According to Yoram Hazony, the Israeli-American student of political philosophy who is the principal organizer of the conference, liberal principles, “have brought us to a dead end.” He lumps “universal liberalism” together with Marxism and Nazism as a potentially “genocidal” ideology that fuels “the desire for imperial conquest.” In liberalism’s stead, he is a proponent of what he calls “conservative democracy.” He favors a tradition in which, among other things, the state “upholds and honors the biblical God and religious practices common to the nation.” In other words, in the American context, he would bid farewell to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Hazony opposes liberal democracy root and branch and also the very idea of a pluralistic society. “The overwhelming dominance of a single cohesive nationality,” he writes, “is in fact the only basis for domestic peace within a free state.” He approvingly quotes Johann Gottfried Herder, the 18th-century father of German nationalism, who warns against “the wild mixing of races and nationalities under one scepter.”

But the United States is a land where there has long been just such “wild mixing of races and nationalities.” The nationalist idea, inevitably bound up with ethnic, racial, and religious homogeneity, sits poorly in a polyglot nation founded on the universal principle that “all men are created equal.” Ties of blood and soil are not the basis of American greatness.