Save AmericaReject Libertarianism – The American Mind

Posted: November 9, 2021 at 2:33 pm

The future of America depends on abandoning the illusion of neutrality.

Tom Klingenstein is right in his latest speech. I might quibble over small details, but what matters is that Klingenstein is indubitably correct about many big things: above all, that the Right cant reverse the tide of wokeism until it begins to minimize the influence of libertarianism. As he says, Libertarian-influenced Republicans tell the wokesters: You can live your way, just allow us to live our way. To which the woke respond: You must live our way or we will punish you.

If there is one lesson we must draw from the experience of the past few decades, and especially of the past few years, it is precisely this one. There has never been, and there will never be, a neutral American public square. It is a fantasy that we could ever or should ever make cacophonous debate and disagreement our only true ideals, leaving each to penetrate the mystery of human life on his own, or to figure out whether there are two genders or 107. One claim or other will coercively predominate.

Yet neutrality is precisely the visionan illusion, reallyunder which much of the establishment Right has labored and continues to labor. Klingenstein, with his characteristic lucidity and forthrightness, sees through it.

Thisshouldntbe that hard. All it requires is taking an unflinching glance at U.S. society as it exists today, rather than as the libertariansor better yet, right-liberals or conservative liberalsmight wish it to be. The claim that there are more than two sexes, or that 1619 is Americas true founding, is enshrined as public dogma. Americans who reject it risk being unpersoned by Big Tech, fired from their jobs, treated as domestic terrorists by the national-security apparatus, and so on.

It matters little that much of this coercion is meted out by private firms rather than governmental actors. This meaningless formal distinction is one of the right-liberals most enraging sleights of hand; whatever their subjective motivations in insisting upon it, objectively, it puts them on the side of the soft totalitarians.

The right-liberals flash as badges of honor their various commitments: to neutrality, to pluralism as a very-high good, to a society defined above all by disagreement. But really, they are marks of a great and craven abdication. For at least two generations, they have garnered prestige and profitable sinecures of various sorts on the promise of doing no more than perpetuating the endless discussion of liberalism. The right-liberals have asked voters for political authority, while determined not to exercise it on the side of truth. The wokes, meanwhile, are definitively ending the discussion, and they seek office to wield raw power.

My generation of right-wingers has a clear task, and it is to follow Klingensteins call to sideline right-liberalism and libertarianismmore than that, to bury their sclerotic institutions, abandon their illusions, and expose the ugly material realities churning behind their tired watchwords and slogans.

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Save AmericaReject Libertarianism - The American Mind

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