There is an increasing sense on the Right that individualism has failed, and on a very superficial level they are correct. But what they are not seeing is the big picture, and all of the factors that have been building for generations that have led us to this moment in our history.
Human beings are meant to be social creatures. This is why solitary confinement is often seen as cruel and unusual punishment. We need interaction with real people. That is why we have institutions like churches, social clubs, sports leagues and so forth to draw us together. A healthy Christian, for example, is not just someone who lives with a “me and Jesus” mentality. He has his church, and the people in it who can rebuke, encourage and exhort him. He has his family. He has friends and co-workers.
One of the benefits of “real world” relationships is you do not become isolated in an Internet ghetto. Someone sitting alone at his computer with little interaction with people is more easily tempted to become radicalized by the people who he converses with online. But if you are dealing with real people and start drifting into craziness, they will pull you aside and try to bring you back. I am convinced much of the problem with the “alt right” is a lack of real-world interactions.
As some on the Right call for more aggressive government action, what they don’t realize is that it is the government that has killed these mediating institutions to begin with. Government has replaced the church and family, and seeks to draw ever-more power to itself. What we need to do is not expand government power to accomplish “conservative” goals, but to shrink and reduce the power of government. But that cannot exist in a vacuum – we must rebuild those cultural institutions we have lost to replace government. The only way to do that is with our personal commitment to rebuilding those institutions.
A strong libertarian philosophy of government can exist side-by-side with strong cultural institutions. That should be our goal, and it should be a two-pronged strategy. We cannot rebuild a strong culture without a strong church. That has to be the foundation, and then we build outward from there. Passing laws is easy, but it is also a lazy solution. The effective solution requires a lot of hard work. Unfortunately, the “Trumpian” Right no longer has the desire to engage in that hard work. This means classical liberals (libertarians) need to pick up the slack.