This essay appears in the Fall 2022 / Winter 2023 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe to the journal, click here.

One of the marks of the present moment is the rise and pre-eminence of post-liberalism and the increasing distinction and debate between post-liberal thinkers. Unsurprisingly, we often broadly agree on the relative demerits of liberalism and differ, sometimes sharply, on the remedies required. 

I crafted a book and a philosophy called Red Tory in England more than a decade ago in a period of personal and public disillusionment with New Labour’s statism, the New Right’s economic liberalism, and the generalized social liberalism that metastasized across the entire political spectrum. The agenda was first announced in February 2009 with an article in the British periodical Prospect. The book was then published in 2010. Mine was, I believe, the only post-liberal analysis and critique then publicly avowed. The book happily met with widespread derision from liberals, but from others it received something approaching agreement and a growing acknowledgement that our travails were in part generated by our presiding beliefs. 

The central message of the book was that social liberalism and economic liberalism were the same phenomenon, and both were to be repudiated. Why? Because liberalism was and is the governing ideology of a segregating, divisive, and decadent class that in its ascension has un-homed humanity and unhinged the world from its continuance. It has, moreover, exposed the West to its enemies who are clearly both foreign and domestic. 

Back in 2010 post-liberalism had no contemporary advocates in any sort of power in the West. Virtually everyone on the left was a social liberal and virtually everyone on the right an economic liberal. This is no surprise; they had happily conspired as such from the 1960s onwards, allies unbeknownst to themselves against better, older, higher things. Today, remarkably, everything has changed. The post-liberal has defined the last decade and is likely to determine the next.

Post-liberalism is in power, has had power (and mostly squandered it), or is on the verge of getting power. The post-liberal offer encompasses both populism (think Italy and Trump) and populist events (such as Brexit), as well as the election of mainstream parties (captured in part by post-liberalism) and insurgent parties campaigning most notably for immigration reform. Post-liberalism occurs overwhelmingly on the right (surely a cause for reflection), and the most important lesson for center-right parties seems to be: adopt elements of this offer or perish, as did the CDU in Germany in 2021 and the Australian Liberal Party in 2022. 

We should not really be surprised by the collapse of mainstream liberalism. Economically, modern liberalism, founded as it is on the fiction that extreme autonomy provides for everyone, has widened inequality. In dubious alliance with failing welfare states, liberalism has proved utterly unable to distribute and share economic gains equitably. Modern liberalism has presided over the creation of new vast monopolies and oligopolies, concentrations of market power that would have made the executives of Standard Oil blush. Modern right-liberals are manifestly (for they do nothing about it) in favor of monopoly, oligopoly, and the plutocracy that inevitably results. And modern left-liberals, happy in sinecures at the aforementioned state/market monopolies, feel themselves deeply righteous in administering the welfare states that ensure the survival and subsidy of the indentured working class but equally ensure that none will escape the new feudal bonds and that a servile class is permanently on hand to tend to the elite’s needs. 

Socially, liberalism atomizes. It makes the family unit unviable and increasingly restricts the formation of strong families to the upper echelon that liberalism now exclusively serves. Social liberalism enfranchises family formation above (increasingly it is only the upper class who marry) but penalizes the birth and care of children below. It eschews and demeans all wider forms of social and civic fraternity as it privileges the maintenance of the ascendant class and its autonomy above all else—which is why, of course, its children have crafted and embraced woke culture. 

After all, the aim of political identity politics is to mask the reality and cost of class in American life by denying the possibility of shared values and wider goals that can alleviate or remove the penalties of placement at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Cancel culture allows the children of the haute bourgeoisie to remove any impediments to their own advancement. The argument from elite replacement theory is not without merit: the children of the ascendant class must fight for the continuance of their privilege, and erecting new morals and codes to ensure that it is ring-fenced for them, and them only, is how that is done. For in the end the culture that is cancelled is anything that is not of them and for them. So conceived, social liberalism suppresses the lives and hopes of ordinary people, and it is the means by which their agency and purpose can be contained and denied.

Politically, liberalism achieves the opposite of what it promises. Because it denies the importance of tradition, social cohesion, and the formation of shared values, it produces a fragmented and warring populace that requires the Leviathan to police it. Far from being anti-statist, liberalism introduces the state as an absolutist policing power that ensures partisan rule by empowered and enriched minorities over subjugated majorities. The freedom it secures is the freedom of the abandoned, the freedom not to have a home, and the freedom to pitch your tents on the grass verges of America’s highways—perhaps the last genuine commons in the United States. The ultimate political legacy of liberalism is an isolated individual, bereft of family and friends, utterly powerless against an absolutist state and a monopolized market.

Philosophically, liberalism is founded on the exercise of untrammelled human will, as ontologically liberalism has already vacated the idea that we live in an objective world whose universals exist and can be known. Instead, human fiction supplants truth and is enthroned over it—such that sex, for example, is now made mutable and men are now claimed to be women and women lose all ontological distinction and purpose. Far from liberalism freeing women from patriarchy and domestic oppression, it has replaced them entirely.

Theologically, liberalism is atheist in belief and nihilistic in practice. Liberalism denies the existence of objective goods. It expunges objective universals from the reality of the world and replaces them with subjective assertion, which in a cruel parody it then declares is the sole universal. The only law or constraint we can know under such a rubric is that which we give ourselves. In a Feuerbachian inversion, all that is human is recast as a new divinity, and all that is human is reduced to the assertions of the most powerful.

Given all the aforementioned it is not surprising—with the financial crash in 2008, rising concern about mass migration, and the ongoing offshoring of industry and manufacturing—that what is termed populism was at least partially enthroned. Inchoate and outraged, with marginalized majorities fearing their relegation was about to deepen, a new politics repudiating the liberal legacy was born. 

The results are all around us, from Brexit in the UK and Trump in America to the Gilets Jaunes protests in France and the many irruptions of the anti-migrant vote in Italy. Populists cum post-liberals attained power in America and Italy; in Britain and in France they made inroads; and they had moments of political opportunity virtually everywhere else in the West. Post-liberalism was always an element of this resistance, but it never held the hegemonic position in the unthought ideological matrix that came together under personality and charisma to resist the Western liberal legacy. If there was any coherence it was around a reduction of post-liberal philosophy to a nationalist politics.

This equation was not necessarily fatal. In central Europe post-liberalism allied with nationalism has governed very effectively in Poland and in Hungary. It has its evident limits, which I will explore later, but the domestic success of its policies can’t be  denied. But elsewhere this mix has failed—and failed spectacularly. 

From Trump’s post-factual claims of electoral fraud and then an ersatz coup to Boris Johnson’s ambush by birthday cakes and parties, the absurd and the fantastical have combined in the post-liberal Anglo-Saxon demise. In France, Marine Le Pen was easily beaten by Emmanuel Macron. Even if the subsequent parliamentary elections left him domestically moribund, his presidential authority still gives him great agency, as can be seen with his attempts to drive through pension reform. In Brazil, an incoherent and demagogic Jair Bolsonaro lost to a cogent leftist platform that sought to secure ordinary people. In Spain, a new centrism, parasitic on the failings of the left, pervades the right, while the country’s political spectrum continues to fragment and polarize. In America, as mentioned above, the travails of January 6, 2021, still suffuse the Republican Party. Its base, now ineluctably working class, is caught between the return of Trump and a new paraclete that might yet align working class and migrant interests into a new Republican majority. 

The overwhelming conclusion about post-liberalism outside of central Europe is that despite clear opportunity it has been a manifest and ongoing failure.

There is a conventional explanation of this which isn’t wrong—but by the same token isn’t right enough—and that is the absolute lack of any serious policy offer from post-liberals or those populists who purport to be post-liberal.  

In Britain, the Conservative Party simply ignored the needs of the new electorate and recycled Thatcherism instead. Inexplicably, they disregarded the demographics of Boris Johnson’s 2019 victory when the working class shifted decisively in just the right places towards the right. They still behave as if a Tory majority can only reside in the affluent southeast of the country, and there they are continually demanding as a consequence that we perpetually re-offer the policy ideas of the 1980s. 

In America, with Trump the shift towards the post-liberal has been somewhat more pronounced: we saw successful tariff-led protectionism direct policy abroad but witnessed the avid continuance of monopoly practices at home. A coherent narrative to secure the nation and its workers and their families was patently available, but never delivered. 

The second and for me more telling account of post-liberalism’s demise is that we have not been romantic enough, that we have disastrously eschewed the language of the universal and ignored the innate idealism of human beings. In short, looking at the major nations where the opportunity has been the greatest—America, the UK, and France—the post-liberal right has taken the nationalist path. This is historically odd, as all of these countries are currently or formerly empire-nations with multi-ethnic polities. 

Where post-liberalism has manifestly succeeded is in central Europe, with Poland and Hungary. Both of these nations are now highly ethnically homogeneous, with Poland being 98 percent Polish and Hungary 84 percent Hungarian. Here an exclusive focus on the fears of mass migration can command popular support—yet it is highly questionable that either Fidesz in Hungary or Law and Justice in Poland has sustained its massive popular support as a governing party through an exclusive focus on the dangers of non-white and/or Muslim migrants. Rather they have both developed a sophisticated pattern of government intervention and support for families and those who are economically marginalized. They both favor the rural periphery over the cosmopolitan center and have developed effective policy means of securing the welfare of their citizens and, crucially, of distributing assets and social and cultural security to their populations. 

This more than anything else has enabled them to govern successfully. Sociologists and anthropologists would agree that ethnic homogeneity helps foster civic and social solidarity. But for both nations such an ethnic concentration was achieved at a horrific price. Before the twentieth century, both countries were parts of wider empires: Hungary increasingly powerful within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Poland unhappily partitioned across the territory of three different empires. In terms of the composition of their population, they were then highly variegated, with Germans, Russians, Croats, Slovaks, Romanians, and Jewish people all living in multivalent but shared societies. That it took the bloodletting of the twentieth century and the pathological murders of the Holocaust to constitute the present demographic mix is not a pathway that any sane or Christian nation would want to choose.

One might conclude that places where the disasters of the twentieth century have destroyed multi-ethnic polities and replaced them with ethno-states are the only context in which post-liberalism or post-liberal nationalism might succeed. Yet I do not think such is a necessary precondition of Polish or Hungarian post-liberal success. Indeed, when one looks at the unprecedented Polish embrace of the Ukrainian population that fled the Russian invasion, and the military support and succor unilaterally offered by Poland, one sees Christian idealism more than a desire for ethnic homogeneity, and crucially an appeal to the universal in defense of Ukraine and her citizens. As such, one can discern in Poland an emergence from nationalism and an opportunity to form a broader, more coherent philosophy and polity. Hungary, by contrast, has adopted a pure nationalism when looking at the war in Ukraine—one that has isolated it from its allies and advocates and inexplicably aligned it with its former oppressor. Such are the consequences of repudiating the idea of a binding universal across nations.

The failure of post-liberalism in the Anglo-Saxon world lies in a failure to choose and think clearly, no doubt because so many party members and political representatives remain either economically or socially liberal, or indeed both. Hence the peculiar and incoherent hybrid of post- and neo-liberal policies which the American Republicans and the British Conservative Party have followed. And in Western Europe, the relative failure of post-liberalism lies with a monomaniacal focus on migration, coupled with an inability to tackle that issue and an inability to turn political attention and policy formation to anything else. But in all these places post-liberalism’s malfunction lies mostly with a failure to cater to the needs of the working class and a consequent inability to persuade the middle class of the merits of such an endeavor. Happily, there are attempts—especially in America—to address this, but unfortunately that effort too, in its nationalist guise, is a cul-de-sac. 


Last year, The American Conservative published a statement of principles for National Conservatism. It attempted to encapsulate and legitimize the new nationalism that conservatives in America and elsewhere are avowing as their best defense against “universalist ideologies seeking to impose a homogenizing, locality-destroying imperium over the entire globe.”

By such a recasting, nationalism becomes for them the succor that will save us all. It will restore patriotism, loyalty, religion, and family. Globalist liberalism has undermined the general welfare through imperialism and the imposition of liberal norms on differing populations and diverse peoples. In contradistinction, nationalism will deliver us freedom, security, and prosperity.

As a conservative, one is sympathetic to the outcomes claimed for such an approach. After all, globalized markets in people and production alike have despoiled the life, security, and hope of the American working class, and indeed those of the working class throughout the developed Western world. Through mass migration and the offshoring of manufacturing and services, wages have been depressed and the idea of supporting a family through ordinary labor at median wages now appears delusional. Moreover, an unconstrained individualism that eschews human solidarity has shattered the nuclear and extended family. It has deprived the marginalized of societal security and has begotten a class of fatherless children who will repeat this social structure when they are fully grown.

The signatories to National Conservatism’s manifesto then rightly decry racism and propose that their nationalism escapes any reduction to ethnicity and (somewhat magically) restores the rule of law and therefore social and political peace as well.

But unfortunately, it is not remotely clear that any of this is true. Nationalism as a first premise does not lead to any of these purported outcomes. One need only turn to history for the refutation. It is a historical axiom that the great killing organization of the modern age is nationalism in the form of the nation-state. Nationalism is not historically civil; rather it almost universally tends to the monocultural and monoethnic, and in its modern form it is often marked by a reduction of an earlier and plural political and racial identity to ethnic homogeneity. Hence it is the nation-state that historically has tended to extinguish diversity and racial heterogeneity, whereas empires that encompassed many nations are those that have sustained ethnic and religious diversity and protected minorities. 

In addition, the economic globalism that National Conservatism’s authors protest was not created by an ill-defined cadre of globalists but by nation-states (the very entities they eulogize) that wished to dominate and determine the international trading system. The entire liberal global trading system that came into being after the Second World War was implemented and driven not by many nations but by one following its own quite explicit self-interest: the United States. Globalism in its current form only happened because it was deemed to be in the interests of the most powerful nation on Earth. 

Not only is the entire thesis as to the merits of nationalism wrong historically, it is also wrong politically, philosophically, and theologically. 

Politically, nationalism does not provide peace and security; on the contrary it provokes conflict both domestic and foreign. Externally nationalism cannot forge common bonds and shared values with other nations, as doing so would compromise the inalienable sovereignty of the nation-state and its “people.” Indeed, almost by definition the nationalist state must always be in actual or suspended conflict with others, as any affinity or shared purpose between states is a dangerous chimera that suggests governance by the supra-national and the dissolution of the nation.  

Similarly, in terms of domestic concerns, I know of no “civil” nationalist state either historically or currently. There are certainly states that are civil and peaceful, but if they are it is because of the empire that protects and sustains them (America and the West). If they were really on their own, they would have suffered the fate of Ukraine. Bosnia and Serbia are ethnically segregated, but conflict appears likely to break out at any moment. And, most clearly, China is an ethnic nationalist Han state, and its intentions are global, expansive, and violent.

Moreover, the state for which this idea of conservative nationalism is crafted, the United States, is particularly ill-suited to peace through nationalism, again largely because it is a multicultural empire composed of many racial groups whose civitas relies not on nationalist but on imperialist foundations.

Avowedly nationalist parties always have to justify exactly for whom they speak and what indeed constitutes, or does not constitute, the nation. It is self-evident that the overwhelming majority of nationalist appeals and polities in the past and at present are ethnically grounded, either tacitly or explicitly. And it is hard to see how it could be otherwise in large multi-ethnic nations. Nationalism falls neatly under Carl Schmitt’s rubric of the political, defined as friend–enemy relations where the overwhelming mark of belonging lies in the intensity of an association or disassociation. As such, the word “civil” applied to nationalism is really a misnomer. 

Civil nationalism doesn’t exist, but nationalism certainly does, and the nationalist states that do exist are neither characteristically civil nor peaceful—rather they are violent and grasping. Both Russia and China are expansionist nationalist states. The claim that nationalism delivers peace appears to be utterly bizarre.

Philosophically the authors of the National Conservative statement of principles are understandably, and rightly, trying to marshal conservative forces against liberalism and the damage it does to human flourishing in general and to working-class life in particular. It is then doubly perplexing that the authors chose nationalism as their means, for nationalism is liberal in both origin and practice. All the great nationalist revolutions in Europe after 1848 were liberal revolutions that went on to construct nation-states, which then engendered the carnage of the twentieth century. Each ethnic state destroyed the multiculturalism of the empires or polities it broke up, and any number of these new nations pursued subsequent war and colonization. The paradoxical truth is the liberal regimes and revolutions of the nineteenth century eradicated the very differences that they claimed they wished to protect, and they created in ideation the ethno-nationalist states that then produced in the following century inestimable conflict and destruction of human life.  

And nationalist states in practice operate very clearly on explicit and extreme liberal principles. Liberalism is not a nice ideology about kindness and sharing and being welcoming to minorities. At base, in all its foundational works by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, liberalism is an extreme panegyric to human freedom and the denial of any other value or standard except that of unconstrained human will. It denies relationships, solidarity, shared purposes, and objective standards, and indeed objective reality. Its ultimate outgrowth is more akin to that of Nietzsche’s philosophy than any other political ideology. So we should not be surprised that nationalism, which is liberal, behaves at the level of the nation-state pretty much as liberal individuals behave: prioritizing their own needs above all others’ and sacrificing or denying any shared interest or concern. And since liberalism ultimately just endorses and celebrates power, which is what nationalist states also do, why would we think such states would somehow not produce tyranny, elected or otherwise?

Finally, it is simply untenable to argue that one of the merits of nationalism is that it enables the defense of religion. The National Conservatives inveigh against universalism as if liberalism somehow owns all universals—and particulars are where the good resides, while the domain of evil is the universally applicable. To avow Christianity and Western civilization—which of course includes the Greek legacy of Plato and Aristotle as well as the unique mediation of Christ—and then deny the claim of universalism is at the very least quixotic, and at most patently ignorant and indeed heretical. 

Liberals also deny objective universals. They reduce them to their own subjective takes, which they then claim are the only possible things one can think. Liberalism denies the existence of such universals as God and objective reality, saying they don’t exist and if they did they still couldn’t be known, and all that exists is human projection and human assertion. Monotheism is ineluctably universalist: it says that truth, beauty, and goodness are real qualities in the world and the cosmos, and these transcendentals can be known and followed by all of humanity regardless of their race, locale, or culture.  

Of course, Catholic monotheism is a story of mediation, not of univocal religious monism where everything must be the same. No one thing stands for God, so many things are a better account of Him than one thing. As a philosophy of mediated universals is how Christianity is best understood—it accounts for, generates, and protects distinction, cultural difference, and differential expression through participation in a universal which sustains but exceeds all example. 

What is foundationally at play here is a particularly idiosyncratic reading of Judaism. God is first known by one people, but Judaism is not just a religion of one people; it is the faith that is enjoined to introduce God to all the nations of the world. Monotheism by its very nature refuses a reduction to particularism: if there is but one God, he is therefore also a God of all of creation and all peoples. It is a curious reading of Jewish history and theology that ignores Genesis 12:1–3, where all nations are blessed through the blessings that are given to Abraham, and through his actions (Exodus 9:14–16) God’s name would be proclaimed across all the Earth. Israel was consecrated as a priestly nation so that all nations shall praise God and be judged and governed by him (Psalm 67). Analogously, Christianity is not just for one people or one nation but for all people on the Earth. 

If one is generous, one can say that nationalist mistakes stem from a false opposition currently in vogue in American conservatism. Many conservatives wish to oppose libertarianism’s domination of conservatism. They have opposed it with nationalism. But they are in fact only opposing extreme liberalism with extreme liberalism. They would be better advised to embrace universalism as Edmund Burke did by moving from love of the particular to love of all mankind. 

What has happened here is that the transition from love of the particular to recognition of the universal that intellectual reflection would normally facilitate has stalled in American conservatism. In part, these nationalists are so appalled by liberal universalism and the world that it has created that they recoil from universality as if it belonged for all time to liberalism. Yet they remain resolutely and rightly attracted to the protection of the particular—their own nation and the people who live and work in it. They have backed into nationalism because it looks at first sight like a solution to the unhinged universalization of liberal ideology. But this is to misread the universal and to surrender the language of truth, goodness, and beauty to the liberals—who, unopposed, can then deny the existence of such things. 

To endorse a particular socioeconomic and cultural practice and then seek metaphysical and philosophical justification for it is not unusual. Indeed, it is how most ancient civilizations proceeded when thinking about themselves. What this tended to do was to legitimize the status quo and preserve the ascendancy of those already in command. If we remain in this intellectual mode—which is the philosophy that National Conservatives in effect espouse—it will prove to be a dangerous paradigm, as it will in effect sacralize the existing power structures of liberalism when they are dominant.

Universalism did not come about to oppress us. The birth of the universal is the origin of freedom, and of politics. For only by positing a power beyond that currently ascendant can one posit how we should live and what we should value and do. To abjure the universal and embrace particulars is to retreat to little more than human assertion backed by violence.

The relationship between state formation and philosophical conceptualization has a profound, if under-examined, philosophical history. The merits of the universal and the limits and dangers of a nationalism focused on the nation-state are best discussed in this context.  


Samuel P. Huntington’s thesis of a clash of civilizations explains part of where we are. We need to realize that the idea of “the West” is operative again and that its recovery is paramount for our survival. But before we tackle the subject of the West, we must speak of what the philosophy of nationalism purports to anathematize: empire. To oppose both universalism and empire is tantamount to being against the two organizing principles of human history itself.

Most human beings who have lived have done so under the auspices of empire. Once one moves from kith and kin social structures one inevitably moves not into nation-states but into empires. Apart perhaps from certain geographically isolated polities (and they often don’t develop beyond tribe) the nation-state doesn’t really exist outside modern human history. What there is, however, is the perpetual competition between smaller states that to a greater or lesser extent are all imperial, and that process of competition itself produces empires—often, paradoxically, in resistance to outside imperial incursion. In short, humanity was either in an empire or trying to build one in order to defend one’s people from imperial intrusion. If indeed the overwhelming majority of human beings emerge from tribal settlements into quasi-federal and imperial structures, where they are in suzerain or vassal relations or contesting such roles, then empires rather than nation-states are the more natural historical structures for humankind. Even the Greek city-states are not independent precursors of self-defining polities: on the contrary, they were all imperial and trying to be so to secure themselves. Even today’s late-modern European nation-state emerges from the breakup of empires, yet it too either becomes an empire itself (the European Union, for example) or is secured by another empire, such as America. 

Yes, America is not a nation-state; it is an empire. To pretend the contrary is to make a category mistake. American supremacy, for better or worse, has kept the peace in Europe and much of Asia for over half a century and has secured nation-states that would otherwise have been overrun long ago by other empires, most obviously those of Russia or China. There is no truly autarkic state in Europe that survives without the protection of an empire like America, and many of Europe’s states depend economically on the civic imperial variant that is the European Union. And if one needs proof of empire’s inexorability even in Europe, consider the fates of Belarus or Ukraine—the first now absorbed into the Russian empire and the second the subject of an expansionist invasion by the same.

There are few regions of the world where such contests between power blocs and competing empires are not playing out. And the conflict is values-saturated and cultural rather than merely the product of mechanistic or anonymous forces. 

Here one should mention the work of Eric Voegelin. He traced the rise of universals in emerging empire-cultures and linked these developments inextricably and rightly. For Voegelin realized that it was the violent extension of empire that gave birth to universality. Before such extension, humanity had been in a closed universe where the cosmos related only to them and their kin—but upon expanding and encountering others’ beliefs and gods this internal group cosmology had to adjust. In some expansive cultures, it became ever more repressive, producing a closed empire that subjected the dominated to permanent slavery and suppression. In other, more ecumenical imperialisms, the universal expanded and incorporated those it conquered into the polity itself—in the case of Rome, making them equal citizens within an astoundingly short period. Voegelin’s essential insight is that empire-cultures create universals that then apply to the multitude of people that live under empire. And even though empires at first proceed with violence, it is often the universal values they generate that domesticate this ferocity and extend civilization.

Perhaps nationalism is best understood as a form of cultic citizenship in tension with the philosophical tendency of universalization. The West, though, is not and never has been a mere collection of nation-states—it is a politics and a philosophy turned by Plato and Aristotle away from the particularisms of self-interest to the idea of participating in universal and abiding goods and truths. And it is a polity shaped ineluctably by Catholic Christianity, which fashioned the ideals of Roman participation into a vision of full equality for all humanity and all that that required. To hand this universality over to liberalism seems to be at best ill thought through, and at worst acquiescent to evil. 

All politics is about universals, and human conflict is both between and within universal frameworks. What those of us who are opposed to both economic and social liberalism often forget is that liberal hegemony has come to pass because we have ceded the universal to liberals. Yet the very things most post-liberals want to defend, such as religion and order, have historically only been defended by a more universalist account of what is at stake than nationalism provides. We now know that liberal universalism itself only serves a narrow, empowered, and self-interested group. Better to recover the defense of national difference through the notion of subsidiarity, within and under the auspices of the universals that we in the West share and that others outside the West want to uphold as well. Paradoxically, it is universalism that can best sustain nations, for if nations do not buy into something bigger than themselves, they will just be erased by those that do. This is the unavoidable lesson of history.

Phillip Blond is the director of ResPublica and the author of Red Tory: How Left and Right Have Broken Britain and How We Can Fix It.