Published in February 2009 issue of Prospect Magazine
Phillip Blond’s cover story makes a good case for localism, but he seems to think his proposals require a rejection of liberalism, whereas in fact they are simply the natural outgrowth of liberal ideas. He is also grossly mistaken in some of the characteristics he attributes to liberalism.
In particular, he confuses liberalism with anarchism. Liberalism, he rightly says, emerged to resist the absolutism of monarchs, but he goes on to claim that the defence of individual liberty became so extreme that “each man was obliged to refuse the dictates of any other.” As such, it required “the repudiation of society.” The liberal idea of man, then, is an idea of “nothing,” not even a nation. The inevitable result of this is the need to suppress perpetual conflict between self-interested individuals; so “the unanticipated bequest of an unlimited liberalism” was “the controlling state.”