The Progressive Threat to the Constitution

This tension between the limited government of the constitution and the reach of the current administrative state is in my opinion the heart of the reason for our congressional disfunction, and our national division. Democracy is frustrated by regulations from an administrative state beyond accountability to the voters.

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The General Will and Social Justice

FDR redefined progressivism as a fulfillment of constitutional promise, bringing economic equality as a right to be associated with political equality. The language of ‘the general will’ in political theory so common in the first progressive era sounded too much like its fascist adherents. It has been replaced by the term ‘social justice.’

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Identity Politics of the Right

Kevin Williamson riffs on the term in The Nationalism Show in National Review: Trump-era nationalism is about 3 percent policy and 97 percent aesthetics, rhetoric, and affectation, a kind of identity politics of the Right. That is one of the…

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“I Had the Right but Not the Ability”

While the Progressives imbued the administrative state with moral and political authority they overestimated its competence.  The second false assumption was that this uber-qualified elite would be capable of managing a complex society while trying to fulfill and endless list of social objectives.

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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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Liberal Tourette’s

These ideas frighten reasonable people and the sheer number and rate of their release will be hard to overcome if they wish to attract that middle third that decides election outcomes. Being seen as unserious and reckless with ideas will not engender the trust to retain political power.

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The New Nationalists

“I am grateful to the men and women of our military for their service, but armies are only expedients, necessary evils. They should be kept out of sight for the same reason I keep the guns out of sight in my home. A military parade does not display greatness—it displays power. And that may be where I most part company with our new nationalists. “

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Frustrating Democracy is a Feature not a Flaw


As the saying goes, democracy is four wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. The Founders looked to Athens less as a political model than an object lesson in what not to do.”

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Trump as the Legacy of the Progressive Era

“…Trump’s success will likely depend upon his ability to articulate the ground of a common good that is still rooted in the past—a common good established by a government that protects the rights of its citizens in a constitutional manner and establishes limits on the authority of government by demanding that the rule of law replace that of bureaucratic privilege and status.”

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Thugs of Moral Supremacy

“Then, not thugs in sunglasses and epaulettes, not oligarchs in private jets, not shaggy would-be Marxists, but sanctimonious arrogant bureaucrats in suits and ties used their government agencies to seek to overturn the 2016 election, abort a presidency, and subvert the U.S. Constitution. And they did all that and more on the premise that they were our moral superiors and had uniquely divine rights to destroy a presidency that they loathed.”

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Why We Constrain Democracy

“The Bill of Rights shelters certain fundamental rights from democratic passion — no matter how terrified, how angry, how sanctimonious, how self-righteous the demos and the demagogues may be.”

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The Stark Silence of the Politically Correct

The failure to address this problem will only cause it to proliferate. Witness the Democrats boycotting AIPAC- a first.  I saw Obama and Pelosi speak there. The left wishes to put their heads in the sand and contend this is a minority in their midst.  They have not yet learned that passionate minorities rule politics.  

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The Prophet of an Irrational Faith

“How delicious that, as we approach the bicentenary of his birth, Karl Marx should have turned into the thing he loathed above all: the prophet of an irrational faith.”

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Should an Idea Stand Only On Its Own Merits?

I tend to ignore sources that intentionally mislead using carefully selected facts, or writers who cannot describe an idea or thought without personal invectives and demonization.

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University Justice Infects the House

“..the hectoring self-righteousness that grievance studies professors display in faculty senates is now an increasingly common feature of the U.S. Senate. Thus, Judiciary Committee hearings on a Supreme Court nominee became a venue for the same contempt for procedural fairness and epistemological humility as a campus sexual harassment tribunal run by the campus Women’s Center’s Grand Inquisitors.”

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The Dirty Harry School of Trump-splaining

“Most voters, admirably or not, do not always believe that their president must be morally perfect to do good, but only that, in practical terms, he must at least appear better than the alternative. “

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How Human Rights Became a Veil of Anti-Semitism

“Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has pointed out that Jew-hatred is usually justified by appeals to a culture’s highest authority. During the Middle Ages, that was religion—so the Jews were charged with killing Jesus. During the Enlightenment it was science, so Jews were deemed an inferior race. Today’s highest source of authority is human rights—so Israel is portrayed as the worst violator.”

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Information, Confirmation and Outrage

We lost understanding as we moved from information to confirmation, and we have lost civility as we moved from confirmation to outrage.

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Exciting But False

“In doing so, we stop comparing our condition favorably with known, existing alternatives, and begin comparing it unfavorably with hypothetical possibilities. On the political supply side, public officials compete to be visionary and idealistic, to promise those transformations that will be the most fundamental. Those citizens increasingly disposed to believe that their glass is half-empty welcome or even demand such boldness.”

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Petty Tyrants in College Have Moved Into Congress

In college they were deferred to with respect they did not earn or merit. Now they have power and it has gone straight to their woefully underused brains. We have replaced thoughtful policy with juvenile unicorns like the Green New Deal. We are now in the “cheap seats”. How can we be surprised today to see what tolerating these petty tyrants in college has led to? What you tolerate you teach.

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