Guest Post by Scott M. Greer
Experience Revolver without ads
Irving Kristol famously said a neo-conservative was “a liberal mugged by reality.” That reality somehow made neocons feverish war hawks. Regardless, the quote describes many prominent critics of wokeness—one of whom is Douglas Murray, a British “classical liberal.” Murray decries mass immigration, wokeness, and Black Lives Matter, but in a way that tries to appeal to liberals and centrists. He tries to be respectable and liberal while critiquing the usual right-wing targets.
Murray goes out of his way to attack those he feels are too far-right. He waged a jihad against Chronicles editor Pedro Gonzalez earlier this year over a harmless joke about “Rothschild physiognomy.” Murray falsely asserted the joke was anti-Semitic and tried to cancel Gonzalez. Fortunately, he failed.
However, Murray does notice the defining feature of the modern Left: anti-white racism. “You can’t have a war on the West unless you wage war on the majority,” he told Charlie Kirk in an April interview. “And the majority of people in America, as in Britain, are white. And so, of course, if you’re going to war on the West, you have got a war on white people.”
That’s a bold statement many conservatives would shy away from. Daring to mention anti-white racism makes you the subject of media vitriol and calls for censorship. Just ask Tucker Carlson. Murray’s latest book, “The War on the West”, isn’t afraid to call out this hatred.
But to some right-wing “post-liberals,” the focus on anti-white racism is a distraction from the real issues. The real radical idea is to support the multiracial working class against woke capital. “White identity politics” is only a liberal ruse to divide that class.
Notre Dame professor Patrick Deneen makes this point in his scathing review of “The War on the West” in Compact magazine. Compact bills itself as a radical journal. It’s not your grandfather’s conservative publication—it’s pro-union and attacks capitalism! Deneen, who once spoke at an H.L. Mencken Conference labeled “white nationalist” by dimwitted journalists, is most famous for writing the 2018 book, “Why Liberalism Failed”. It earned its radical credentials with an endorsement from the notorious anti-liberal Barack Hussein Obama.
Deneen derides Murray’s work as nothing more than “liberal regime propaganda.” He sneers at the racial focus, which he claims animates every chapter in the book. He also mocks the author for associating “whiteness” with the West. To Deneen, Murray is nothing more than a Girondin pleading for moderation from the woke Jacobins. The Brit is a liberal, and that’s the true offense.
The two key paragraphs are found near the end of the essay:
At the same time, so-called conservatives—those who are actually better characterized as classical liberals—are also well-served by focusing their attention, and the attention of their audiences, on the outrages of the woke. Such efforts by conservative liberals are similarly designed to distract any notice of their own advantages in the neoliberal economic order, fostering outrage against the progressive woke among the hoi polloi and thus holding at bay any authentic populist inroads on the right. It turns out Murray and Kendi are burning two sides of the same candle, propping up a revolutionary regime by ensuring that everyone remains obsessed by the latest identity outrage.
Viewed within these dynamics, Murray’s book is one more expression of a uniparty effort to distract from the real crisis facing the west: structural liberalism. The losers are increasingly indistinguishable: African-Americans, Hispanics, and white working classes. It’s in the interest of Douglas Murray, no less than that of Ibram X. Kendi, to keep their partisans from noticing these similarities. There is indeed a war afoot within the West, but it isn’t between the Girondins and the Jacobins, but a combined revolutionary party against the people in whose name they claim to fight.
Experience Revolver without ads
Deneen apparently thinks Murray and Ibram X. Kendi work in tandem to divide the multiracial working class from understanding their real interests. They bamboozle their respective sides with appeals to identity politics when their supporters should unite against “structural liberalism.” Rather than focus on mass immigration or anti-white racism, it would be better for the right to champion economic populism. Anything else is a distraction foisted on the masses by race-obsessed liberals.
Or at least that’s what Patrick Deneen and Compact think.
This mistaken assumption is afforded way too much breathing space on the Right. It doesn’t understand what actually animates the middle Americans who made Donald J. Trump president. It doesn’t get what roils America. And it certainly isn’t radical. It’s simply a pretense to appear radical without being so. No one is going to cancel you for criticizing the excesses of capitalism. But you can be canceled for criticizing diversity hires. The Ilya Shapiro saga illustrates this fact. It’s far more dangerous to notice racial taboos than to advocate for “post-liberalism.”
It’s inane to claim the Right’s version of identity politics is just designed to distract from economic concerns. Conservative Inc. is certainly not interested in “white identity politics.” Con Inc. would much rather have us all focused on taxes and the economy than any sort of racial matters. Just remember how the Tea Party was transformed into a harmless tax protest. Respectable conservatives and Republican elites would prefer their voters to drop any hint of identity politics and just care about the economy.
The reason that there is so much interest in “white identity politics” is because that’s what the people who vote Republican care about. Seventy-three percent of Republicans believe The Great Replacement is happening. Parents all over the country organized to combat the anti-white Critical Race Theory in the classroom. Trump won in 2016 on the basis of building the wall and deporting them all. These are the issues that people genuinely care about.
The economic populism plus social conservatism mix favored by “post-liberals” such as Deneen and Compact doesn’t generate that much enthusiasm from the base. It’s also not particularly radical. People who advocate for this mix can expect puff pieces and guest columns in major news outlets. Compact received glowing coverage from the New York Times when it was launched. If Compact was truly radical, the Times — ostensibly an institution of structural liberalism — would not fawn over the magazine. You will never see the Times adore Tucker Carlson or Pat Buchanan, for instance. That’s because in addition to promoting a version of economic populism, Carlson and Buchanan also touch sensitive issues like the Great Replacement that undermine the fundamental dogmas of liberals.
Post-liberals do not. Post-liberalism is a boutique radicalism for those who want to appear to be striking sacred cows, but without suffering the penalty of actually doing so. They wrap themselves in platitudes and buzzwords about capitalism and other safe subjects and pretend the powers that be quiver at their words. In reality, structural liberalism doesn’t care about their radicalism so long as it affirms liberal racial dogmas.
For all of Murray’s weaknesses and tone policing, he has a better grasp of the fundamental issues than Deneen and Compact. He understands the modern Left is fundamentally motivated by anti-white racism and the West’s future is threatened by mass immigration and racial agitation. Post-liberals prefer to blame “neo-liberalism” to make themselves more respectable in the eyes of the mainstream media.
The Right’s attacks on liberalism — in the classical sense — distracts from the real issues. The mom protesting her second grader being told to apologize for his white privilege isn’t animated by economic motives. She isn’t being tricked by Fox News or Douglas Murray into thinking that’s the real issue. She doesn’t want to read about how John Locke is responsible for all this. She wants the anti-white racism that her family directly experiences to end. She doesn’t want to live in a country where she becomes a second class citizen due to her skin color.
Experience Revolver without ads
That’s not a distraction. That’s the fundamental issue of our time. And it’s certainly more important than unionizing DoorDash drivers.
Scott Greer hosts the “Highly Respected” podcast.