While there are many nuances and side issues in the debate between David French and Sohrab Ahmari, the crux of the disagreement appears to be a general clash between two opposing political philosophies adopted by religious believers: Catholic integralism and classical liberalism.
Paul Miller: I don’t want bureaucrats in Washington, DC, to develop a blueprint of the correct form of national culture we’re supposed to identify with. Any effort to do so will inevitably, and justifiably, backfire.
Robert Kagan seems unwilling to consider that there might be something to learn from these “authoritarians.” If he did, he might paradoxically find an ally in the cause of preserving and securing liberal democracy and the rules-based order it helped build.
In a recent issue of Providence, several scholars presented a defense of liberalism that cited Augustine. Daniel Strand responds that many things about Augustine are not liberal at all and would probably set him deeply at odds with American liberal democracy.