Category Archives

Archive of posts published in the category: History

HKO Observations 2018 04 19

The patronage and influence of the first Progressive Era has only morphed into lobbyists and regulatory capture. But the real threat is the control they exert on government or the democratic process. 

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Trump and Jackson

“Like the chief of a military junto, he did not check backgrounds or discriminate against idiosyncrasies, he required only absolute loyalty. Hence he could accept the perpetual flux of his supporting coalitions and advising associates and extract the greatest benefit from them.”

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The Origin of Ideology

“As Adams explained it, the French philosophes had invented the word, which became a central part of their utopian style of thinking and a major tenet in their “school of folly.” It referred to a set of ideals and hopes, like human perfection or social equality, that philosophers mistakenly believed could be implemented in the world because it existed in their heads. Jefferson himself thought in this French fashion, Adams claimed, confusing the seductive prospects envisioned in his imagination with the more limited possibilities history permitted. “

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Jeffersonian End; Non Jeffersonian Means

Irony is almost synonymous with history.  Jefferson feared a large central government, but could not foresee a central government with Jeffersonian values.

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The One and the Few

Adams feared the aristocrats (the elite). Jefferson feared the monarchs.  Each thought the other an existential threat. Evan after the constitution was signed  we were unclear what kind of government we had and what kind we wanted.  We have been trying to complete the job every since.

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Theological Supports

“That states should attempt to dispense with theological supports is one of the many crucial experiments that bewilder our brains and unsettle our ways today. Laws which were once presented as the decrees of a god-given king are now frankly the confused commands of fallible men. Education, which was the sacred province of god-inspired priests, becomes the task of men and women shorn of theological robes and awe, and relying on reason and persuasion to civilize young rebels who fear only the policeman and may never learn to reason at all. “

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Some Thoughts on 2017

“History does repeat itself, but the soundtrack is different, and the sequel is usually disappointing”. – HO

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The Natural Bias of History

“We must remind ourselves again that history as usually written (peccavimus) is quite different from history as usually lived: the historian records the exceptional because it is interesting—because it is exceptional. “

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The Irony of American Leadership

From Victor Davis Hanson
“we need to take a deep breath and concede that sometimes past mellifluous appeasement is more dangerous than present flamboyant deterrence — just as the sober and discreet can be more adroit in warping the Constitution through distortions and corruptions of the Justice Department, the IRS, the FBI, and the FISA courts than are the profane and rambunctious.”

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Failure to Accept Victory

by Henry Oliner The first Progressive Era from Teddy Roosevelt through Woodrow Wilson established the regulatory and administrative state and changed the nature of our government. It was tainted by an elitist view of race that used the science of…

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Whitewashing History

From Ben Shapiro at National Review, We Can’t Erase History — Or Simplify It History is important only if we recognize that it isn’t some sort of Punch-and-Judy drama to be acted out with puppets in black hats and white. Most…

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Recouping Dignity

The concluding paragraphs of Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Dignity- Why Economics Can’t Explain The Modern World: Yet innovation, even in a proper system of the virtues, has continued to be scorned by many of our opinion makers now for a century…

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Wholes Apart

From a book review of Conserving America? by Patrick Deneen- review by Micah Medowcroft-  Trump Didn’t Kill Conservatism in The Wall Street Journal: In our republic, argues Mr. Deneen, a conception of men “not as parts of wholes, but as wholes apart” has…

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Classical and Progressive Liberals

From a book review of Conserving America? by Patrick Deneen- review by Micah Medowcroft-  Trump Didn’t Kill Conservatism in The Wall Street Journal: The two dominant alternatives to this fixation on the present are progressivism’s focus on the future and what…

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The Enlightenment Made Flesh

 “Unfortunately for Britain- and fortunately for America the generation that emerged to lead the colonies into independence was one of the most remarkable group of men in history-sensible, broad-minded, courageous, usually well educated, gifted in a variety of ways, and…

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Greenspan

I am reading an excellent biography of Alan Greenspan by Sebastian Mallaby titled The Man Who Knew.  I recommend it as much for its illumination of the economy, the Fed’s role, and political decisions as for its portrayal of Mr.…

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Thoughts on the Electoral College

The Electoral College was carefully designed to fulfill a similar purpose of the constitution, to apply a break on majoritarian tyranny.  The framers understood that democracy and demagogue had the same root. To the greatly disappointed Democrats who lament the…

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Eisenhower’s Footprint in The Middle East

Ike’s Gamble by Michael Doran is an account of the 1956 Suez Crisis with a perspective different from many previous ones which were directed from narratives from CIA players at the time. The United States under Eisenhower supported the rise…

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Redefining Liberty

I attended a Hillsdale College Free Market Forum in Atlanta last week. I was able to meet Don Boudreaux from Café Hayek, one of my daily go to blogs, and Ronald Pestritto, a history professor at Hillsdale. Ron authored three…

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When Democracy Trumps Liberty

George Will wrote an excellent piece in National Affairs, The Limits of Majority Rule.  My very brief summary and a few comments: The Progressive pivot of about 1890- but reached in full bore under FDR  is when democracy superseded liberty…

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