I have spoken on this blog numerous times about both the illiberal woke left and the illiberal integralist right. Both sides critique liberalism (used in the classical sense, not in the sense of the U.S. left). Some of these critiques are valid. Indeed, I am not above critiquing liberalism. My position, however, is that although liberalism is not good, it is the least bad of the available options. Now, though, the illiberal right is becoming the friend of the center left in the enemy of my enemy sort of way.
In addition to being a Youtube educator and political/philosophical commentator, I am also a novelist. In my science fiction Incarnate series, the main protagonist continues living into the future. In that future, the federal government of the United States begins failing and devolves power into several regional governments. Two of the main governments are the People’s Republic of America (PRA) in the northeast and the Christian States of America (CSA) in the southeast. These two governments reflect the current illiberal trends in the left and right respectively. The PRA is a government based around neo-Marxist economics and a Woke social order. The CSA is an Integralist Christian social order with state control over the economy in order to promote the sort of Highest Good advocated by the real integralist right.
In my Incarnate series, these two governments cause a great deal of suffering for the inhabitants. I have tried to predict what sorts of things would happen if either of these ideologies – Wokeism or Integralism – were able to come to fruition. The Wokeism of the PRA has led to a great loss of freedom of speech, especially for disfavored classes. It has become common for people to force their children to take on identities that confer victimhood status, such as forcing their boys to transition into girls. A Soviet-style denial of reality causes untold problems and inefficiencies which has led to widespread poverty and drug addiction. The Integralist CSA, on the other hand, has turned everyone outside of Christianity, and Christian dissenters, into second class citizens. Rumors of a secret holocaust against undesirables – LGBT, drug addicts, Muslims – swirl through the news.
When I began writing these novels back in 2014 I hadn’t really thought of them as pushing any sort of political agenda. At least not in any sort of hamfisted way. It’s not just Wokeism and Integralism that are subjects of critique, either. Libertarianism/anarcho-capitalism is probably critiqued even heavier (and I considered myself a libertarian when I started writing it).
The point of this post, though, is to try to think about what these two illiberal ideologies would look like in practice. If the Woke left or Integralist right were given every policy they wanted tomorrow, how different would the country look?
If the Woke left was given power, we would see the end of meritocracy. Instead of qualifications attesting to a person’s competence, the criteria for obtaining a position would be a person’s intersectional bona fides. Instead of weighing available evidence in determining a person’s guilt or innocence, their accidental traits would become salient (think the condemnation in the recent Rittenhouse case, where his guilt was determined by the “crowd” before any evidence was presented; then after it was presented, people maintained their conviction in his guilt).
If the Integralist right was given power, those who do not pay allegiance to the Church would find themselves as second class citizens.
Above images taken from “Integralism: A Manual of Political Philosophy“
I imagine this Integralist society would not be pleasant for most Christians, either. In my Incarnate series the brand of Christianity in charge of the CSA is an uneasy coalition. Leaders from multiple Christian denominations are brought together to try coming up with some way of making it work, but this does little to relieve sectarian tensions. It is, of course, much worse for those outside the realm of Christianity, just as it would be if Integralism was realized in the real world.
My point with all this, aside from shamelessly promoting my novels (available in eBook and paperback) is that as flawed as (classical) liberalism is, it is far less worse than the illiberal alternatives.