Category Archives

Archive of posts published in the category: Progressivism

Ancient Liberties and Newfangled Rights

“And he’d warn that the damage being done — to civil order, public property and, most of all perhaps, to the values demonstrators claim to champion — may not be easy to undo. “Rage and phrensy will pull down more in half an hour, than prudence, deliberation and foresight can build up in a hundred years.””

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Blinded By the Right

Jacobin mobs that pay little respect to due process or constitutional rights, cancel culture that seeks to punish dissent, and political correctness that tolerates nothing other than the accepted orthodoxy are all tolerated in the pursuit of the removal of Trump who they sense is a threat to those values they so quickly dismiss.

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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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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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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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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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The Market for Experts

In a complex society we must depend on experts; but we also depend on the proper functions of markets where experts compete. The problem is not lack of respect for expertise, but the understanding of the proper role of experts, and the false confidence in expertise in areas of our existence that defy expertise. Scientific reasoning does not apply to areas of humanity that requires moral judgment and social and economic tradeoffs, where there is not a single truth to be unveiled. Without a competition of ideas, progress and improvement are stifled.

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Lunatic Mimes

“If the page is written but we imagine it is blank, then we will act from ignorance, and live our lives without a knowledge of the truth, although the truth is there for us to know. But worse yet, if the page is blank and we imagine it is written, then we will enslave ourselves to our own fantasies, and live like mad men or lunatic mimes, running into walls which are not really there.”

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The Despotism of Illusory Knowledge

“Certainty, as we have seen throughout our tale, is a dangerous powerful force. If it proves true, then it can establish necessary limits on human action. But if it proves false, is it so often does, then it can create unnecessary barriers – imaginary cages in which we are needlessly trapped. “

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A Permanent War Footing

The left learned to respect the power of government during their control of the economy during WWI and WWII and sought to use that same power to further the cause of social justice, but wars end and the country returns to a different footing.  The battles of social justice go on forever and becomes a permanent war footing with a similar economic outcome. 

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Progressive Tension

While the Progressives sought to extend the restraints of political power to economic power, Hayek sought to bring political power to recognize economic realities. This new era of conservatism reaffirmed the genius of the founders of our constitution that dispersed power was best suited for the dispersed knowledge that generated our dynamic economy.

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