The Enemy of My Enemy Is Not My Friend: On Sohrab Ahmari’s “Tyranny, Inc.” and Patrick J. Deneen’s “Regime Change”

Jodi Dean in LA Review of Books:

CONSERVATIVE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUALS raging against critical race theory and drag queen story hour are receiving book endorsements from prominent figures on the left. Patrick J. Deneen’s Regime Change: Toward a Postliberal Future (2023) has a cover endorsement from Cornel West (President Barack Obama praised Deneen’s previous book, 2018’s Why Liberalism Failed). Sohrab Ahmari’s new book Tyranny, Inc.: How Private Power Crushed American Liberty—and What to Do About It features a blurb by Slavoj Žižek. What’s going on?

Ahmari is the founder of the magazine Compact and a former editor with the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal. Deneen is a professor of political science at Notre Dame. Deneen, Ahmari, and theologian Chad Pecknold have co-authored editorials for The New York Times. Together with Gladden Pappin, president of the Hungarian Institute for International Affairs, and Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule, Deneen and Pecknold founded the Substack newsletter Postliberal Order. Vermeule, Deneen, and Pappin have published essays in Compact. Ahmari dedicates Tyranny, Inc. to “Adrian, Chad, Gladden, and Patrick.” It’s a whole thing.

The project of Ahmari, Deneen, and their postliberal compatriots has been variously labeled national conservatism, populism, Orbanism, and integralism (the view that political rule should be governed by the teachings of the Catholic church). It amplifies—and attempts to give theoretical expression to—the division within the conservative movement associated with Trump: a base infuriated by its declining socioeconomic status and the condescension meted out by the professional managerial class.

More here.