I went to see Mr Blond speak at a university last week after reading an article praising him in the New York Times. He is a UK philosopher who is gaining influence in political circles for his redefinition of what it means to be conservative: he calls this new brand Red Tory, also the title of his new book.
He began by describing our current state in which we are trapped in a limbo by the failed and unwieldy public and market bureaucracies. It was a bit tiresome hearing that all the problems of the economy and the state and society should be leveled at liberalism, which he made sure to do in his talk to an avowedly conservative American audience.
However, he spent some time defining the difference between classic liberalism and what we call liberal today, and claims red tories hold to the basic tenets of the classic wing: those precepts that bring us closer to individual and corporate freedom. Furthermore, he made clear that the liberalism he is fingering for our problems is the form that makes us individuals and consumers, isolating us from proper participation in a values based society.
He ended, I thought rather weakly, by proposing a localism that would defeat, somehow, the the liberal forces of totalizing and unwieldy government and corporations over an isolated and unfulfilled populace.
Here are a few bits from the article in the New York Times:
“Look at the society we have become: We are a bi-polar nation, a bureaucratic, centralised state that presides dysfunctionally over an increasingly fragmented, disempowered and isolated citizenry.
The welfare state and the market state are now two defunct and mutually supporting failures.
The project of radical transformative conservatism is nothing less than the restoration and creation of human association, and the elevation of society and the people who form it to their proper central and sovereign station.”
author: Phillip Blond
article: Rise of the Red Tories, Phillip Blond
article: The Broken Society, David Brooks, NYT
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