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HomeIllinois NewsAn Awkward Alliance: Neo-Integralism and National Conservatism

An Awkward Alliance: Neo-Integralism and National Conservatism




Conservative Christian Americans currently face a challenge from an insurgent group of scholars and activists calling themselves “post-liberals” or “neo-integralists.” They are largely scholars. Some are theologians, like Chad Pecknold (Catholic University of America) and Fr. Edmund Waldstein, O. Cist. (Stift Heiligenkreuz, a Cistercian abbey in Austria). Others are political scientists, such as Gladden Pappin (University of Dallas) and Patrick Deneen (University of Notre Dame), or law professors like Adrian Vermeule (Harvard Law School). Others are popular authors like Sohrab Ahmari, who currently holds a visiting position at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Post-liberals take their name from the 2017 book Why Liberalism Failed, which Deneen wrote at a time when the conservative movement was in flux. In retrospect, the book retains a strong sense of Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option,” perhaps because the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, seemed destined to win the 2016 election; her loss was a surprise opportunity for post-liberals to emerge from a defensive crouch and advance their vision of a future in which conservatives could discard liberal nostrums of a bygone age in favor of a nation with a government that uses its power to advance the common good. In short, they longed for an America after liberalism.



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