The Corner

We All Live in Alcove 1 Now

Matt Continetti has an excellent piece on the home page on the current splits on the Right. A theme of the column is that some of the factions, no matter how fervently they think they are correct and their colleagues or erstwhile colleagues wrong, don’t have any policy specifics to bring to the table. This is also one of the points Ramesh makes in his post on the contention over “French-ism.” Indeed, the intra-conservative debate over the last year has generally been bereft of such details, even as it has been incredibly impassioned and often poisonous. The questions, What and How? almost never appear, i.e., what policies are we talking about and how are we going to achieve them? In the Tucker Carlson populism–free market debate, almost no one on either side mentioned what might be affirmative policies to address working-class discontents and why we should support or oppose them — a re-imagining of high school, increased apprenticeships, wage subsidies, lessons from Germany’s experience making its workers more productive, etc. As for the Frenchism debate, it’s even more content-free because the anti-Frenchist side hasn’t, as far as anyone can tell, taken the first step to thinking through, What and How? So, we’re all effectively living in Irving Kristol Alcove 1 at CCNY in the 1930s, the site of doctrinal debates that may have been interesting and important — and produced some impressive people — but weren’t always closely tethered to the real world.


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