Fault Lines

In a thought-provoking FT column yesterday, Janan Ganesh writes:

If this year has thrown up a lesson beyond the coronavirus pandemic, it is that a — perhaps the — culture war burns within the left, not between left and right. On one side are liberals who define justice as equality before the law. On the other are those who see this republican idea as a sham, preferring group rights along ethnic and gender lines instead.

As Democrats prepare to transition into power, it’s worth considering very carefully the extent to which a or even the culture war is more of an internal problem than an epithet to throw at Republicans.

It’s also worth looking carefully at the battle lines as (reductively) drawn here. Even if it’s true that the standard of justice before the law hasn’t been met — as so clearly appears to be the case — arguing that some groups are more equal than others is a position with an unhappy history.

Even if a left-right culture war continues (and I’d argue that that’s likely), the left-left conflicts are about to be extremely public, and arguments for relative, group-based rights are a recipe for bitter division.