"A conservatism that 'knows what time it is' is one that robustly asserts and fights for its values in the public square, and that refuses to cabin itself to appeals to 'live and let live' liberal bromides," writes Josh Hammer.

At last month’s National Conservatism Conference in Orlando, Florida, I used my speech to criticize “Fusionism,” the postwar conservative movement’s default political alliance built upon an attendant “Fusionist” political philosophy, and instead argue on behalf of an alternative path forward. Fusionism, as formulated and popularized by the midcentury theorist Frank Meyer, “fused” together economic laissez-faire dogma with privately held social and cultural conservatism. Fusionism remains today the philosophical lodestar for many of the leading institutions of Conservatism, Inc., such as National Review and The Heritage Foundation.

In the speech, I criticized Fusionism as “effete, limp and unmasculine” because the political philosophy, which relies on liberalism’s purported beneficence to safeguard private institutions’ intergenerational passing down of virtue, “removes from the political arena…the very value judgments and critical questions that most affect our humanity and our civilization.” Some of Fusionism’s defenders, among them paradigmatic right-liberal David French, have taken umbrage. Writing earlier this week in The Atlantic,French accuses me of helping to foster a “culture that idolizes a twisted version of ‘toughness’ as the highest ideal.”

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