More Hand-Wringing About the Radical Right
A World After Liberalism: Philosophers of the Radical Right
by Matthew Rose
Yale University Press
208 pp., $28.00
This is a book with a touchingly familiar ring. Traces of my own published works abound in Matthew Rose’s exploration of “radical right” thinkers. His manifest borrowings would include the title of my 1999 book, After Liberalism, and my extensive treatment of interwar figures of the European right, including my widely circulated biography of Carl Schmitt. Clearly Rose has studied my oeuvre but chosen for his own reasons not to mention it.
The unacknowledged debt aside, there is a deeper problem in the cautionary attitude with which Rose approaches his subjects. We should keep in mind that he is revisiting figures who no longer resonate in our political culture. Unlike Rose, I can’t even imagine our post-liberal Western society falling into the hands of someone as unconventionally right-wing as Francis Yockey or that anachronistic Italian and would-be pagan of the early 20th century, Julius Evola.
The woke left seems presently in power everywhere in the West; and its opposition seems fragmented or managed by those who have no stomach for taking on ruthless totalitarians. Yet Rose seems implicitly to assume that a radical right is in a position to take over our culture and thereby our society. The government, corporations, and educational institutions are now abolishing binary genders and referring to those who produce children as “birthing persons.” Presumably males and the transgendered
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