Left and Right Today

The problem is not that “the left” is winning, or even, for that matter, that “the right” is winning. The problem is that left and right today are mere euphemisms for various iterations of radical populism, while populism itself is merely a euphemism for something else, something one is no longer permitted to say in polite company without being scoffed at for alarmism or accused (understandably) of spouting clichés.

The notion of constitutionality, and the arguments in favor of it, are dead, because the premises that made constitutionalism, aka republicanism, a persuasive political solution, are no longer accepted by anyone on any side of any prominent public discussion. The premises of constitutionalism are fundamentally undemocratic, intrinsically opposed to egalitarianism, and, in a word, elitist. They were once considered essential truths which had to be preserved in a nation’s public institutions as a counterbalance to the democratic impulses toward radical change, moral materialism, and the rule of mass emotion and ignorance — impulses which, if left unchecked, would inevitably drag a society toward incivility, and ultimately into the maw of tyranny. And so here we are.


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