Liberal Fascism

Re: Tyler Cowen

I’m not sure I agree a hundred percent with this, but I thought it was interesting, from a reader:

I think I have explanation for why some like Tyler continue to find arguments

for Fascism being on the Right. You write in reply, “Traditionalism as well as

Classical Liberalism […] comprise the bulk of what define modern

Anglo-American conservatism.”

I think these two things are different poles on a three dimensional axis of

political and ideological thought. I would argue that three founding principles

are equity, freedom, and tradition, and that each is the heart of socialism,

liberalism, and conservatism respectively. In America, we are all liberals (and

here we may have to say Classical Liberal, because of some curious redefinitions

of “liberalism” in the 20th century) to some extent. Our socialists are social

democrats, and our conservatives are liberal-conservative hybrids. Burke, after

all was a Whig who favored American independence while opposing the French

Revolution. His notions of freedom tempered by tradition do define the

Anglo-American conservative, but there are plenty of conservatives who lack the

admixture of liberalism, such as Metternich, or whose use of liberalism was a

cynical ploy to triangulate, such as Bismark.

The closest to strait conservatism in America is probably Patrick Buchanan.

America is a society where liberal-conservatives battle liberal-socialists. It

makes our ability to read the ideologies in their pure form challenging. That is

why it is useful to keep in mind the core idea of each: equality, freedom, and


A final note, people near any one of the poles tend to view the other two poles

as mostly the same thing. So a liberal would see both conservatives and

socialists as fundamentally illiberal, while a socialist sees both liberals and

conservatives as right wing, and conservatives see the others as left wing.


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