The Rise and Fall of American Integralism (Kevin Vallier, June 13, 2024, The Dispatch)


Liberalism has faced criticism since it emerged in the late 18th century, whether from socialists who thought it downplayed solidarity, fraternity, and equality, or from conservatives who considered it harmful to traditional institutions like the family, the local community, and the Church. But by the end of the 20th century and into the 21st, liberalism had seemingly defeated its opponents. Almost everyone in the West defended liberal institutions. Take the 2012 U.S. presidential election: Mitt Romney was no illiberal right-winger, and Barack Obama was never a socialist. They both were—to different degrees, certainly—liberals.

Things changed in 2016. Suddenly, immigration restrictions and aggressive right-wing approaches to the culture war became influential, if not dominant, in many liberal democracies. Culture trumped economics. In the U.S., questions of identity took over the “national conversation” that health care reform had occupied a few election cycles prior. The political right—now content with a large welfare state and eschewing fiscal discipline—started winning elections.

To comprehend the post-liberal project of the Right one needs to comprehend that the energy behind the Obamacare hysteria was just Identitarian too. After all, the model was the right’s own Heritage plan and Romneycare, while the supposedly small government Tea Party only opposed social welfare for “others”.