Where’s the center-left?

You can believe that French-ism is superior to Ahmari-ism in principle and practice, while also recognizing its utter dependence on a good-faith negotiating partner. For the center-right to hammer out a peace the religious right can live with, it needs a counterpart on the left that can stand up to its illiberal flanks and deliver a deal.

Today, that portion of the center-left is small and quiet. The large remainder too often goes along with the illiberals — either loudly out of conviction or quietly out of fear. As long as that’s true, and as long as left-wing hegemony persists over key economic and cultural institutions, many social conservatives will understandably view French’s procedural liberalism as a guide to losing gracefully.

… [N]o one ever won hearts and minds by pointing out the best way to lose, no matter how empirically or logically impeccable the arguments for surrender. If we procedural liberals can’t bring our left-wing counterparts to the negotiating table, the future of the right probably belongs to a muscular populism that can hold out hope for social conservatives. Even if it’s a false one.

Megan McArdle

September 11, 2019

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