Damon Linker thinks conservatives are drifting toward authoritarianism.
“The conservative intelligentsia keeps returning to authoritarianism.
Back in June of last year, I wrote a column about how the intellectual right was talking itself into tearing down American democracy. The occasion was a debate between David French, a social-conservative defender of the right to religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment, and Sohrab Ahmari, a more stridently right-wing opinion journalist and editor who favors a politics actively devoted to re-ordering American life “to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good,” even in the absence of popular support for such a religiously informed project. …
It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the right in our time is evolving in the direction of rejecting the regular transfer of power between two legitimate political parties within a liberal frame. In its place, the reactionary conservatives oscillate wildly between support for revolution when its opponents win elections and endorsement of authoritarianism when it manages to gain power.
Both extremes follow from the conviction that only one side in our political disputes possesses legitimacy. You can see where this type of thinking ends.”
I’ve struggled with the issue.
1.) Intellectually, I obviously do not believe in the premises of liberalism, but I would like to salvage some aspects of it. I don’t believe in the existence of universal natural rights, but I see our tradition of constitutional liberty and rights as part of our peculiar English cultural inheritance. Basically, I think of Anglos as a people who are free by their own unique legal tradition which couldn’t and didn’t arise anywhere else in the world precisely because it is not universal.
2.) As for the American Founding, I see it as a natural and ultimately necessary development. It was inevitable that the American colonies would grow too large and powerful to be ruled indefinitely from Britain. Even if independence had not been declared in 1776, it would have come eventually. It is tragic that the American Founding later became identified with liberalism.
3.) Finally, liberalism has abolished itself without any assistance from the Right. It no longer respects my rights. It doesn’t tolerate people like me. It is fine with violent mobs toppling statues. It is fine with overturning the democratic process by impeaching the president. It has given up on protecting property rights. It now rules through censorship and intimidation to chill debate. It now chooses which laws to enforce and whose rights are protected from the mob. It has sanctioned everything up to and including mob violence against the federal government. The sole standard that matters now and which determines everything is race and political alignment. Why should anyone in my position believe in it?
Liberalism has collapsed into anarcho-tyranny.
These are brutal facts. The democratic process is now summoning lynch mobs to destroy people. No one bothers with reason, civility or persuasion. There is no longer any space for principled disagreement. There is now moral clarity about who are the good guys and who are the evil doers. Tempermentally, liberalism is supposed to be against fanaticism, but liberals are now all a bunch of possessed fanatics. Social Justice requires the extirpation of White people in order to dismantle white supremacy and establish equity. That’s just the way it is now and it is not because people like me are in charge.