Category Archives

Archive of posts published in the category: Philosophy

The Sanctuary of the Courts

The difference between progressives and conservatives today is far greater than their positions on issues; that is merely a distraction.  There is a fundamental difference between their position on the purpose of government, their understandings of human nature and knowledge,  and their philosophy that ensues from that understanding.

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Progressive Contradictions and Ironies

The first contradiction is the drive to greater democracy while driving more policy making to unelected administrators. Progressive thinkers like Goodwin, Wilson, and Dewey had a faith that bureaucrats would better serve the public interest objectively than elected officials.  They replaced the separation of powers with the separation of politics from administration. Their belief that administration would not be subject to political partisanship seems naive today.

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The General Will

Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson turned this upside down, contending that property rights should be determined according its ability to serve the greater good, the general will. This shift of the Progressive Era from the primacy of minority rights to a majoritarian will defines the progressive shift in American politics.  The question is who or what determines the will of the majority. For Wilson it was the president as the sole official elected by all the people.

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Electing the Proper Elites

Our government attempted to bring the best features of a monarchy, and aristocracy and and democracy together without the faults; an ambitious project.  Our representatives are not just reflections of a majority will; but executors of judgment with an eye towards more that the next election.  This means that sometimes they must say “no” to the populist majority.  The Constitution makes this easy on some issues but not all.

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Checking Government Power

Not only is the growth of central government power antithetical to the founding principles, it has proven as short of necessary competence as it is short of legitimacy.  As economics has rivaled politics for our attention new scholarship has observed the dispersed nature of knowledge that separates knowledge from power at the federal level.

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An Objective Moral Order

“To atheists like Mr. Dawkins, Sacks applied a beloved aphorism, adapted from an Oxford don: On the surface he’s profound, but deep down he’s superficial.”

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Free Speech Revisited

“Such cases show what happens when our heightened eagerness to take offense meets institutions’ innate desire to avoid trouble. If hearing a contrary opinion feels like a personal assault, then any potentially controversial statement is equivalent to shouting fire in a crowded theater. It’s much easier for a business or a school to avoid trouble, and potential liability, by shutting down discussion altogether.”

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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 Unmaking of Reality

The American founders used reason to unleash freedom.  The Europeans used reason to crush it.  Reason without freedom constructs a reality rather than recognizing it as it  is and adapting to it.  Constructing a reality is a despotic enterprise.

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The Danger of the Administrative State

“If anything has been demonstrated by modern experience in these matters, it is that, once wide coercive powers are given to governmental agencies for particular purposes, such powers cannot be effectively controlled by democratic assemblies. If the latter do not themselves determine the means to be employed, the decisions of their agents will be more or less arbitrary.”

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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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Year End Thoughts 2018 12 30

At 66 I am more inclined to accepts my flaws than work hard to correct them. Again, tipping to Churchill I would hope to limit my annoying virtues and be less ashamed of my admirable vices.

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Paglia on #MeToo

“I am wholeheartedly in favor of women students or employees knowing their rights and speaking up to defend them. However, the #MeToo movement has gone seriously off track in encouraging uncorroborated accusations dating from ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. No democracy can survive in such a paranoid climate of ambush and summary execution. This is Stalinism, a nadir of politics.”

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The Dogma Within You

Donald Trump is the devil, removing any need for rationality, morality or honesty from the resistance movement.  The evil of Donald Trump  is required to justify the batshit behavior we have witnessed at the Kavanaugh hearing.

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Who Is Really Hostile to Free Speech?

The left has exhibited far more hostility to free speech than Trump has ever remotely considered.

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Is Capitalism Natural?

By acknowledging human flaws and addressing them, conservatives permit human potential to flourish.  By seeking a non existent perfection socialists require central control and power that frustrates human potential and growth.

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The Means Matter

As we have seen with the elimination of the filibuster by Harry Reid, sacrificing the means to the end is a short sighted strategy and creates tools that will be used against you. No matter how noble the ends the means still matter.

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Little Platoons of Civil Society

Socialism and its cousin, Progressivism, are not the forward-thinking ideologies they pretend, but regressions to the natural tendencies of man.

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Progress is Not Inevitable

Reform is seductive.  The faults of the status quo and our current institutions are vivid, magnified in an academic media complex that considers ‘viral’ an achievement. Reform is inchoate and illusive with faults yet to be recognized, presently clear only in the minds of critics and reactionaries.  In the future these faults are the subject of history.

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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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