Thomas Main: The Illiberal Threat To Liberal Democracy

Here are my thoughts on Thomas Main’s latest interview:

1. As a proud White Southerner, I take the side of my own people and identify with various figures from our past who are routinely featured on our banners: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, John C. Calhoun, Robert Barnwell Rhett, George Fitzhugh, William Lowndes Yancey, Jefferson Davis, John Wilkes Booth, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Wade Hampton III, Thomas E. Watson, William Jennings Bryan (his family was from the South), Huey Long, James K. Vardaman, George Wallace, Lester Maddox, Eugene Talmadge, Theodore “The Man” Bilbo, and so on. Pretty much all of them are scandalous in some way to folks like Thomas Main.

2. John Wilkes Booth saw himself as a modern day Brutus when he assassinated Abraham Lincoln. He saw himself as striking down a tyrant. Lincoln was deeply unpopular in the South. He was elected with only 40% of the vote in 1860 in a four way race. He lost every Southern state.

3. George Fitzhugh’s predictions about the dystopian future trajectory of 19th century liberalism came true. Fitzhugh didn’t predict anything as wild as “trans” in his day, but he would feel vindicated by it.

4. I’m not offended that Thomas Main has cast me as being a central figure in the “lumpen intelligentsia” of the “illiberal Right” which poses such a dire threat to liberal democracy. As I said in the previous article, Main represents the sanctimonious, hypocritical, power grasping coastal elites of his section with I strongly identify with ordinary White people in the Deep South. I don’t really have any principled objection to this embrace of the “vituperative style” of “illiberalism” and find it both amusing and revealing.

5. In my view, Glenn Greenwald and Bill Maher are correct that liberalism has committed suicide. Liberalism has embraced gatekeeping, censorship, Wokeism, cancel culture and intolerance. Liberalism has rejected pluralism. These people who style themselves as the champions of “democracy” are the ones who bark orders and tell people what to do and who don’t even bother to make persuasive arguments and who don’t trust ordinary people to make their own decisions and who want to take away their freedom.

6. The irony is that the “illiberal” and “anti-democratic” side has benefited the most from the democratization of internet. It is our side which is focused on persuasion. It is the “liberal” side which is focused on censorship. The “liberal” side has become a bunch of humorless woke scolds. The “liberal” side is a cartel that is trying to preserve its power and influence and monopoly on the distribution of information. Get this … the “liberal” side is afraid of freedom and the marketplace of ideas.

7. The “illiberal” and “anti-democratic” side is more supportive of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the filibuster, the Senate and the Supreme Court. In contrast, the “liberal” side wants vast constitutional changes. The “liberal” side supports toppling statues of Thomas Jefferson.

8. In this confused debate, the “illiberal” side supports free speech, reason and debate and focuses on persuading its target audience. The “illiberal” side is happy to compete with CNN and MSNBC and the New York Times. The “illiberal” side opposes censorship, the surveillance state and show trials. The “illiberal” side opposes vax mandates and abortion. The “illiberal” side supports gun rights. The “illiberal” side supports comedy. It is the “liberal” side which is focused on moral purity and witch hunting. The “authoritarian” side seems to attract the people most opposed to authority and people with credentials.

9. Thomas Main who speaks for the “liberal” and “democratic” side has a huge problem with the Constitution. Isn’t it ironic that Main wants to change the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College and strengthen the hand of the president over the legislature? Isn’t that authoritarian?

10. The “anti -democratic” side complains about billionaires like George Soros buying our politicians and unelected technocrats implementing unpopular policies (see Ukraine) without a popular mandate.

11. The “liberals” have become the witch hunters and control freaks. The “illiberals” are the people who reject their dogmas. How did that happen?

12. Thomas Main doesn’t think the liberal intelligentsia has a compelling story to tell anymore that can unite the country. Why is that? Isn’t it the “liberal” side which relishes nothing more than shredding the social fabric and shitting all over American history? Isn’t it the “liberal” side which has toppled statues of Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Roosevelt?

13. How am I destroying American democracy by sitting in my house and making fun of pretentious elites on the internet? Even if you believe this is true, how did American liberalism become such a fragile flower that it wilts under the criticism of a guy with a blog in Alabama who isn’t even respectable?

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  1. Honestly, why do you spend so much time analyzing the musings of this midwit nobody? — I have no idea who he is; in fact, I’d never heard the name before I saw it mentioned here — he has (count them) a grand total of 94 followers on Twitter — a brief look at his timeline (all Twitter allows these days) shows he’s all-in on COVID tyranny, yet per your postings he blathers a lot about what a bad thing ‘illiberalism’ is.

    So not only is he a total midwit dork, he’s colossal hypocrite as well.

    • Main is 100% predictable. There’s nothing liberal (in the classic definition) about him. He’s another SJW totalitarian professor posturing as a liberal. His kind are a dime-a-dozen and you’ll find plenty of examples at your local Church of Woke (university or public schul). Wang Hunin is far more interesting to discuss. Wang’s incredibly astute observations on America were made in 1991, only a decade after Solzhenitsyn’s similar observation.

  2. I admit that I was not familiar with Thomas Main prior to him being mentioned here on OD. I wonder, does he ever address any of the sort of points Hunter (or others) make regarding this topic? Or is he like most of the rest and just ignores?

  3. Favorite part of the interview was where he gets weird ed out by the John Wilkes Booth banner and mentions OD. I got 3/4 thru the interview.

  4. As someone who voted for Biden, I’d remind the Thomas Mains of the world that the FDR playbook is still invincible. Make America work for everyone, not just Ben Shapiro. We saw in Georgia that this still works. What’s the GOP response? Have an undead creep like Jordan Peterson mumble to us that suffering cleanses the soul?

    Whining about “our democracy” is like a sportsball fan blaming the refs when his team is losing. Woke brats are driving people out of the party; it should listen to experienced voices like Carville and Maher instead. The internet is not real life. Some boomers think they need to take cues from millennials to be technologically savvy, and that’s a mistake — that Biden won the primary proves this. Making brats sit at the kiddies table is a much much lighter lift than trying to change the entire political architecture of the United States. Just a suggestion.

    Illiberals like Joel Davis and Keith Woods gained prestige by arguing that liberalism must devolve into wokeness, incompetence, terrorism, and social dissolution. The liberal acorn must grow into the modernist tree if liberalism has Faustian, transhuman implications. Additionally, if — and I say if — we’re losing liberal norms anyway, we might as well do this on populist, Caesarist terms (Caesar championed the people, Brutus supported the aristocracy); the alternative is a kind of techno-feudalism where we get bossed around by billionaires and their credentialed clerisy.

    This stuff might be bullshit. If the left corrects course, it would be proven bullshit. If the illiberal right loses its status as a *populist* alternative to the status quo, only Bush-era conservatism + conspiracy theories and unsavory behavior remain. Very few people like that stuff.

    Independents are monitoring the situation.

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