In the West the liberal order has reigned supreme for many years. This liberal order—as distinct from the theory or philosophy of liberalism—consists in a world of commercial republics marked by constitutionalism, the rule of law, a market economy, and broad protections for political, intellectual, personal, and religious liberties. That order has always had more intrinsic merits than the theory—contractarian, individualistic, and vaguely relativistic—that often justifies it. But today it is subject to unremitting intellectual assault from both the woke Left and the post-liberal Right. Critics from the Left typically attack liberalism in the name of an amorphous “social justice,” while critics on the traditional Right fault it for flattening and homogenizing the human soul. And so our age is marked by an impatient and imprudent rush to jettison the delicate systems that have brought peace and prosperity to the West for the better part of a century.

This does not mean that the liberal order is without its problems. Its best advocates have almost always acknowledged as much. Nearly 200 years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville already highlighted the tendency of democracy to “democratize”—to self-radicalize in ways that undermine liberty and the inherent dignity of the human soul. Though he profoundly admired the American Founders as statesmen-thinkers

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