Post-liberalism Reveals the Nakedness of the Liberal Imperium
"Working class people consistently lost ground on the economic front while experiencing devastation in their social lives. By every known social science measurement, to be a non-college graduate America (particularly if you are a man) is to be destined for economic and social dysfunction, a dysfunction that has now become a generational inheritance."
"Experiencing" devastation in their social lives? "Destined" for social dysfunction? As if the members of the working class have no control over how they lead their own social lives?
I find myself attracted to elements of the upper left worldview, but wonder why it seemingly pays so little attention to the agency of working class people, especially in the social realm. Granting that elite society has sought to undermine institutions like marriage and religion, it is not as if they are no longer available to the working class. Rather, the working class has increasingly opted out of them. So yes - vote at the ballot box for policies that will strengthen the institutions necessary for flourishing social lives. But in the meanwhile, expect people to vote with their feet by opting into those institutions even when it is more difficult for them to do so.
I don't think Catholic Social Teaching, Aristotle, Aquinas et al. are as far left, economically as the author says. They aren't in the upper left. They are in the upper middle. I think, economically, they would go after "different" policies (like an Orban perhaps) than the left AND they would be closer to the middle of the graph. A proper respect for the principle of subsidiarity (the State not taking on more than it needs to) and a virtuous citizenry (less people dependent on the State) would brings things to the middle, economically speaking.
"The lower left corner represents the current core of the Democratic Party - AOC and Very Online Progressives. Socially liberal and economically “interventionist,” it seeks at once a more equal economic order and a more libertarian social order. It is committed especially to sexual and identity autonomy, the freedom of individual expression and from oppressive institutions that presumably benefits from great economic redistribution."
I don't know i agree they belong in the lower quadrant; they are not Liberal (in the lockian sense). I agree they are economically left perhaps even leftists, but they aren't socially liberal. They have a very authoritarian social bent and frequently call for censorship.
"Voters in this quadrant seek a political and social order that draws on old working-class economic themes once advanced by the Left, along with a priority on using public power to strengthen civic and familial institutions treasured by the Right."
it seems clear to me that the quadrant you spoke of before has their own social pieties that that they seek to reify in society not particularly dissimilar to the people above, though i can't remember Tucker advocating other lifestyles be prohibited or scorned, more find way to subsidies family formation such as restricting the labor pool (ie immigration) to drive up wages.
Just seems like a category error to place them in the bottom left quad.
Very edifying read. I am rather novice in my understanding of the postliberal vision. I would currently label myself a “Christian Libertarian”, as defined by Doug Wilson, emphasizing that law and order are necessary but ought to be limited. The values of laws, boundaries and children are very much held in common. The position throughly depends on gradually realizing extensive self-governance through the spread of the gospel. That being said, I have a default impulse against economic interventionism (not saying I can’t be convinced otherwise), based in three concerns: 1) economic interventionism seems to create the tentacles for beastly sinister governments to enact tyranny via economic coercion 2) Economic interventionism seems to enlarge government which increases taxation 3) economic interventionism creates a compliance industry which functions as a tax with respect to depleting business resources. I’m very intrigued with post liberalism. So I’m interested to better understand the vision of post liberalism, and how a post liberal would comment on or address these concerns with economic interventionism, or at least the scope thereof. A simple barometer might be: which direction would the postliberal vision go from the current levels of economic interventionism?
I am a Reformed Christian and a Philosophy professor at a secular school. I’ve had many Catholic friends and many colleagues on the left over the years and have had great philosophical and political conversations. I’ve been to the Libertarian think tanks, but could never commit. I have felt “politically homeless” for all of my adult life.
I co-lead our school’s Philosophical Society. This semester we decided to read about critiques of neo-liberalism. I wanted more than the Marxist critique that my colleague offered, and I came across Dr. Deenan’s work. This post Liberal Substack has helped me to understand the options and see a little more clearly. I am not sure I have found a home, but I may pitch my tent and hang out for a while to survey the territory.
Thank you for helping me to think.
Liberalism is arrogance, the lessons of history do not apply, everything is simply a matter of good management, we have the ability to beget our desired outcome. Such arrogance, they discard history, so certain are they in their belief they can make a better world.
Lest we forget, Remembrance Day is our annual review of past human arrogance and what it begets.
While Trump talked like a top-lefter during the campaign, he very much governed as a top-righter, or even a bottom-righter. His major economic achievement was a tax cut that disproportionately favored the wealthy. Big business was extremely comfortable with President Trump.
Sure, he appointed Barrett, Kavanaugh, and Gorsuch (the last of which drafted the Bostock decision), who will likely jettison Roe v. Wade. But that accomplishment belongs more properly to Mitch McConnell, very much a top-righter.
Sometimes it seems like "post-liberalism" is a way to dress up old guard Republicanism in a way that makes it more attractive to young socialists who are uncomfortable with abortion on demand. I really am curious, in good faith, how you all would respond to that suggestion.
It was Tucker Carlson's Jan 2 2019 opening monologue where I saw the new way for the first time-
After that monologue I wasn't able to "unsee" the reality of our ruling elite's agreement to work together to keep the "upper left quadrant" from the menu. Greenroom people were united!
Now I'm a committed post-liberal and can never go back!
Good! Kill the remnant of Amalek and leave no trace of libertarian homunculus behind.
Axis maps like the one in this article all have their shortcomings, which doesn't mean they are without value or that an article that uses them is bad, but does mean it can be fun to try to go a little deeper in a combox. AOC Dems and Pappin are both enthusiastic statists when it comes to social issues, just with very different goals. If a "party of the state" is what Pappin proposes, then it already exists, and it's the AOC Dems. What doesn't exist yet is a conservative "party of the state".
So I'd say, if you're going to call the AOC Dems "social liberals" and Pappin a "social conservative", then it's not accurate to put libertarians as such in the lower right quadrant. Libertarians should be split up on that axis, since some basically agree with Pappin on what healthy social norms would look like and some basically agree with AOC, and some are in the middle or neither. (To take some examples, lots of people who show up as "libertarian" on social issues think that homosexual activity is wrong and should be socially stigmatized, that people who identify with a sex other than their own are mentally ill, that strong family--including extended-family--relationships are important to a fulfilling life for most people, and that people who flake on family obligations or think pets are a substitute for children are contemptible.) On the other hand, if how aggressive one wants to be in terms of using state power is the important thing, then the libertarians are in the right place, but Pappin and AOC should be together on one side of the social-issues axis and libertarians on the other. Neither is really satisfactory I guess, but again, quadrant maps are approximations.
Any way we can get the syllabus for the class?
I think you're a bit too hard on Rand, here. One of the things that people find pretty attractive about her, is her radical position on the importance of creativity. It's the (over) reaction to the "you didn't build that" crowd. One of the lessons of the 2016 election was that you ignore people to your peril. It would be a mistake to ignore the legitimate appeal of Rand's creativity thesis. Sure, you don't need Rand specifically, to argue for the importance of our God-given drive to create. Edith Schaeffer's book on homemaking springs to mind, or Esolen's "Out of the Ashes". And yet, I think if we're too quick to demonize Rand, we're likely to drive people away who might be persuadable that we can have a society that lauds creativity, without bring all the rest of the Randian baggage with it.
There as an important "internationalist" and "pro American flag" dimension that should be added to this fine analysis.
Interesting article. There is much to consider. As a person who has been upper right most of his life, while trying to maintain the Catholic social teachings, I do find myself at times in conflict. However I do feel the overall economic benefits of the last forty years are undeniable. This in turn has benefited society as a whole.
I do understand the bottom left quadrant says they are social libertarians. My personal experience with these "very online progressives" is they are authoritarian snobs.
I would say I'm upper right for the most part, but social issues certainly take a prominence in my political calculations. That said I, and I would guess most people on the right, are against central planning and a heavy hand from the government in economics. You don't say what the economic policies of the upper left would be. The devil is in the details. While I can endorse the incentivizing of home based industries, the notions of distributism are whacky, economically sophomoric, and out of the question. I think Trump's economic policies (derived from upper right quadrant, Larry Kudlow) were quite sound and hardly upper left.
A very enlightening article. I am an economist and a traditional Catholic, an admirer of Leo XIII, and I would put myself in the far upper right corner. Thus I am reading this substack, and other work by the founders like Vermeule’s recent NPR interview on Justice Breyer, to see if I can me convinced to move somwhere into the upper left quadrant. With a PhD in economics and 40 years work pointing out the costs of excessive regulation, taxation and other forms of government intervention, that is quite a conflict. I appreciate this definitional exercise, and look forward to more essays on how government intervention to promote the family and the common good can be designed to avoid the huge excess burdens that intervention to advance leftist causes has produced. A good example is designing family policies so that they will not create disincentivizes to employment, and another how to prevent the ideal labor unions envisioned by Pope Leo XIII from becoming as corrupt as the present ones.