David French: A Christian Defense of American Classical Liberalism

I sent an email about this article to Brion McClanahan.

We will see if he responds to it with his own take. I’ve been criticizing David French for years. I was doing it long before it became popular. When French whines about how the Alt-Right came after him in 2015, I was one the first people to make David French a symbol of mainstream conservatism.

David French:

“I’d like to introduce you to a term you need to know (indeed, many of you no doubt know it already). It’s “horseshoe theory,” and its short definition is relatively simple. As political movements grow more extreme, they grow more alike. Like a horseshoe, they bend closer together. …”

I agree that there is some merit to “horseshoe theory.”

In my view, David French is a museum quality specimen of what I think of as a True Con or a Right PMC. It is a class of people who live in the suburbs who are demographic base of the political establishment and who have been accustomed to controlling both parties for the last several decades. They are the “moderates” in the Republican Party: college-educated, professional class suburbanites with above average incomes who are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. French is an example of “horseshoe theory” in the sense that class, not ideology, is what drove him to becoming one of the most prominent Never Trumpers. Virtually everything about David French, especially his sanctimonious religion, is a reflection of this.

“By “American classical liberalism,” I mean the specific structure of government created by the founding generation, modified and expanded through the Civil War Amendments, affirmed and extended through judicial precedent. While this constitutional structure is malleable enough to accommodate a wide variety of social, economic, and foreign policy choices, at its heart it is defined by a commitment to individual liberty, equality under law, and democratic government. …”

The founding generation were republicans.

They wrote extensively about republicanism and the Republic. “Classical liberalism” is a term that was coined in the 20th century to refer to 19th century liberalism which the Progressives were moving away from. The Reconstruction amendments demolished the American Founding and created a new centralized and unitary state with national birthright citizenship for the first time in American history. “Equal protection under the law” is an idea that originated in the abolitionist movement.

By “American classical liberalism,” David French is referring to the tradition of 19th century reformers and discontented groups in the North that largely emerged in the wake of the Second Great Awakening. It refers to Yankees who wanted to emulate the British Empire. American classical liberalism came to power with Abraham Lincoln and the Radical Republicans who completely altered our “specific structure of government.” Eric Foner explained all of this in his book The Second Founding. The Bill of Rights restricted the power of the federal government and reserved vast powers to the states.

We’ve already covered George Bancroft who was becoming enthralled with Hegel around the time that the Founders were dying off in the 1820s. Originally, equality only existed between the states in the Senate, not within the states. The federal government had no power to force “equality” on the states. It was up to the states themselves to define who was a citizen and who was not and who had rights and who did not. As a result of this, blacks were only citizens in New England minus Connecticut. Women did not have voting rights. American Indians didn’t become citizens until the 20th century.

“On the right, the challenge comes most prominently from a cohort of mainly Christian intellectuals, many of whom were featured in an extended New York Times piece about the new right and some of whom are in a marriage of convenience with Trumpist populism. They perceive liberalism as both problematic on its own terms and inadequate to the task of resisting “woke” post-liberals on the left. …”

As George Fitzhugh and many others pointed out in the 1850s, “classical liberalism” is a slippery slope that demolishes authority and inexorably rips apart the social fabric. Just as he predicted, abolitionism actually did lead to feminism and atheism and has led to many other things that even Fitzhugh couldn’t imagine in his day like Wokeism and transgenderism. While both republicanism and classical liberalism prize individual freedom, the former sees the community as sovereign.

“Whereas critical race theorists root their objections to liberalism in its coexistence with American oppression, many Christian post-liberals (perhaps we can call them “critical religion theorists”) root their objections in liberalism’s alleged contributions to American immorality and godlessness, with a particular emphasis on abortion and the sexual revolution. …”

As the historical record shows, progressive liberalism demolishes all restraints and limits on individual freedom up to and including abolishing marriage and denying the biological reality of race and sex. The role of conservative liberalism is to incorporate each new social revolution into conservatism.

“According to this critique, the individualism that liberalism protects (and fosters) eats away at the integrity of the church, the community, and the family, creating a nation of atomized individuals who seek mainly their own pleasure. …”

Are there any examples of countries where liberalism has become the dominant ideology where this has not proven to be the case? If it always ends up this way, what does that say about the system?

“Post-liberal right and post-liberal left fundamentally prioritize the power of the state over the liberty of the individual. Under their preferred forms of government free speech, economic freedom, private property, and religious liberty would all be fundamentally transformed and dramatically diminished.

Like I said, horseshoe theory. …”

Unlike classical liberalism, republicanism does prioritize the community and the state over the individual. The community is sovereign, not the individual. This was the American Founding before Lincoln and the Radical Republicans destroyed it.

“Classical liberalism isn’t utopian and doesn’t create utopia, but one of its great virtues is that it creates profound tensions with our inherent temptations to authoritarianism and oppression. As I’ve written before, the spirit of 1776 was in conflict with and inherently opposed to the spirit of 1619. The resulting history of the United States is in many ways the story of that conflict, with the spirit of 1776 slowly (too slowly!) and often unsteadily triumphing over the spirit of 1619. …”

The spirit of 1776 was colonies declaring their independence from the British Empire and asserting their existence as sovereign states. In every case, it was their legislatures that did so because sovereignty was invested in the collective, not in the individual. Also, the same states fought a frontier war against the Indians and put down a slave rebellion in the South, not to mention the Tory resistance.

“And how should a nation protect that God-given dignity? It is hard to find a better aspirational and legal declaration of human worth than the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Civil War amendments. These documents do not merely protect “procedural liberalism.” They protect liberty as a positive Good. …”

The Declaration of Independence condemns King George III for inciting a frontier war with Indians and for inciting a slave rebellion. The Bill of Rights radically restricts the power of the federal government and reserves vast powers to the states. The Reconstruction amendments reverses that relationship by empowering the federal government to enforce “equal protection under the law” within the states.

“As such,” we wrote, “they are especially prone to violating the image of God in each other with brutalization, conquest, and exploitation.” In fact, the Founders themselves “embodied this troubling duality.” Even as key members of the founding generation drafted the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, their deeds often conflicted with their words. The practice of slavery made a mockery of their ideals. …”

Yes, if the American Founding was synonymous with classical liberalism, how could something as illiberal as slavery exist? The Declaration of Independence condemned King George III for inciting a slave rebellion. The Constitution includes the 3/5th clause and the Fugitive Slave Clause. The Bill of Rights restricts the power of the federal government to interfere with the internal affairs of the states where slavery, white supremacy and patriarchy were practiced.

“Yet the ideals remained, and the tension between those ideals and those sins was and is so strong that one or the other has to yield. America is a far more just place now than it was in 1776 in large part because of those ideals. The cry of the oppressed across the American centuries hasn’t been to overturn the classical liberal ideals of the founding, but to uphold them, to extend them and to keep the promises so clearly made in America’s founding documents. …”

No, it isn’t.

Until well into the 19th century, republicanism was the ideal, not “classical liberalism.” The Founders DID NOT create a unitary state. They created a republic of republics each of which defined who was a citizen and who was not and who had rights and who did not and which did all sorts of things which the federal government was incapable of doing because of the Bill of Rights. This is why Massachusetts had black citizens and abolished slavery while Mississippi was able to go in the opposite direction.

Until well into the 20th century, American identity was also limited by race, culture, religion and republican ideology. It wasn’t until the post-World War II era that these boundaries were dismantled and liberalism was finally taken to its logical conclusion.

“Classical liberalism isn’t just a mechanism for recognizing man’s inherent worth, it’s also a means of managing inevitable conflict. …”

By demolishing all sources of solidarity, the inevitable result of classical liberalism is social disintegration and conflict, as citizens have less and less in common.

“As America grows more diverse, the necessity of managing conflict grows more urgent. Post-liberals possess dreams of seizing and retaining power, and then imposing a very particular ideological or even theological vision on a fractured population.

This is most certainly a fantasy, but as the culture war grows in intensity, it’s a fantasy with increasing appeal to partisans who seek not just the positive utopianism of their own vision of the common good but also the negative utopianism of the final destruction of the hated foe. …”

As America becomes more diverse because of “classical liberalism,” why wouldn’t the culture war become more bitter and intense? Why wouldn’t conflict increase as social disintegration increases?

“There is no perfect form of government on this side of the new heavens and the new earth. But the alternatives to classical liberalism suffer by comparison to the imperfect system we possess. …”

The end of the “imperfect system we possess” is already in sight as the country inexorably disintegrates into an ungovernable mess which can only be ruled by brute force.

About Hunter Wallace 12382 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

34 Comments

  1. “The founding generation were republicans. They wrote extensively about republicanism and the Republic”:

    The English “revolution” and the French “revolution,” and French republicanism, were also thoroughly bourgeois and elitist although the peasants and other poor fought and died. The words about equality and liberty were not matched by their actions. The American republic, like the French republic, was designed to support the system of private profit and private property. Since then nothing has changed, only followed its logical course.

    Here is a different “horseshoe theory”: As someone learns accurate history and inevitably moves left, and continues learning and eventually moves far enough left, they finally become right.

    • Leftists teach that revolutions of the past “weren’t real revolutions” because they weren’t or didn’t lead to whatever Utopian system that these Leftists envisage when they talk about their fanciful schemes. The American Revolution spoke of Equality and Liberty, but it wasn’t going towards REAL COMMUNISM. REAL COMMUNISM HAS NEVER BEEN TRIED. Or has it never been the real goal of revolutionaries?

      So when these leftists start to recognize that these revolutions and revolutionaries, even if motivated by “high ideals” or “romantic conceptions” are not really what they’re cracked up to be, are really something else, it doesn’t mean they stop thinking there is some metaphysical “scientific” process going that will lead “inevitably” to the exaltation of Man as the Lord of the Universe! Yeah, RIGHT. COMMUNISM HAS NEVER BEEN TRIED. That is an indictment of the Left and what the Left really is, more than it is the unveiling of some sort of truth.

      Now leftists and rightists move towards each other in perception when they are not bound by civic myths, stock ideas and stereotypical views of history that the wider society shares. Not very close though.

  2. I think it’s significant to note that David French, along many other “TrueCons” like Larry Arnn at Hillsdale College are scalawags who at some point in their lives chose Lincolnian “Classical LIberalism” and ultimately meaningless “citzenship” in the proposition nation over their kith and kin. Growth of this ideology amongst the Southern Bourgeoisie in the Late 20th Century is one of the reasons why and how we find ourselves in our present predicament. Some of my contemporaries spoke of Classical Liberalism or more specifically Reagan Republicanism (I am a Boomer) as an escape from what they viewed as the prison of Southern “backwardness, religious fanaticism, bigotry, and poverty” and an entry into a world with broader horizons. This is what was sold to us in high school and college. All of us bought into it to some extent. Some of us just saw it as a shame to sell our birthright like Esau for a bowl of beans and were more aware of the yankee colonialism that was responsible for the parts of the South we didn’t care for. Because in the end, it was OUR heritage for good or ill, keeping the faith with our ancient kin who were always still amongst us in ways a yankee could never understand.

  3. Whatever David French is or isn’t from a political standpoint is irrelevant, as is he himself and all like him.
    White people, Nations, and cultures are being destroyed. The primary pathogen is Christian Universalism and associated egalitarian ethics along with all the elite jewish “isms” that feed off it parasitically.
    We need to specifically identify the specific question at hand, the people responsible, and then execute a hard solution.
    Anything else is seating options on the racial, cultural Titanic.

    • Interesting.

      It looks to me like Christianity is strongly correlated with White identity, not the other way around. It is atheism that is strongly associated with antiracism. I don’t see deeply religious Christians being the primary cultural force driving our decline.

      • I agree. Unfeigned, unsanctimonious genuinely lived-out Christianity is correlated with ethnic or ethno-national identity, cohesion, growth and prosperity.

      • Christians are giving money to “help” the “migrants” and “refugees” flooding white nations.
        They advocate more coming here, as they don’t care about the here and now.
        They’re just chalking up their rewards in heaven for helping God’s brown people.
        You should look at how many millions go to “helping” them.
        Then you’ll get it how it’s not pro-white.

      • I guess you haven’t noticed all the virtue signaling Christians who bring various shades of brown adoptees into our midst? Or all the idiot Christians who are so happy and blessed when their children marry brown people and contribute to our ethnic cleansing. I have both types of fools in my family.

        • Alleged conservatives SCOTUS Coney Barrett and Kavanaugh both voted against religious exemptions for the Covid vax for us.
          BUT, they, as SCOTUS are EXEMPT from having to get it.
          They’re not even trying to hide things anymore.
          Trump appointed these “conservatives”, and it seems conservatives screw us just as much as the Democrats. There is no right or left in politics anymore…

          I am sure there are well-meaning Christians out there, who don’t participate in the whole “immigration” thing.
          They shouldn’t put any money in the collection plate, if there is fund to send money to the border or to nonwhites.

        • You’re not the only one that has those race-mixing shitheads in the family. After all: “Gawd is no respecter of persons!”

          They are cancer eating at the very heart of our continued existence on this planet.

          The problem is kikes & the influence their jewshit ideas have on the minds of naive, ignorant Whites. Christianity, Cultural Marxism, CRT, classical liberalism, whatever: it all boils down to deadly race & reality-denying poison – but only for Whites because they’re the only ones gullible enough to fanatically believe whichever (((variety))) they gulp (unlike kikes & the other races who rightly see all of it as just ways to disarm & destroy hated Whitey). Christian niggers for example may believe in it – but never to the point that they allow it to interfere with their racial solidarity against Mr. Charlie.

  4. “Horseshoe” Theory.
    Sounds more like “horse shit theory.

    too much thinking. The Jews run everything important and until that’s dealt with we’re just biding time.

    • As I read his definition of horseshoe theory:

      “As political movements grow more extreme, they grow more alike. Like a horseshoe, they bend closer together. …”

      I was reminded of Convergence Theory, which could be stated as:

      “As political systems grow more industrialized, they grow more alike.”

      This was the actual philosophy which governed the US-NATO block from the foot of the 20th century. The Cold War was an existential conflict from only one side’s perspective. From this shore, the view was that the East would liberalize a little, the West would communize a little, and there’d be a convergence point there where one system failed and the other prevailed. We’re amid the perfecting of the covergence of liberalism and marxism-leninism.

  5. French is just another bald dick head like the Holy Roman Catholic Smerconish on CNN.

    I don’t know if you noticed, but, Biden canceled the tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the EU, Mexico and Canada that Trump had put in place. This will hurt the steel and aluminium industries that are just getting by as it is.

    I hope the Irish Roman Catholic O’Assholes, and other Catholic Assholes in labor union leadership are happy they supported Biden!!! What a bunch of dumb fuckers, just downright stupid assholes.

  6. Re: “Catholic labor union leadership”:

    Union leaders are middlemen (and middlewomen) who collect dues from the workers and use the money to support the employers and the system against the interest of the workers. They prevent the workers from organisng or striking freely. It is absurd.

    News from Hunter’s state of ALABAMA:

    See the combined force of union, corporation and Wall Street financiers (Black Rock, etc.) determined to deny the rights of miners who have been striking all year : https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/10/29/warr-o29.html

    • If you want to see something funny watch the videos on you Tube from the Communist Party USA. (CPUSA)The people they pick for presenters look like they suffer from some genetic abnormality!

  7. I agree with all of this. Everything I’ve been working on for months has to do with ways of fighting back. How do we attack the power of the federal government?

    I think we need to attack pensions. Why do government workers get better benefits than the average private citizens? We are supposed to be equal under the law. Well, then, where is my pension and health care? Nobody should get better retirement and health benefits just because you are a fed. Put everyone on the same plan.

    • Ah, someone who thinks like me…………
      I always ask that. Why DO government workers get to retire so young, and we support them by our taxed incomes, so they can go move some place warm, buy a new home, new vehicles, and basically be on a permanent vacation for life?
      Why doesn’t this bother most people?
      Because about 70% of Americans get some kind of financial aid every month.
      So all of these people going and buying new homes and living it up, are doing it with OUR aid, when it takes from what WE can save for retirement.

      I remember reading how an uneducated file clerk in Northern California complained about the 4,000 monthly pension she got when retiring at 50. Imagine that.
      What is even worse, Mexicans who come into the US, can get on Social Security and Medicare, without ever having paid into it. Most of them qualify for NO premium payment per month, either, so they get it all free. Believe it or not, old Mexicans DO come here.
      There was a dialogue on talk radio, where some guy with an accent was defending a woman from the South, who was being considered for deportment under the Trump admin. They went on how she was living here to “get my cancer treatment”!!! They are such parasites.

  8. ““Whereas… many Christian post-liberals … root their objections in liberalism’s alleged contributions to American immorality and godlessness, with a particular emphasis on abortion and the sexual revolution. …”

    These Wrongthinkers would suggest that water is “wet” and that’s just rude.

    I mean, does he follow up on that and offer anything which would confound or break that linkage?

    Then, with the “horseshoe theory” bs:

    “Post-liberal right and post-liberal left fundamentally prioritize the power of the state over the liberty of the individual.”

    His audience, including those of inclined to oppose his argument, is expected to nod at this truism, but it’s not so. The expressed intention of the post-liberal left is to expand liberty to encompass any expression of any individual’s identity down to the smallest cohort. We are now engaged in a conflict over transgendereds using which restroom because the post-liberal left insists that room in the social expectations of 99.7% of the population must be cleared away to accommodate the comfort of .3% of the population. That is prioritizing the individual taken to its logical absurdity.

  9. The horse-shoe theory only has any appeal in that it somewhat accurately describes the means to which the extremes seek to obtain their vastly different visions. That’s it. When it comes to describing the competing visions of the extremes, it fails. It fails because politics isn’t two-dimensional, but is instead multidimensional.

  10. >I was one the first people to make David French a symbol of mainstream conservatism.

    Well, from my side I got the point — so there’s no reason to pay any more attention to him.

    He’s like an archetype of the rent seeking prosaic beta dorks who make up ‘mainstream conservatism’ today — probably thinks of himself as erudite; never had an original or unorthodox thought in his life, yet somehow manages to make a living as a pundit — adopted a black kid to show how super not racist he is.

    • Another liberal. Very left of center.
      Then people call Nick Fuentes and Richard Spencer “grifter”, when they’ve lost money because of their stand on things.

  11. I’m sick of looking at the faggot’s mug. In the future please refrain from using it in other postings about French.

  12. So long as French has any “mainstream conservative” bandwidth, and isn’t being shouted down, ignored, abused and forced to hide in shame, the Jews are laughing at the stupidity of the gentiles for tolerating these Judases.

  13. I’ve been chimping out about French since the early 2010s when I first ran across his NRO crap. The sanctimony makes me nuts.

    I also have way more respect for Sargon of Akkad’s horseshoe theory hot takes, tbh. At least Carl is an affable Britbong.

  14. What French is talking about is communistic fascism, communism instituted by big business. They are very close.

  15. Classical liberalism is a bloodless abstract creed. It inspires no passion or resolve. It can no more stand against the rage of leftism than a sand castle can stand against a rising tide.

  16. If you ever go over to a site called, “The Occidental Observer”, you can see articles and posts from people who just wake up.
    One article stated, “The pervasive Jewish presence in the Democratic Party is a fact never mentioned in the MSM, and rarely discussed even by their strongest right-wing opponents.[1] This should tell us something.” No fecking kidding. How crazy. I guess this guy who wrote this article has been living under a rock for a decade.
    This IS the problem with “conservatives”. They arrive on the scene waaaayyyy too late, then when they finally figure things out, they turn quite condescendingly to others and try to relate what is going on. Everyone knows this about the Democrats, and I guess the “right wing” people he talks about aren’t going to clue him into ANYTHING.

  17. Unbeknown to the masses there have been many covert revolutions that have changed America. One of these was the replacement of the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution. Another one was the Reconstruction Amendments. And then the dedication to globalism under Wilson and Col House. The problem is Americans happen to be the most politically retarted of all the European descended peoples. They constantly confuses other image with inner substance. We still have a flag and a constitution therefore modern America is a direct descendent of the Founding Fathers. (So they reason) Let us talk flags. The only part of the America flag that is still accurate is the 13 stripes. We did start off as 13 colonies. Stars represent sovereignty except states are no longer sovereign. So to make it reflect reality remove the 50 stars and replace it with one large red star to show the U.S. is a unitary government with states mere administrative tools of the Federal (which isn’t federal) government and its Cultural Marxist ideology.

    American “Democracy” is like a Reverse Oz whereby it projects mild and meek liberal platitudes but rip away the curtain and you will find a hostile anti-white elite who hate nationalism, the historic American nation, and white conservatives and White racialists in particular. It is no democracy because White middle and working class peoples are not in charge of jack sh*t in this country! Que up Lee Greenwood and continue to live in unreality!

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