The Atlantic

How Conservatives Can Save America

If properly understood and marshaled, they “can be a liberal democracy's strongest bulwark against the dangers posed by intolerant social movements.”
Source: Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Conservatives can save America in 2017.

That’s my takeaway from a passage that I haven’t stopped thinking about since Donald Trump’s election. It appears in a 2005 book about the forces that tear countries apart.

It’s impossible to read without thinking of the United States right now.

Karen Stenner, then a professor of politics at Princeton University, studied places like the former Yugoslavia that descended into bloody civil war, as well as citizens of successful democracies in Europe and North America, and identified the conditions and political predispositions that make civil strife most likely. She found that across eras and countries, some humans, who she calls “libertarians,” strongly prefer individual freedom and diversity, while others, who she calls “authoritarians,” possess a perhaps innate discomfort with difference that causes them to prefer sameness and unity, even if coercive measures are needed to enforce

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