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Dispatches From the Party of Ideas (TM)

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There has been a great deal of discourse among conservatives about an essay written by Sohrab Ahmari. Michelle Goldberg gets right to the heart of the matter by describing what Ahmari saw as justifying the destruction of the liberal order itself:

The post that set Ahmari off was not, needless to say, about the spike in miscarriages among detained migrants, or the prenuptial agreement allowing Donald Trump to cut off support for his daughter Tiffany if she joined the military. It was about Drag Queen Story Hour, a public event series founded in 2015 in which drag queens read to children and lead singalongs.

Ahmari’s jeremiad launched a civil war among conservative intellectuals. It revealed a growing crackup of the so-called fusionist consensus on the modern right, which had long united social conservatives, economic libertarians and foreign policy hawks. Some of this debate is serious. But a not insignificant part of the reactionary intelligentsia is obsessing over the following question: How long can conservatives tolerate a political system that victimizes them by allowing Drag Queen Story Hour to exist?

Does it sound like I’m kidding? I’m not. “The effort to ban Drag Queen Story Hour starts when we have the courage to clarify the moral stakes,” Ramona V. Tausz wrote in a follow-up First Things piece. “This requires casting off the civility creeds of the woke liberal left.”

[…]

I wonder if Ahmari has any inkling of how preposterous it looks, from outside his right-wing bubble, for Trump apologists to posture as defenders of family life. Ahmari is a recent convert to Catholicism and advocates a greater role for the church in ordering public affairs. I can think of few institutions with less standing to lecture others about protecting childhood innocence.

There are people worth taking seriously, and there are people who think that Ahmari’s argument is anything other than the incoherent rambling of a hateful crackpot, and there’s certainly no overlap in those categories. That this essay could generate anything other than “who could possibly believe this shit?” head-shaking is a good indication of how Donald Trump became the leader of the Republican Party.

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