Nov 20, 2020 • 1HR 37M

Reactionary Conservative Thought after Trump

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MODEL CITIZEN is an interview podcast that explores big, new ideas in politics and policy with captivating original thinkers ... premised on the idea that we have a duty as citizens and neighbors to build our mental models of the world with as little error, bias, and lunacy as possible. Guests discuss how they've arrived at their conclusions, mistakes they've made, people and methods they trust and distrust, and how they've changed their minds. Hosted by WILL WILKINSON, Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center and a New York Times contributing opinion writer.
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Donald Trump may be going away, but the coalition, movement, and intellectual tendencies that grew up around him aren't. For many, Trump seemed to herald a new dawn for reactionary conservative nationalism political thought aligned against pluralism, social justice and even liberal democracy itself. In a fascinating series of essays for Niskanen and the Bulwark, political theorist Laura Field has been probing to the philosophical underpinnings of the emerging illiberal right more insightfully than just about anyone.

In this episode, we discuss the underlying assumptions animating thinkers like Patrick Deneen, Sohrab Ahmari, Adrian Vermuele, Yoram Hazony and Attorney General Bill Barr, among others. Why do they think liberal democracy is self-undermining? Why are they hostile to multicultural liberal pluralism. How do they think they know that liberalism leaves us empty, alienated and estranged from a profound human need for deep social connection? Are these guys like Captain Ahab on a deranged and futile hunt to destroy meaninglessness? We talk about all that and lots more, including whether left-wing postmodern thought is destroying liberal education. (Hint: It isn't.)

Laura field is a Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center and has taught political theory and the history of political thought as faculty at Rhodes College, Georgetown and American University, where she is currently a scholar in residence.

Readings

Meet the Reocons by Laura Field

What the Reactionary Right Gets Dead Wrong about Liberal Democracy by Laura Field

Love and Loyalty in the "Liberalocracy" by Laura Field

Dear Republicans: Welcome to the New Establishment by Laura Field

Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen

Moby-Dick; or, the Whale by Herman Melville

Credits

Host: Will Wilkinson (@willwilkinson)

Audio engineer: Ray Ingegneri

Music: Dig Deep by RW Smith

Model Citizen is a production of the Niskanen Center (@niskanencenter)

To support this podcast or any of the Niskanen Center's programs, visit: https://niskanencenter.org/donate