Category Archives: Philosophy

The Budget Blueprint is A Populist Nightmare, Not a Conservative Dream

If the 2018 budget blueprint recently released by President Trump through the Office of Management and Budget is, as right-wing commentators are claiming, the new apogee of conservative fiscal policy, then the movement is well and truly dead. Yes, the proposed budget—which only contains proposed reforms for discretionary funding and then gives no substantive detail…

How “America First” Rhetoric Reconfigures Classic Political Theory

It is one of the great ironies of modern politics that vague, colloquial conceptions of democracy understood simply as the moral authority of the people’s will promulgate the view that partisan ideological labels have meanings which fluctuate with different forms of self-identification in the polity. In other words, the semantics of modern ideology is rooted…

The conservative case against term limits

Insulating individuals from the consequences of bad choices does nothing to promote democratic governance or protect civil liberties. It does not teach voters to make sober, reasoned choices at the voting booths. Only by making poor electoral choices then removing dishonest political actors once their perfidy is revealed and being vigilant against similar situations in…

Money is not “good” or “bad”; it is what each individual makes it

A unit of currency, even those based on elements with empirical worth, has absolute value. But this value is relative, both against other systems of measurement and in context of time and shifting events. Fiat money, like the American dollar, derives its worth as a unit from government mandates and regulations, making it much more…

Politicians attempting to vote shame are authoritarians

The 2016 election has engendered upheaval of the traditional methods of politicking and obliterated normal partisan identities. It is unsurprising that the dominant hegemons should push back, shamelessly advancing the trite and obviously fallacious bromide of binary party choice. In the wake of the first debate, which only underscored how pathetic the results of long-entrenched…

The ambiguous “we” of modern American politics

From the beginning, Monday night’s presidential debate was a cavalcade of collectivist rhetoric, with both candidates frequently invoking an ambiguous “we” as justification for their plans and policy positions. Leaving aside the troubling implications such attitudes towards expansive central control have for a society supposedly founded on the idea of power flowing upwards from the…

On belief in one’s righteousness

Surety of opinion is often derided as arrogance, mischaracterized as close-minded certainty. But confidence in the righteousness of one’s beliefs is not a trait which should be discouraged as insipid vanity nor a condition which ought to discredit an individual from being taken seriously as a voice of reason. Surety of opinion is a necessary…

The difference between voting on rationale and for party

The most pervasive interpretation of the electoral system which pervades social discourse paints politics as a binary choice in a zero-sum system. A vote for one candidate is not just a philosophical act of repudiation of their opponent’s ideas, but simultaneously an act which substantively detracts from their ability to win. Such an interpretation is…

How Reaganism killed the right and led to the rise of Trump

One of the basic premises of 21st century American society is that polarization, particularly along politically partisan lines, has risen dramatically. That the right, in particular, has become increasingly hard line and intransigent is a common charge for the left. The assertion that “Reagan wouldn’t recognize his own party” is crowed by both GOP moderates…

How the death of federalism has affected understanding of the Bill of Rights

Debate over the Constitution has devolved over the past couple of centuries from an eloquent discourse, sometimes sophistic, to petty academic quibbling over whether emphasis on the Bill of Rights belongs to the powers denied the federal government or to those unenumerated and left in the hands of the states and people. The context of…

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