Through the dot-com bust, 9/11, the Iraq war, and the financial crisis, it was striking how consensus held, how elites kept circulating, how quickly populist movements collapsed or were co-opted, how Washington and Brussels consolidated power even when their projects failed. No new ideological movement, whether radical or reactionary, emerged to offer the alternative to liberalism that fascism and Marxism and throne-and-altar traditionalism once supplied. And no external adversary, whether Putinist or Islamist or Chinese, seemed to offer a better way than ours.Emergence is like that.
Here in the dying days of 2015, though, something seems to have shifted. For the first time in a generation, the theme of this year was the liberal order’s vulnerability, not its resilience. 2015 was a memento mori moment for our institutions — a year of cracks in the system, of crumbling firewalls, of reminders that all orders pass away.
On the one hand, in political debate, it helps to have something substantive to replace something actually existing.
On the other, when the actually existing is broken, "we've always done it this way" ought elicit an immediate "look what that's brought you." Thus, Christopher Chantrill. "Get a clue, liberals. We are in the current mess because of you. Let me count the ways." And Marian Tupy at Reason elaborates, with charts. "The presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama, it turns out, have been bad not only for our national fiscus, but also for such indicators of good government as control of corruption, government effectiveness and regulatory quality."