National(ist) Redemption — Interview with Yoram Hazony

Yoram Hazony has had a wild summer. The release of his new book, Conservatism: A Rediscovery has sparked significant discussion across the political right. As Chairman of the Edmund Burke Foundation, he assisted in a collaboration that generated the National Conservatism Statement of Principles. And now, he is preparing to address the third American conference of National Conservatism (colloquially referred to as NatCon 3) when it is held in Miami next month. 

I, too, will be in Miami covering the conference, and I was fortunate to be able to catch up with Hazony last week to discuss a broad range of issues: the premise of his new book, the right-wing politics of the frogs, and the role of personal repentance in national salvation. We also talked about the agenda at NatCon 3.

One of the major theses of the book is that conservatism is not a species of liberalism, but many people do believe the opposite. Explain to me why this is a dangerous idea.
Yoram Hazony (YH): It’s always dangerous to have a misconceived view of political reality. And one of the book’s main projects is to examine the set of assumptions that make you a liberal, and to compare that to the assumptions that underlie a conservative or traditionalist political worldview. The liberal assumes that all men are perfectly free and perfectly equal by nature; and that moral and political obligation arises only by way of the consent of the individual. Liberals also tend to believe that government doesn’t have any purposes other than protecting the liberties and equalities that belong to the individual by nature. I think that every one of these liberal assumptions is false.
What I’m calling the conservative paradigm begins with the empirical fact that everyw …

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