The Bulwark: Both the Right and Left Have Illiberal Factions. Which Is More Dangerous?

Professor Thomas Main is back with another deeply confused attack on “rightwing illiberalism” over at The Bulwark.

The Bulwark:

“America is having an illiberal moment, with parts of both the right and left flirting openly with illiberalism. Both are dangerous. But which danger is more clear and present?

To get at this, we have to start by settling on a definition of illiberalism.

I posit that a working definition of illiberalism that applies to both left and right might be summarized as any system of beliefs which run counter to the political philosophy summarized in the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration’s main principles are political egalitarianism; human rights; limited government; electoral democracy; the legitimacy of change; the rule of law; and tolerance. You could define illiberalism many ways, but an easy one would be: any explicit rejection of, or attack on, that order. Any ideology of whatever orientation, right or left, that explicitly repudiates these principles is illiberal.

Illiberalism is dangerous in whatever form it takes. But not all dangers are created equal. And in America, right now, it is clear that the size and influence of right-wing illiberalism dwarfs that of left-wing illiberalism.”

Where to start?

According to Thomas Main, True Liberalism is the political philosophy outlined in the Declaration of Independence, which of course is synonymous with the worldview of people like himself.

Last time I checked, Thomas Jefferson was a race realist, a racial separatist, a slave owner and a white supremacist. The Declaration of Independence specifically condemns King George III for inciting “domestic insurrections amongst us” and for inciting “the merciless Indian Savages” who lived on our frontier. The Declaration of Independence was only signed by White men too and the only “inalienable rights” that it mentions are specifically the rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The whole thrust and purpose of the document was also to justify American independence from Great Britain.

Is that what we are arguing about in 2022? Are the “illiberals” opposed to American independence and self determination? Are the “illiberals” arguing that we shouldn’t have elections anymore? Are the “illiberals” trying to get rid of self government? Are the “illiberals” denying anyone their inalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Are the “illiberals” trying to restore slavery?

As I pointed out in my previous response to Thomas Main, the Founding Fathers of the United States did not create a “liberal democracy.” They created a federal republic of sovereign states. The Constitution is full of “anti-democratic” features like the Senate and Electoral College. The Constitution excludes “Indians not taxed” and counted slaves as “three fifths of all other Persons” for purposes of representation. The only equality that existed under our original constitution was the equality of states in the Senate.

The Founders did not create a “liberal democracy” based on “human rights” and “political egalitarianism.” The overwhelming majority of blacks were slaves. The overwhelming majority of Indians were treated as foreign tribes. Women lived under patriarchy. American naturalization law reserved citizenship to “free White persons” until the 20th century. The Bill of Rights only restricted the power of the federal government while the Tenth Amendment reserved vast powers to the states. American citizenship was derived from state citizenship until the Reconstruction era. There was no such thing as “equality under the law.” There wasn’t a consolidated government enforcing a universal ideal of rights.

Everything that we are really arguing about only developed much later in American history. Well, it is either that or progressives like Thomas Main whining about things that they would like to abolish like the filibuster, Senate or the Electoral College, which have existed since the beginning of the Republic. The real source of contention between us though seems to be social liberalism.

By “rightwing illiberalism,” Thomas Main really means people on the Right who explicitly reject progressive liberalism and especially social liberalism. The Founding Fathers distinguished between different types of equality. They drew a key distinction between civil equality, political equality and social equality. Some forms of equality were desirable while others were not. They didn’t believe in a natural right to vote. They weren’t trying to abolish the social order or level all distinctions between groups. They certainly didn’t believe that, say, every citizen was equally entitled to the same amount of property. Communism is a type of equality, but that has never been our system of government.

The truth is that what we are really arguing over is the cultural hegemony of 20th century and early 21st century progressivism. It is a peculiar strain of post-World War II liberalism which mutated from its Victorian predecessor and has become dominant inside the Democratic Party. It is based on social liberalism which has a unique genetic signature that includes antiracism, modernism, cosmopolitanism and political correctness all of which have ascended in our culture via academia and the media since the 1920s and have become increasingly contentious flashpoints in the culture war since the 1960s.

Honestly, progressive liberalism itself seems to have died out over the past two years or so and has been replaced by woke progressivism which is now the authoritarian governing ideology of the Democratic Party. Equality has fallen out of fashion. Equity is the goal now. “Racism” itself has been redefined under the Biden administration to mean the systematic oppression of BIPOCs by White people. Ibram X. Kendi, not Thomas Jefferson, seems to be the guru of the contemporary Democratic Party.

As a “rightwing illiberal,” I increasingly find myself in the odd position of agreeing with people like Glenn Greenwald. I’m opposed to the censorship, the vax mandates and the weaponization of the “intelligence community” by Democrats. I’ve always been opposed to warmongering neocons and neolibs. I’m opposed to Joe Biden’s assault on civil liberties and Merrick Garland’s assault on the police. I’m opposed to the surveillance state. I’m on the side of the pro-life movement. I’m on the side of people who support gun rights. I’m opposed to the people who are toppling statues of Thomas Jefferson in New York City. I’m not nearly as race obsessed as “mainstream” figures like Elie Mystal or Don Lemon or Joy Reid. I look at people like Tiffany Cross and conclude that I don’t want to sound like that.

Isn’t it amazing? I’m not in favor of distributing the COVID vaccine or denying people access to life saving therapeutics on the basis of race. I’m far more tolerant of opposing views than these people. I’m also just a political commentator who makes fun of people on the internet. It is not like I am running the FBI or purging the military or using the national security state to crush my political enemies!

The real threat though is people who exercise their First Amendment rights to make fun of the political establishment on the internet. It is people who haven’t swallowed the gospel of Ibram X. Kendi!

About Hunter Wallace 12367 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. Are the “illiberals” opposed to American independence and self determination? Are the “illiberals” arguing that we shouldn’t have elections anymore? Are the “illiberals” trying to get rid of self government? Are the “illiberals” denying anyone their inalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Are the “illiberals” trying to restore slavery?

    The answer to every single one of these is “Yes”. The problem here is that the real illiberals (globalist totalitarians) call themselves “liberals”, a classically Talmudist slight-of-hand. Jefferson was a classical liberal in most respects – though like all liberals he practiced what Larry Auster termed the unprincipled exception to his liberalism. Amazingly, Auster’s site still exists (he died in 2013).

  2. Pro-life… Something like 70% of abortions are nonwhites. Across all races, abortions are heavily concentrated among the poor, the unintelligent, and the socially dysfunctional – almost by definition among people poor at planning ahead. It’s the only eugenic policy we’re allowed to get away with these days, and is *significantly* retarding the Great Replacement.

    One could call pro-life conservatism a staggering example of self-destructive idiocy. White nationalists should be thinking of ways to encourage more abortions, not ban it.

    • 1. I don’t support breeding people like livestock.

      2. A culture which is so degenerate that it permits abortion for lifestyle reasons isn’t going to be one that cares about racial preservation or will attach any value at all to future generations

      3. It is no coincidence that abortion was legalized around the time that our culture fell off a cliff

      • My grandparents were born in 1913. The US was already ruined just nobody realized it.

      • @Hunter Wallace
        Our culture fell off a cliff when jews were allowed to lead.

        @Professor Thomas Main
        I don’t know why these idiots keep bringing up the Decl. of Indepence, when it is not a legal document, it was war propaganda, and was ratified by no one. The left have already started to call it racist too. The legal document is the US Constitution.

      • Without legal abortion there would have been 40 million more Negroes in this country, HW. There would also have been millions more abused, unwanted kids and mentally retarded people requiring a lifetime of institutionalized care. Your sense of Christian “compassion” is definitely well-intentioned but dangerously naive.

          • Blacks were the same percentage. Immigration and low white birth rate is driving the change.

          • Mr. Wallace,

            Negroes were 11.1% of American population in 1970 and are 12.4 % in 2020. Blacks reached their peak in 2010 when they were 12.6%.

            Source is -Wikipedia-Historical racial and ethnic demographics of the United States. The percentages are down the long page but near the beginning.

          • Abortion was widely available well before 1973. It’s de-criminalization first took place in the Acela corridor, and women who could afford the trip to states where it was allowed regularly did so – starting in the 1930s. Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton was the final legislation from the bench which enshrined it as a constitutional right. In typical Talmudic fashion, the court simultaneously enshrines a form of murder as a constitutional right while it upholds the right of Der Staat to force people to take experimental gene-therapies re-defined as vaccines. So much for “my body, my choice”.

            HW you should do an article on abortion as the history of how it came to be such a sacred cow is surely very interesting. Once in an interview, the ultimate Jew Larry King was asked what is the most important thing for the Jewish people. His answer to this question struck me as extremely strange at the time: The unfettered right to abortion. Jews don’t get abortions very often and one would think – obsessed as they are about ensuring their bloodlines and the furtherance of the ‘master race’ (as they obviously see themselves) – most Jews would be not so enthusiastic about the practice lest their own women drink the Koolaid to such an extent that they vanish as a people given the high rate of out-marriage.

            Obviously Jews have been profiteering massively from the Abortion industry for a long time, but there seems to be something else at play which is not so apparent. Jewish profits from usury far exceed what they’re raking in from abortion, after all. Peeling back the numerous layers of this putrid onion might be enlightening.

  3. Sounds like Thomas Main is complicit in White supremacy, by defending the systemic racism instituted by the White supremacist Declaration of Independence.

    Thomas Main killed George Floyd with his complicity.

  4. The old time liberals used to defend your speech but not today, both conservative and liberal want to censored if they disagree with you.

    • The only Moshiach I’m familiar with is Shai Moshiach, an Israeli real estate agent in Miami. You know what Brownie? I think you’re M ESHUGGANAH.

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