Thomas Main: The Rise of Illiberalism

After listening to the entire episode, I came away with the impression that we are really having the same argument that we have always been having going back to the Constitutional Convention.

Here are my thoughts:

1. The first thing you will probably notice is Thomas Main’s thick New York accent. The man has a perspective. He lives in a big city on a coast. He is a professor at the City University of New York. He has graduate degrees from Harvard and Princeton. He is a PMC. He identifies as a progressive. He supports the Democratic Party. This is all fine and good. Main speaks for coastal elites in his section.

2. In the first few minutes of the podcast, Main admits that his real gripe about “illiberalism” and “democracy” isn’t with us. It is with the Constitution. He wants to get rid of the filibuster and the Electoral College. He complains that the Constitution that was designed by the Founders is biased against people like himself who live in big cities on the coast. The Senate favors rural voters in small states. He thinks that the Constitution is a straightjacket that has too many checks on the central government.

3. Ironically, as one of the biggest enemies of something called “liberal democracy” in the country, I am in the position of supporting the original Constitution. I like the features that Main complains about like the filibuster, the Senate and the Electoral College which were calculated to diminish the power of coastal urbanites. I like the Bill of Rights which only restricted the power of the federal government while reserving vast powers to the states. Originally, the federal government was even less democratic than it is now because senators used to be chosen, not by voters, but by state legislators.

4. I also support changing the Constitution, but in the opposite direction. I would support getting rid of the 14th Amendment, 15th Amendment and 19th Amendment. The effect of these changes would be to weaken the federal government and make the country less progressive and to restore its original design which was less democratic than it is now.

5. Thomas Main appears to be convinced that the Declaration of Independence created something called “liberal democracy.” We’ve already been over this and have shown that it is false.

The Founders were republicans.

They created a federal republic of sovereign states that delegated powers to a federal government. The Founders were suspicious of democracy. It was only one element in their design. That’s why we have never lived in Thomas Main’s preferred world where “democracy” is progressive voters in big cities on the coasts lording it over the rest of us. Jefferson himself saw those big cities as cancers on the Republic.

“Liberalism,” as we know it today, can trace its lineage back to the 1920s when the original liberal intelligentsia, which was based in New York, broke away from the Progressive movement over World War I and Prohibition. The country was “liberal” before that time in the sense that 19th century liberalism, which is the ancestor of modern conservatism, was the dominant variant from Lincoln’s time until the Great Depression. Since about the 1920s, the country has been swinging back in forth between conservative liberalism and progressive liberalism, but this wasn’t always how our politics worked.

The Founders didn’t create a “liberal democracy” which is a term that only came to be associated with the United States in the FDR era. The Declaration of Independence didn’t create a “liberal” order either. It condemned King George III for inciting Indian wars on the frontier and slave insurrections in the Southern colonies. The original Constitution, not the one perverted by the Radical Republicans in the Reconstruction era, only refers to equality in the sense that sovereign states are entitled to equal representation in the Senate. It is the states that are equals, not people. Each state determined who was a citizen and who had voting rights. Much to his disappointment, Thomas Main’s New York is the equal of tiny Rhode Island.

Prior to the Reconstruction era, the United States was an “illiberal democracy,” which is to say that we lived in a federal republic. There was no such thing as national citizenship until the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the 14th Amendment. Some states in New England had established churches. Only five states – Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire – had black citizenship before the War Between the States. Thomas Main’s New York didn’t have black citizenship until after the war. The Supreme Court had ruled in the Dred Scott decision that blacks weren’t citizens. It wasn’t until the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 that American naturalization law ceased to be based on whiteness.

In between the ratification of the Constitution and the War Between the States (1789 to 1861), the states had free reign to do pretty much anything because we didn’t live in a liberal order with a powerful national government that guaranteed equal rights and “equality under the law.” Every Southern state was a slave state. Women lived under the patriarchy. BIPOCs lived under white supremacy. LGBTQIA people and women without wombs were erased. The Free Press was censored at the state level. Marriage was reserved to men and women. It went far beyond that to the point where the movement of free blacks was restricted. There were laws which restricted their right to own firearms and drink alcohol. Interracial marriage, of course, was banned until the Loving v. Virginia decision in 1967.

6. What about “all men are created equal” though?

Virtually no one in the country including Thomas Jefferson believed that “all men are created equal” in the sense that there are no meaningful biological differences between the races and sexes at the time. This was the dominant view in the United States until the late 20th century.

By “all men are created equal,” Thomas Jefferson explained in the Declaration of Independence that it meant the natural rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It is true that Jefferson was opposed to slavery. He also wanted to end slavery and deport blacks to Africa where they could live in natural liberty and pursue their own happiness in their “native clime.” Jefferson was the most influential race realist and racial separatist in American history. He never believed in racial equality.

Jefferson and the Founders made a key distinction that is collapsed by progressives like Thomas Main. They distinguished between civil equality, political equality and social equality. White women, for example, were American citizens, but they didn’t have voting rights or the same social roles as White men. White children didn’t have voting rights. The right to vote wasn’t considered a natural right. Insofar as Jefferson ever believed in anything resembling equality, he was saying that blacks had a right to their own lives and labor and to pursue happiness as they saw fit. He certainly wasn’t saying that they are just as intelligent and capable as White men or that they thought to be treated BETTER than White men.

7. It is true that I said that the United States was a dunghill of liberty and equality, which is to say, there is far too much social equality (see the “trans” craze or Wokeism which are only the latest examples) and that America has culturally declined since the 1960s. I’m not alone in my view that the country has declined under progressivism. We have too much liberty and equality in some areas, but strangely not enough in other areas like the current campaign by progressive activists to cancel Joe Rogan.

8. Strangely, as one of the most well known champions of “illiberalism” in the country, I have engaged in civil conversation with Thomas Main. I have repeatedly given him a platform. I couldn’t care less that people like Main who live in New York City have their own opinions. If anything is true, it ought to be obvious that I spend a lot of my time watching these people and listening to them and considering their arguments. George Fitzhugh would have also been happy to debate people like Thomas Main his time.

9. At the end of the day, the contours of this debate are really nothing new. We’re not even arguing, for example, over electoral democracy or natural rights. No one on the “anti-democratic” side is proposing getting rid of elections. The argument is over whether the federal government should be granted unprecedented power to dictate to states how to conduct their elections. No one on the “illiberal” side wants to cancel the First Amendment or Fourth Amendment. Progressive activists are busybodies who want to spy on people and ban “hate speech.” No one on the “illiberal” side is even disputing that non-Whites have a natural right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. No one is saying that we should restore slavery which is a moot issue.

10. Sen. Ben Tillman once said that he was for equal rights before the law. He was for blacks having the natural rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, “provided their happiness does not destroy mine.” This is the whole issue. Should we be creating a new anti-White Jim Snow racial caste system? Should blacks be explicitly favored and put up on a pedestal by the government, universities, corporations and all institutions and be worshipped like George Floyd and treated better than everyone else who lives here? Should fags have an entire month dedicated to celebrating sodomy? Should society be coerced into pretending that men can become women and should be able to compete with women in women’s sports? Are there two genders or 40,000? Should we cancel people who disagree with this?

11. As I have said, we have always had these regional divisions in America. In Thomas Main’s beloved New York City, illegal aliens have been given voting rights. The police were defunded which has unleashed a massive crime wave. The cost of living and rent is unaffordable for most working class people who are fleeing the Big Apple. People walk around wearing N95 masks in Brooklyn and vaccine passports are required to enter restaurants. The unvaccinated are hounded into unemployment. Statues of Teddy Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson have been toppled by progressive activists. New York is a declining force in the Electoral College. New York media is swiftly losing its power and influence over the country. Admittedly, I do not share this same vision of “liberal democracy,” nor do I support changing the Constitution to give those people more power. Most people who live in this country agree with me on that.

12. Finally, the “vituperative” style that Thomas Main complains about which is allegedly incompatible with “liberal democracy” was actually the norm through most of American history. Populism is nothing new. It was the style of the Democratic Party in this region of the country in the Jacksonian era. Is Jared Taylor really “vituperative” or a soft spoken, genteel Virginia gentleman?

These people have dozens of little -isms and -phobias which they never hesitate to brandish against us in their media and which supposedly makes us moral monsters. We’re called “extremists” for rejecting the consensus inside their stupid little politically correct academic bubble. They have even mobilized the national security state against us while accusing us of “authoritarianism.”

The more things change the more they stay the same. The stereotype of the fanatical, hypocritical, hysterical, ruthless, sanctimonious, intolerant, miserable, power grasping Yankee headquartered in our Eastern states existed for a reason. The rest of the country has always checked him.


  1. 14th amendment is the most hideous of all. The other amendments are made useless by it. Ending slavery was the verdict of the war which the South could accept. Being ruled by slaves and forced to integrate, no. I would repeal from the 14th on. “The Constitution as it is, the union as it was.”

  2. I didn’t listen to this man speak, but from your summary it sounds like he feels that millionaires in New York and California are being oppressed by coal miners in West Virginia.
    Honk honk.

  3. “Liberal democracy” was created in the mid 20th century as a backlash against fascism and Stalinism. The main ideologues were guys like Popper and Marcuse. It has nothing to do with Thomas Jefferson. Progressives have already conceded this point and cancelled people like Thomas Jefferson. Main is behind the times, living on the wrong side of history with his 1990s historicism.

  4. Good points. This one is especially salient to Main’s complaint:

    7. It is true that I said that the United States was a dunghill of liberty and equality, which is to say, there is far too much social equality (see the “trans” craze or Wokeism which are only the latest examples) and that America has culturally declined since the 1960s. I’m not alone in my view that the country has declined under progressivism. We have too much liberty and equality in some areas, but strangely not enough in other areas like the current campaign by progressive activists to cancel Joe Rogan.

    Sam Francis described this mixture of total libertinism with totalitarianism two decades ago. Anarcho-Tyranny. Examples abound. Caravans cross the border unchecked. The invaders (chiefly military-age males) are not subjected to the precious vax regime the Covidian totalitarians push on the natives and are flown by the woke military to red counties in the dead of night. If you complain about it you’re a Nazi and will be deplatformed and not allowed to do business. Ukraine’s borders are sacrosanct while the borders of Murika are wide-open to invasion. Woke prosecutors turn loose violent felons after they commit murders and other mayhem, while folks who visited the US Capitol building under FBI escort rot in jail to this day for questioning the result of the most recent rigged election. The list is endless. I rather doubt Main is genuinely liberal. He’s likely a totalitarian posturing as a liberal.

    Many of the individual states would be improved by a senate which reflected their counties rather than a population-based district, either elected to represent their counties or nominated by the county boards, complete with a filibuster system to keep the cities from ruling over the state. New York, Illinois, Arizona are good examples of states ruled over by one large city (NYC, Chicago, Phoenix).

  5. Thomas Main wants to live in a society where homosexual pederasty is the norm….along with negro worship….and Hillary Clinton worship…

    Thomas Main:”Hillary Clinton’s fart gases are a perfumed breeze…”

  6. >15th Amendment


    African Americans—many of them newly freed slaves—put their newfound freedom to use, voting in scores of black candidates.

    That much hasn’t changed.

  7. “The Founders were republicans”:

    The American “revolution” was mostly a conservative, business-interest driven SECESSION, whereas the French and Haitian revolutions occurring about ten years later were the first REAL (peoples) revolutions in modern times.

    The House of Bourbon sent military assistance to the thirteen colonies, making their “revolution” (secession) possible, but the French and Haitian revolutions were opposed (including militarily) by all the regimes and forces of the existing system, with the exception of the United States that did not oppose the French revolution but did oppose the Haitian revolution. Under violent attack by the old system from without and from within, the French people’s republic lasted only about ten years. followed by the rise of Napoleonic bourgeois nationalism and the restoration of Monarchy with a constitutional veneer. Haiti was the first successful large-scale slave revolt in modern times.

    • @ Anonymous, so your cool with the slaughter of whites.and the destruction of the beautiful society and culture that they planted in haiti?

  8. “Haiti was the first successful large-scale slave revolt in modern times”

    And what a stupendous success, too…lol

    • Haiti was established with a literal sacrifice to the devil. The country’s ‘founding fathers’ accepted the offer which Christ rejected. Aristide re-affirmed the nation’s dedication to Satan a couple of centuries later. Anyone with half a brain should be able to discern how well that worked out. The contrast between the ultimate shithole and neighboring Dominican Republic (which has its own problems) is astounding.

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