Author Archives

Archive of the posts written by author : Henry Oliner.

The New Challenge to the Constitution

The progressive challenges to the founding principles was largely intellectual and ideological; few challenged them on moral grounds. The current revolution of the woke vigilantes now challenges the entire morality of the founding; this is the danger of the 1619 Project and its reflection in the Black Lives Matter organization. By changing the focus of the founding from one of clarifying and protecting rights to one of advancing and protecting slavery they seek to remove any moral authority of the founding and the Declaration of Independence. It is no wonder that the statue toppling Olympics did not stop with the Confederates; Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln were sure to follow.

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Political Zealotry

The Jacobin mob sews the seeds of its own destruction.  The power of the mob is never satiated; it is empowered by contrition.  It is as unreasoning and intolerant as any religious zealot; and more dangerous.  Political zealotry invades every aspect of society, destroys every moderating institution and shreds the individual rights of constitutional government.  It preys on the intellectually weak, political appeasement, and fear.

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Pick Your Revolution

In our new revolutionary atmosphere, we face a Jacobin moment where our political and social institutions are called into question by woke vigilantes who follow in the footsteps of Calhoun’s racism, historicists, pragmatists, and the early progressives in challenging the philosophy and principles of the founding. Reform is always seductive; comparing visible faults and errors with untested intentions or in the case today nothing constructive. Like the French Jacobins the woke wish to deconstruct (destroy) the existing order in the name of systemic racism, critical race theory, vague concepts of equality, intersectionality or whatever concept oozes out of our citadels of credentialed ignorance.

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Solving Problems Threatens Power

There will be no resolution of America’s many social problems if free thought and free speech are no longer upheld in our public sphere. Without them, honest deliberation, mutual learning and the American problem-solving ethic are dead.

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Defensive Bubbles

Our faith in our narratives is as strong as any religious faith we so commonly reject in the name of modern rationalism. When we do change our minds, it is more from evolution than revolution; evolution is gradual and unconscious, revolution is violent and threatening. Revolution comes from a radical element that represents a minority view, but it is enabled by another minority that finds it less of a threat and maybe even an asset serving their narrative. Revolutions incite defensiveness and reaction; responding more to passion than reason and the destruction of critical institutions that become taken for granted.

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Effortless Contrition

Virtue Signaling is an effortless act of contrition that empowers a mob to act more like a mob. Real solutions require thinking, listening and effort; not threats, intimidation and scapegoating.  Systemic racism and white guilt is just a way to avoid accountability, using a narrative as a scapegoat.  

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Refuse the Mob

“Refuse the mob. We have seen again and again that the mob comes only for those who hope to please it. And when it does, no amount of apology will save you. We stand against the mob and all its aims. We stand against the chaos and violence, the silencing of debate, the purging of heretics, the rewriting of history, and the destruction of the greatest country in the world. “

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Capital Is Amoral

Toleration and appeasement of the lawless mob will only make the divisions worse. The inability or unwillingness to stop destruction of property and uphold the law, the justification and rationalization of this by sympathetic hearts and minds will only make it worse and the dismissal as only a swing of the pendulum will greatly damage the urban areas that are home to the abused. It does not matter that most protests were peaceful; when enough violence is unchecked people and their capital will leave.

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Acid Pragmagtism

“By pragmatism’s own metaphors, their philosophy is like an acid that dissolves dogmas. The problem with acid is that it never knows when to stop burning. That’s why liberals are constantly discovering new crises that require more government solutions. Suggesting to activist liberals that maybe some day they could just go home and get a real job elicits nothing but bewilderment or rage when you bring it up.”

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The Folly of Pragmatism

“Hence, the great irony: Hayek, one of the greatest champions of individual liberty and economic freedom the world has ever known, believed that knowledge was communal. Dewey, the champion of socialism and collectivism, believed that knowledge was individual. Hayek’s is a philosophy that treats individuals as the best judges of their own self-interests, which in turn yield staggering communal cooperation. Dewey’s was the philosophy of a giant, Monty Pythonesque crowd shouting on cue, “We’re All Individuals!”

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The Covid Market

When the vast amount of money from the Fed is dropped on the economy it does not matter where it is directed, much of it will find its way to the service providers and producers where the money will be spent. When trillions of dollars are pulled from thin air and dropped on the economy it is inevitable that much of it will find its way into the stock market.

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Outrage Peddlers

Bias is as much a product of what is covered as what is not, as much a product of the frequency as the content, and as much a product of the context as the facts.

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Progressivism and Populism

“Nothing separated Progressivism from Populism, or for that matter from all previous American democracy, more sharply than this faith in the presumptive expertise, integrity, and political authority of the academic mandarins.”

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Progressive Principles

“[t]he progressive idea, simply put, is that the principled American constitutionalism of fixed natural rights and limited and dispersed powers must be overturned and replaced by an organic, evolutionary model of the Constitution that facilitates the authority of experts dedicated to the expansion of the public sphere and political control, especially at the national level.”

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The Enemy of Democracy is Arrogance

When you possess the infallible truth dissent is evil, compromise is surrender, and the opposition is demonized and pathologized.  But the fundamental assumptions are never questioned; the heliocentric model of the solar system was  rejected because it undermined the faith in the Church.  The social scientific outlook requires a religious like faith in its institutions that means it never admits failure or defeat.  Arrogance is the great enemy of democracy and political deliberation.

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History on Trial- The 1619 Project

Slavery in the American experience is worthy of study and analysis; it is a smear on our historical and political culture and is detestable enough in its incontestable reality.  There is no need to distort the reality, disregard accuracy and fabricate facts unless your purpose is an agenda other than truth and understanding.  

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Consensus and Credibility

“the diminished credibility of the major news media, the courts, the political professionals, and the academics is not the result of histrionic right-wing criticism. It is the result of shoddy work by the people entrusted with the care and development of those institutions, of corruption and intellectual dishonesty at the highest levels filtering down to high-school history classrooms.”

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Availability Bias

“I doubt our press has any such higher purpose. It has become so besotted with availability bias—a social science term for the need to conform to accepted tropes—that it no longer has a nose for a real story. Instead it relies on leaks, and even whole “narratives,” dropped in its lap by manipulators who assure reporters they are on the side of the angels. “

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Morality vs Moralism

“Morality is about right and wrong. Morality’s insincere cousin is moralism, which grabs virtue off the shelf as needed. About every 20 or 30 years, the progressives come up with another moralized argument to delegitimize their opponents.”

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Kavanaugh’s Revenge

Joe Biden is entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence.  So was Bret Kavanaugh. If Biden is to be presumed innocent without a hearing, then a lot of people and most of the media owe Kavanaugh an apology. It takes a galling arrogance to believe that such moralizing would never come back to haunt you, possibly at the worst time.

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