A friend emails:
The discussion of Left and Right always assumes underlying agreement on liberalism. Left-liberal social democrats and Right-liberal free-marketeers define the acceptable boundaries of "ideological discourse".
But liberalism is the thing that is causing ideological confusion and conflict. Liberalism, the philosophy of untrammelled individual autonomy, is not compatible with cohesive institutional authorities such as families, churches or states. (And maybe even companies, going by the self-destructive tendencies in financial markets.)
Liberalism also tends to lead to natural dysfunction, at the micro-level with obesity and macro-level with global warming.
But its sacred tenets are never questioned.
I think that liberalism has a narcotic effect on its victims, inducing a life-long intellectual stupour when it comes to examining its own assumptions.