A couple of weeks ago I wrote a tantrum, “Chastening to come” anticipating an illiberal right-wing backlash to the open illiberalism of progressivists. Ezra Klein’s latest podcast features a conversation with Sohrab Ahmari, a representative of exactly the kind of perspective I fear — a Catholic convert who sees the latest aggressive imposition of progressivist cultural values as justification for imposition of his own traditional values, instead. If some official cultural value will always be imposed by someone, the argument against illiberality of aggressively advancing his own is perfectly irrelevant. Like progressivists, he sees liberal tolerance as disingenuous nonsense, and views progressivism itself as the terminus of liberalism’s slippery slope of tolerance of libertine selfishness.
When the pendulum swings back right, the left will find itself far less able to make liberal appeals for tolerance, not only because it explicitly scorned these principles when others tried to appeal to them, but also because they demonstrated they were not in fact after equality but for total progressivist domination in every sphere of life.