A brilliant little essay from P.M. Carpenter:

All that is driving modern conservatism's concentrically defined ideology: exclusion rather than inclusion, pup tents over big tents, intellectual guillotining and purifying bloodbaths. Only a tighter and tighter ideological circumference qualifies as True and Valid Belief -- an absolute killer in popular politics as well as in many an actual revolution. Outsiders need never worry for too long; the revolutionaries will stupidly slaughter themselves.

OK, so all that, as noted, is rather obvious. And in some ways, for today's liberal community, it's gratifying, even amusing. But it's also lethal.

Today's conservatism isn't serious conservatism. As a political philosophy, it's a joke. Yet in any healthy two-party system, one of them can't be a joke, not for long, anyway; for both sides to keep each other honest and rational, both, naturally and logically enough, must maintain at least some semblance of honesty and rationality.

Today, that requisite balance is decidedly unbalanced. One can't debate a lunatic, someone who genuinely doesn't give a damn about serious policymaking and cannot distinguish frivolous politics from it; therefore one is unable to sharpen one's own policy arguments against it.

It's sort of a yin-yang thing, but also a colossal paradox so characteristic of Eastern philosophy: The death of thoughtful conservatism could very well spell intelligent liberalism's demise.

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