I was reminded of this a few days ago when I was interviewed by a journalist with the new French magazine L'Incorrect, which began publishing last fall. L'Incorrect is a conservative magazine designed to "develop the virtues of the multiple houses of the right" in France, according to its editor Jacques de Guillebon, in his opening editorial statement.
Many of the people working with this magazine have some connection with Marion Marechal-Le Pen, who is the granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founding leader of the French National Front, a far right party, and the niece of Marine Le Pen, the recent presidential contender of the National Front. In 2007, at age 22, Marechal-Le Pen became the youngest person ever to be elected to the French Parliament.
Although last spring she announced her retirement from politics, she continues to be influential as a leader of a new conservative movement in France that seems close to the Trump movement in the United States. Steve Bannon identified her as a "rising star" in French politics.
Marechal-Le Pen has been arguing for a coalition joining the National Front and some or all of the Republicans. The Republicans are a center-right or liberal conservative party that was formed in 2015 by renaming the Union for a Popular Movement party, which had been founded in 2002 under the leadership of Jacques Chirac, the former President of France.
This suggests to me that if L'Incorrect is associated with Marechal-Le Pen's position, then the magazine should be identified with a liberal conservatism. But my interviewer--Benjamin Demeslay--identified the French conservative tradition with the "anti-liberal tropism" of Joseph de Maistre and Charles Maurras. I responded to this by criticizing the illiberal conservatism of Maistre and suggesting that French conservatives like Marechal-Le Pen are actually far more liberal than they realize, and certainly they don't embrace the absolutist authoritarianism of Maistre that provided the intellectual seeds for fascism.
L'Incorrect has published a short version of my comments. Here I provide the full text--seven questions (in italics) and my answers: