Ezra Klein interviews Yuval Levin, a conservative intellectual who doesn’t sound like an ideologue:

Conservatives are nostalgic for the culture of midcentury America and are very happy, generally speaking, with how things have changed in economic terms. We love the dynamism of the modern economy, but we don’t love the chaos of modern culture.

Liberals are roughly the other way. They very much miss the structure and order and security of the midcentury economy, the stability for workers, the breadth of opportunity, but liberals are very happy with what’s happened to the culture over this period. It’s more diverse, it’s much more open and dynamic, it’s much more accepting of traditionally mistreated groups, there’s much more immigration, we’re a much more diverse society.

The trouble is that these are two sides of the same coin. Liberalization has happened both in the culture and in the economy. In the culture it has meant that our society is more open, is more diverse. At the same time, if you want to look at the dark side of it, there is less structure, there is less social order. Families are more broken than they used to be — communities too. That can’t be separated from the greater market orientation of the economy.

I think the hardest thing about living in a basically functional, free society is always to see that our problems are the costs we pay for our strengths.


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