William Gairdner, author of The Great Divide: Why Liberals and Conservatives Will Never Ever Agree, joined the Federalist Radio Hour to discuss democracy, reason, marriage, freedom and the future of civil conversation.

Gairdner said he sees a new political philosophy growing which he classifies as libertarian socialism. “It’s not pure libertarianism and it’s not pure socialism, but it’s enough of both to say we now have a new political model which has mutated in the western world,” he said. “They aren’t very concerned about freedom except when it comes to their sexual and bodily freedoms.”

Gairdner’s book suggests that the state aims to take away social bonding in civil society by offering state bonding as a substitute. “As these libertarian-socialist entities continue to grow…governments simply move in through what I call substitute caring,” he said. “To take over what used to be the functions of free people in their own civil societies.”

Another element critical in conducting civil conversations is the ability to be present and how our phones and media have made it more difficult to do so. “These devices have tapped into an incredibly powerful urge that people have to communicate, but only with those of their choice,” Gairdner said. “In the past, your social circumstances required you to develop the skills to communication with anyone who was around you. In other words, to be gracious, to be kind, to be well-mannered and to hone all those skills.”