But while it’s possible that a Bourbon Restoration scenario awaits, in which our overclass learns nothing and forgets nothing during the Trumpian disruption, there is something mildly encouraging in the willingness of Merkel’s competitors in the political center, not just on the extreme right, to act as though they’ve learned lessons from her high-minded blunder, and to campaign and negotiate as if the public’s opinions about migration policy should actually prevail. Better that kind of crisis-generating move by far, in fact, than a grand coalition of parties united only in their anti-populism, and perfectly designed to ratify the populist critique that all the elites are in cahoots.

What will save the liberal order, if it is to be saved, will be the successful integration of concerns that its leaders have dismissed or ignored back into normal political debate, an end to what Josh Barro of Business Insider has called “no-choice politics,” in which genuine ideological pluralism is something to be smothered with a pillow.