I’ve been arguing with Andrew Sullivan online for almost 15 years now. It’s one of my oldest and most rewarding hobbies. In the past, I’ve always felt we understood each other, even in periods of sharp disagreement. Lately, that’s changed.
Sullivan and I have both been writing about identity politics and demographic change, though from quite different perspectives. Our arguments of late have felt more like we’re talking past each other, or about each other, than to each other. We decided to do this podcast to talk it out, and trace where our differences really cut, and where they can be bridged.
This is a conversation about political movements, American religiosity, and identity. It’s about whether the illiberalism of today is really worse than the illiberalism of yesteryear, and whether the critiques of the campus left accurately describe anyone who holds real power. It’s about how much demographic change a society can absorb, and at what pace that change should occur. It’s about what conservatism is versus what it says it is.
A lot of what I try to do on this show is dig beneath the daily fights over whatever is in the news to the differences in worldview that power our disagreements. I think this conversation was unusually successful in doing that.
Some background links, if you want to dig into the articles we're discussing:
America's new religions
America, land of brutal binaries
The political tribalism of Andrew Sullivan
Democrats can't keep dodging immigration as a real issue
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