In Our Time

The Future of Politics

It is a healthy and encouraging sign when politicians don’t know where they’re going because they have no idea what’s coming next, which pretty much describes the state of politics in the West today.  Among the various political groupings, only liberals know where they wish to go—and that is simply where they’ve been going for the past few decades, charging ahead toward a world fully globalized through internationalism, open borders, neoliberal economics, identity politics, multiculturalism, secularism, science, and scientism.  Their problem today is that they are no longer confident, and rightly so, of their ability to find sufficiently large constituencies to follow them in their flight into dystopia.  They are being challenged moreover from the further left by radicals who view them as the party of the postmodern establishment and for whom liberal is a slur, while the so-called populists, dreaded and despised by all true liberals, belong to the left as well as the right.  Conservatives, on the other hand, are not at all sure where they want to go, so long as it isn’t toward liberalism.

Their uncertainty has been reflected recently by reconsiderations in the philosophically opposed publications Modern Age and the New York Times Magazine on the nature and meaning of conservatism.  This discussion is only the renewal of a debate in this country...

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