November 9, 2022 - 4:26pm

Between liberalism and fascism is a vast and forgotten space, according to Yoram Hazony. Last night, at UnHerd’s new Westminster HQ, the Israeli philosopher and political theorist gave a lecture which drew attention to the discarded ideologies which once competed with liberalism and presented his alternative: national conservatism. But could this movement come to Britain? Yes, Hazony said, but time is of the essence. In his words: “It’s now or never. Time’s up.” 

According to Hazony, liberalism is gone and “it’s not going to come back”. In the space of two years, the old liberal consensus has been usurped. “In the year 2020, the great majority of institutions, private and public,” he said, “went over from this traditional liberal view […] to something completely new [
] woke neo-Marxism. We can talk about exactly what it is, but it’s certainly not liberalism.”

Hazony’s case for conservatism can be found in the word itself: the urgent need for us to conserve what we have inherited:

“What’s happening is that the two generations of Enlightenment liberals, who have been taught that all you need to do is reason and think for yourself, and don’t worry about your inheritance, don’t worry about the past, guess what? They don’t know how to conserve anything. And so there is nothing from the past that’s being conserved. […] What has been overthrown since the 1950s and 1960s? Well, let’s start with God and scripture, nation and family, man and woman, honour, the sacred, loyalty.”
- Yoram Hazony

Hazony invoked pornography, prostitution and the breakup of the family unit as symptoms of this overthrow. Liberalism is not strong enough to derail this relentless overthrowing of inherited values, he said, because it does not tie people to a nation or a place. Liberalism turns us all into citizens of the world. There must be some loyalty or sense of obligation to that which you are trying to conserve:

“If there’s going to be a force that’s going to stand against this ongoing cultural revolution that is destroying everything in its path, that force is going to have to involve a loyalty to, an understanding of, and a restoration of at least significant parts of that Anglo-American inheritance, of that British inheritance, which was the thing that made the UK what it was, that made it capable of propagating across so many centuries in such a brilliant way.”
- Yoram Hazony

If there is to be a coherent national conservative movement in Britain, then many of its potential members were present in the room last night. But with internal disputes as to the key principles of the movement, will it find its footing across the Atlantic? That, Hazony admitted, is yet to be seen.

Panda La Terriere is a freelance writer and playwright.