Ten Second News

Triaxial Epistemology

By way of Popehat, Arnold Kling on a root problem with contemporary political discourse, summarized in the Wall Street Journal: Mr. Kling’s three “languages” are ways of talking about politics and government, and they align roughly with the progressive, conservative and libertarian viewpoints. Progressives, Mr. Kling thinks, typically express opinions using an “oppressed-oppressor axis”: societal…

9 Things Progressives Are NOT

1. Fascists: Progressives pushed for women’s suffrage and the direct election of senators. They generally pushed for a more inclusive, robust democratic community. Today’s progressives are pretty similar—they’re certainly not a movement trying to curtail voting rights or reestablish a thick cultural narrative that excludes elements of the population from community membership. 2. Marxists: This…

American Process and Its “Occasional Services to Liberalism”

Liberals endure much teasing for their inability to articulate just what liberalism means.  Even their best and brightest flounder at the task.  “[T]here is something deep within liberalism,” Michael Tomasky attempts, “that prevents it from degenerating into fascism, and that is its explicit recognition that the state must serve both common purposes and individual liberty.” …

Progressivism’s American-ness

Over my last few posts on progressivism (here and here), I’ve made a fairly straightforward argument with three big claims: 1. Today’s conservatives consider progressives to be not just political opponents, but also un-American. 2. This is historically inaccurate. Most of the original progressives aimed at recuperating the nation’s core Founding ideals. 3. Furthermore, I argued…

Waxing Un-American

Conor Williams is exasperated and disappointed with the response to his criticism of conservatives criticizing Progressivism.  I’ll excuse his missing my comments, set forth below, which answer his criticism directly.  But on re-reading Conor’s post, I see that he actually had his finger on the answer—that Progressivism subverts process, and process is the thing, if…

A Proposal, and a Second Take On Progressivism, American-ness, and Conservative Rhetoric

I’ve read the comments on my recent post on progressivism with equal parts exasperation and disappointment. I complained that …today’s conservatives are obsessed with maintaining semantic control over The American Idea: What sort of country are we? For the Right, we’re the Founders and Ronald Reagan and victorious armies and we’re certainly Christian and we all agree…

What Progressivism Is (Updated)

Back in 2010, Paul Ryan told Glenn Beck: …what I’ve been trying to do is indict the entire vision of progressivism because I see progressivism as the source, the intellectual source for the big government problems that are plaguing us today and so to me it’s really important to flush progressives out into the field…

Growing Market Demand For the Left’s IDEAS

I spend more time complaining about left-wing rhetorical ineptitude than anything else. It’s as close a raison d’être as I’ve got, other than my wife and son (who are infinitely more valuable companions). My hobby horse rocks something like this: American Leftists lean technocratic, and thus can’t articulate moral justifications for why they believe what they…

Wiring the Wonky Left’s Moral Compass

Thanks in no small part to Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher, my post last week on the “Wonky” American Left has generated some interesting discussion. Given that I’ve been unsuccessfully pushing this argument for a few years, I couldn’t be happier with the response. Debate beats quietude every day of the week. Here’s a modest…

No, Americans are not “operationally liberal”

Responding to my demurrer to “the old saw that Americans are ideologically conservative but operationally liberal,” Yeggmen sticks up for the saw:  what researchers have (repeatedly) done is get a bunch of people together and have them fill out a long and comprehensive political questionnaire. They ask them to choose an ideological label, vague questions…

Can the Occupy Movement Tackle Crony Capitalism?

In a comment on Shawn Gude’s previous post on the main page about the Occupy movement, I asked who the “1%” is and whether Occupy protesters were primarily aggrieved about “Wall Street,” or whether they were aggrieved about “wealth inequality” more generally.  Commenter Michael Drew referred me to this post at Rortybomb entitled “Who are…

The Conscience of a Liberal

Despite modern liberalism’s sweeping scope, no one seems to know quite what it is. Liberalism appeared somewhere in the sixteenth century—“St. George, in the guise of Rationality,” as Kenneth Minogue puts it—to slay the dragons of despotic kingship and religious intolerance. Centuries later, liberalism slew the dragons of slavery, poverty, and later “the inert scaliness…

Reclaiming Liberalism

Matt Yglesias responds to Freddie’s post on the dearth of truly left-wing voices in the blogosphere, and lists his own economic goals as a way to illustrate his own views on liberalism: More redistribution of money from the top to the bottom. A less paternalistic welfare state that puts more money directly in the hands…

Critics of Woodrow Wilson strangely ignore the worst aspects of his presidency

I’m happy to see that disenchantment with Woodrow Wilson – the most bizarre candidate for the pantheon of great American presidents – is reaching a wider audience on the American Right. But this nascent critique of Wilsonian progressivism seems to have missed one of his worst legacies. Namely, Wilson’s blatant disregard for civil liberties (from…

Nothing’s ever certain except race and taxes.

Andrew Sullivan has this map posted at the Dish today, which he found via Open Left.  What I take from Open Left’s analysis is that by and large white men are not all that progressive.  Why this should be “discouraging” to Sullivan is beyond me, unless we’re conflating a lack of progressiveness with out and out…

The New White City

I know this article on race and progressive cities has taken a lot of criticism, but its central observation – that liberal policies and homogeneous cities are closely correlated – seems pretty intuitive. Progressives frequently argue that American hostility to redistribution stems from lingering racial anxiety. Conservatives are less eager to blame our welfare policies…

Kulturkampf

Victor Davis Hanson is visiting Europe. More precisely, Italy and Greece. Several profound insights into the nature of continental society follow: After concluding another 16 days in Europe. I am again reminded how different their form of socialism  is, and yet how closely it resembles the model that Obama seeks for America. The vast majority…