WASHINGTON — If you want to understand the current fractures in the conservative movement, you should watch the Sept. 5 debate at the Catholic University of America in Washington between Sohrab Ahmari, the op-ed editor of the New York Post, and David French, a writer for National Review.

The debate sprang from an essay, “Against David French-ism,” that Ahmari published in First Things in May. Ahmari attacked a style of politics he attributed to French as too focused on procedural niceties and compromise, rather than protecting civilization from its enemies. Ahmari wants to use the power of the state against the left, in the way that the power of nonstate institutions is now leveraged against the right.

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