gemli is a trusted commenter from Boston — 15 hours ago
Liberal thinking emerges from enlightenment. It’s the realization that we’re all in the same boat, regardless of gender or skin color or sexual identity. It’s the opposite of tribalism, and the religions we create to justify rewarding the chosen few and sending undesirables to hell.
The 20th century saw an awakening of the idea that everyone deserved a decent life. Robber barons were cast out by unions, the old were granted financial security in retirement and women wrested their right to vote from a male-dominated society. The self-evident superiority of one race over another was shown to be based on ignorance. Sexuality was found not to be a choice, but a natural part of biology that existed along a spectrum.
Nothing lasts forever. For the last twenty years there has been a backlash against liberalism from a bitter contingent of conservatives who miss the good old days. They recall the old tribal imperatives when they wrap themselves in the flag and clutch a Bible to their chests. They deny science in favor of revealed truths that come from their God. They proclaim exceptionalism even as we sink on every scale by which it is measured.
Mr. Douthat thinks there is good to be found in the reactionary slide that gave us Trump and Cruz. He thinks calling this bitter philosophy by another name will make it palatable, and we can profit from its “insights.”
Conservatism isn’t something we embrace. It’s something we recover from. Let the healing begin.
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