Here we come close to affirming the practical notion that the left and right need each other as a counterweight or completing factor. But on closer look their positions are asymmetrical: the postulates of liberalism will always make it the initiating force in political life, while conservatism will always be its cautionary handmaiden. While liberals are congenitally discontent with the pace and extent of reform, they always have a general sense of what should come next, best expressed in Samuel Gompers’ famous one-word policy: “More.” More reform, more legislation, more equality. Conservatives, by contrast, do not have a clear or uniform outline of the good society; instead, conservatives have serious divisions among themselves about what the good society should be. It is not simply a matter of opposing “less” to the liberals’ “more.” Conservatives have deep theoretical differences over the relationship of liberty and virtue, and while liberalism has a similar theoretical argument (between “communitarians” and individualists), it is not as pronounced and politically relevant as the split on the right. I’ll add here that the theoretical and practical tensions within conservatism are a source of the movement’s strength; conservatism’s infighting leads to a certain amount of self-renewal that is largely missing in liberalism.Well, there's certainly some self-renewal in the left's practical politics in the post-Cold War age. Communism as a goal is pushed more aggressively than ever, among people who had normally been the institutional foundation of what previously was the mainstream liberalism of John F. Kennedy and others. That is, to the extent that the left is seeking a revival of the animating revolutionary ideologies of the early twentieth century, there appears certainly a renewal. Indeed, it's the resurrection of the most murderous ideological developments in the history of mankind. And now there's the added malevolence of the left's accommodation to fascism with its support for millenarian Islamist fanaticism and the shift of historic anti-Semitism from the right to the left of the spectrum in the manifestation of the "new anti-Semitism." These are developments that Hayward might want to address in his continuing iterations of the series.
My previous entries in the series are here.