Ambinder is right when he means to say that the reconstituted Republican coalition must include cultural conservatives at its heart. But he is wrong to say that it must include "social conservatives" at its heart.
Conservative political philosophers need to make a persuasive case to social conservatives that they ought to turn mostly back into cultural conservatives. Cultural conservatives turned into social conservatives when the militant, politicizing left convinced them that the only way they could maintain their local ways of life their own community justice was by nationalizing and politicizing themselves. This effort was an understandable past error; it now appears as a present failure. To an important extent, cultural conservatives must have the courage to be good and let the chips fall where they may. In several fashions, this looks and smells a lot like a retreat from politics. But a culturally conservative political philosopher might assert that the politics to be abandoned is one which never should have been taken up in the first place. Perhaps, at the time, it seemed or even was necessary; now it is necessary to reverse that. It has been tried, under conditions of commanding power, and it has failed. Spectacularly. At incredible cost.
My related thoughts here.
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