Rod Dreher

Longtime readers may recall my blogging last year about the work of Philip Blond, the English theologian and political economist who advocates “Red Toryism,” a conservative middle way advocating for a strong civil society to mediate between the excesses of left-wing statism and right-wing market fundamentalism. Here’s a bit from a New Statesman profile of him:

One left-of-centre politician who does take Cameron and Blond seriously is Jon Cruddas, the MP for Dagenham, and another speaker at Blond’s coronation last month as the Conservative Party’s philosopher-king. “We, Labour, ignore Blond’s work at our peril,” Cruddas says. “There’s a fault line running through the history of conservatism, between liberal-economic conservatism and a richer, more paternalistic tradition. Phillip’s trying to rehabilitate the second one. What it does is allow the Conservatives to use a different language, a discourse about our obligations to others that is much richer than the Thatcherite brutality built around a notion of atomised economic exchange.”
Blond saw Thatcherite “brutality” close up. He was born 42 years ago in Liverpool into a large working-class family. His experience of growing up in the city as it was being ravaged, first by recession and then by deindustrialisation, has clearly shaped his politics, giving it an elegiac, nostalgic tone. “I lived in the city when it was being eviscerated,” he says. “It was a beautiful city, one of the few in Britain to have a genuinely indigenous culture. And that whole way of life was destroyed.”
He left Liverpool to go to Hull University, and then moved to Warwick to study for a Master’s degree in Continental philosophy. One of his contemporaries there remembers him announcing himself as a “Catholic socialist”, though Blond disputes that.
“I’m not a socialist and I’m an Anglican. But I have always been interested in Catholic social thought, which always made the argument that capitalism and communism are species of the same thing. Both are forms of disempowerment. But I also think that’s a Tory insight.”

Read Blond’s original blockbuster “rise of Red Toryism” article for Prospect here. (Excerpt: “Thankfully, conservatism is a rich and varied tradition, and re-examinating its history can provide the answers Cameron needs. These ideas are grounded in a conservatism with deeper roots than 1979, and whose branches extend into the tradition of communitarian civic conservatism–or red Toryism.”) To me, Blond’s writing is what my book and output would be if it had been written by an actual intellectual.
Anyway, it’s great that Patrick Deneen and the crew at Georgetown’s Tocqueville Center will host
Blond speaking on Thursday night on the Georgetown campus in Washington. He’s going to discuss the Red Tory vision for reviving and renewing conservatism in specific and our left-right politics in general. As the bit above indicates, at least some leftists have found common ground with the religious conservative Blond. The lecture is open to the public, but do follow the link above to RSVP, to guarantee a seat. On Friday, Your Working Boy will join Ross Douthat of the NYTimes and Dan McCarthy of The American Conservative on a panel to deliver a response to Blond’s speech. The succeeding panel will involve academics. I hope to see at least some of this blog’s readers at one or both events.
Oh, and if you’re in the Philadelphia area, come hear Prof. Blond speak on Monday night at Villanova.