Hitting bookstores on August 15 is a short (141 pages) and engaging, book that looks at the fragility and intellectual decline of both the Democratic and Republican parties. In The American Conservative Rod Dreher reviews The Once And Future Liberal:
The thesis of Liberal is that the Democratic Party, and liberalism in general, has shipwrecked itself on the shoals of identity politics. “We have been repudiated in no uncertain terms,” he writes. “Donald Trump the man is, frankly, not the greatest of our worries. And if we don’t look beyond him there is very little hope for us.”
Lilla argues that liberalism failed to articulate a new vision of what America should be like based on what unites Americans. Instead, it gave itself over to identity politics, which “became the de facto creed of two generations of liberal politicians, professors, schoolteachers, journalists, movement activists, and officials of the Democratic Party.” Ironically, says Lilla, this only reinforced the core principle of Reaganism: individualism.
In The Once And Future Liberal, Mark Lilla, a professor of the humanities at Columbia, claims that this individualism has resulted in turning young people onto themselves, rather than toward the wider world.
It has left them unprepared to think about the common good and what must be done practically to secure it — especially the hard and unglamorous task of persuading people very different from themselves to join a common effort. Every advance of liberal identity consciousness has marked a retreat of liberal political consciousness. Without which no vision of Americans’ future can be imagined.
Rod Dreher encourages Republicans to read The Once and Future Liberal for its insights into “how changing economic conditions are giving birth to a new, as yet undefined dispensation.” The GOP needs to recreate the Party “to make it responsive to the world as it is.”
Read more here.
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