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Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend

State of the Union: A new contestant emerges in the competition to define the post-Trump Right.

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Credit: Andrea Izzotti

On the night of September 12, in the warm, humid, teeming basement of a trendy Mexican restaurant off D.C.’s luxe Logan Circle, the American Institute for Economic Research welcomed its latest project to the world: FUSION, a new online magazine edited by Samuel Goldman and published by AIER’s president, William Ruger.

Ruger and Goldman’s “fusionist” vision was created with this prime issue in mind: seeking common ground between national conservatives, the new right, libertarians, postliberals, and traditionalists is the key to ensuring the preservation of America’s traditions of liberty and freedom in an ever-changing world. 

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These groups may disagree on issues ranging from the foreign policy to the gay rights movement to Donald Trump’s place in politics, but, Goldman and Ruger argue, all conservatives’ mission remains essentially the same: to “stand athwart history, yelling stop,” to borrow a phrase from the flagship publication of the old conservative fusionism.

“There is a core of shared commitment to constitutional government and ordered rule among us,” Goldman commented to The American Conservative, asserting that conservatives “agree on enough things enough of the time.” 

“The battle of ideas is a good thing,” said Ruger, who is a board member of the American Ideas Institute, which publishes TAC. 

In his first essay for FUSION, Ruger argued that “contrary to claims that we live in some libertarian utopia…individual freedom has been eroded in domain after domain of our lives. We have a serious gap between the soaring rhetoric of freedom around us from the reality we face today.”

In attendance was Dan McCarthy, editor-in-chief of Modern Age and editor-at-large of The American Conservative, who was enthusiastic about this experiment in coalition-building. 

“I think the challenge they’re facing is that people view fusionism as a mix of libertarianism and traditionalism. But within the libertarian movement itself, a lot of libertarian institutions are under pressure from the left to exclude all conservatives, and especially all populist and Trumpian conservatives,” said McCarthy. “But FUSION doesn’t seem to be doing that.”

“The question is can you do that and also keep more left-wing libertarians involved as well,” he added. “That’s totally appropriate, but there does come a point when you have to ask yourself whether we are including people in our coalition who want to censor half of our coalition?”

FUSION will publish a monthly long-form essay and occasional shorter pieces.