Category Archives

Archive of posts published in the category: Progressivism

A Check on the Ruling Class

Progressivism sought to accomplish many of the populist goals of its day. In doing so it created a political class that was removed from the whims of the voters. It preached more democracy while it created less democratic accountability.  The political class practiced diversity of every sort except intellectual diversity, and became increasingly isolated. Populists need demons and their demon today is the elites, created in the laboratories of Progressive ideology.

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Racism and Freedom

Shelby Steele at the WSJ-
“When you don’t know how to go forward, you never just sit there; you go backward into what you know, into what is familiar and comfortable and, most of all, exonerating. You rebuild in your own mind the oppression that is fading from the world. “

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Populism and Progressivism

Progressivism has top down political structure, populism is a bottom up assault on the political structure.  Progressivism on one hand wants more democracy and a more powerful president to reflect the popular will.  Yet Progressivism also wants a professionally managed administrative state that is removed from the political process and thus from voter accountability.

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Isolating Blue States

It is a money decision.  Trump money-balled the electoral college and targeted just enough to win.  It is a poor investment to invest in races that are so overwhelmingly blue.  The result in the current scenario us that the most populous centers do not get a seat at the table and have little leverage to gain any. Thus the critical loss of the state tax deduction that hurts them disproportionately.  (now they have to argue that their wealthy taxpayers deserve a break.)

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Detours and Destinations

At some point ideology does matter. sound ideology must yield results but also requires commitment and patience. This requires the clarity of leadership that can balance ideology and pragmatism.  Pragmatism without ideology is a an unmoored ship that will eventually crash on the rocks.  Having a sound ideology, while acknowledging its imperfections, is a map that assures that detours do not become destinations.

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Diversity vs Pluralism

While identity politics claims a diversity of ethnic and sexual components; it is not intellectually pluralistic and shows remarkable intolerance for other political ideas or even the idea that political ideas that unite us should take priority over ethnic and sexual differences. The left champions the incomplete diversity of identity politics, but rejects the pluralism of competing political ideas.

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Tax Cut Fallacies

from John Cochrane
“The larger economic point: In the end, investment in the whole economy has nothing to do with the financial decisions of individual companies. Investment will increase if the marginal, after-tax, return to investment increases. Lowering the corporate tax rate operates on that marginal incentive to new investments. It does not operate by “giving companies cash” which they may use, individually, to buy new forklifts, or to send to investors. Thinking about the cash, and not the marginal incentive, is a central mistake. (It’s a mistake endemic to Keynesian economics, but the case here is supply-side, incentive oriented.)”

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It’s the Productivity, Stupid

Critics of the tax cuts do not trust the corporations to spend their cuts wisely.  This is the tragic flaw of progressivism.  We are supposed to trust the infinite wisdom and political interests of the state to spend our money, but always suspect the same money in private hands.

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Andrew Jackson and the Modern Presidency    

Historians can debate if Jackson moved us further away from the vision of the Constitution and its framers, as so many of his critics contended, or was a step in the evolution or the practical clarification of the vision to address the issues of his day.   There is much less agreement that his term was one of the most pivotal in the direction of our history.

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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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Policy vs Culture

Rambunctious rhetoric can damage a position.  So can the abuse and weaponization of institutions that require trust to function.  Obama’s abuse of the IRS for political purposes, and the possible politicization of the FBI stand to cause far more damage than Trump’s reckless tweets, bullying tactics, and idle threats.

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A Better Solution to Citizens United

“Those who remain concerned about the issue of money in politics may be focused on the wrong tool.  What disturbs the proper representation is not money as much as restrictive ballot access laws.  Super pacs control the money but still lack the access and thus must use the parties as their vehicles.”

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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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Entitlements for the Non Poor

“The data reveal just how far entitlements have departed from their original purpose of providing a measure of security from economic destitution among the elderly, the disabled, and the unemployed and to alleviate poverty among the general population. In 2015, 62 percent of recipient households, encompassing over 100 million U.S. residents, had incomes that were above the poverty line prior to the receipt of assistance. “

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Flawed vs Corrupt

“He regards Mr. Trump as deeply flawed but Ms. Clinton as deeply corrupt. There’s a difference. Mr. Buckley, a law professor at George Mason, uses the term “corruption” in its classic sense: the use of governmental power to enrich oneself. By that definition, given the revelations about Ms. Clinton in such books as Peter Schweizer’s “Clinton Cash” (2015), which detailed the ways in which certain extremely wealthy people purchased access to the secretary of state, Ms. Clinton is a fine instance of corruption at its unsavory worst.”

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Defiling the Government Faith

“But the truth is that, with or without Trump’s reign of chaos, the 20th-century project of enlightened and comprehensive statism is not sustainable for the long run. The welfare programs are drying up and their plans have constantly proven unviable and unworkable. We live in a world in which the miracles of the private commercial sector are all around us, while the failures of statism are everywhere present as well.”

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The Rejection of Ideology

Voters respond to tribal and cultural cues more than ideology. They respond to demons and saviors more than ideas. I find this unsettling, but a reality that must be accepted in the competition of ideas.  Ideas must be expressed in a way that connects culturally. FDR and Reagan accomplished this but it is very uncommon.

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Psychological Threat to Conservatism

“The biggest threats to conservatism are psychological, not demographic, trends. As an actual philosophy of life and not just a low-resolution tribal marker, conservatism thrives when people are mentally resilient, self-reliant, and strongly invested in the interpersonal bonds that make small government viable: family, friends, and community. At the national level, all of these psychological characteristics are in decline, and with them, so is principled conservatism.” Clay Routledge

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The High Cost of Good Intentions – A Book Review

The result of this history is that entitlements have expanded far beyond assisting the poor. Many of the benefits go to beneficiaries far above the poverty line. Congress has proven totally untrustworthy in managing surpluses or trust funds or maintaining a sound financial basis.   The explosion in entitlements is the primary driver of the post-World War II debts.

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The Hillary Factor

by Henry Oliner Did Donald Trump win the election, or did Hillary Clinton lose it?  It may seem irrelevant, but it does have bearing on the midterms. Hillary’s likability is used as a cloak to obscure severe character flaws and…

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