I will be putting forth in this article closely follows John Rawls’s theory of political pluralism. Rawls is recognized as the most substantial and influential political philosopher of the twentieth century. A national survey of political theorists conducted in 2008, based on 1,086 responses from university professors in the United States, voted Rawls first on the list of “Scholars Who Have Had the Greatest Impact on Political Theory in the Past 20 Years.” When he died in 2002, over 3,000 articles specifically about Rawls had been published; and his main book, A Theory of Justice, had been cited about 60,000 timesranked 8th among the most cited books in the social sciences and philosophy. He has been regularly cited as an authority in American court opinions, more than 60 times, according to an article published in 2005. Yet, in the abundant writings of dissidents, Rawls rarely ever gets a mention, never mind a study. The focus is invariably on Frankfurt intellectuals, postmodernists, globalists, feminists, critical race theorists, antifa lunatics, or politicians of the moment.

Strictly speaking, Rawls’s “theory” is not about how society ought to be organized, but a systematic treatise on the best way to think about the nature of contemporary pluralist Western democracies. It is a treatise developed in response to the “new moral sensitivities” of Westerners after WWII, after the deadly ideological and ethnic conflicts between fascism, communism, and liberalism, the student protests of the 1960s, the civil rights movement, widespread talk about human rights, women’s demands for full equal rights, disillusionment with capitalist consumerism, the spread of Marxism in university campuses, and demands by minorities for cultural diversity. The theory aims to show that actually existing political pluralism, and the principles of fairness and equal opportunity that already guide Western jurisprudence, if properly understood and acted upon, provide the best moral framework for Westerners to coexist in state of relative concord despite their religious, racial, cultural, and political differences.

Classical liberalism, despite its revolutionary novel character, grew out of the aristocratic liberal ethos of Indo-Europeans and the civic liberal republicanism of ancient Greece and Rome, which persisted through the medieval era, though in symbiosis with the Christian idea that every human life is of equal value.

The underlying moral premise of Rawls’s liberal pluralism is drawn directly out of the Western intellectual tradition. It says that each individual has an innate inviolability, a dignity, by virtue of being rationally capable of deciding his own beliefs and self-governing his own life. Given the moral equality of humans as agents capable of autonomy, they should never, in the words of John Locke, be “subjected to the Political Power of another without his own Consent.” The public-political sphere should be characterized by value-pluralism, with everyone enjoying the following “basic liberties”: liberty of conscience, freedom of belief on all subjects, freedom of association, or liberty to associate with persons one chooses, equal right to participate in politics, equality under the law, and fair equality of opportunity. When Rawls writes that in our current times these liberties are “fixed” and “correctly settled once and for all,” he means that they are accepted in the West as indisputably true in the mainstream world of politics. He also means, as we will explain soon, that doctrines that directly threaten political pluralism and its moral premise of equality of rights will be rightfully suppressed or kept on the margins without much influence.

The essence of liberalism is not, and has never really been, about the unconstrained use of property and absolute freedom of economic contract. Even in John Locke’s “classical liberalism,” that is, his theory of natural rights, there is a moral affirmation that all men are born free and equal with certain inalienable liberties, and that governments have a duty to respect these rights, at the base of which lies liberty of conscience. We will see later, in fact, that the majority of so-called “classical liberals” in the nineteenth century did not think that this ideology was fundamentally about self-interested competition, or laissez-faire economics. Classical liberalism, despite its revolutionary novel character, grew out of the aristocratic liberal ethos of Indo-Europeans and the civic liberal republicanism of ancient Greece and Rome, which persisted through the medieval era, though in symbiosis with the Christian idea that every human life is of equal value. Republican civic notions of the public good and the importance of government championing civic virtues, selflessness, and benevolence, continued to be held by modern classical liberals through both the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 and the American Revolution of 1776. By the time we reach J. S. Mill and the “new liberalism” of the late 1800s, we have a fusion of ancient ideals of civic virtue, dedication and self-sacrifice, with socialist liberal ideas about the indispensable role of the state in creating fairer opportunities, such as public schools and sanitation, for the substantive expression of equal liberties among the poorer members of society.

I am inclined to think that Rawls’s emphasis on liberty of conscience and value pluralism best captures the essential features of liberalism in our times. For all the apparent enforcement upon citizens of common politically correct beliefs and behaviors, the essential aim of liberalism remains the liberation of individuals from all collective constraints, including the removal of unfair conditions for freedom, such as lack of economic opportunities, classism, racism, or sexism, which are believed to stand in the way of individuals from exercising their free will, even if this requires regulating speech and behaviour. Liberalism to this day explicitly rejects a collective conception of the good. While in his first book, A Theory of Justice (1971), Rawls did ask what conception of liberalism is universally true and most capable of promoting perfectionism or human excellences in art, science, and culture, his later work, Political Liberalism (1993), rejects as unreasonable the imposition of any common ideals of the good life upon citizens. Rawls insightfully argues that at the heart of liberalism lies respect for the decisions of individuals about their own conception of the good life and the pursuit of happiness. He observes that in modern societies, under conditions of freedom, individuals will always endorse incompatible “comprehensive doctrines,” religious, philosophical, or moral world views, about what they sincerely think is the best way to find a purpose in life. Opposing value-pluralism would constitute a violation against the equal dignity of humans as beings who are innately capable of making their own decisions.

The doctrines that question political pluralism and the basic liberties of all individuals, regardless of sex, race, and religious beliefs, are “unreasonable” and should not be allowed in the public sphere except as marginalized and nonthreatening ideas.

In a liberal society, there can be no shared doctrine or way of life other than a shared conception of the “inalienable” nature of the basic liberties. The question then is: what would be the best way for fair and just cooperation in a pluralist society where individuals choose incompatible doctrines? What follows is a simplified outline of his reply to this question. The way to create a stable liberal society, according to Rawls, is for the government to show citizens holding different views that they can live together in terms of cooperation that are publicly viewed as fair to everyone. Western nations have shown themselves to be fair, Rawls believes, insofar as the political domain within which people express their views has been characterized as “freestanding,” wherein the government abstains from imposing the truthfulness of any doctrine but instead justifies itself to citizens through the equal rights it grants to everyone to express their views as long as no one tries to infringe upon the equal rights of others. It is Rawls’s claim that citizens will endorse political liberalism for themselves as compatible with whatever view they hold to the degree that the state respects their liberties as human beings capable of holding their own doctrines in a state of mutual respect, reciprocity and civility. Thus, even though citizens hold fundamentally different metaphysical and religious views, their views will overlap and partly intersect in their shared political conception about the pluralistic character of the public domain.

Rawls makes a crucial distinction between “reasonable” and “unreasonable” doctrines. Doctrines are reasonable insofar as they are committed to fairness in the political domain, even if such doctrines hold illiberal religious views or Platonic metaphysical views about what constitutes “human perfectibility”. Doctrines are unreasonable if they seek to impose collective or illiberal values upon the political domain, or express views that challenge the autonomy and equal liberties of ethnic minorities, women, or LGBT members to take equal part in the cultural and political life of the community. Individuals are free to hold doctrines that affirm traditional values about family life, adhere to the “five pillars of Islam,” follow a strict Hassidic lifestyle of never changing anything about one’s traditional clothing, marriage norms, and food to keep oneself “spiritually clean” in separation from outsiders. Individuals are also free to create their own private spaces, clubs, engage in group sex or the swapping of sexual partners, join motorcycle gangs, play video games all day, become a mystic, or a hedonist — so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others, or advocate illiberal political views that aim to undermine the pluralist liberal domain. The doctrines that question political pluralism and the basic liberties of all individuals, regardless of sex, race, and religious beliefs, are “unreasonable” and should not be allowed in the public sphere except as marginalized and nonthreatening ideas.

Rawls also makes a distinction between his political pluralism and “comprehensive doctrines,” such as the Kantian-Mill view that an educated elite should decide for citizens how they should “self-actualize” their “true natures” as “rational human beings,” or the civic republican view (in its current version as articulated by Charles Taylor, for example), with its claim that humans can only express their freedom and highest faculties as active public citizens, rather than as private individuals dominated by their base instincts. One of the main purposes of Rawls’s book Political Liberalism is to argue that defending liberal principles of justice, the right of each person to equal liberties, does not require a comprehensive “foundational” strategy, as he still believed in A Theory of Justice. A liberal order that is just or fair to every citizen does not mandate any collective conception, be it Hegelian, cultural Marxist, or Buddhist; rather, as Rawls coherently explains, “political liberalism” offers a “freestanding political conception” according to which a well-ordered liberal society is one that guarantees reciprocity and tolerance between citizens holding different world views. It is for citizens to decide individually, as part of their political conscience and dignity as humans, what they wish to think and do with their lives.

Religious parents can teach their children the traditional view that a woman’s place is in the home attending to her children, rather than pursuing a career; however, if parents teach their children illiberal political views that deny the equal civic status of women or any other group, aimed at encouraging their children to advocate and act on these views in the public sphere, then the government would have legitimate grounds to take actions against such ways of raising children. Traditional doctrines, such as Catholicism and the Mormon religion, which do not allow women to be priests and advocate many illiberal views, will be counted as reasonable to the extent that the adherents of these religions tolerate the right of others to hold different views in the public domain without seeking to undermine women’s equal civic rights. This does not mean that a liberal government is completely neutral. Liberal governments can promote those values that “make a constitutional regime possible,” namely, the virtues of tolerance and reasonableness, the values of equal political and civil liberty, fairmindedness, mutual respect and reciprocity between citizens.

The common argument among dissidents that our current liberal societies are violating freedom of association and rights of economic contract, with the enactment of laws prohibiting private discrimination in hiring and educational decisions, fails to understand that discrimination in employment violates the moral ideal behind the principle of fair equality of opportunity in a society where individuals are deemed to have the same moral worth and political status. Laissez-faire liberalism, or libertarianism, never a majority view in the West, was decisively defeated by the end of the nineteenth century, or at least never adopted as a program by liberal governments since. Advocating for the elimination of minimum wage laws, health and safety laws, product safety provisions, or racial discrimination, would be deemed as a most unreasonable doctrine that violates the basic liberties of individuals and the conditions for equal freedom.

We will see below that politically correct mandates, multiculturalism, and feminism, have been relatively consistent with the principles of political liberalism insofar as these viewpoints have aimed at ensuring the equal liberties of individuals and fair equality of opportunity among “marginalised” members of society, the deconstruction of unreasonable comprehensive views, patriarchal biases, “xenophobic” or “ethnocentric” attitudes, which devalue the equal dignity of females, homosexuals, racial minorities, and immigrants. There is no need to appeal to another cultural Marxist ideology to understand the intellectual and moral sources of our current wokeness. We can understand what is happening in the West today far better by understanding the complex nature of liberalism, how this ideology is unlike any other ideology in its “freestanding” value pluralism, and how political pluralism contains within itself powerful normative resources to exclude viewpoints deemed to be “unreasonable.”

Whites Psychologically Wired for Liberal Progressivism

I am in agreement with Alexander Dugin’s thesis that the twentieth century witnessed only three major ideologies: liberalism, fascism, and communism. These ideologies grew in the West, with modern liberalism emerging first in the 1600s and subsequently defeating the other two younger contesting ideologies in WWII and the Cold War, respectively. Alain de Benoist is right: “liberalism is the dominant ideology of our time.” A flaw in de Benoist and Dugin, however, is that they identify liberalism with a narrow version of classical liberalism, a laissez-faire liberalism they associate, without fine distinctions, with the names of Locke, David Hume, and Adam Smith, and, in more recent times, with the names Friedrich von Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman, with their emphasis on economic rights of property, freedom of contract, and the freedom of consumers and producers. This flaw is compounded by their heavy reliance on Marx’s critique of liberalism, which barely addresses the moral ideals of liberalism. They reduce liberalism, in the words of de Benoist, to a worldview that sees “man as a being essentially driven by the desire to maximise his personal interest and private profit.” Nevertheless, I will defend the Marxian argument that liberalism emerged in close association with capitalism, and that capitalism has an internal dynamic that motivates the relentless accumulation of capital involving the investment of profits with the goal of increasing the competitiveness of firms — and that this dynamic has played a major role, along with liberalism, in the dissolution of Western traditions and national identities, coupled with the promotion of open borders and mass immigration.

This is the dilemma I am trying to explain: why did the ideology that brought the West its supreme greatness is now responsible for its ethnocidal path? Liberalism is almost epigenetically rooted in the historically evolved psychology of Europeans.

De Benoist and Dugin ignore two major components in the Western liberal tradition. Firstly, they leave out the powerful influence of the “high liberal tradition” espoused by John Rawls that I just elaborated on, which goes back to the contract tradition of Locke, his moral ideals, and that draws on Immanuel Kant and J. S. Mill’s liberal philosophy, with its ideal of free self-governing persons who develop their human rational capacities and pursue ways of life that give expression to their autonomous nature. Although Rawls’s political liberalism objects to the Kant-Mill view that the government should promote human perfectionism, he accepts the emphasis these authors put on the moral ideal of persons as self-governing agents. His theory takes it as established by the liberal tradition, and as a presupposed view of actually existing Western states, that humans are sufficiently reasonable and rational to work out their differences in a consensual manner, treating each other as free and equal in the public sphere.

… I traced the primordial roots of liberalism to the aristocratic masculine culture of horse-riding, highly mobile Indo-Europeans, with their uniquely contractual band of warrior brothers, consisting of dignified free men of honor unwilling to submit to despotic rulers, in which the leader was seen as “first among equals.”

The second major component ignored by de Benoist and Dugin, as well as dissidents at large, is the long historical evolution of liberalism from ancient times to the present, before capitalism was born. Liberalism is deeply seated in the psychological constitution of whites. It is also deeply connected to the unparalleled creativity of Europeans. This is the dilemma I am trying to explain: why did the ideology that brought the West its supreme greatness is now responsible for its ethnocidal path? Liberalism is almost epigenetically rooted in the historically evolved psychology of Europeans. Kevin MacDonald is an exception in the dissident Right in connecting the weak ethnocentrism of whites today back to the way evolutionary pressures in the northern climes of Europe in prehistoric times selected for weaker kinship networks, leading to the predominance of nuclear families, exogamous and monogamous marriage, and trust with anonymous strangers based on an individual’s reputation.

In Uniqueness of Western Civilization (2011), I traced the primordial roots of liberalism to the aristocratic masculine culture of horse-riding, highly mobile Indo-Europeans, with their uniquely contractual band of warrior brothers, consisting of dignified free men of honor unwilling to submit to despotic rulers, in which the leader was seen as “first among equals.” I called this an aristocratic form of liberalism. With the emergence of civilization in ancient Greece, I argued that this aristocratic, but still clannish ethos, was expanded into a civic republican ethos “befitting any free born person” belonging in a city-state. Although the ancient world retained its belief in the natural inequality of men and the superiority of the aristocracy, it did recognize the freedom of independent farmers, including them as equal citizens of the city-state and allowing them to take an active civic role in their states. The essential idea of this civic/republican form of freedom, articulated from Aristotle through to Cicero, was that man’s essential nature was most fully realized through his participation in a public civic community wherein politics was conceived as the locus of the good life. The aim of an education in the “liberal arts” cultivated by the Romans was to teach humanitas, what is proper for a noble man, magnanimity, disinterestedness, and a spirit of sacrifice for the well-being of the community.

During the Middle Ages, this aristocratic-civic liberalism was substantially influenced by the Christian idea that “every human being had been made equally by God” and that there is a purposive pattern in history pointing towards the unity of mankind. As Paul preached to the Athenian philosophers: “From one man God made every nation of the human race, that they should inhabit the whole earth.” This universalist view came along with a new sensitivity to human suffering, which motivated Christians to struggle against evil in this world. Christianity also promoted a new sexual morality against cousin and polygymous marriage, sexual activity outside marriage, sex with minors, divorce, infanticide and abortion, in favor of monogamy, freedom to choose one’s husband and wife, and affectionate family relations. While Greek and Roman law recognized monogamy for its superiority in sustaining the civic unity of society over clannish polygamous groups headed by bellicose aristocrats, the Germanic tribal invasions did reinforce polygamous ties notwithstanding the selective pressures for monogamous families in the northern climes of Europe.

It has now been well established, or so I believe, by Joseph Henrich in his book The Weirdest People of the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous (2020), that liberal individualism gathered momentum across social life after the Catholic Church set about prohibiting in systematic fashion polygamy and consanguineous marriages, sanctioning only monogamy based on voluntary choice. By the 12th century, the nuclear family was predominant in Europe. These changes freed Europeans from collective kinship ties and norms, leading them to form new voluntary or civic associations, such as urban communes, guilds, diocese of bishops, monasteries, and universities, to cooperate socially, solve conflicts, and secure a livelihood with individuals from wider circles of life. This reconstitution, which came along with the rise of new systems of law based on contractual liberal principles, altered the psychology of Europeans in an individualist direction, socializing them to extend their trust to anonymous strangers, to think in a less ethnocentric or in-group way, and to judge objects and humans in terms of universal principles and rules applicable on the basis of rationally based criteria.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world continued to be one of intense kinship relationships, as it had been since early Homo-sapiens days, characterized by a corresponding psychology that was clannish, conformist, and highly context-sensitive, without the ability to detach objects and persons from particular settings, and thus without the ability to generate abstract concepts and think analytically. Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness presupposes indeed a world in which individuals have been “psychologically rewired” with a new set of (liberal) dispositions for reduced ingroup favoritism, for greater fairness and cooperation with anonymous strangers, for analytical over contextual thinking, for impartial moral principles and objectivity, for love of choice and personal fulfillment. It presupposes a Western reality in which individuals are predisposed, in Rawls’s words, for “deliberative rationality,” with an analytical capacity to “draw inferences, weigh evidence, and balance competing considerations” with “the virtues of fair social cooperation” with anonymous strangers holding different doctrines. As much as Rawls may assume that these traits are part of human nature or easily taught to non-Westerners, his theory of liberal pluralism tacitly assumes a world that is already liberal in its psychology. This psychological profile, and the liberal pluralism it generated, is at the root of political correctness and white dispossession.

Aristocratic, Civic/Republican, and Classical Liberalism

Although it is correct to talk about a “commercial revolution in the Middle Ages” and the rise of a variety of innovative business techniques, such as bills of exchange, double-entry bookkeeping, coupled with the emergence of social structures based on freedom of contract rather than relationships derived from social status, the republican conception of liberalism with its emphasis on civic public duties continued to be championed among intellectuals during the Renaissance right through the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the Founding of the United States in 1776. As the meticulous research of J. G. A PocockBernard Bailyn, and Gordon S. Wood has shown, republican liberalism and its ideal of the primacy of the public good over individual self-interest, including its mistrust of capitalism as a corrupting influence, and its preference for the stable yeomen capable of being industrious without sacrificing the ideals of civic humanism, exercised a powerful influence on the political and intellectual leaders off the English and American revolutions. It is hard to deny, however, Joyce Appleby’s contention in Liberalism and Republicanism in the Historical Imagination (1992) that this old civic liberalism, which saw history in cyclical terms and equated change with degeneracy, was increasingly co-existing with a new conception of liberty, today known as “classical liberalism,” which reflected the emerging reality of market individualism. A new generation of thinkers, some associated with the origins of economics as a discipline, including Thomas Mun (1571–1641), Edward Misselden (1608–1654), John Locke (1632–1704), David Hume (1711–1776), and Adam Smith (1723–1790), looked with wonderment at how individuals pursuing their self-interests, rather than civic virtues, were bringing about a general increase in the well-being of society by increasing the volume of trade, manufacture and new technologies during the 1600s and 1700s. Adam Smith would develop a full theory explaining how the hidden hand of the market, a competitive setting in which everyone is obligated to be efficient in supplying the goods preferred by consumers, works to channel the pursuit of private gain into the general welfare of society.

Classical liberalism, in its inception, was partially (not singularly) conceived as an economic doctrine of free markets and private ownership of the means of production, emerging hand in hand with the rise of capitalism, in which self-adjusting markets came to be seen as the motor of human improvement, not civic-humanist values. From the perspective of the behavior of self-maximizing individuals in the market, we can thus agree with de Benoist. Capitalism on its own, as Marx would go on to explain in the mid-1800s, treats human relationships as commodity exchanges and abstracts individuals from all social connections other than those created through contractual arrangements for the pursuit of gain. Capitalism does not recognize the autonomous status of peoples, cultures, or nations pre-established on the basis of kinship norms, traditions or heritage. It is in the nature of capitalism, left to function on its own, without a strong political state dictating other values, or a strong background culture of civic commitment, to break traditional values and national identities, promote globalization, and instil individualistic values that are commensurate with its law of accumulation. As Marx famously observed in The Communist Manifesto: “Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguishes the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned.”

The classical liberal idea that all individuals are born with the same “natural rights” for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness irrespective of cultural background is thus a perfect fit for capitalism. There is more, however, to classical liberalism than a theory of free market individualism. Helena Rosenblatt’s book The Lost History of Liberalism: From Ancient Rome to the Twenty-First Century (2018) persuasively shows that the identification of liberalism with market individualism per se was an ideological construct of post-WWII Americans in response to the rise of totalitarian communism and the expanding Keynesian state across the West. Many of the names commonly identified with classical atomistic individualism, including Adam Smith, framed their market individualism within the old civic (and Christian) values of selfless patriotism, the common good, and the importance of promoting civic virtue among citizens. This should not surprise us. The world of John Locke and Adam Smith, and of the founders of the US, was still very agrarian, with the vast proportion of people living in an unchanging landscape dominated by the alternation of the seasons, going to church, creating large families in customary ways, rarely moving out of their place of birth. Capitalism, if we may quote a few more words from Marx, had not yet “put an end…to all idyllic relations…pitilessly torn asunder the motley” communal ties that bound men to each other, leaving “no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest.”

A flaw in Rosenblatt’s thesis, on the other hand, is that she tends to assume that every idea and policy in the nineteenth century in favor of encouraging the common good was a continuation of Roman civic republicanism. I side with Appleby in emphasizing the co-existence of this old civic liberalism with an emerging classical liberalism that reflected the reality of growing commerce and manufactures. But we should also look beyond Appleby, whose study ends with the late 1700s, to new ideas of the “common good” espoused by democrats and socialists during the 1800s and 1900s, which many “new liberals” in the late 1800s would come to see as a fulfillment of the ideals of classical liberalism itself. The essential argument of these new liberals was that the mere legal recognition by the state of the natural rights of individuals was insufficient for citizens lacking economic and cultural means to express their basic liberties. They also pointed to the prevalence of many forms of discriminatory behaviors and prejudices against certain groups of citizens on the basis of social class, sex, and religious beliefs.

The common thread of this march has been the removal by liberals of every obstacle, prejudice, tradition, property qualification, economic condition, including discrimination against women and minorities — preventing individuals from exercising their equal right to freedom without constraints.

It would be wrong to see this new liberalism as a negation of the supposed “laissez-faire” nature of classical liberalism. Classical liberalism on its own, as we stated above, is more than a mixture of laissez-faire and civic republicanism. The central figure in classical liberalism is John Locke, and the central idea in Locke is not laissez-faire, but the idea that all men, by virtue of their capacity to reason, are born with an “equal right to natural freedom,” and that among the fundamental rights to freedom are “life, liberty, and property,” and that the authority of governments springs from the consent of individuals born with these rights, and that, therefore, governments have an obligation to respect the liberties of individuals, and citizens a right to rebellion if these rights are violated. Locke is also the source of the cardinal principle of liberty of conscience, which is at the root of the liberal pluralism that Rawls accentuates, which says that men, by virtue of their natural rights, have a right to decide for themselves what doctrines they wish to follow. The classical liberalism of Locke was indeed a reaction against the violent, authoritarian impulses of Christendom witnessed during the religious wars of the 1600s, when governments sought to enforce religious uniformity as a way of terminating religious divisions believed to be the cause of civil war. Locke argued, to the contrary, that it was government meddling in religion that caused civil war. “It is not the diversity of opinions, which cannot be avoided; but the refusal of toleration to those that are of different opinions . . . that has produced all the bustles and wars that have been in the Christian world, upon account of religion.”

The Long March of Liberals through the Institutions

A) Glorious Revolution 1688

Classical liberalism, then, is a complex ideology that emerged in connection with the rise of capitalism, while remaining attached for some time to civic republican values, and articulating ideals that went beyond private economic rights and civic republicanism, that is, the ideals articulated by Locke and the ideals of liberal socialists and democrats. Liberalism can’t be defined in terms of how it was understood and actualized at one point in history. It can only be understood in terms of its centuries-long march through the institutions. The common thread of this march has been the removal by liberals of every obstacle, prejudice, tradition, property qualification, economic condition, including discrimination against women and minorities — preventing individuals from exercising their equal right to freedom without constraints. This march would eventually lead to the emergence of political correctness and the right of liberal institutions to exclude or limit the influence of “illiberal discourses” that “threaten” open pluralist societies. What follows is a quick journey through the legislative history of liberalism from the time of Locke to the present to convey the “liberating” logic of this ideology. I will focus on Britain, the nation most closely identified with the origins of classical liberalism, but also on the United States, the heartland of racial integration, and on Canada, the heartland of multicultural immigrant liberalism.

We can start with the liberalism of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which saw a parliament representative of nobles and prosperous members of the bourgeoisie recognized as the supreme power, with the authority of the monarch limited to executive functions. This parliament came along with a Bill of Rights that established the principles of frequent parliaments, free elections and freedom of speech within Parliament without fear of being questioned in any court or place out of Parliament, as well as the principle of no right of taxation without Parliament’s agreement, and just treatment of people by courts.

The Toleration Act (1688) started a trajectory that eventually terminated the authoritarian Christian unity of the Middle Ages by extending toleration to nonconformists who did not belong to the established Anglican Church who had pledged loyalty to the British monarch. This act did not apply to Catholics, Jews, nontrinitarians, and atheists. Nevertheless, it was revolutionary in its own right, constituting the beginnings of liberty of conscience, a new conception of freedom unknown in ancient Greece, in civic-republican Rome, and in the Middle Ages. In the language of Rawls, or with the benefit of his theory of pluralism, we can say that it launched a new conception of the public sphere as a “freestanding” domain freed from any authoritarian creed, wherein individuals who are “deeply divided by cultural, religious, and moral beliefs” may coexist in a state of tolerance and reciprocity. Freedom of the press was formally enacted in 1695.

… Locke made a philosophical argument, not an argument based on ancestral rights of a particular people: that every man has a right to profess any opinion as long as it is not seditious or dangerous to society.

Paleoconservatives like to point to Edmund Burke’s interpretation of this revolution as one that sought “to preserve our ancient indisputable laws and liberties […] derived to us from our forefathers and to be transmitted to our posterity; as an estate specially belonging to the people of this kingdom without any reference whatever to any other general or prior right.” The Bill of Rights, they tell us, recognized the rights of the British, not the rights of man. This is true; the language of liberty used by liberalism during this revolution, from “time immemorial,” was not based on Enlightenment ideals of equality and liberty taken in the abstract, as universal rights belonging to man as such. English political thinking in the seventeenth century was not dominated by Locke; he was one among a more influential group of men, known as the Harringtonians, influenced by the republican civic liberalism of ancient Rome and its Renaissance interpreters, Cicero and Machiavelli, and the writings of the foremost English political theorist of classical republicanism, James Harrington (1611- 1677), who spoke in terms of civic virtues, citizens dedicated to the commonwealth, the ancient constitution, customs and rights imbedded in English common law.

Yet, one can’t overlook that this revolution did enact a new conception of liberty not valued by the ancients or present in English common law: the right to hold and profess what principles we choose, liberty of conscience, which is the foundational stone of liberal pluralism. The acceptance by the ancient Romans of foreign religious cults was due to the polytheistic character of their pagan religion, which lacked any sacred text or religious dogma, and should thus not be attributed to any principle of religious toleration based on philosophical arguments about liberty of conscience. In his A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689), Locke made a philosophical argument, not an argument based on ancestral rights of a particular people: that every man has a right to profess any opinion as long as it is not seditious or dangerous to society. Men have a right to reach their own views by the use of their reason. Liberty of conscience is therefore a natural right which man possesses by virtue of being capable of choice. Faith cannot be compelled.

Arguments for religious toleration were not original to Locke but emerged slowly from the sixteenth century onwards, starting with Erasmus, Sebastian Castellio, Roger Williams, and Thomas More. Roger Williams (1604–1683), an immigrant in New England, may have been the first to make the argument that the best path towards civil peace was for governments to permit religious tolerance, rather than mandating a specific form of Christianity, for every man is equal in his subjective conscience and conviction. The cause of endless bloodshed was not religious pluralism but the refusal of governments to allow men to make up their own minds in a state of mutual respect. Future generations of liberals would extend this argument beyond the domain of religion to argue that it is for individuals to decide their culture, not governments; and that the best way to ensure cultural choice is through the enactment of “multicultural citizenship.” Rawls does not say much about the history of liberalism; however, he does state unequivocally in his book Political Liberalism that “the historical origin of political liberalism (and of liberalism more generally)” began in the aftermath of the religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and that “something like the modern understanding of liberty of conscience and freedom of thought began then.”

B) American Founding Liberal Principles

By the time of the American Declaration of Independence (1776), notwithstanding the persisting influence of civic republicanism among the founders, we have a more definitive statement of the Lockean doctrines of natural rights and of government under social contract. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The contractarian statement in this Declaration meant that the citizens agreeing to the social contract chose the terms of their association based on the presumption that each regards all others as free and equal persons. The Bill of Rights (1791) explicitly limits the government’s authority to infringe on citizen’s right to religious freedom, thought and assembly, and distinctly states that citizens have a right to hold property free from usurpation by the government without compensation, and to equal rights under the law. The relentless dynamic of American capitalism, rising prosperity, and education would sweep away the anachronistic notion that seeking private goods was incompatible with the general welfare of the majority.

A common argument among dissidents wishing to blame cultural Marxism, or the left generally, for the current ills of American society is that the founders, including many of the authors of canonical founding texts of liberalism, had racial views or held slaves themselves. They point to John Jay’s statement in the Federalist Papers (1787–88) that Americans are “a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs.” It can’t be denied that there existed a “racial subtext” or a taken-for-granted awareness that only white people, or British descendants, were parties to the social contract. For a long time, as late as the 1950s, a sizable proportion of Americans did not regard blacks as full moral persons capable of rational autonomy. The descendants of the people who proclaimed the Declaration, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights, remained segregationists until the 1960s.

Yet, from the very beginning, liberals in the US and Europe, noted that, while the American Constitution was “more liberal” than the British, its principle that “all men [are] alike free and equal” was inconsistent with the enslavement of blacks. We should think of the racialist attitudes of the founders as “prejudices” rather than as attitudes intrinsic to liberalism. The American founding principles did not sanction slavery but provided the principles for its abolition and for equal civil rights regardless of sex and race. By the time Lincoln came along, as he himself wrote, “the liberal party throughout the world” disapproved of slavery and thought that it contradicted the values endorsed in the Constitution. There was no need for a new Constitution; “amendments” to the original founding documents were enough to set blacks free (13th Amendment in 1865), citizenship guaranteed (14th Amendment in 1866) and the vote (15th Amendment in 1870). For a long time, the Supreme Court did justify the legality of segregation under the “separate but equal” law and identified skin color as a determining factor in many landmark cases; nevertheless, slowly and inevitably, the Supreme Court would reach the conclusion that skin color or race can never be a legitimate ground for legal or political distinctions, deciding unanimously in 1954 that segregation was contrary to “the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment” and that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” The inspiration for these legal changes was the argument that the Constitution was inherently “color-blind.” As President Calvin Coolidge (1923-29), known for his conservative probity, already understood before the civil rights movement: “Our constitution guarantees equal rights to all our citizens, without discrimination on account of race or color…A colored man is precisely as much entitled to submit his candidacy in a party primary, as is any other citizen.”

C) New Liberalisms: Democracy and Socialism

Whatever claims one may make about the “civic republican motivations” of British “Harringtonians” and American founders, it would only take a few more years for a new liberal revolution in France in 1789 to justify itself “much more forcefully” in terms of the universal “Rights of Man,” freedom of conscience for non-Catholics and Jews, with a constitution in 1791 granting the vote to all adult males over 25 years old who paid the equivalent of three days’ wages in direct taxes, and which abolished “slavery among the negroes in all our colonies.” Although there would be reactions against the radical Jacobin phase of this revolution, in the course of the 1800s, France would come to endorse the incipient principle of fair equality of opportunity advocated by the Jacobins, universal suffrage and taxation levels to assure everyone their daily bread, a plan for general education for all (1793), and a plan for national welfare and social security. Liberals were concluding that formal legal equality and “careers open to talent” can never be more than “a hollow sham when one class of men can starve another with impunity.”

This was not solely a French affair. Burke’s prediction that Britain would avoid France’s path of subverting its established institutions (because English claims to liberty were rooted in ancestral rights and the accumulated wisdom of the past) would be disproven many times over during the 1800s. Not only would the British go on to embrace Locke, rather than Burke, they would go beyond Locke’s liberalism, though not against the spirit of his liberal belief that men have a fundamental right to profess any belief they choose, but beyond his prejudicial views, for example, that Catholics cannot be loyal, or that men who don’t believe in God, atheists, are unfit for society. The Catholic Emancipation Act was passed by parliament in 1829. Then came the momentous English Reform Bill of 1832, which reduced property qualifications for voting to include small landowners, tenant farmers, and shopkeepers. This Bill came after years of liberal criticism that Parliament was neither fair nor representative. It was only a matter of time before this same argument was used to end the exclusion of women and most workers from voting.

In 1833, black slavery was abolished in the colonies as an inhumane practice that violated the equal moral worth of all humans. In 1846, free trade was established with the repeal of the Corn Laws, at the behest of the Manchester School, which was convinced that free trade, as opposed to mercantilism or imperialism, would have the effect, in the words of Richard Cobden, of “drawing men together, thrusting aside the antagonism of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal peace.” The same year of 1846 saw Parliament enact the Religious Disabilities Act, which removed the last restrictions against those who dissented against the Church of England and extended to Jews the same rights on education and property, to be followed progressively by the granting of full political and civil rights to Jews in 1858.

Yet, the free trade mentality of the Corn Laws, the early classical liberal notion that property owners have a right to use their property as they pleased, was already under criticism when it came to the employment of children and women, as witnessed in the Factory Laws of 1842 and 1847. Despite fierce opposition by free trade liberals, these laws prohibited all females and boys under ten years old from working underground in coal mines, and restricted the working hours of women and young persons (13-18) in textile mills to 10 hours per day. The major proponents were Quakers and Anglicans. The Christian and liberal rationale was that such working conditions were damaging to the “moral state” of children, and that without secular and religious instruction children would be deprived of the right to form “habits of order, sobriety, honesty, and forethought, or even to restrain them from vice and crime.” This conforms with Rawls’s argument that the basic liberties of liberalism presuppose the right of the individual to be able to develop the capacities for deliberate decision-making about their interests and goals in life that allow them to be truly free persons.

Conservatives would henceforth accept all the fundamental premises of classical liberalism, and its progressive implications, even as they moved at a slower pace.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), who entered Parliament as a Liberal in 1866, would go on to renounce all remaining property qualifications for voting, on the grounds that when a segment of the population, in this case the working classes and women, are excluded from representation in the government, their interests and ideas as individuals with the same natural rights cannot find equal expression. He also advocated for state intervention to bring about a more equitable distribution of wealth and improve thereby the material well-being of the greatest number of the people so as to ensure the development of faculties essential for citizens to actualize their self-autonomy. He valued unlimited liberty of thought as a way of encouraging humans to employ their rational capacities away from the constraints of social taboos and dogmatic traditional norms. He accepted Harriet Taylor’s feminist argument that in a society founded on the principle that all are born free and equal, it was immoral for men to decide for women their role in society as if they were slaves unable to participate in politics and enjoy the same civic status as men. The Frankfurt School argument that patriarchal families engender “authoritarian personalities,” because children are made to fear parental disapproval and to idolize the superior authority of the father, was already implied in Mill’s overall commitment to female equality and his view that the Victorian family of his time was “a school of despotism” in which unequal power-relations between husband and wife perpetuated evil by inculcating boys to believe that “by the mere fact of being born male he is by right the superior of… an entire half of the human race.” To create a future generation of progressives, the family had to be re-imagined as “the real school of the virtues of freedom,” “grounded… on equal… [and] sympathetic association.”

As Mill was articulating these ideas, the Reform Bill of 1867 was passed, granting the vote to industrial workers — a Bill put through by the Conservative Party. It needs to be added that by this point in time, across Western Europe, traditional conservatism, as a short-lived ideology that emerged in the wake of the French Revolution of 1789 in defence of clericalism, aristocratic privilege and the divine right of monarchy, had been thoroughly defeated by liberalism. Conservatives would henceforth accept all the fundamental premises of classical liberalism, and its progressive implications, even as they moved at a slower pace. By 1867, conservatives and progressives alike in England had reached the conclusion that democracy is fundamental to give voice to every citizen and to allow them to safeguard their individual rights, and to provide greater parity between individuals in their opportunities to develop their own faculties as human beings. The consensus had emerged that democracy, as Mill argued, was the natural development and consequence of liberal individual rights. Soon the consensus would be, including among conservatives, that without some “socialist” distribution of economic power, or fairer equality of opportunity, the right to vote amounted to a mere formal/juridical equality without substance.

The spread of progressive democratization would inspire a new conception of “positive freedom” in which the government is seen as a vehicle in charge of levelling the playing field by affording greater opportunities to poorer members of society to express their basic liberties, beyond the “negative freedom” of laissez-faire with its focus on the threats to liberty of an arbitrary and tyrannical state. A foremost British liberal philosopher of this period, Thomas Hill Green (1836–1882), in a well-known speech, “Liberal Legislation and Freedom of Contract” (1880), contrasted two kinds of freedom, negative and positive, arguing that individuals cannot become fully free unless the government creates economic and cultural conditions aimed at encouraging their highest nature as autonomous rational beings capable of shaping their own lives rather than being under the compulsion of their hedonistic or irrational impulses. Green would thus advocate for sanitary laws, factory inspections, and public education, among many other socialist policies. Most liberals would eventually agree that “negative liberties” on their own (freedom from arbitrary arrest, freedom of speech and association, equal right to participate in politics) are purely formal if the government does not ensure, in the words of Rawls, “a certain fair equality of opportunity,” “meaningful work,” “basic health care” and “a decent distribution of income and wealth.” As another leading liberal of this period, L. T. Hobhouse (1864–1929), would write: “true Socialism serves to complete rather than to destroy the leading Liberal ideals.” “Freedom to choose and follow an occupation, if it is to become fully effective, means equality with others in the opportunities for following such occupation.”

However, I would draw a very important difference between the “positive” conception of liberal freedom advocated by Green (and possibly by Hothouse with his idea that the state should be conceived as an “ethical community devoted to the promotion of the common good”) and the Rawlsian conception, which can still be framed in terms of the principles of negative liberty. Rawls endorses socialist programs insofar as they are aimed at removing constraints (harmful working conditions, lack of opportunities in jobs and education, and harmful sanitary conditions) for the proper exercise of one’s liberties. Central to his political liberalism is the idea that the government should not hinder individuals in deciding their own values and lifestyles. The state must leave individuals to do or be what they wish to do or be without dictating any common doctrine. The question, to be addressed shortly, is whether this Rawlsian view is consistent with the current woke view that the government should promote politically correct beliefs against the “prevalence” of “sexist,” “racist,” “homophobic,” or “Islamophobic” attitudes.

Let’s get back to Britain. In late nineteenth century Britain, there was a considerable acceleration in the liberal march through the institutions. The Elementary Education Act of 1870 established a national system of free public schools for children aged between 5 and 13, stating that attendance should be compulsory and that religious teaching should be non-denominational and that parents have the right to withdraw their children from religious instruction. Among other notable liberal reforms were the Workmen’s Compensation Act (1906), providing for compensation to workers for injury during employment; the Old Age Pension Act (1908), the Minimum Wage Act (1909), and the National Insurance Act (1911), giving benefits to workers during sickness and unemployment. The Reform Bill of 1918 granted equal suffrage to men aged over 21, whether or not they owned property, and to women aged over 30. Legislation in the next few years brought equality to women in inheritance rights and unemployment benefits. The Sex Discrimination (Removal) Act of 1919 categorically stated that “a person shall not be disqualified by sex or marriage from the exercise of any public function, or from being appointed to or holding any civil or judicial office or post, or from entering or assuming or carrying on any civil profession or vocation, or for admission to any incorporated society.” Divorce was made easier by the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1923 and the Marie Stopes mail-order service made contraception more readily available. As L. T. Hobhouse clearly stated in 1911, it is a contradiction to have a constitution that affirms the equal rights of all citizens without “rendering the wife a fully responsible individual, capable of holding property, suing and being sued, conducting business on her own account, and enjoying full personal protection against her husband.” All these acts are consistent with Rawlsian liberalism.

The post-WWII decades would see an expansion of these “new liberal” programs, aimed at ensuring a minimum level of subsistence for all, “from the cradle to the grave.” The National Health Act of 1946 provided free medicines and medical services to all, “from duke to dustman.” These acts went beyond civic and political equality; they were economic rights. The English sociologist T. H. Marshall (1893–1981) articulated this idea in a famous essay, “Citizenship and Social Class,” written in 1949, arguing that citizens could not fully exercise their civic and political freedoms without a basic level of economic and cultural well-being to equip them with living conditions and an education for intelligent and autonomous choices in life.

D) Immigrant Multiculturalism and Liberal Global Capitalism

The “post-war consensus” which began in the 1930s would continue through to the 1960s, when liberal intellectuals led by John Maynard Keynes and William Beveridge formulated the concept of a welfare state based on the widely accepted argument that markets on their own have a tendency to get stuck with high unemployment unless governments promote effective demand through spending. “True individual freedom,” as Franklin D. Roosevelt would tell Congress in 1944, “cannot exist without economic security and independence.” With the rise of Margaret Thatcher in the 1970s, there was a slight return to some laissez-faire principles, but the path of Britain (and the Western world) would remain progressively tilted towards the “expansion of freedom.” It was from the 1960s on that liberals would start a hard drive for equal rights in all respects for different genders and races. In 1965, the Race Relations Act banned racial discrimination in public places and made the promotion of hatred on the grounds of “colour, race, or ethnic or national origins” an offence. The Equal Pay Act of 1970 prevented discrimination, “as regards terms and conditions of employment” between men and women. The Gender Recognition Act 2004 allowed people to legally change gender. The Same Sex Couples Act 2013 made same-sex marriage legal. The Equality Act 2010 brought together many pieces of liberal legislation into one single act “to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all” regardless of gender or race, as well as giving women “equal pay for equal work.” The Race Relations Amendment Act (2000) made it “unlawful for any public authority to discriminate on racial grounds — directly, indirectly or by victimisation,” and requires, as a “general duty,” governments, schools and the police, to promote “equality of opportunity and good relations between people of different racial groups.”

While multiculturalism in Britain has not been formally recognized in any constitutional act, the liberal elites in charge, as in almost every other nation in the West, came to the conclusion that governments needed to ensure equal rights for minorities and embrace their ethnic diversity, leading both Canada and Australia in the early 1970s to identify themselves as “multicultural.” What seemed at first as a call for undoing “the lingering presence or enduring effects of older …ethnic and racial hierarchies” in the West soon turned into a call for developing “a new model of multicultural democratic citizenship” away from an identity in Western nations centered around “Eurocentrism” and “whiteness” by restructuring them as “immigrant nations.” Before I get into how liberalism came to justify this profound remaking of the West, it is imperative that we reassert the intrinsic relationship between liberalism and capitalism. The spread of multicultural immigration across the West coincided with the realization among corporate business leaders that the Keynesian regime of accumulation, which had brought effective demand and economic stability from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, and which involved a “class compromise” between the white working class and the capitalist elites, together with husband-supporting wages, job protection, and rising incomes across the board, was no longer suitable for the more globalizing requirements of financial capitalism.

Below replacement fertility rates, they would tell their constituents, demand the importation of millions of immigrants to overcome a shrinking labor force coupled with an aging population, if the West was to avoid permanent labor shortages, a declining GDP, lower tax receipts, and thus declining government services.

The elections of Thatcher (1979), Reagan (1980), and Mulroney (1984) should be seen less as a return to a laissez-faire that never really existed than a concerted effort by business liberal elites to develop a new regime of accumulation known as “post-Fordism,” involving globalized financial markets and free trade zones, making it easier for businesses to move across national borders in search of lower wages and less regulated standards. This new regime entailed an emphasis on service industries, pursuit of niche markets without national characteristics, new communication technologies for up to the minute financial information and investment decisions, as well as intensification of a feminized and diversified workforce with stagnant real wages and double-income families. It is a mistake to identify these policies with classical liberalism, or “conservatives.” Conservative politicians were enthusiastic pawns within the wider web of global capitalist forces, while subsequent “new labour” governments would happily go along with this regime in combination with new norms of multicultural and immigrant human rights, which conservatives would promote as well.

The opening of Western borders was not orchestrated by cultural Marxists, or by high liberal ideals on their own. Multicultural liberalism came hand in hand with the development, in the words of Sam Francis, of a new managerial transnational Western elite “detached and disengaged from — and actually hostile to — any particular place or group or set of beliefs that supports particular identities.” This new globalist liberal elite is indifferent to church-attending family businesses rooted in particular communities. What they aim for, as Theodore Levitt observed in 1983, are products with a generic identity for consumers across the globe, markets without national boundaries, “globally standardized products that are advanced, functional, reliable.” They don’t want consumers with “deeply ingrained local preferences of taste”; they want to sell “in all national markets the same kind of products sold at home…on the basis of appropriate value—the best combinations of price, quality, quantity, reliability and delivery.” They want “products that are globally identical with respect to design, function, and even fashion.” National identities are inefficient, slow-moving, inconsistent with the new technologies of communications. Rootless individuals endlessly seeking pleasures in a “homogenized world market” is what our current mega retailers —  Costco, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Home Depot, and Walgreens — cherish above all.

There is an elective affinity between this globalized capitalism and the liberal-leftist goal of creating “post-national” citizens. Leftists want “deterritorialized” individuals without “xenophobic” attachments to ethnic groups, “emancipated” from pre-given sexual, cultural, and racial identities, that is, individuals who construct their identities completely out of their free will. By the end of the twentieth century, both the Left and Right would instruct citizens that continuously high levels of immigration are essential to sustain the long term economic and social viability of Western civilization. Below replacement fertility rates, they would tell their constituents, demand the importation of millions of immigrants to overcome a shrinking labor force coupled with an aging population, if the West was to avoid permanent labor shortages, a declining GDP, lower tax receipts, and thus declining government services. This convergence of the Left and liberal Right was most visible in their agreement to redefine Western culture as inherently “multicultural.” Whether a right-wing liberal or a left-wing liberal was in power, the end results were in the direction of “diversity, inclusion, and equity,” three words now inscribed in every institution and corporation in the West.

Canada, the largest landmass of the West, would stand as a paradigmatic “showcase” of multiculturalism. The same conservative government of Brian Mulroney (1984–1993) which promoted a “post-Fordist” regime of accumulation also brought mass-scale immigration and the implementation of multiculturalism into “all aspects of Canadian society.” The Conservative Party would henceforth, Mulroney announced, cease to be identified as “the Party of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.” “Racism must be stamped out wherever it rears its ugly head.” Three key legislative measures were implemented to this end: the Equity Act of 1986, which mandated federal employers to implement affirmative hiring policies for “disadvantaged minorities”; the Multiculturalism Act of 1988, which set out to give Canadians a new multicultural identity away from its British or European-centered identity; and the Five-Year Immigration Plan, 1990-1995, which encouraged continuously rising levels of immigration per year regardless of fluctuations in the unemployment rate.

Similar legislative acts were implemented across numerous Western nations during this period or in subsequent years with the complete support of mainstream political parties, the corporate media, and intellectuals in academia. Variations in forms of liberalism between France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand do not obviate this pattern of multicultural liberalism. There is truth in the Marxist argument that “irresistible and relentless pressures for growth are functions of the day-to-day requirements of capitalist reproduction in a competitive market, incumbent upon all but a few businesses.” As fertility rates dropped in the 1960s, immigration came to be seen as the key vehicle to keep the population growing, avoid rising wages due to labor shortages, and ensure a sufficient supply of skilled workers and “labor market flexibility.” The aim of immigration, in societies with low fertility rates, is to keep GDP growing. Critics of immigration are right that simply maximizing GDP does not automatically translate into rising GDP per person. There is abundant evidence showing that higher immigration levels across the West have actually resulted in decreases in GDP per capita for the resident population, overcrowding of hospitals, schools and recreational facilities, as well as deteriorating environments, increase in cost of services and in cost of housing, and a net drag on government budgets. But the fact remains that “study after study after study” have also shown that mass immigration in the West has been a critical factor responsible for major increases in the workforce and in the size of the economy. In a capitalist economy, the expansion of GDP and the earnings of investors are viewed as the key metric of success.

It happens to be that most of the total income gains generated by the expansion of GDP since the 1970s/1980s, right as immigration was intensified across the West, have accrued to the top percentiles of households, that is, to the major owners of capital. The Pew Research Center reported in 2020 that “income growth was the most rapid for the top 5%” of Americans between 1971 and 2019. Another study showed that average pre-tax incomes of the top 1% in the US tripled between 1980 and 2014. In England, the top 1% of earners increased their share of income from 7.1% in 1970 to 14.3% in 2005, just as this nation set its borders wide open and declared itself to be a “nation of immigrants.” According to the Economic Policy Institute, the “wages for the top 1% in England skyrocketed 160% from 1979 to 2019 while the share of wages for the bottom 90% shrunk.” Even France, considered to be an “egalitarian country,” has experienced a sharp rise in inequality since the early 1980s. In Canada, between 1980 and 2009, right as immigration was intensified, disposable (after taxes and transfers) income inequality increased by 13%, and the share of market income held for the top 1% and 0.01% “increased dramatically” from 8.1% to 13.3% and 2% to 5.3%, respectively. Australia, Sweden, Germany, and other pro-immigration Western countries have seen similar trends, including Italy, where “the wealth share held by the top 0.1 percent, the richest 50,000 adults, almost doubled from 5.5 percent to 9.3 percent from 1995 to 2016.”

Capitalism in the non-West still operates within a non-liberal ideological order. Accordingly, businesses in the non-Western world — Japan, China, India, Saudi Arabia — have remained rooted to their national communities, despite their multinational operations, governing in unison with a political state elite in charge of national interests with a clear sense of the friend-enemy distinction, a strong collective identity, a strong sense of heritage, racial identity, customs and rituals. This is very different from the liberal capitalist West, where the state is envisioned as an association created by individuals with natural rights in abstraction from any prior community, and where it is believed that humans and nations can overcome deadly conflict through the creation of a “new world order” which grants everyone individual freedom and the possibility to improve himself through market competition, innovation, humanitarian works, and reach geopolitical consensus through diplomacy. To reach this end, liberal nations are prepared to fight wars against illiberal nations that don’t recognize human rights, the equal rights of women and homosexuals, and that refuse to be part of a liberal world order dedicated to the termination of all collective identities.

The argument is often made that multiculturalism goes against both the “Western” character and heritage of Western liberal nations, and against the principle of equal rights regardless of race, sex, and nationality, in granting “special group rights” to immigrant minorities — affirmative hiring, public funding of cultural activities, exemption from dress codes, and dual citizenship. This view is mistaken. First, multiculturalism is consistent with the principle of pluralism, the idea that the government should not be in charge of imposing any cultural values other than the value of tolerance and respect for the decisions of equally free individuals to choose their values. The Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the first Western leader to make multiculturalism the official identity of a nation in 1971, understood this. A key argument behind Trudeau’s decision was that WWII had proven the deadliness of nationalist cultural pride and that the way out of persisting tensions between the Anglos and the Quebecois was to remake Canada into a multicultural state away from any form of cultural nationalism. This is the same rationale underlying the claim that the cause of the religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was the imposition of one Christian creed and that the way out of this violence was to make religion a private decision based on conviction.

Second, in regard to group rights, liberals would go on to articulate in the 1990s, on the basis of liberal principles, a “multicultural theory of citizenship,” arguing that individual members of minorities need to emphasize their group identity in order to overcome centuries of discrimination and “racialization” inflicted on them, and thereby have the same opportunities for liberty and equality. Its most prolific proponent has been the Canadian Will Kymlicka, who has spent most of his career on visiting professorships across Europe selling the “Canadian model of multiculturalism” and was appointed this past June of 2023 to the Order of Canada for his “extraordinary contribution to the nation” in “his application of liberal theory to multiculturalism and minority rights.” He elaborated that majorities throughout history have shown a tendency to behave in illiberal ways towards minorities and that, for this reason, minorities and immigrants should be afforded “external protections” against majority decisions that may discriminate against them, as well as resources to enhance their opportunities for individual success within the majority society. Allowing immigrants to express their ethnic and religious identities, rather than forcing assimilation to the “dominant” Western culture, is consistent with the inherent value-pluralism of liberalism in that it affords everyone the right to their own cultural and religious choices, as long as immigrant groups do not seek to create their own full-scale cultures, or limit the equal rights of individuals within their groups, by engaging, for example, in female circumcision and forced marriages. This policy came to be called “reasonable accommodation” in Canada, possibly in awareness of Rawls’s argument that a liberal society has an obligation to be flexible and accommodate different world views, even when they are illiberal, as long as these doctrines are likewise reasonably flexible in abiding by the principles of pluralism and tolerance in the public sphere.

It may be replied, admittedly, that Rawls’s liberalism does not call for mass immigration as such, but for equal treatment and fair equality of opportunity for citizens within a nation state. The reality is that, in our globalized capitalist Western world, the “Rawlsian case for open borders” is very popular. Western law does not allow Western leaders to make any distinctions among potential immigrants on the basis of race, religion, and nationality. White-only immigration regulations were rejected across the West as unconstitutional in the 60s/70s. Moreover, Western nations are morally guided, in the aftermath of their war against the “racism” of fascism, by their “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (1948), that “all human beings” across the world “are born free and equal in dignity and rights…endowed with reason and conscience” and that nations “should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood” without making any distinctions “on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs.” Given these liberal realities, it was only a matter of time before someone would draw from Rawls an argument for open borders. We thus find Joseph Carens arguing in 1987 (just as businesses were pressuring for higher levels of immigration) in “Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders” that “there is little justification for restricting immigration” in Rawlsian liberalism, including in the libertarian and utilitarian variations of liberalism. For “each of these theories begins with some kind of assumption about the equal moral worth of individuals. In one way or another, each treats the individual as prior to the community. These foundations provide little basis for drawing fundamental distinctions between citizens and aliens who seek to become citizens.” This argument would become common in academia, expressed in books and articles, some relying on liberalism generally or directly on Rawlsian principles to justify mass immigration.

E) The Paradox of Liberal Intolerance: Popper = Marcuse

Conservatives and dissidents at large attribute political correctness, the censoring of “offensive” speech and behaviour, to the actions of cultural Marxists. They believe that before liberal nations experienced a “march through the institutions” by leftists, feminists, postmodernists, and Marxists, the principles of scientific impartiality and free speech prevailed across the liberal West. I don’t deny that important differences exist between “right-wing” and “left-wing” liberals, or between Enlightenment liberals who endorse science and postmodern liberals who emphasize cultural relativism. The Right has shown strong opposition to speech codes and the banning of “controversial” speakers from campuses. They have also identified Herbert Marcuse’s theory of repressive tolerance as the ideological originator of PC mandates, and have argued indeed that this “cultural Marxist” was the first one who proposed a theoretical justification for the suppression of conservative views and the dedication of universities to a “liberating tolerance” to bring about social justice.

In what has been termed “the paradox of tolerance,” Popper argued that a liberal society cannot be tolerant without limit for this would entail tolerating the intolerant, that is, those who don’t believe in liberal tolerance, which would threaten the existence of political pluralism.

The way I see it, however, is that Marcuse’s argument in favor of “intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left” is consistent with the progressive pluralistic logic of liberalism. From his young age, Marcuse had an ambivalent, if not a contentious relationship with Marxism, writing a very critical book on “Soviet Marxism,” while sharing “rationalism’s protest and critique” against the “unfreedom and inequalities” still prevailing in the “material conditions of existence” of bourgeois society beyond the German “idealistic” solution of making oneself free and rational only “in the realm of thought.” The withdrawal of tolerance he called for was aimed at ideas, groups, and movements that promoted militarism, corporate capitalist control of the media, chauvinism, and discrimination on the grounds of race and religion. He was for progressive politics aimed at expanding liberal rights through the removal of all structures in society that prevented blacks, women, and gays from exercising their free will, including the removal of sexually repressive norms in order to awaken the erotic drives of humans.

Secondly, in agreement with a rigorously argued paper by Sandra Dzenis and Filipe Nobre Faria, “Political Correctness: the Twofold Protection of Liberalism,” right-wing critics of “PC intolerance” defend open inquiry under the assumption that it is the best way to protect and validate liberal values, while ultimately agreeing with the Left that “illiberal” findings and conclusions that contradict or invalidate liberal values, even if scientifically based, should be kept outside the mainstream or relegated to the margins. This view is akin to Rawls’s exclusion from the pluralist sphere of views which seek to undermine the already “settled” principle of equal freedom for all humans. This explains the general consensus among liberals in favor of marginalizing or excluding from the mainstream studies showing average genetic differences between racial groups, including scientific studies demonstrating that in-group favouritism would be a good evolutionary strategy for Europeans. As Dzenis and Faria also observe, Enlightenment liberals, such as Steven Pinker and Daniel Dennett, don’t necessarily call for “legally forbidding” research that threatens the sacred cows of liberalism, but for what may be identified as “soft-censorship”: ignoring, caricaturing, or portraying “illiberal” claims as “the product of bad science,” creating thereby social pressures “towards conformity.” The very few academics who have published scientific papers on IQ differences between races, or the benefits of ingroup ethnocentrism for Europeans, have been either fired from their academic positions or heavily restricted from the public sphere.

Thirdly, the idea that liberals should not tolerate illiberal claims that threaten to undermine liberal values was articulated back in 1945 by the Enlightenment liberal Karl Popper in a widely known book, The Open Society and Its Enemies. In what has been termed “the paradox of tolerance,” Popper argued that a liberal society cannot be tolerant without limit for this would entail tolerating the intolerant, that is, those who don’t believe in liberal tolerance, which would threaten the existence of political pluralism. Rawls’s theory of political pluralism says as much. The essence of liberal tolerance is succinctly articulated by Andrew Kernohan in Liberalism, equality, and cultural oppression (1998): “Liberalism requires tolerance of all manner of views on how to lead a worthwhile life, but not of views that deny the fundamental assumption of moral equality. (…) Liberal tolerance comes to an end for views (that are) inconsistent with liberal principles, and [that] threaten significant harm to society as a whole. (…) Therefore, the liberal state must take an active role in reforming culture and combatting the cultural oppression of groups.”

It is quite revealing, moreover, that as much as Enlightenment liberals have objected to Marxists, including Popper who was a critic of the Frankfurt School, they have never called for them to be banned from liberal society. For Rawlsian liberalism, and for Popper, the ultimate enemy of the West is ethnic European nationalism, or any ideology which seeks to inculcate among European peoples a sense of peoplehood (Volk), by virtue of their belonging, through birth and historical experience, to a particular nation. Rawls identified ethnic nationalism, or any form of racial identity among whites as “odious.” Popper’s Open Society and Its Enemies is quite sympathetic towards Marx for his “burning desire to help the oppressed” and “his sincerity in his search for truth and his intellectual honesty,” whereas he despised German nationalism, the “windbaggery” of Fichte and Schelling, and the “charlatan Hegel.”

Conclusion: Liberalism Has Already Eaten Its Own Tail

The liberal West, the most accomplished civilization in history, the progenitor of all the disciplinary fields of knowledge, including the greatest musicianspaintersfurniture designers, writers of children’s booksmathematiciansphilosophers, is now decomposing before our eyes. It is not that societies in the past did not have huge problems of their own, starting with generalized poverty, endemic violence, mass illiteracy and few opportunities for individual expression. It is not that the modern liberalism has been a failure from its inception. To the contrary: it has been responsible for rule of law, freedom of the press, open scientific inquiry, equality of civic rights, relatively peaceful resolution of political conflict, and sustained capitalist growth characterized by the efficient allocation of scarce resources and satisfaction of consumer choice. What makes the internal decay of liberalism substantially different from prior civilizational declines is that it is a product of the progressive actualization of its moral ideals in recent decades, the removal of every obstacle or traditional norm standing in the way of the actualization of equal freedom, the promotion of cultural and racial pluralism via mass immigration, and the deconstruction of biological identities for the sake of unmitigated sexual and racial expressionism. The result has been the creation of a contemporary Western world characterized by: i) permanent racial discord coupled with relentless anti-white campaigns in schools and media; ii) collapse of the institution of marriage along with the demonization of maleness and the celebration of transsexualism and child-grooming; iii) high levels of inequality since the 1970s/80s despite massive growth in government spending; iv) decline of trust and community cohesion, isolation and anomie across society; v) erasure of the history of the liberal West itself, its heroes and its symbols; vi) a state of complete paralysis in the face of the arrival of millions of violent migrants enticed by the principles of equal rights; and vii) suppression of open “Enlightenment” discourse in our universities and media to hide the reality that liberalism has failed for these reasons, and that there is indeed ample scientific evidence refuting its fundamental premise that all human beings are born naturally equal and that diversity ensures civil peace.

I am not going to elaborate on these claims, which are well-known in dissident circles, except to point out that liberalism, with its ontological claim that the individual is the “measure of all things” with a natural right to demand “freedom from any collective identity whatsoever” – to use the words of Dugin – has deconstructed its very own civic communities, refuting its claim that individuals on their own can create a “shared sense of identity and purpose.” As noted in Robert Putnam’s book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (2000), the US saw a dramatic decline, from the mid-1960s onwards, in membership and number of volunteers across a wide spectrum of civic organizations, such as religious groups, labor unions, parent–teacher associations, military veterans’ organizations, volunteers with Boy Scouts and the Red Cross, and fraternal organizations, while becoming increasingly disconnected from family, friends, and neighbors. Despite widespread promises from liberal academics that with more grants and billions dedicated to “community development” they could reverse these trends, Putnam went on to recount twenty years later, in The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again (2021), a worsening state of affairs: “deep and accelerating inequality,” “unprecedented political polarization,” “vitriolic public discourse,” “a fraying social fabric,” “public and private narcissism.” Putnam left readers with the hope that a more communitarian “We” society could emerge if only American liberals learned to see what they had in common, by embracing their shared sense of liberal identity. He came to the same conclusion in an earlier study he conducted in 2006, showing that diversity had substantially reduced social trust and community cohesion in the United States.

You can’t create a community by government fiat at the same time that you are promoting the liberation of individuals from all traditional constraints, traditional family life, ethnic attachments, and demonizing their past history as “genocidal” and “systematically racist.”

Putnam is drawing from a very influential form of “liberal communitarianism” that originated in the 1980s and 1990s, which included such prominent academics as Michael Sandel, Michael Walzer, Will Kymlicka, Allen Buchanan, and Charles Taylor. These academics consciously set out to improve Rawlsian liberalism, or what they called the “abstract individualism” of classical liberalism, by arguing that individuals can never be seen as isolated decision makers since they are always “culturally embedded” and “socially engaged” in their societies. Drawing on civic republican motifs, they called upon Western governments to encourage the pursuit of “the good life” as a shared common goal by “crafting a balance between individual rights and social responsibilities.” They encouraged governments and other institutions to promote “communitarian values,” such as affection for the nation’s history, caring for one’s neighbourhoods and civic associations, in combination with individual flourishing. In the end, though, after endless conferences, articles, books and millions in government grants, this communitarian liberalism would amount to nothing more than a push for a shared celebration of liberal progressivism, a shared belief that “diversity enriches us all,” promotion of multicultural citizenship, celebration of gay parades, along with a shared commitment to the exclusion of “white racism” as an attitude that no “decent” individual should be allowed to hold in public.

You can’t create a community by government fiat at the same time that you are promoting the liberation of individuals from all traditional constraints, traditional family life, ethnic attachments, and demonizing their past history as “genocidal” and “systematically racist.” The liberalism of the 1940s through to the 1970s, roughly speaking, worked relatively well in the degree to which it continued to be sustained by healthy sentiments and instincts rooted in human nature, acceptance of male/female distinctions, collective norms of “motherhood,” countless small towns with rooted family businesses, high church attendance, customary regulation of sexual behavior, respect for ancestors, symbols and authoritative hierarchies. In other words, liberalism “worked” because it was still sustained by important non-liberal qualities. The 1960s, however, saw a final push by liberalism to discredit, mock, devalue, and identify as oppressive these remaining traditions, leading to the liberal world of today populated by purely abstract individuals with barely any community ties, in charge of “reimagining” themselves and their societies as their “free” creations.

The result has been that, for all the billions spent by governments on communitarian projects, a higher proportion of citizens across the West are experiencing higher rates of loneliness, stress, anxiety and depression. The birth of loneliness, Fay Bound Alberti tells us in his book A Biography of Loneliness (2019), is a unique product of the ideology of modern Western individualism. “Before 1800,” he observes, “the English word ‘loneliness’ did not exist. People lived in small communities, they tended to believe in God (which meant they were never really alone, even when they were physically isolated), and there was a philosophical concept of the community as a source of common good. There was no need for a language of loneliness.” Fast forward to today, a Surgeon General’s Advisory released on 2023 admitted that loneliness or social isolation is an urgent health issue. Americans are lacking “relationships and interactions with family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors.” A 2020 Harvard study on loneliness, reported that “36% of all American–including 61% of young adults and 51% of mothers with young children–feel ‘serious loneliness.’” Accompanying this social isolation are rising levels of depression and drug dependency. According to a 2019 Pew Research Center report, “the total number of [American] teenagers who recently experienced depression increased 59% between 2007 and 2017.” Prescription of antidepressants in children aged 5–12 years “increased by more than 40% between 2015 and 2021,” according to The Pharmaceutical Journal. Deaths from opioid use have skyrocketed. Similar trends in mental health issues and drug abuse have been observed across EU countries.

The only “progress” left for liberalism to accomplish is to continually “fix” the problems it continually creates.

And the isolation is going to get a lot worse: only 22% of 25-year-olds were married in 2021, compared with 63% in 1980. It was reported in 2017 that “40 percent of births in the United States occur outside of marriage, up from 28 percent in 1990.” The rate is almost double among blacks. The breakdown of the family, the primary institution of socialization, is being accompanied by the deterioration of the most important civic institution in the socialization of children: schools. “Crime and violence have become common in schools today” despite endless promotion of diversity and LGBT love, with students defecating on floors and rubbing feces on the walls, using “hateful speech targeting teachers’ ethnicities and uttering homophobic slurs.” School integration in the US has failed. The only solution liberals can come up with is blaming whites and lowering standards to keep white students at the same level as blacks.

We could go on with additional statistics showing a serious breakdown in social cohesion, riots, looting, and sexual assaults across many Western cities. The only “progress” left for liberalism to accomplish is to continually “fix” the problems it continually creates.

The West has no choice but to find an alternative ideology. I believe it has to be some form of traditionalism, as Dugin has been arguing, a “fourth theory” beyond fascism, communism, and liberalism. It is called a “fourth theory” for it does not advocate specific principles and policies for mankind as such, but calls upon different cultures/civilizations in the world to find within themselves their own alternative paths to modernity. In the case of the West, transcending liberalism will be an immensely difficult task, however; for this ideology is epigenetically rooted in the psychology of whites, currently ensconced in every institution, advocated by almost every intellectual, and supported by global liberal capitalism. But a solution must be found or Europeans will perish as a world-historical people.

The Arktos Restoration Initiative

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Your contribution aids the metapolitical battle, ensuring that vital ideas and concepts remain accessible to an ever-expanding audience.

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Dr. Ricardo Duchesne

Ricardo Duchesne is a professor at the University of New Brunswick. His landmark book from 2011, The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, was a critique of the ongoing devaluing of Western culture in the face of multiculturalism since the 1960s. He was also the founder and is one of the chief contributors to the Council of European Canadians Website (

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10 months ago

It is too long really, but I gave it a close read. It’s a clarifying piece. I find it convincing. I like the parsimony. I think it’s going to make a certain amount of what I listen to, centre-right certainly and some more edgy stuff, futile and unlistenable. I sort of knew it: the long open invitation into the institutions.

What to do, though..? Europeans need psychological borders in the shape of an old-testament covenant, for a start. Then they need to live within worship-orientated family communities with difficult or even grotesque cultural markers, ostracism and so on, and self-ostracism. And r-selection. The Amish seem to do it well, though time will tell. Wider society would be an association of such congregations.

I really don’t know anything about it, but aren’t all the Southern US congregations and denominations at bottom extended family structures, and not so interested in religious dogma? They split so much because there’s so little at stake, to paraphrase Sayre’s law. So then they’re weak because they’re not paying attention to what’s implicit in the dogma. The Amish, on the other hand, split over secular inventions, which seems much more rational. Getting on top of technology is absolutely essential.

The universal church is a bust, not only for not being able to say no to anyone. It’s the scale. Didn’t Catholic Integralism blow up (the Reformation) the moment it was tried (the Holy Roman Empire)? And wasn’t the medieval Papacy a kind of crypto-family, all Italian, very hard to crack into?

Is there raw material for a European covenant within our folklore? I’m sure many have tried to find it. God favours King Alfred in battle, but he never says the English will be his people, nor did Woden to the Danes.

Count Waiblingen
Count Waiblingen
10 months ago

<I posted this on UNZ, but I’ll repost here as well>

This article was too long for the Dr. Duchesne to make his point convincingly. In short, he’s trying to say that liberalism, and not the radical Left and their smelly, hairy, green-haired cadres of Marxists, feminists, anarchists etc., is the real ideology that is strangling the West, and that much of the dissident Right is unable to develop a worldview that has the sufficient “escape velocity” to overcome its gravitational pull. This is true to a degree.

What is liberalism? Liberalism is the doctrine of rights, or more specifically individual rights. This may seem a bit mundane and not too revolutionary, but it is actually a gigantic rupture in western history. Prior to liberalism man had a nature, a telos, the state had role to play in helping man realize his nature. “The state,” Aristotle said, “exists to make men good.” The Christian dispensation didn’t challenge this conception, but only added to it: man didn’t just have a natural end to participate in the state (or public life), but a supernatural end as well, Grace. Liberalism leaves man as an unknown quantity. The only thing we can say about Man is that he has rights and the state exists to protect these rights. You cannot answer the question: “What is man?” in a liberal order. Without a nature, there is only the techniques of “reason” and “science” to be applied to politics.

Liberalism dissects. It takes a civilization and chops off a part of it and calls it an “economy.” Then this part must follow strict laws of supply and demand, the profit motive, and its success or failure is measured in terms of growth. Then it chops off another part of civilization and calls it a “society.” Then members of this “society” must be given equal rights and be made indistinguishable from each other. All the “privilege” of land, titles, and aristocracy are abolished and there is only social atomism and the conflicting claims of “rights.” Then it chops off another part of civilization and calls it a “government” and its only legitimacy is the “consent of the governed,” or “one-man-one vote.” Thus a citizen whose ancestry goes back hundreds of years has no more value than a foreigner who cannot speak the language and has no affiliation with the nation.

Though more can be said about this, the point Dr. Duchesne is trying to make involves drawing a barrier between liberalism and the Left, but this is more conceptual than real. Liberalism has always been a means to facilitate Communism. The so-called “Berkley free speech movement.” was ostensibly liberal, but its real aim was to permit radical Communists to speak on campus. Once this was achieved, conservative speakers have been chased off campus. Let’s not forget that Western liberalism was the political ideology of the Cold War that made apologies for Soviet Communism. Liberals have never engaged in an ideological purge of Communists.

A purely liberal order would result in Jordan Peterson, Niall Ferguson politics in which race doesn’t matter and we can all happily race mix together and re-create the Brazilian Utopia across the West. Deplorable, yes, but it’s not anti-western or ideologically anti-White. So is liberals or communists? Well, what’s the difference?

Dr. Ricardo Duchesne
ricardo duchesne
10 months ago

Perhaps because it is too long you didn’t read it, and that may explain why your comment is confusing, does not grasp the meaning of liberal pluralism, and contradicts itself. You start by saying we should draw a clear contrast between liberalism and the left, but then say that “Liberalism has always been a means to facilitate Communism.The so-called ‘Berkley free speech movement’ was ostensibly liberal, but its real aim was to permit radical Communists to speak on campus.”

I guess you mean that liberalism led to communism and communism is not liberalism. I disagree; communism is about state ownership of the means of production, land, machinery, real estate, resources, without private enterprise; this communism has been defeated in most of the world.

Count Waiblingen
Count Waiblingen
10 months ago

I don’t see it as “either-or.” I do recognize the role liberalism has played in getting us to this point, but I think to say the problem is just “liberalism” and leave it at that is too blunt. As an analysis it lacks precision.

1) At the conceptual level it is possible to distinguish between liberalism and communism because liberalism is about individual rights, equality, etc. and communism is about the state ownership of the means of production. Though defining communism strictly in the sense in too narrow and anti-historical. We tend to think of communism as it was during the Soviet Union, but the Communist movements in Weimar Germany during the 1930’s were very different in many respects, and it would be more accurate to say what is now known as “woke” arose in Weimar, not Russia.

2) In practice, liberalism has been a means to facilitate Communism. I mentioned the Berkley “free speech” movement as an example, but many other examples are possible e.g. The Civil-Rights movement, the feminist movement, the ACLU (founded by a Communist), etc. We even saw in the recent 2020 riots an explosion of Communist symbolism with Antifa (also arising in Weimar), displaying the Communist fist, the graffiti ACAB (all cops are bastards formerly call capitalists are bastards), and BLM (founded by two trained Marxists.) Liberalism or Communism? Conceptually different, but in practice they work together.

10 months ago

By “some form of traditionalism” you mean what liberals would call “fascism”, “authoritarianism”? Is it not more reasonable to try to attract Europeans by appealing to the more moderate and healthy version of liberalism – what you call ethno-nationalist liberalism (Jared Taylor style). The left’s constant harping on the possible return of a Hitler can only be defused by reassuring the many that what is being advocated is something which is not “extreme” because it has already been practiced before. Your strategy seems to confirm and go along with the left’s critique that all racialist and ethno-nationalist political thought is tantamount to the fascist/authoritarian political regimes of the 1930’s (obviously not true because the US of WW2 was still a racialist liberal democracy). From a purely practical standpoint of political activism, it seems difficult to seek to achieve power with the total repudiation of liberalism.

Dr. Ricardo Duchesne
ricardo duchesne
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark

You can’t say that the West’s opposition to “all racialist and ethno-nationalist political thought” is a leftist critique when every single conservative party and intellectual in the West vehemently opposes “all racialist and ethno-nationalist thought”. And they oppose it using liberal principles. Calling for a nation that excludes certain races, religions, sexual orientations is inherently illiberal, based on collective conception of the good life. This does not mean that earlier aspects of “liberalism” cannot be reaffirmed, such as civic republicanism, but it has to be clear that the nation can no longer be grounded on the principle of individual rights and freedom of choice. Race realists want to retain a Lockean conception of liberalism, whereas I don’t think it is possible. As it is, any substantive effort to break away from mass immigration, multiculturalism, and racial equality is inherently authoritarian.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x