Horseshoe theory is malarkey. The centre can only hold if it has the confidence of the masses. That will only happen if centrist elites can acknowledge the worst excesses and failures of their own ideology. Whether it’s giant corporations or deep state entities beholden to nobody and constructing Orwellian surveillaince systems, or media conglomerates transforming from a fourth estate to a repulsive propaganda machine for the state or other titanic organizations, or the military-industrial complex, the pillars of totalitarianism have rebuilt over decades from nominally liberal beginnings. States swelling in size in every direction hop in bed with every consortium of global corporation. Our leaders look to draconian policies abroad to enforce free trade policies which erode everything of value not counted as part of GDP. This undermines the very civic institutions making free trade possible.
We must reforge a universalist and perennial philosophy by reconciling values of a globalized world with the problems of 21st century. Societies must be prepared for new ideologies and technologies, with a renewed passion for the earning the consent of the governed. The idea that neoliberalism is the logical successor to classical liberalism is absurd on the grounds it’s produced an increasingly liberal society. Neoconservatism is a lie for it conserves nothing. Authentic progressives and socialists find no home as the grassroots and egalitarian social organization worldwide on the political left is controlled by a toxic politics of dominance.
We need to renegotiate the role of science in politics, and do so without scientism. We must have the sense to reject the rationalization from technocrats empirical social science has or will all but solve ethical dilemmas. We must acknowledge peoples and cultures around the world rejecting a single world order means the project of history and politics is not over. We must explore philosophies which dare to ask humanity ought value instead of defecting to power structures which only value their own perpetuation at all costs.
Classical liberalism was the broadest political tent in history. It spanned from Thoreau and Chomsky to Hayek and Hobbes. We must find and forge new answers. We must uphold as paramount not truth itself but the inexorable search for pursuit of it. The next generation of intellectuals must break the mould as it hasn’t been in centuries.
If you reject regressing into the catastrophic failure modes of the last century while rejecting the legitimacy of supremacy of the contemporary status quo, you stand with me, and I with you! It is time for the rise of the ortholiberals!