Vital Signs

Whispers From Kirk

Stan Evans has described bodies of thought as having “lifecycles”; they emerge, thrive for a while, and, unless continually nourished, eventually hollow out and pass away.  Having reached the end of its lifecycle, liberalism, as a coherent body of thought, is dead.  There are still liberals, of course.  But the tradition derived variously from John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Montesquieu, which was transmuted in the 1950’s by the Cold War and transmogrified beyond recognition by the social revolutions of the 60’s and 70’s and the influence of Michel Foucault and company, has not been able to sustain itself.  The ethos of revolution, which was tied, in varying degrees, to Enlightenment rationalism, utilitarianism, individualism, anti-Christianity, and socialism, has proved itself to be an insufficient basis for a full and humane social order.  Liberalism’s culture of individual rights has become increasingly unworkable and has made politics impossible.  Moreover, liberalism has metastasized into a corrosive popular culture that even many liberals oppose.  Finally, as a direct rebuke to liberal visions of a gradually secularizing world, nonliberal and traditional religious movements are now stronger than they have been in perhaps a century.

What does this mean for conservatives?  For one thing, it means that what Adrian Woolridge has called the “Coulterization”...

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