Henry Farrell: The American Right's Torquemada Option: Weekend Reading

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Henry Farrell: The American Right's Torquemada Option: "On the Ahmari/Kimball/Peterson/Deneen thing. When anti-modern conservatives decide that the liberal world is depraved they can either withdraw from it-the Benedict Option, or cleanse it of the corruption of tolerance. Call it the Torquemada Option https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemesis_the_Warlock. And the moderate success that some modern figures-such as Orban-have enjoyed in taking over the university system and forcibly purging it of those who would pollute our youth with gender studies and the like give old time reactionaries like Kimball some hope it can be done...

...But the Torquemada Option threatens to split open the whole IDW/Heterodox Academy/@conor64 alliance by clarifying the stakes. It's easy to build common cause against what you see as liberal intolerance when you keep things nice and fuzzy. It is rather harder when your mates insist on making it clear that what they are opposed to is the liberalism, and that they are A-OK with the intolerance as long as their side is in charge of intolerating. Indeed, that they believe, as per Ahmari, that tolerance towards the unbelievers is itself an obvious wrong.

The Jordan Peterson/Orban https://hungarytoday.hu/orban-meets-jordan-peterson-in-budapest/ clinch to denounce "political correctness" rather gives the game away. If what you care about is tolerance and heterodoxy, you do not make common cause with Orban for very obvious reasons. If increased heterodoxy, alternatively is merely a stepping-stone towards a world where you and/or your allies can better impose your own orthodoxy on those around you, it makes all the sense in the world.

There is a genuine space for a conservatism/classical liberalism that builds from elements of Adam Smith, Locke etc, through Popper and others towards a real interest in openness. There's also space for that to sharply criticize people on the left who, like those on the right and center, have their own tendencies towards intolerance. Though they should too look to keep their own house in order. But the alliance that has been built around the IDW etc is intellectually unsustainable. Or, more precisely, it would be unsustainable if those who have joined from the soi-disant liberal side were willing to look at the intolerance of those they have allied themselves to...

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