WHAT LIBERALISM LACKS

First Things | 9/1/2017 | R. R. Reno
madalina09madalina09 (Posted by) Level 4
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I find the liberalism v. illiberalism template tiresome. I am an American, which means I cherish (perhaps too much) our culture of freedom. But let’s be realistic. We’re afflicted by a liberal monoculture, not illiberalism.

For an entire generation, Democrats and Republicans have allied to pursue a double-pronged project of cultural and economic deregulation under the banner of liberalism. The left emphasizes cultural deregulation, though plenty of fusionist libertarians also endorse this agenda. The right emphasizes economic deregulation, and Clintonite neoliberals affirm its main thrusts as well.

Pornography - Supreme - Court - Decisions - Sluice

Consider pornography. Supreme Court decisions opened the sluice gates for the raw sewage, and the Internet has vastly expanded the conduits. Meanwhile, our political establishment, left and right, has not lifted even its pinky finger. Liberal voices on right and left warn us about the slippery slope of censorship. Restrain the free speech rights of pornographers, and next thing you know the progressives will limit the free speech rights of anti-abortion counselors. But wait, they already do . . .

Consider marriage. The rich and well-educated sustain a marriage culture. Everyone else gets sucked into the whirlpool of sexual and familial dysfunction. Try to reverse that inequality, and the establishment left screams “patriarchy,” while the establishment right denounces “conservative social engineering.” Both are liberal objections to efforts to renew the social authority of marriage.

Freedom - Threats - Republicans - Dudgeon - Right

Consider religious freedom. The threats are dire, establishment Republicans tell us. But they carefully protect themselves, insisting in high liberal dudgeon that I have a “right to be wrong.” As Sohrab Ahmari observes, correctly, this kind of “leadership” will put us in the same category as the KKK.

Consider the sanctity of life. After a generation of activism and numerous pro-life Republican politicians elected to public office, even to the highest office, Roe remains the law of the land. Doubtless many good liberal principles...
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