America needs a new political party, one opposed to isolationism, protectionism, nativism, authoritarianism, and ecologism — but which also supports free enterprise, constitutional government, human equality, liberty, dignity, and the defensive alliance of all nations committed to such ideals.
Some might call such a party “conservative,” and indeed, many of those who call themselves conservatives today would find themselves in agreement with its tenets. But these are the ideas of classical liberalism; they are the ideas that made the free world free, in as much as it is free. They have been misbranded by their “progressive” opponents as “conservative” — a word associated with “servility” and the service of privilege — in order to make them seem reactionary. It’s time for the true defenders of real liberalism to take their proud title back.
America needs a new Liberal Party because both major parties have abandoned liberalism. Neither adequately supports international free trade or the defense of the West — the two pillars of the liberal world order since 1945. Both lack commitment to constitutionally limited government, separation of powers, free enterprise, human equality, and liberty under the law. Each supports its own Malthusian antihuman collectivist ideology: for Democrats, it is ecologism, for Republicans, it is nativism.
Ecologism — the advocacy of state-administered collective sacrifice for the putative benefit of nature — is so obviously anti-liberal, reactionary, and indeed, anti-human, that I will leave it to the would-be liberals of the left to figure out how they ever got roped into adopting it as part of their core ideology. As a result, the party that once proudly proclaimed itself the defender of the poor now centers its program on ultra-regressive sales taxes of fuel and electricity, while boasting of its ability to throw entire industries and their workers on the scrap heap. Furthermore, ecologism serves as a justification for the expansion of the powers of the state to intrude into every aspect of public, commercial, and private life — reinforcing monopolies, impairing initiative, and destroying opportunities at every turn.
Nativism, on the other hand, is the ideology that brought the Trumpist Trojan horse into the conservative citadel. A mirror image of the Democrats’ environmental Malthusianism, it asserts that rather than natural resources, it is human opportunities that are in limited supply. It is not a conservative ideology, because it is anti-free enterprise and anti-Judeo Christian. Our nation’s founding creed is that of inalienable rights granted to men created equal by God. How can a movement which explicitly denies that faith be considered conservative, or even American? In fact it isn’t conservative at all. It is alt-right. But what is the alt-right really?
In his classic 1944 work, The Road to Serfdom, Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek, then living in exile in England, shocked readers with his diagnosis of Nazism. National Socialism, he argued, was not the opposite of social democracy — many of whose adherents could be found fighting in the ranks of the Allies — but its evolutionary extension. All Hitler had done, said Hayek, was to grasp that racism is required for socialism, because to mobilize the passion necessary to achieve the full collectivist agenda, it is necessary to invoke the tribal instinct. Thus, contrary to Marx, the ultimate development of socialism is not stateless international brotherhood, but various forms of rabid tribal nationalism. Similarly, tribalism leads to socialism.
Not to put too fine a point on the matter, tribalism — or “identarianism,” if you will — is not a conservative ideology; it is collectivist ideology. It is the oldest, most powerful, lethal, and most degrading collectivist ideology, because it is based on primeval animal instinct. By using xenophobic agitation to mobilize mob support for a program of socialistic policy, unlimited government, and strongman rule, the international alt-right has embraced a political methodology clearly identified seven decades ago in The Road to Serfdom.
Running up taxes on fuel, electricity, and fuel for the putative purpose of stopping climate change is an alternative version of human sacrifice for weather control. Excluding immigrants for the putative purpose of making jobs available is merely an alternative version of the counterfactual case for population control — to wit that we supposedly would all be better off if there were fewer people (in fact, we weren’t). Neither is a liberal, moral, rational, or practical position. On the contrary, increasing human numbers, freedoms, and living standards accelerates the rate of invention, and thus humanity’s ability to deal with any problem. That’s the liberal, moral, rational, and practical program for advancing the human condition. It’s also the winning political answer to both the brown and green anti-humanists. Immigrants and free enterprise, together, are what made America great — and they both need each other.
To see clearly what the Liberal Party needs to oppose, it is useful to examine what freedom’s most dedicated enemies are for. Aleksandr Dugin is one of the principal philosophical theoreticians of totalitarianism internationally, and his publications are regularly featured in such American identitarian outlets as Radix (Dugin’s English language translator is the wife of American alt-right leader and Radix publisher Richard Spencer). While he greatly admires Nazism, Dugin’s “Fourth Political Theory” seeks to transcend traditional Nordic racism’s self-limited market appeal by proposing multi-centered tribal fascism, and allying it with other anti-liberal ideologies including communism — but also ecologism in a new synthesis to counter the liberal ideas of individualism, intrinsic rights, and universal human dignity. It is the raising of “blood and soil” over “all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;” of animal instinct over human reason; of the id over the superego; of greed and lust over justice and love. This is the metaphysics of tyranny.
James Madison said, “If men were angels, government would be unnecessary.” The corollary to this is that if men were beasts, freedom would be unacceptable. Dugin understands this. So like Circe, he seeks to use the sorceries of tribal and ecologic anti-humanism not merely to weaken and break up the Western alliance, but to turn men into unreasoning beasts, the better to end the specter of liberty everywhere.
This is the enemy we now face. Encouraged, supported, and in some cases directed by the Kremlin, the green, red, and brown rainbow alliance of tyranny is on the march across much of the globe. In Europe, the socialists and environmentalists mismanaging the European Union are discrediting the dream of a united Europe, providing the opening for Moscow-backed tribalist parties to break up and take over the continent. This effort is being further helped by a concerted campaign of economic sabotage by the green and red parties whose anti-fracking initiatives are making sure that Europe remains dangerously dependent on Russian natural gas, and by the armed forces of Russia and its Iranian and Syrian allies, whose ethnic cleansing campaigns are stampeding millions of refugees into Europe to rapidly accelerate the rise to power of the Kremlin’s brown fifth column.
America should be opposing this offensive against the free world with might and main, but under the mis-leadership of the partisan careerists who dominate both major parties it is not doing so. On the contrary, with the near unanimous support of the Democrats in Congress, the Obama administration helped to fund Iran’s brutal offensive in Syria to the tune of 100 billion dollars released in accord with the terms of its nuclear deal, and failed to effectively assist Syrian rebel forces fighting the Iran-Assad-Russia alliance on the ground. Not only that, the Obama administration opened the door to overt aggression by failing to honor America’s treaty commitment to defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and by reducing U.S. Army troop strength in Europe to 30,000 men, an amount less than one-tenth that of its late Cold War strength and smaller than the New York City Police Department.
Until recently the Republicans chose to criticize the Democrats for their foreign policy weakness, but the new Trump administration promises to be even worse. While the Obama administration offered only feeble help for the Syrian rebels, Trump has said he supports the Assad-Iran-Russia war effort. While Obama limited the U.S response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine to ineffective economic sanctions, Trump has offered justification for Putin’s attack. Furthermore, notwithstanding his U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s Samantha Power-like grand verbal denunciations of Putin’s aggression, Trump has dismissed criticisms of the Russian strongman’s murderous regime across the board. While Obama cut American military power in Europe to mere tripwire levels, Trump has offered to render even that symbolic level of support to Europe’s defense moot, by stating that he sees no reason to be bound by the NATO treaty’s requirement to come to member states’ aid should any come under attack.
Under such circumstances, it is hardly surprising that the Kremlin chose to interfere in the American election with both covert and overt actions to assist the rise of Donald Trump. What is disheartening, however, is the degree to which the Republican Party has rallied to deny or dismiss this intervention in America’s internal affairs, an outrage which verges on an act of war against the U.S. homeland itself. And while the Democrats are currently making much of Trump’s Putinophilia, an honest recollection of their own behavior prior to the Trump candidacy makes it difficult to take their newfound ardor in the defense of the West seriously. That said, we now have a president whose self-interest apparently requires him to suppress or silence the nation’s intelligence agencies that have brought to light the enemy conspiracy on his behalf, and a majority party — in as much as it remains a party — bound to support him in this endeavor.
This is a five-alarm fire. America needs a new party, one that will — in the present emergency — bravely rise to the defense of the republic and the grand alliance of the free nations which it leads. It needs a party of economic sanity, which will not destroy the basis of our livelihood through either a combination of trade war and immigration restriction, or top-down suppression of business. It needs a party of humanity, which rejects tribalism, not only for the harm it inflicts upon its targets but for the moral and intellectual degradation it infests within the minds and hearts of its converts. It needs a party of liberty, one which will defend not only the borders of freedom, but the ideas and institutions that make freedom possible.
In short, America needs a Liberal Party. Scattered, the forces of liberalism are weak. Together, we may yet prevail.
— Dr. Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Energy of Lakewood, Colo., and the author of The Case for Mars. The paperback edition of his latest book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism, was recently published by Encounter Books.