This is the title of an e book by Arnold Kling, who used to blog at our sister site and now blogs at Askblog. The book, which is well worth reading, argues that conservatives, libertarians, and progressives each have a different language that they use to analyze politics. According to Kling, conservatives view political issues as involving those who favor the institutions of civilization and those who seek to tear them down. Libertarians view political issues as a conflict between those who favor liberty and those who seek to impose coercion. And progressives view political issues as involving a situation where…
The University of California, Berkeley emerged again as a bastion of protest against perceived fascism. Alt-Right leader Milo Yiannopoulos was invited by the Berkeley College Republicans to speak on the campus, only to be blocked by protestors and violent rioters. President Trump, in true late-night form, tweeted: No free speech, ‘NO FEDERAL FUNDS?’
The debate over who will be the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is really a debate about the structure of power in our political system. Members of the House’s Freedom Caucus argue that power has become too centralized and reforms must open up the legislative process to more members. They allege that the Speaker has become too powerful and that the House is being run as a top-down institution.
American freedom has two faces, Aziz Rana maintains: political liberty or self-rule for citizens; subordination (at times going so far as extermination or enslavement) for non-citizens. He wants to show that these faces appear on opposite sides of the same coin, and that the coin needs recasting if we want our freedom universalized. Although Rana, associate professor of law at the Cornell University Law School, has earned his degrees in political science and law, here he writes as a historian. The Two Faces of American Freedom demonstrates once again that what used to be called “the New Left,” which gathered academic…
In 1887, when Woodrow Wilson was still a mere academic, he wrote an essay that served as a clarion call for administrative power. Revealingly, one of his themes was that reformers faced greater difficulties in modern democracies than they had in the monarchies of the past:
Once the advantage of the reformer was that the sovereign’s mind had a definite locality, that it was contained in one man’s head, and that consequently it could be gotten at. . . . Now, on the contrary, the reformer is bewildered by the fact the sovereign’s mind has no definite locality, but is contained in a voting majority of several million heads; and embarrassed by the fact that the mind of this sovereign is also under the influence of . . . preconceived opinions; i.e., prejudices which are not to be reasoned with because they are not the children of reason.
Exacerbating this problem was the diversity of the nation, which meant that the reformer needed to influence “the mind, not of Americans of the older stocks only, but also of Irishmen, of Germans, of negroes.”
Every intellectual likes to believe that he is struggling manfully against the hostile zeitgeist, or else what would be the need for intellectuals? His belief that he is not only in the minority but currently losing the battle against the opposing forces of obscurantism and wrongheadedness allows him the pleasures both of self-pity and self-congratulation. He likes to believe that he has suffered for his views (for can there be better evidence of holding the correct opinions than having suffered for them?), while at the same time making a comfortable living from them.