Category Archives

Archive of posts published in the category: Progressivism

A Nicer Form of Tyranny

“The village may have replaced the state, and in turn may have replaced the fist with the hug, but an unwanted embrace from which you cannot escape is just a nicer form of tyranny.”

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The Neo Progressive Era

While the second Wilson Administration pushed illiberal policies such as the Sedition Act of 1918, today we have voluntarily embraced illiberal mean to achieve liberal ends. I find this even more disturbing. The cancel culture and politically correct curbs on free speech has eroded legitimate debate and made the voting booth the last remaining safe space. This is magnified by a media that has replaced objective journalistic standards will the protection of partisan narratives.

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Postmodernist Blinders

Oppression was held to be an expression of bourgeois power that, like sin, was all-pervasive. But widespread though it was, the demonic realm of oppression somehow didn’t include Eastern Europe under Communism.

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Politics and Policy

I lament the subversion of ideas and policy to the passions of the electorate, but it is hard to escape that reality.  The more distant we get from our founding principles, both chronologically and intellectually, the more divisive we become.  When you do not know what you believe everything becomes an argument.  Without the unity of commonly held ideas we descend into the combat zone of identity politics.

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The Political Immune System

“Our nation has a strong immune system against threats of the sort Trump presents. It has a very weak immune system against threats of the sort Harris presents. “

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Woke Book Burning

Banning books is no different than burning them.  Tolerating this nonsense is how tyrannical minorities assume power.

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Federalism and Health Care

Healthcare does more to illuminate the divide in political ideology than any other issue. It merges the ideological and pragmatic limits of central power;  the dispersal of interests (and thus the difficulty of consensus) and the dispersal of knowledge, the ‘fatal conceit’ that any central power can know how to manage complex markets for a vast and diversified nation.  Health care challenges the authority and the competence of central power.

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The Rise of Neo Progressives

Political power comes from building coalitions; identity politics is the opposite. It will get support from the woke left as long as it serves their interest or until they exhaust themselves. The left can take a legitimate cause and squander potential support with the exercise of radical means. Their only hope is to embrace the liberal traditions of our political culture.

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Economic and Political Freedom

Just as a slight difference in the angle at it origin can dramatically change the direction and distance of a trajectory, a seemingly slight change in a definition can dramatically change the the outcome from from the use of a commonly used term or idea.

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The 1619 Riots

But the 1619 Project claims that the entire founding was motivated by the most immoral objectives.  History is much too complex to be reduced to a single theorem; good and evil often ride on the same horse.  George Floyd may have ignited the riots but the idea that we are irretrievably racist, that it is in our DNA, not only ignores the incredible progress made, but ignores scores of other influences on our social and racial constructs.

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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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