On the New Right and the evolution of Frank Meyer’s Fusionism
For a time now, conservatives in the United States and abroad — particularly in Europe and Latin America — have fallen into the trap of the status quo: they wrongly thought that the success of their policy laid on sound market economics and classical liberal institutions to maintain a stable government. That is the case for both the post-Reagan America, the post-Maastricht European Union, and most particularly, in post-Pinochet Chile (as an example for the Hispanic countries). Moreover, they have rejected their label and adopted names that have isolated them from their own. Some of them have taken shelter among libertarians; some others among religious (especially Christian) groups, and, for the worse, some have even been accepted into the ranks of socialist movements.
This is a degrading image of how conservatism died after its successful implementation during Ronald Reagan’s and Margaret Thatcher’s administrations. It is also the world in which Francis Fukuyama wrote his famous book The End of History and The Last Man, in which he wrongfully called liberal democracy the last political system humankind would have to experiment with — since, apparently, it was the most perfect and functional of them all. These conservatives were proving Fukuyama right: by applying mediocre but popular Chicago-an market economics and maintaining liberal institutions as a disguised political tradition, they thought the status quo could be preserved for eternity. They likely didn’t care about the incoming culture war or the geopolitical changes to come. They believed it was over when the Cold War was won, and the Soviet Union beat.
Sitting on top of this lie was Frank S. Meyer’s magnum opus: the political synthesis of traditionalism and liberalism, the fusionist view of conservatism. I don’t blame Frank S. Meyer nor ‘fusionism’ for the death of conservatism. Arguably, fusionism as an ideal is a sound philosophy for conservatives; it combines the best and more sound economics, with the best and more sound of political and legal schools of thought. That way, it was understandable that consevatives believed that liberalism and traditionalism could work together toward a common goal: development, prosperity, and the common good. It was a good match. The problem was, fundamentally, that it was applied in the worst possible way, mostly by technocrats who only understood half of the economic theory they were taught and none of the traditional ideas they should have learned.
All around the Western world, Chicago-boys with a degree in economics, or Harvard Business School graduates, went to carry the mantel of Fusionsim and develop policy, eventually taking reins of government. Their economic policy worked fine, mostly, except that, by forgetting tradition and traditional institutions, they created the most perfect environment for leftists to thrive and plot the subversion of the democratic liberal order. That’s when they started to get called ‘neoliberals’.
While such went mostly unnoticed in countries like the US, in other nations, on the other hand, it was quickly picked up by intellectuals. Unfortunately, they were ignored by their more liberal-minded peers. Antonio García-Trevijano, a Spanish lawyer and university professor who worked as a legal counsel for the Falangist elites, oversaw the future of the liberal democracy that was going to be imposed on his country a few years later as a parties dictatorship, in which there was going to be no difference between voting for a ‘right’ or a ‘left’ wing candidate since all of them would be nothing but social-democrats (all of them being legal positivists, economically Keynesians and cultural progressives). It would be the death of truly free economies, legal diversity, and of the nation-state as a concept, he thought.
On the other side of the world, fusionist liberals would enjoy their (still to this day) biggest victory. Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet received a group of Chicago School economists to help them craft his economic policy for the years to come. The free market innovations they implemented worked and brought stability and prosperity, so to speak, at the cost of artificially marginalizing various social groups and destroying most of the national identity of Chile (which today is as similar to Madrid or any other Western hemisphere metropolis as any American large city).
Conservatives’ focus on economics made them forget the importance of traditions and institutions, taken hostage and subverted by the left during the last 40 years. They surrendered their free society and its cultural basis, free media, and serious academia to the same leftists that have been subverting French culture for the last two centuries.
Consider this: what we call nowadays liberals are not what originally liberals were. This brand of liberals is descended for radical Jacobins (which also spawned communists and other leftist fauna), known for their progressive and revolutionary views and their violent activism calling for egalitarianism. It was probably them, by adopting different guises and developing different ideas and theories, that took over academia and the media, flooding the bureaucratic ranks of the managerial state to mold it into the monster it is today. For little less than half a century, while fusionist conservatives were too busy boasting about their economic successes and looking the other side when confronted, they have been creating the power dynamics necessary to justify a violent revolution.
It is in this climate, in the dim reality post-fusionist western societies, that as shining in the dark, a new brand of conservatives has arisen out of the entropy, both as a rejection of the neoconservative-neoliberal consensus and as a revival of traditional and liberal thinking among obscure libertarians, academic reactionaries, hardline Catholics and forgotten nationalists. The new right has taken the same approach to its political philosophy as old fusionists, but added a whole new dimension unknown to it: it is genuine and sincere about its right-wing views.
The movement includes a serious interpretation of Sir Roger Scruton’s study on aesthetics as a justification to preserve beauty by political means; the long dissertations on the Christian basis of Western civilization promoted by Canadian professor Jordan B. Peterson; faithful study of long-forgotten texts and authors by the teaching of Leo Strauss; the rejection of revolutionary democracy and the praise of forms of government of ages past by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn; the libertarian origins and reactionary leanings of one Mencius Moldbug and his neo-reactionary followers… The new right is rising from the most unexpected of places.
Cast aside by the leftist academia, this conservatism has adopted a very particular viewpoint, spreading it like wildfire into all of the corners of the Internet. The Right has to play a game of its own if it wants to win; it has to adopt whatever ideas work to preserve political order and prevent any leftist trial of a violent revolution, for its implementation means exactly what it describes in physics and other sciences: a full-circle turn back to the state of nature, the end of civilization as we know it — poverty, misery, and survival, just as Marx only ever dreamt about.
While most contemporary conservatives are in some way or another connected to this neo-reactionary movement, their ideas seem all to be in touch with a sense of transcendence, of justice, and of responsibility. Certain truths are perennial: may them be institutions like the traditional family; free and voluntary markets; a sense of community; or a duty to our nation, whatever it may be. The New Right also understand that its view is pro-nominal — which means it follows the Nomos of the Earth, Natural Law — and that their adversaries, the disperse left, is by essence anti-nominal, and will do everything to impose entropy to destroy the fragile fabric of civilization: whether by subverting the natural roles in family institutions, sparking a racial war, or promoting anti-natural egalitarianism in which only misery can be equally distributed.
It is in a strange turn of events, that the same people who turned a blind eye into the chaos they’re creating by promoting economy without morals seem to have been the ones to spawn a reaction against them: one that looks into established morals without utilitarianism, and order without compromise, to guide their efforts into what is true, what is beautiful and what is good.
While the old fusionist conservatism died in the cold utilitarianism and lack of understanding of its handlers, a neoreaction that well understood the meaning of fusionism was born from its ashes, pushing for more tradition and more liberty than any of its predecessors. The death of fusionism happened while the Left was preparing its revolution, and its rebirth as neo-reaction will likely meet it with a counter-revolution of its own.