“The most bracing pieces are sometimes the least defensible.
So it is with Sohrab Ahmari’s fusillade in the religious journal First Things against my National Review colleague David French, which has occasioned a cataract of conservative commentary.
Ahmari’s piece is part of the “post-liberal” ferment among a coterie of mostly Catholic writers on the right. A Catholic convert who has written a widely praised memoir, From Fire, By Water, he argues that conservatives should give up on defending a neutral public square and instead “impose our order and our orthodoxy.” …”
The post-liberal debate was going on in our circles for years before it arrived on the pages of First Things. We have people who have rejected liberalism for various reasons who come from all religious backgrounds: Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, atheist and agnostic, pagan, etc. Lowry attempts to portray the debate as a tempest in a Catholic teapot when we were the ones who started skewering David French years ago. The whole Western world is now in the process of rejecting liberalism.
“The animating insight of the “post-liberal” writers and their allies seems to be: We are losing the culture war so badly that the only option left is to impose our values on everyone else. How will they do that? Good question! We’ll get back to you after we are done savaging our allies. …”
Are these people really our allies?
I would say that social conservatives have been milked for generations by the GOP to get the neocon wars and the lolbertarian economic agenda. We’re social conservatives too in spite of being younger and more secular than the First Things crowd. In fact, the only point we have in common with mainstream conservatism is social conservatism and our views on that subject are significantly stronger and less liberal than those of David French whose wife writes Op-Eds in The Washington Post about carrying on a sexual relationship with her family pastor as a teenager.
“Needless to say, America is not a country ripe for the imposition of Catholic traditionalism. Among other things, conservative Catholics aren’t operating from a position of strength. Overall, about 20 percent of the U.S. population is Catholic, and only about 37 percent of Catholics are Republicans. About half aren’t particularly conservative on abortion or gay marriage. …”
The South is the socially conservative, authoritarian region of the United States and its eagerness to back Blompf in 2016 over a dozen other conservative candidates with the correct classical liberal ideology because he was going to build a massive wall and deport illegal aliens illustrates that Lowry is downplaying the fact that the United States now has an authoritarian majority. Lowry spent that election from New York City waiting for Carly Fiorina to rip Trump’s balls off which shows you how clueless and out of touch mainstream conservatism is with its social base in the South.
“We need to realize that America suffers, not just from a swollen state, but from a toxic individualism, people detached from family, church, and community, and thus from larger meaning.5
Finally, we need to hang together and, if we can’t muster decency when fighting our adversaries, at least show some when disagreeing with allies.”
No, we don’t.
If conservatism is classical liberalism and classical liberalism is an ideological poison that inevitably shreds the social fabric over time from both ends of the political spectrum by exacerbating income inequality and undermining the family, then continuing with that ideology and approach is self-defeating for social conservatives. Also, lolbertarian economics and a neocon foreign policy are a political albatross for the Right, as neither of those things have a social base outside of our elites.