Apparently, the current crop of intelligentsia, if that's an accurate description, don't get it.
Thus, the intelligentsia is now flirting with an intellectually indefensible linguistic coup: Characterizing any appeal to the coherence or distinctiveness of Western civilization as evidence of white nationalist sympathies. Such a shift, if accepted, would so expand the scope of the term “alt-right” that it would lose its meaning. Its genuinely ugly ideas would continue to fester, but we would lose the rhetorical tools to identify and repudiate them as distinct from legitimate admiration for the Western tradition. To use a favorite term of the resistance, the alt-right would become normalized.Put another way: if a defense of the traditions of free minds, free markets, and skeptical inquiry become signifiers of the political right, I am directing my course to starboard.
But to grasp that point requires thought.
How did progressive intellectuals get themselves into this mess? The confusion comes in part from loose language: in particular, a conflation of “liberalism” and “the West.” Liberalism is an ideology — defined by, among other things, freedom of religion, the rule of law, private property, popular sovereignty and equal dignity of all people. The West is the geographically delimited area where those values were first realized on a large scale during and after the European Enlightenment.There's still a lot of work to be done: simply change the inventory to read "freedom from religion, the rules are a system of power, property is theft, popular sovereignty is a scam, and equal dignity implies privilege." But cleaning up after the deconstruction is work.