National Affairs: Liberal Practice vs. Liberal Theory

Daniel E. Burns has penned a very long article over at National Affairs in response to the growing chorus of critics of liberalism like Patrick Deneen and Sohrab Ahmari.

National Affairs:

“To a disinterested observer, the major events of 2016 might appear neither all that shocking nor all that related to one another. The American primary and Electoral College systems displayed their quirkiness. Global internet platforms designed to share user-generated misinformation did just that. The aftershocks of the Eurozone crisis reverberated. Five-year-old civil wars provoked by the brutality of two Arab dictators continued to feed the largest human migration since World War II. Europeans began to resist that migration, and a Turkish autocrat was paid well to help them do so. China grew.

But as Tocqueville warned us, Americans have a special penchant for fitting complicated data into a single time-saving theory, especially when it is a theory about the irresistible direction of history. So among the American commentariat, the year 2016 has become associated with the question of whether the World Spirit might now be spurning the charms of his longtime paramour Liberalism. A few hope it may be so. Many more fear it could be so. Others have jumped up to insist that, at all events, it need not be so. Every one of these reactions has amply vindicated Tocqueville’s observation. Liberalism’s critics, both at home and abroad, have touched an American nerve.

They have touched a nerve, in part, because everyone can see they are onto something. We need no grandiose narrative in order to acknowledge that 2019 does not quite match the expectations of 1989, 1999, or even 2009. Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man and Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed are both worth a close read, and both are subtler than the arguments often attributed to them. But one does not have to know much beyond their titles to see that each book tapped into an important element of the national mood when it was written. …”

I’ve always looked at liberalism from the perspective of a historian.

Over the course of 250 years, I see liberalism as an intellectual disease that has steadily gnawed away at the foundations of the social order and unraveled Western culture, which has been broken down and dissolved piece by piece in one social revolution after another. It destroys the attachments that makes life rich and meaningful in order to “liberate” its subject which is the autonomous individual. Having been made alienated and miserable by liberalism, the autonomous individual then joins radical leftwing social movements in search of identity and community, which further weakens the social order.

It was George Fitzhugh and Thomas Carlyle writing about the nature of liberalism and free-market capitalism in the 1850s who first turned me on to this. Fitzhugh saw abolitionism as a logical deduction from the axioms of liberal theory and linked it to the other “-isms” of his day which he saw as the first splattering drops of a perpetual state of social revolution.

The experiment which they will make, we fear, is absurd in theory, and the symptoms of approaching anarchy and agrarianism among them, leave no doubt that its practical operation will be no better than its theory. Anti-rentism, “vote-myself-a-farm” ism, and all the other isms, are but the spattering drops that precede a social deluge.”

The slippery slope began with monarchy, aristocracy and mercantilism in the 18th century. The next target was chattel slavery. The demise of slavery produced civil rights. The triumph of civil rights made women’s suffrage inevitable. The triumph of women’s suffrage and civil rights brought on feminism and gay rights. The triumph of gay rights led to gay marriage and transgenderism. The progress of liberalism invaded the family and called marriage into question in the mid-20th century. The result was no fault divorce, birth control and abortion. The anonymous exchanges of the marketplace began to put down deeper and deeper roots and became dominant in the age of consumer capitalism. Christianity was poisoned by liberalism and has been steadily dying for over a century now. The deracination and replacement of Europeans which began after the Second World War was similarly a byproduct of the triumph of liberalism. These things are unimaginable in the absence of the ascendance of liberal theory.

If this has been the history of liberalism for two centuries, then what does the future of liberalism hold? Undoubtedly, the future of liberalism is that the disease will progress even further and will unravel and destroy even more of our traditional culture, and the response of “conservatism” will be to assimilate each successive liberal social revolution into conservatism as it is already doing with transgenderism. As liberalism advances, America will become more and more polarized and ungovernable as it descends into a pit of nihilism, anarchy, resentment and degeneracy. Eventually, we will end up with a tyrant who will promise to restore order and that will be the end of liberalism.

While it is true that liberal practice has never fully conformed to liberal theory, it is also true that liberalism has “progressed” across the course of history by steadily eliminating inconsistencies with its vision of the fully liberated autonomous individual. These things have traditionally taken the raw edge off of liberalism and stabilized it, but increasingly they are held in disrepute.

About Hunter Wallace 12380 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. I concur but would like to add that ‘the deracination and replacement of Europeans’ after WW II was helped along immensely by the Holocaust industry. It caused any resistance against the steady march of liberalism to be nipped in the bud.

    • Holocaust industry was possible only because zero resistance. Holocaust was pushed by aggressive methods and confronted only by intellectual BS what nobody reads like this National Affairs with all BS talkers Nietzsche and Cicero and so on.

      You know, bike lock is much better instrument to force sheeple into submission than 50 years of quoting celebrities who died more than 50 years ago without any result whatsoever.

      This a war and in the war, only winning counts. Not optics and not arguments and not education. Zhukov was really rapist and murderer and who cares? He wiped off entire “intellectual” German generals and their army.

      Knowledge is important but the force and courage too. There are many people in the West who know about the climate but the Swedish 16 old defect forced them all into submission.

  2. Hunter – if you really want to do a serious historical expose (and you’re good at it) – you should delve into and write about the Luciferian origins of the New World Order, and where it’s all headed. Because if you really want to understand what’s happening today and where it’s going – this is it.

    White Nationalists are a threat to the New World Order – thus any serious pursuit of White homelands / countries will not be allowed. They plan to wipe out Christianity – it will be stamped out in the process of creating a One World Religion. Pope “Anti-Christ” Francis is working hard on the latter to eventually bring about the former.

    Chronological paths and connections to look at include:

    – Helena Blavatsky (Theosophy / New Age) => Alice Bailey (“Externalization of the Hierarchy”) => Lucifer Trust => Lucis Trust – – (under the auspices of the United Nations)

    – Aleister Crowley (buds with JPL’s Jack Parsons and Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard) => 50s / 60s / 70s Rock (Beatles, Led Zepplin, Henry Anger, etc.) => Today

    – Adam Weishaupt (Illuminati) => penetration of the Freemasonry => Jacobins and the French Revolution => design of Washington, D.C. (designed by a Freemason – Pentagram, the “Owl” Capitol –, etc.) => Confederate General and Supreme Freemason Albert Pike (“Morals and Dogma” – Lucifer is the true god) => Manly P. Hall (“harness the seething energies of Lucifer”) => Today

    – The history and gods of ancient Babylon and its ties to the European Union (compare painting of Babylon with EU parliament –, European Union poster –, Freemasonry, etc.

    – The Luciferian symbols put out by Hollywood, the music industry, the ad industry (repetition is how people are brainwashed) – This guy has been analyzing and writing articles for about 10 years.

    People who have helped expose it many years ago include:

    – William Guy Carr (Canadian Naval Officer) – “Pawns in the Game” and “Red Fog Over America”

    – G. Edward Griffin – “Creature from Jekyll Island” (about the Federal Reserve), and there are many videos of him speaking since the 1960s.

    I could go on and on but this is really what we’re facing. Yes the Jews are part of it (their god is Lucifer) but it’s far bigger and deeper than most people realize.

    You could write several articles on Alice Bailey alone (her husband was a 32nd or 33rd degree Freemason) – especially what she discusses in “Externalization of the Hierarchy” regarding the future New World Order and what must happen.

    Problem is – you’ll become a real target if you get too far into this topic (I’m sure you have several friends / family members that are Freemasons – most of us do). So maybe you shouldn’t write about this issue – but others can explore quietly on their own.

    • I think you were referring to Kenneth Anger, producer and director of Lucifer Rising and other uplifting films as well as former best friend of Jimmy Page

      • Alex said: “I think you were referring to Kenneth Anger, producer and director of Lucifer Rising and other uplifting films as well as former best friend of Jimmy Page”

        Good catch – yes, Kenneth, not Henry. I wrote this off the top of my head and quickly – except for the image links. Anger was not a major player like Crowley, but he was very involved with many Hollywood and music industry celebrities so he made his mark.

        Point is that the United States, as we knew it in the past (as least the appearance), is gone – and will never return. I’ve lived in and traveled through Europe – the Europe that I knew, is also long gone, never to return.

        The changes that we are seeing today have been in the planning stages for decades and centuries. But it’s all accelerating now so we are going to see more in our lifetimes than anybody in the past.

        The Climate Change hysteria is the same type of Hegelian Dialectic that was used with 9/11 to get us to accept the loss of our liberties. The purpose of the Climate Change agenda is to get us to give up even more liberty and accept living in densely populated cities, in small apartments, with no private transportation, and no access to rural areas. Agenda 21, which became Agenda 2030, lays the plan out down to the last detail.

        Feminism, the de-industrialization of America, sexualization of our children, the social credit system, etc. are merely weapons / tools that they are using to achieve the interim and final objectives.

        The Luciferians’ intent is to destroy Christianity (and create a One World Religion that worships Lucifer – Pope “Anti-Christ” Francis is working hard on this objective), destroy what we know as the family, brainwash the youth, and take control of humanity as slaves. Those that won’t go along with the program will simply be put down (i.e. those that are not willing to take the Mark of the Beast).

        • Good to see comments from others about the Luciferian/Satanic forces. They are so few and far between. Just so you know, many on this site suffer from intense cognitive dissonance. Hopefully, we can slowly chip away at those faulty defense mechanisms.

          • Well I had no clue until this past year. I thought I’d figured it out all out (or understood it – others have figured it out) with the JQ – but that was just the beginning.

            The problem with the “Luciferian Question” or LQ, is that it makes accepting the realities of the JQ seem like a walk in the park.

            I tell those that are Atheist that it doesn’t matter if they don’t believe in God and Lucifer – what matters is that our adversaries believe in them (but they’ve chosen to serve Lucifer) and thus their actions are a result of these beliefs.

      • Well keep saying it. People need to understand that our problems go way beyond the fight between Liberals and Conservatives. I never believed in a real Satan / Lucifer until about a year ago.

        I asked God for a sign of some type that this was not bullsh__ (the Luciferian signs and symbols I’d been reading about) and 30 minutes later (after my private prayer) I saw this ad on a gas station wall near my home – Can you see the 666? I wasn’t even thinking about it – but when I got out of my car and saw the ad, the 666 hit me like a ton of bricks.

    • No it shouldn’t be kept quiet, these people are the enemy within! These are the people making our laws, these are the people propping up and putting liberalism on a pedestal, these are the people making division amongst our ranks for centuries.

      It boggles my mind why so many nationalist YT channels and websites like this one ignores these facts about the enemy within. Several might come to conclusions that these so called nationalist YT channels and websites are the enemy within, freemasonry and other 322 death cult Babylonian secret societies producing propaganda content and never mentioning the enemy within and always crying it’s the jews. Freemasonry and the like are humanities #1 enemy who’s planning for centuries is the reason we have this division today. They are the fasces as we common men are not. Being the fasces you can’t be broken as with us being individualists can be broken very easily. They are the true enemy within who puts our enemies and their liberalism on pedestals and make you believe they’re on your side of righteousness.

      We have this discussion often between myself and my friends who know of this menace online and in private, can they be broken? Yes, if blogs like this and others point out these facts about the enemy within, the pen is mightier than the sword. These swine smile through their teeth as to pretend to be your friend whilst thinking of ways to stick a knife in your back for knowing, they are the true enemy within. I have a freemason lodge up the street from where I live, most of my neighbors are freemasons, I know how they are from just talking with them smiling through their teeth promoting their liberal idealism, they all voted for Hillary. It might not be the lower ranks of freemasonry today but tomorrow these lower ranks become the higher ranks and they must be found out.

      • General Butt Naked –

        If any of your lower-level Freemason friends say that Lucifer is not their god – then get them to open up Albert Pike’s “Morals and Dogma” – have them read out loud to you the bottom of page 566 through the top of page 567. Note the following:

        – the “Prince of Darkness” is our Christian God
        – the “Empire of Light” is Lucifer
        – the “Demons” are our Christian God’s angels
        – an “Angel of Light” is one of Lucifer’s demons

        It reads:

        “To retain the rays of Light still remaining among his Eons, and ever tending to escape and return, by concentrating on them, the Prince of Darkness, with their consent, made Adam, whose soul was of the Divine Light, contributed by the Eons, and his body of matter, so that he belonged to both Empires, that of Light and that of Darkness”.

        “To prevent the light from escaping at once, the Demons forbade Adam to eat the fruit of “knowledge of good and evil”, by which he would have known the Empire of Light and that of the Darkness. He obeyed; an Angel of Light induced him to transgress, and gave him the means of victory;”

        Obviously, according to this passage – our God, the Father of Jesus, is the one who runs the “Empire of Darkness”. Albert Pike revered and worshiped Lucifer, the Bearer of Light (one of his “Angels of Light” induced Adam to “transgress”). The Freemasons revere Albert Pike and hold him in the highest regard. They give copies of his book, “Morals and Dogma” to new Freemason initiates. Thus … who do you think Freemasons worship – Lucifer or God?

        And this is only scratching the surface of the top of the “Masonic Iceberg” that is above water.

  3. “Eventually, we will end up with a tyrant who will promise to restore order and that will be the end of liberalism.”

    Napoleon had to rescue the French from the tyranny of the revolution. Which is why “Vive L’Empereur” was ever on their lips, and why they never stopped praising him, even until today.

    Hitler did the same for Germany, and as did the dictatorships in Poland and Hungary in the wake of the Russo-Polish War of 1920, and the brief triumph of Judeo-Communism in the later State.

      • It’s way too late for democratic solutions to our racial and social decline..
        You are correct!
        Our ways of governing no longer matter and are no longer enforced because “our people” are not in charge.
        Clearly , a racial enemy of the European peoples are ruling every one of our nations.
        Just the word “nation” itself is not anywhere close to what america has become in the last 50 yrs.
        There is no peaceful way out of this…and all these comments about satanism and these evil jews is 100% truth and we better really start to grasp the hellish reality that is coming for us at full speed.
        Nobody with absolute power who is as evil as these kikes openly are would ever just hand their power over in some democratic election or whatever..
        Notice the data that speaks of the jews being removed from 109 nations says “removed” , not asked nicely.

    • “[T]he herd man in Europe today gives himself the appearance of being the only permissible kind of man, and glorifies his attributes, which make him tame, easy to get along with, and useful to the herd, as if they were the truly human virtues: namely, public spirit, benevolence, consideration, industriousness, moderation, modesty, indulgence, and pity. In those cases, however, where one considers leaders and bellwethers indispensable, people today make one attempt after another to add together clever herd men by way of replacing commanders: all parliamentary constitutions, for example, have this origin. Nevertheless, the appearance of one who commands unconditionally strikes these herd-animal Europeans as an immense comfort and salvation from a gradually intolerable pressure, as was last attested in a major way by the effect of Napoleon’s appearance. The history of Napoleon’s reception is almost the history of the higher happiness attained by this whole century in its most valuable human beings and moments.”

      —Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, section 199, 1886's+appearance%22&source=bl&ots=GjxjNtW3L7&sig=ACfU3U0hGsDkdSrlLUIs68LTPc64OOehSQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj54fTNxuTkAhXCmOAKHfG2AuMQ6AEwA3oECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22effect%20of%20napoleon's%20appearance%22&f=false

  4. [quote]”Christianity was poisoned by liberalism and has been steadily dying for over a century now.”[unquote]

    Or, Christianity was a progenitor of liberalism, as it was of socialism and Marxism.

    Christianity is the poison, liberalism is a toxin.

  5. I’ve always looked at liberalism from the perspective of a historian.

    Bullshit. You view it, above all, from the perspective of an ideologue.

    It destroys the attachments that makes life rich and meaningful in order to “liberate” its subject which is the autonomous individual.

    Rich and meaningful attachments to some people are irrational and oppressive encumbrances to others. Given your past atheistic utterances, for all the richness and meaning it was doubtless invested with, I have to believe some part of you is glad you weren’t living in Calvin’s Geneva.

    While it is true that liberal practice has never fully conformed to liberal theory, it is also true that liberalism has “progressed” across the course of history by steadily eliminating inconsistencies with its vision of the fully liberated autonomous individual.

    Even if that vision was, in the final analysis, a terrible mistake, it’s hard to argue that it was not an improvement on the wretchedness of the vast mass of humankind’s existence prior to its establishment. Whatever might replace this vision in the future, your slaver ancestors are still going to look like heartless assholes.

  6. “As (liberal) democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last , and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.”

    – H.L. Mencken

  7. All liberals are dangerous. We can thank jew created, jew driven progressive liberalism for this upside down, dangerous, perverted world we live in. Liberalism is so contradictory and unnatural it would never have become popular much less dominant if it hadn’t been for immense jew financing and their considerable talent for deceit, lies, and propaganda. Jews are the vanguard of the liberal movement and are responsible for the extremely serious racial and social problems in this country which they perpetrate intentionally by agitating blacks for the ultimate purpose of destroying America. Liberalism requires an ever-renewed population of non-assimilated and unassimilable people jews sic on our polite society so they can practice their liberal virtue of non-discrimination. Without these new subcultures, liberalism would die. Liberalism is anti-White and pro-jew. That’s why the West has laws promoting “diversity” and punishing “hate”. Without these new subcultures, liberalism would die. All throughout history men have learned and kept fundamental truths in order to maintain a successful society. Modern liberalism is the willful renunciation of these learned truths.

  8. “Eventually, we will end up with a tyrant who will promise to restore order and that will be the end of liberalism.”

    Order out of Chaos. The “tyrant” will be the Anti-Christ – he will promise to make things right. And not only will it be the end of Liberalism – but it will be the end of everything as we know it today.

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