In This Review

A World After Liberalism: Philosophers of the Radical Right
A World After Liberalism: Philosophers of the Radical Right
By Matthew Rose
Yale University Press, 2021, 208 pp

Across the Western world, right-wing activists and movements have grown louder in recent years. As Rose argues in this fascinating book, today’s various nationalists, populists, religious traditionalists, and racial supremacists form the vanguard of a “conservative revolution” with deep roots in the twentieth century, and they are now charting a path to a postliberal future. To illuminate the origins of this century’s postliberal wave, Rose profiles major intellectual figures of the radical right prominent in the last century. The German historian Oswald Spengler developed an account of world history as a series of cultural struggles rooted in unbridgeable divides of blood, soil, language, and tradition. Alain de Benoist was a prophet of the French far right in his heyday, developing a theory of “folk democracy” in which all peoples had the right to protect their customs, cultures, and ethnic identities from the effects of liberalism. Francis Parker Yockey was the preeminent American theorist of authoritarianism, envisioning an alliance between a postliberal America and a post-Soviet Russia. To these thinkers, liberal democracy and its hallowed principles represented antiquarian relics of an Enlightenment age that threatened Western culture and identity. They may seem obscure to many readers, but they are well known and well regarded by the adherents of political movements that pose a serious threat to liberalism around the world today.