Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Sohrab Ahmari On The Failures Of Liberalism

Weekly Dish

The post-liberal intellectual talks about his long and winding journey, including a conversion to Catholicism.

Sohrab is a founder and editor of Compact: A Radical American Journal, and he’s a contributing editor at The American Conservative. He spent nearly a decade at News Corp. — as the op-ed editor of the New York Post and as a columnist and editor with the WSJ opinion pages in New York and London. His books include From Fire, by Water: My Journey to the Catholic Faith and The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos. A new voice for a new conservatism, I tried to talk him through how he got to this place — politically and spiritually.

You can listen to the episode right away in the audio player above (or on the right side of the player, click “Listen On” to add the Dishcast feed to your favorite podcast app). For two clips of our convo — on whether the free market is actually a tyranny, and how many liberals actually reject democracy, e.g. Brexit — pop over to our YouTube page.

Sohrab’s appearance this week is a good excuse to publish a transcript from David French, his great nemesis in conservative circles. Here’s a clip from David’s Dishcast:

A reader wrote last week:

I know the Sohrab episode isn’t out yet, but judging by his Twitter presence, it’s going to be a real barnburner of sophistry. His latest quips regarding foreign policy are ones that I find to be ignorant, especially his quips at Yascha Mounk. I know you’ve already shot the episode, but I’d suggest you check out the book, The End of the World Is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization. I think it really puts into perspective what American military might has brought to the world (absent, obviously, some of the more glaring blunders), and it might give context, rather than rhetoric, to Sohrab’s arguments.

We clashed a little, but I also gave him space and time to explain his own strange journey to this brand of neo-reactionism. In my view, his biography tells you a lot about his need for moral and political “absolutes.” In my book, that makes him close to the opposite of a conservative.

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