Category Archives

Archive of posts published in the category: Progressivism

True Power

We have taken a detour on Hayek’s Road to Serfdom; we have managed to cede more power to the central government while retaining much of the individualism of the Constitution.  This is a unique outcome in political evolution attributed to the genius of the Constitution itself combined with a unique American political culture that shrouds it. At its best progressivism expanded the promise of political equality into the economic sphere, assuring equal economic opportunity if not results; at its worst it was seduced by the false confidence of the historicists shared by its technocratic sisters in Europe.

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We Are the Problem

The voters, however, cannot escape some responsibility for this outcome. The more dependent we become on the government to solve our local and personal problems the more disappointed we will become with the results and the more likely we will be seduced by radical solutions.

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So, You Think Bernie Sanders is the Answer? Part Deaux

Capitalism becomes the basket where you place all your gripes about our economy. Capitalism is just a form of political freedom and like all rights and freedoms they’re not unrestricted and unregulated. There are good regulations and bad regulations. Good regulations support the proper functions of liberty and free markets; bad regulations undermine the institutions that support liberty and markets. If much of our problems come from bad regulation and bad government policy, then how is handing more power that source going to help? Progressivism grew to protect us from special interests, but what happens when the special interest we need to fear the most is the one that seeks to protect us?

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So, You Think Bernie Sanders is the Answer?

Socialism hinges on a belief in a general or unified will that is a myth.  We are a diverse nation with diverse and competing interests and our Constitution is the most advanced political system ever devised for dealing with these competing interests. The belief in a unified interest becomes a justification for imposing one group’s interests on another. This is the essence of Hayek’s noted Road to Serfdom.

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The Bernie Sanders Threat

Bernie is the moral supremacist progressive of the first Progressive Era of 1900-1920 that reacted to the Gilded Age and inequality of that period. Bloomberg is the elite technocrat Progressive of the second Progressive Era of 1932-1980; beginning with the New Deal and ending with the Great Society. The irony of a “progressive” reclaiming old and exhausted positions from fifty to a hundred years ago is lost on most who accept progressivism.

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The Nature of Knowledge

Levin observes that for the left it is forever 1965 and we are just one huge federal program away from supreme social justice. For the right it is forever 1981 and we are just one big tax cut away from economic nirvana. The conditions of 1965 or 1981 no longer exist.

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Political Thoughts 2020 02 16

The problem with greater federal power is no longer legitimacy but competence. The failure of the left to maintain control of their sacred institutions has not led them to decry it’s competence but to question its legitimacy; but by not supporting the institutions they relied on they have brought their own legitimacy into question.

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Rights Trump Democracy

“The destructive nature of socialism comes not from its tendency to trample on democracy (though socialism often does trample on democracy) but from its total disregard for rights — rights that are, in the context of the United States and other liberal-democratic systems, beyond the reach of mere majorities.”

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Restricting Democracy

“The rising authoritarianism of our time is not an aberration but the ordinary natural fulfillment of mass democracy when it has overflowed its constitutional restraints”

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A Bottomless Well of Misery

“The problems of socialism are problems of socialism — problems related to the absence of markets, innovation, and free enterprise and, principally, problems related to the epistemic impossibility of the socialist promise: rational central planning of economic activity. The problems of socialism are not the problems of authoritarianism and will not be cured by democracy.”

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Democracy and Progressivism

Progressives wish for more democracy yet wish to move the accountability of the administrative state further from the accountability of the voter.  Progress comes from the unique output from a minority.  Minority rights should be protected from majority rule.  Freedom should not be sacrificed to the false god of democracy.

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A New Wave of Thinking

“The Depression and FDR transformed the Democratic Party. It adopted as an article of faith, held to this day by every Democratic presidential candidate, that any tear in the social fabric should be mended with permanent entitlements or subsidies. The competing idea is that subsidies are a poor substitute for finding and holding a job in a vibrant private economy.”

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Who Is Undermining Our Institutions?

I realize no one is a villain in their own eyes and that we can rationalize any means to fit the end if it is important enough.  Our failure to recognize the way we are seen by others and our own failures sacrifices any legitimacy.  Voters will tolerate mistakes, gaffes, and failures, but they will not tolerate contempt. 

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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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Gulliver’s Progressivism

“Such quacks—Swift called them “speculators” and “virtuosi”—rely upon a mystical grimoire, a “book of shadows” filled with spells, incantations, and rituals that will remake the world as if by magic. It’s not science, it’s enchantment. “

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Ignorance and Certitude

“I do not believe that only those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it. Plenty of people who study history are entirely capable of making the same mistakes as their ancestors, and worse ones, too. “

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Addressing Presidential Power

Both sides refuse to re-examine the proper role of the presidency, and focus on the president in power.  It may seem unrealistic to return to constitutional norms, but the alternative seems to be an escalation of the bitterness of our politics.

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Public Choice Theory

“From public choice theory, we also know that government actors have an incentive to pursue shortsighted policies that create highly visible benefits to voters now and impose uncertain costs at some point in the future.”

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Who Are the Real Materialists

“It’s an understandable temptation, in the sense that changing, say, tax credits is far less daunting than repairing a culture. But then, who are the real materialists, if the answer to a cultural meltdown isn’t to address the human soul but to say, “Don’t worry, we can engineer it all through regulation and the tax code”?

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Glorious Disagreement

“But politics in a republic is almost never about unity. Rather, politics is the art of negotiating differences. Democracy is about disagreement, not agreement. When politicians say: “The time for debate is over” or “Let’s put politics aside,” they’re really saying “shut up” to those who disagree.”

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