An outline for a post-fusionist Conservatism, written by Sohrab Ahmari in First Things.
“What, exactly, do you want?” Liberal critics put the question to the post-fusionist American right in various ways. At times they ask it earnestly, at times with a sneer, and not infrequently with undisguised contempt. It seems that no political argument can be properly digested unless it comes with policy proposals stippled by bullet points. But the new American right seeks to challenge the philosophical parameters within which wonks allow that we may formulate policy.
For the past two generations, American conservatives have been focused on liberty, first in the fight against communist totalitarianism, then in a more undifferentiated way in our resistance to “regulation.” But today our challenges are different. Our society is fragmented, atomized, and morally disoriented. The new American right seeks to address these crises—and to do so we need a politics of limits, not of individual autonomy and deregulation.
The new right has floated policy proposals, but when it has, critics have reproached it for demanding too little: If these disturbers of the intellectual peace “merely” wish to tweak the social, economic, and cultural mix—to tame Big Tech and tax well-endowed elite universities, to reenact Sunday trading bans, guarantee paid family leave, shield children from LGBT indoctrination, and so forth—then there really is no need to renegotiate first principles. Or so the critics say.