Donald Trump’s speech in Warsaw last week defending the achievements of Western civilization was met with an astonishing response on many quarters of the Left: That his remarks amounted to an endorsement of white nationalism or the alt-right.
In the Washington Post, our own Jason Willick takes apart this reaction—showing that it is not only logically indefensible, but that it is deeply destructive to liberalism itself. A taste:
What is at stake now is whether Americans will surrender the idea of “the West” to liberalism’s enemies on the alt-right — that is, whether we will allow people who deny the equal citizenship of women and minorities and Jews to lay claim to the legacy of Western civilization. This would amount to a major and potentially suicidal concession, because the alt-right — not in the opportunistically watered-down sense of “immigration skeptic,” or “social conservative,” but in the sense of genuine white male political supremacism — is anti-Western. It is hostile to the once-radical ideals of pluralism and self-governance and individual rights that were developed during the Western Enlightenment and its offshoots. It represents an attack on, not a defense of, of the West’s greatest achievements.
If free societies are going to survive this period of economic dislocation and political upheaval, their elites will need to offer a robust defense of the Western political tradition. The left’s response to Trump’s address in Warsaw suggests that it is not up to the task.