Category Archives

Archive of posts published in the category: Progressivism

Republican Progressives

“In fact, one of the central economic insights of modern conservatism is that technocratic interventions—typically undertaken by the brightest of people with the best of intentions—often don’t work and are frequently counterproductive. ”

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Why Individual Rights are Important

“It is because we normally do not know who knows best that we leave the decision to a process which we do not control. But it is always from a minority acting in ways different from what the majority would prescribe that the majority in the end learns to do better.”

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Presumptuous Progressivism

“I hope our generation may have learned that it has been perfectionism of one kind or another that has often destroyed whatever degree of decency societies have achieved.”

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Bastardizing Capitalism

Like all ideologies capitalism evolves with experience and adjusts to failures and social evolution.  It never achieves perfection, but its endurance indicates a strength that competing ideologies lack.  We can learn much from the ones that failed, though it seems every generation is cursed to try them again.  The ones that succeed are subject to be taken for granted.  It is the job of the educational institutions to transfer the understanding of our critical institutions, and their failure is crippling.

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The Revolt of the Ruling Class

The elite have remained in outrage mode, blaming everything for this upset except their own complicity in marginalizing a very large segment of the nation, first with neglect and then compounded with contempt.

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Wealth Creation is Not a Transfer

“A relatively small number of high-growth firms has accounted for a very large share of economic growth in the United States in the past several decades. That represents wealth creation, not a wealth transfer.”

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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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The Socialist Myth

We judge ourselves by our best intentions and the others by their worst examples. (George W Bush)  Reform is seductive because the faults of the status quo are visible and real and the faults of reform are theoretical, obscure and often counter intuitive until the historians survey the wreckage years into the future.

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Nationalizing Bad Outcomes

Imagine the compromises when 100 Senators and 435 Representatives bargain to get their piece of the health care allocation in an atmosphere where bitter partisanship rules every issue.  In other words what seems to work in Europe is not easily transferable to a radically different political and economic environment.   And the complete comparative picture is not as clear as we are led to believe.  Maybe we spend more on health care because we want to.

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A River of Aspirational Rhetoric

Warren is the epitome of the fatal flaw of our government; promising benefits without paying for them, hiding the costs in a maze of cross subsidies, mandates, taxes, regulations and proxies.  Contending that she can execute this strictly on the backs of the rich is a grotesque lie that only fools would believe.

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Deregulation and Antitrust

“Mr. Philippon is no fan of regulation. On the contrary, in his view political lobbying ensures that regulatory regimes benefit the status quo by limiting the entry and growth of small firms that might become challengers to big market players.”

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The Other Side of the Argument

Science and politics mixes as well as religion and politics.  Politics puts science in a box; but science functions best best when there is no damn box.  Healthy skepticism is demonized.  The strength of an argument can be measured in its tolerance of and response to dissent.

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The Limits of Progressivism

The federal government can put Social Security and Medicare on the credit card for as long as demand for U.S. Treasuries is high. States and municipalities don’t have that luxury. There is an upper bound to what even the most progressive mayors and governors can grant the lobbies that mobilize voters for their campaigns. But it’s a glass ceiling. Public sector unions are eager to break it.

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Peter’s Wall

When you rob Peter to pay Paul you can count on Paul’s approval, but you can also count on Peter moving to another more friendly place.  When you try to build a wall to keep Peter in, you also discourage Peters from moving here, and you encourage young and enterprising Peters to move away BEFORE they become wealthy enough to be worth robbing.

Warren’s policy is as destructive of our long term financial health as any policy we can imagine. 

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The Problem With Big Political Ideas

Big ideas that expand the government’s power and domain into aspects of our lives where they possess neither the knowledge nor ability to succeed leaves them with only one tool; raw power. Big ideas that come at the expense of bigger and better ideas proven over time is not a sign of progress.

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When the Parties Abandon Ideology

A political party is a coalition of interests designed to convince a majority to trust it enough to let it govern. The Progressive Era in its aim to neuter the constitutional speed bumps to majoritarian democracy pushed for democratic primaries. Initially the parties retained some ideological commitment, but in the age of instant outrage media, they have descended into tribal warfare where emotions rule over ideas. The two sides do not share common information or common narratives that define us as a nation.  There is no mere disagreement on how we arrive at common goals; we no longer agree on who we are.

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The Madisonian Insight

“This was the Madisonian insight,” he contends: “that you can make all sorts of promises on a piece of paper, and call it a ‘bill of rights,’ and it’s not worth the paper it’s written on unless you have some means to enforce it. Like any good contract, it’s only worth the enforcement mechanism it stands on.”

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Of the Elites, By the Elites, and for the Elites

“Progressivism was exactly a doctrine of the elites, by the elites, and for the elites. They said–I mean, their objection to market society was that markets function so annoying well, without the supervision of intellectuals.”

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Another Failed God

“the worst forms of tyranny very much include majoritarian tyranny. One might think that the Trump presidency would cause progressives to think twice about what William F. Buckley Jr. dismissed as “the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth.”

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A Watery Ceasarism

“Hence, there is such a thing as a human nature that is fixed and settled, not plastic to the touch of culture or government. That, we are more than culturally-acquiring creatures that take on the coloration of whatever social situation we are in. And third, from this flows the most important principle, which is separation of powers, to make government strong enough, to protect our natural rights, and not so strong that it threatens them. “

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