Category Archives

Archive of posts published in the category: Progressivism

Bored into Submission

The politically correct nonsense is worse than illiberal.  If they got their wish we would be bored into submission.  The diversity they claim to cherish would disappear from American thinking.

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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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Passion and Persuasion

“Our political system was designed to be deliberative. Deliberation is a waste of time if minds cannot be changed. But today, partisans left and right value purity and passion over persuasion. Opponents aren’t potential converts; they’re an abstract and unredeemable them, and their tears, we’re told, are delicious.”

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The Roots of FDR

FDR expressed a willingness to experiment his way out of the Great Depression.  But experimentation requires recognizing failures, and the self preserving dynamics of government bureaucracies laced with political cronyism is reluctant to confess failure.

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Artificial Tribes

“Populism, which always wants the national government to solve local problems, is in vogue on left and right precisely because local institutions and civil society generally no longer do their jobs. “

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Petty Little Tyrants

It is the illiberalism of the left that should be marginalized. This obsession with white privilege is ludicrous. Those who decry Amy Wax and Charles Murray as racists are just narrow-minded idiots. Those who dwell on people rather than ideas have small and weak minds. Those who dismiss a life’s work because of a single, questionable irrelevant comment, in or out of context, are petty little tyrants.

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The Overton Window

The left thinks it wins when it silences dissent.  This never works, even when it is forced by violence and tyranny.  It only impoverishes their own understanding.  When I am demonized I do not go away, even though I will no longer engage with you.  As one political server noted, the voting booth is the ultimate safe space.

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The Borking of Kevin Williamson

The left has become so illiberal that they not only reject ideas, but they reject the rights of free expression to those who hold those ideas. Their strategy to win an argument is to deny that the argument even exists. By demonizing the opposition as racists, misogynists, bigots or hate-speech, they can dismiss them as unworthy of debate and deny them any platform for expression. The accusations do not have to be true to be effective.

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Was Madison Wrong?

Madison was correct that a dispersal of special interests over a large land mass could protect a republic from tyranny, but he failed to foresee that special interests are no longer restrained by mere distance and geography. They now exist in the cloud.

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Political Sustainability

The meritocracy of China is a challenge to the popular democracy of the United States.  For too many of us the restraints on democracy and the accountability of capitalism have become irrelevant philosophical constructs. Our democracy has descended into self-interested voters voting for both lower taxes and more spending, and our political fools are aware that reality is a useless campaign tool.

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The Populists are Championing Liberalism

Today’s populists are resentful of being called racist and intolerant while they watch intellectuals such as Charles Murray being physically attacked for speaking at an elite liberal arts college with an annual tuition price tag of $60,000 a year. 

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Fascist Liberals

“Liberalism is no longer about winning arguments. It’s about intimidating people into silence. Shutting people up. De-platforming them. Doing whatever it takes to make sure that only the liberal opinion is considered because liberalism can’t win in a fair fight of ideas. “

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Trade Factions

What DT is risking is not just some political points in the rust belt and trade promises. When this trade war ends like all the rest do, and the economy takes a hit- it will not be his stupid trade polices that are blamed, it will be his ‘stupid’ tax cuts.

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“Rational Ignorance with a Vengeance”

“We end up with a political discourse in which both sides are, at their broadest points, heavily invested in their insistence that there is no good-faith disagreement about policy — there is only the eternal conflict between the guys in the white hats and the guys in the black hats.”

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Abandoning Reason

“When the moral equivalent of World War II is not available, then the next best thing is the moral equivalent of Hitler. “

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Classical Progressivism

That has always been the attraction of classical progressivism: the idea that government can step in, take charge, and execute large and complex programs to improve our common life in ways that the market and private actors can’t or won’t. Understanding why that rarely works out as intended is conservatism.

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The Progressive Need for War

The two world wars of the 20th century  required of an expansionist central government that facilitated progressive goals.  Peace reduces the need for this central power,  thus they seek the “equivalence of war” to sustain progressive central power. 

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The Futility of a National Conversation

Our founding was a radical effort to apply principles of democracy and liberty over a large geographic area. Before it had applied largely to city-states. As the country expanded we decry the lack of a national consensus which was never meant to exist, and have lost the value of the potential of 50 laboratories, engaged to find the best solutions.

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Anti-Fragile Democracy

The idea of central control of individual freedom is fraught with contradictions and has become our greatest challenge. The Progressive Era is where this came to a head and majoritarian democracy edged priority over individual and minority rights. This battle between Progressive majoritarianism manifested in an activist president and the Constitutional protection of individual rights defines our current political debate.

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The Need for Ideology

“There’s nothing wrong with partisanship per se, but it’s a problem when the parties view each other as enemies and existential threats. Centrism may seem an obvious solution, but too little ideology can be as dangerous as too much.”

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