Category Archives

Archive of posts published in the category: Politics

Prosperity and Democracy

“..the longer a successful society is stable, the more numerous are the successful factions—not the poor, or the unemployed, or the new entrepreneurial risk-takers who are trying to gain a foothold against established competitors—who become deft at gaming the political system for advantages.”

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Holding Progressivism Accountable

The essence of conservatism is the recognition and acceptance of the flaws in human nature, and the need to build a political structure that mitigates it. Once government accepts a mission to improve upon his nature, the moral threat of power is muted. Once democracy is in the hands of unlimited political power, tyranny is almost assured. The founders understood this. Progressives rejected the political nature of man and replaced it with a mythical general will, antithetical to individual rights.

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Facing the Limits of the Administrative State

This leads to a rethinking of the Administrative State in line with lessons learned and new thinking on how such organizations function.  Regulators are OK for executing clear laws, but terrible at designing systems and regulations  to advance unproven political theories.

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Three Core Defects of Socialism

“The third problem is that socialism, following Marx’s dialectical theory of history, lends itself to a theory of inevitability or preordination that leaves no room for dissent, and that leads in consequence to the elevation of a political class that responds to failure by searching for wreckers and dissenters to punish. “

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A Democratic Condiment

“It is reasonably well understood in this country that to place the word “democratic” in front of, say, “speech restrictions” or “warrantless searches” or “juryless criminal prosecutions” would be in no way to legitimize those things or to make them more compatible with the preservation of a free society.”

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2020 Election Questions

The country can recover much more quickly from a bad character than from bad ideas with wide support. Will the independents have more to fear from the radical elements within the Democratic party and their bad ideas than they have to fear from Trump’s flawed character? That may be the central question in the 2020 election.

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The Hazard of Over Promising

“But more importantly, when you promise people something you can’t deliver you make them mad when you don’t deliver it. I’m convinced that one of the reasons the Democrats spend their time calling every inconvenient institution and voter racist is that they are embittered by Barack Obama’s spectacular failure to deliver on the promises he made and the even grander promises his biggest fans projected upon him. “

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Character and Ideas

The illiberal behavior on college campuses where free speech is quickly sacrificed on the altar of political correctness, where due process is sacrificed to the whims of social justice, and where violence and other uncivil behavior has been tolerated has now spread to the halls of Congress.  When the ends justify the means it becomes acceptable to scream at and harass government officials in public restaurants, during Senate hearings and in their office elevators.  This concerns me more than Donald Trump.

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The Mask of Power

“..unity is the mask power wears to justify itself. What liberals are nostalgic for is not unity but the kind of power they had back in the good old days. They can’t say, “Man, I really miss having the kind of power to do what we wanted,” so they gauze it up with false phantasms of national unity lost.”

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Trump ‘Splaining

But beneath these divisions and changes noted by Zito and Todd was a greater difference about their relation to the state. Few voters get into the weeds of political philosophy when they vote, and Trump certainly wasted no time on it, but the voters sensed that constitutional rights were being whittled away by a state that pretended to know what was better for them. The basic civic culture that had survived cycles of progressivism was eroding. Differences of opinion became hate speech; due process was sacrificed to social justice.

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Handcuffing the Invisible Hand

Advocates of single payer and free benefits prove to be ignorant of the price system, profit, productivity and how they function.  While they claim to allocate resources better than the ‘greed’ of the market (a claim easy to totally refute), they are clueless on how the wealth is generated in the first place.

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The Progressive Roots of Eugenics

Progressives believed in progress unmoored from permanent principles, and unrestrained from the constitutional limits of government power.Early progressives believed science would replace politics and religion.

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Perpetuating Hate

Reilly notes that the sheer number of false hate crimes is significant and it began before Trump. This desire of the progressive left to relive the social justice victories of the civil rights era of the 1960’s creates a bigger demand for hate crimes than we can supply. They wish to continue fighting a war they have long won.  The are like the Japanese soldiers stranded on a Pacific Island unaware the war is over.

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A Permanent Stain on Their Party

“If this is the new standard, then every racist thing Donald Trump has ever said about immigrants is immune to criticism because he can claim he was just encouraging “openness” and “conversation.” As Dean Phillips, a fellow Democratic freshman (and moderate) from a nearby Minnesota district lamented to Politico, “suddenly an entire party is being branded by the perspectives of two of its members [Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] who represent 1 percent of the caucus.”

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The General Will and Social Justice

FDR redefined progressivism as a fulfillment of constitutional promise, bringing economic equality as a right to be associated with political equality. The language of ‘the general will’ in political theory so common in the first progressive era sounded too much like its fascist adherents. It has been replaced by the term ‘social justice.’

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“I Had the Right but Not the Ability”

While the Progressives imbued the administrative state with moral and political authority they overestimated its competence.  The second false assumption was that this uber-qualified elite would be capable of managing a complex society while trying to fulfill and endless list of social objectives.

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A Culture of Capitalism

They likely do not recognize the legitimacy of individual ideas as property. For them it is not theft, it is a stark difference in political culture. Trump may think he is seeking simple economic fairness, but he is really asking for China to change its civic culture. This is a challenging reconciliation.

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Liberal Tourette’s

These ideas frighten reasonable people and the sheer number and rate of their release will be hard to overcome if they wish to attract that middle third that decides election outcomes. Being seen as unserious and reckless with ideas will not engender the trust to retain political power.

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The New Nationalists

“I am grateful to the men and women of our military for their service, but armies are only expedients, necessary evils. They should be kept out of sight for the same reason I keep the guns out of sight in my home. A military parade does not display greatness—it displays power. And that may be where I most part company with our new nationalists. “

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Frustrating Democracy is a Feature not a Flaw


As the saying goes, democracy is four wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. The Founders looked to Athens less as a political model than an object lesson in what not to do.”

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