Although it’s late in coming, I’ve thought long and hard about my own response to the recent Phillip Blond visit (this is what working full time does to you – the eating up of quality writing time).  Most comments, at best, end up stating something like, ‘yes, that’s all well and good, but it will never take off in America’ and at worst, ‘this is oppression pure and simple; all RT does is attempt to reinstate feudal society.’  Such responses come as no surprise.

 As for myself, I was going to write about the RO influence, Virtue Ethics, Milbank’s role in all this, hierarchy, the good distributed through time, etc.  Yet Blond managed to sum up the single most important aspect of his Red Tory within the fist minute of his Villanova speech: RT, Catholic Social Teaching, RO, Distributism, and all that make up the main drivers of a Red Tory political stance end up being the only thing that’s truly subversive

 Not simply because Phillip Blond says so, but because this is what people like Ralph Nadar have been saying (see his The Seventeen Traditions); people like Namoi Klein point to this; and people like Herbert McCabe have definitely been saying, warring against liberalism in all its guises as he has for some time.  Now, I doubt Nadar or Klein would crouch their criticisms in Blond’s terms (“the liberty of the ancients”) and no doubt they would be uncomfortable with notions of virtue, perhaps betraying a residual liberalism.  But they all argue that without a civil polity or an active civil culture promoting authentic debate (the very thing liberalism undermines!), we stand no chance against the centralized power of capital.  Once we lose the notion of the family as an educational institution (Nader), once we forgo objective substance in media and politics (Klein) and once we buy into individualism (McCabe), we open ourselves up to the most insidious forms of manipulation and in the process undermine freedom and reinforce an ever growing authoritarian state. 

 The best quote from Blond?  When he spoke the words of a former BBC chairman: “I don’t believe in choice, but equal access to things that are great.”

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