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Archive of posts published in the tag: Jonah Goldberg

Books That Changed My Views

ronically the system that recognized the permanence of human flaws, the Lockean influence on the American Constitution, has proven far less oppressive than the systems that believed in the malleability of human nature.

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The Source of Rights

The Constitution has two important functions: to protect the republic/ democracy that represents the people and to protect the people’s individual liberty from the abuses of democracy.  Democracy is not the end, it is the means and must be limited.

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Our Liberal Culture

Behind the brilliant design of our Constitution is an accurate understanding about human nature and its permanence.  This is the reason it has endured in spite of the difficult and contentious compromises that birthed it. 

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Populism and Democracy

“The Founders understood this, which is why they wanted a republic that was designed to filter and check populist passion when necessary. That’s why we have institutions and mechanisms that are supposed to ensure the survival of liberty and liberalism when populist passions are empowered by democratic majorities. The notion that one person can be evil, idiotic, ignorant, or irrationally angry, but a million people can’t, strikes me as logically absurd.”

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The Dictatorship of Reason

“I’m a big fan of reason, but Saul (and Schumpeter, Deneen, et al) have a point. Making reason the only criteria for a decision cleanses society of the nooks and crannies of meaning that make life worth living and the pursuit of happiness possible. The purely rational soldier will not fight, Chesterton observed. The purely rational man will not marry.”

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The Virtual Comfort of the Mob

“In such an environment, being “wrong” isn’t just wrong in some factual or analytical sense. It’s sacrilegious. “

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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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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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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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Unfettered Government is the Greater Threat

Capitalism works best when knowledge and power meet.  Government is power without knowledge; regulation strips power from knowledge. It is suspicious when the answer to unfettered capitalism which does not exist is  unfettered government which is the greater problem.  It is hard to conceive of distant parties with no skin in the game making wiser decisions than people who have to face the consequences of their choices.  The problem is political actors who want to dispense benefits without paying for them.

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Non-Delegation and the Administrative State

James Madison stated in Federalist #47, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” In 1933 two laws were struck down on the non-delegation principle, the effective delegation of legislative authority to unelected regulatory agencies. The recent court has prepared to revisit that principle.

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The Hazard of Over Promising

“But more importantly, when you promise people something you can’t deliver you make them mad when you don’t deliver it. I’m convinced that one of the reasons the Democrats spend their time calling every inconvenient institution and voter racist is that they are embittered by Barack Obama’s spectacular failure to deliver on the promises he made and the even grander promises his biggest fans projected upon him. “

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The Mask of Power

“..unity is the mask power wears to justify itself. What liberals are nostalgic for is not unity but the kind of power they had back in the good old days. They can’t say, “Man, I really miss having the kind of power to do what we wanted,” so they gauze it up with false phantasms of national unity lost.”

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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 Clipboard Tyrant

“Humans make hierarchies of status and privilege for themselves whenever the opportunity avails itself. This is why all socialist systems that do not work within the constraints of a liberal democratic framework of the rule of law inevitably descend into tyrannies. Give the state unbridled power, and the denizens of the state will use that power toward their own ends.”

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Political Gangsters

“When you hand power over to planners, technocrats, or commissars to substitute their judgement for the rule of law, you are behaving like an outlaw, because you are literally outside the law.”

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Status on the Cheap

“And it is the very cheapness of the identity that causes us to cling to it ever more angrily. Women are more liberated than ever before, but they grow louder about their oppression. “

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The Heart of Populism

Populism on the right has risen from the neglect of the values that uphold the market and lack of recognition of the market’s effect on our social values.

Populism on the left has risen from an unfulfilled promise of more democracy and then frustrating it with the administrative state, executive orders and judicial decrees.

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Year End Thoughts 2018 12 30

At 66 I am more inclined to accepts my flaws than work hard to correct them. Again, tipping to Churchill I would hope to limit my annoying virtues and be less ashamed of my admirable vices.

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