Fusionism

Debating the Continued Relevance of Frank Meyer's Fusionism

A back and forth on whether fusionism retains its vitality in the 21st century, or whether it ever had any vitality at all.

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As I noted a few weeks back, the Liberty Fund's Online Library of Liberty has been hosting a "Liberty Matters" discussion on "Liberty and Virtue: Frank Meyer's Fusionism." Reason's Stephanie Slade offered the lead essay, followed by commentary by William Dennis, Henry Olsen, and myself.

For those interested, here's an index of the contributions to the discussion (thus far):

One issue that arises in the discussion is how to think about Meyer's (in my view, unwarranted) hostility to Lincoln. As I discuss in this paper on Meyer and federalism, Meyer was unduly influenced by the constitutional analyses of James Kilpatrick, as were many conservatives of the time. While Meyer was not as tolerant of segregationists as some others within the National Review orbit, Kilpatrick's influence did lead Meyer to some wrong-headed conclusions. But, contra OlsenI am not convinced this tells us much about the relevance or importance of Meyer's overall project. Meyer should not be dismissed for getting Lincoln wrong, any more than a contemporary theorist should be dismissed out of hand for, say, misjudging Trump.

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  1. Utility is less religious, torally American. It involves math, so the lawyer ignores it.

  2. A communist until 35, then a hard-right-winger until death? That’s a misfit whose bad judgment causes him to lurch from one wrong side of history to another.

  3. “As I discuss in this paper on Meyer and federalism, Meyer was unduly influenced by the constitutional analyses of James Kilpatrick, as were many conservatives of the time. ”

    You know, it takes more than “Some people disagreed with him!” to refute a position. And that seems to be the entirety of your refutation of Meyer’s anti-Lincoln stance.

    It seems to me that Meyer has some pretty strong arguments in his quiver. Newspaper editors being jailed. Conscription. States created out of other states without the consent of state legislatures. Constitutional amendments ratified, literally, at gun point.

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