The Media As Modern Day Philosopher-Kings

The modern media is, in many ways, not unlike Plato’s utopian dream city of Kallipolis. Eschewing democratic ideas and the concept of a meritocracy, Plato’s famous Socratic dialogue, The Republic, embraces a natural aristocracy of minds and argues that, for justice to be a reality, those of ability—the philosophers—should rule and those lacking the requisite mental acumen—the followers—should simply accept their lot in life and allow those who know better to order their affairs. Plato’s…

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The Hollowing Out of the Conservative Mind

The 2016 election was something of an existential crisis for many across the partisan spectrum, but perhaps not quite as literally for any group as conservatives. Donald Trump’s ascendancy ripped the veil off right-wing ideology and revealed that many of the principles to which conservatives had clung so staunchly in their political advocacy—limited government, free markets—were apparently adopted by many of their brethren simply because they stood in opposition to progressive ideas. Those who balked…

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When Governing Becomes An Aesthetic Act

Often these days it seems legislators put more effort into the naming of bills than into analyzing the details of new laws and their likely impact upon the citizenry. In April, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act, or “El Chapo” Act, proposing to channel the assets seized from drug trafficking towards border security and funding for the proposed border wall. There is a certain insipid…

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Party Loyalty Is Destroying Politics

America’s political culture has become such that the charge of disloyalty is a far more indelible stain upon a person’s character than a charge of criminal behavior or personal misconduct. The 2016 election was a race between a career politician whose record of abusing the law for personal gain was as long as her record of public service and a businessman with an unsettling habit of personally denigrating any who criticized or disagreed with him.…

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A Different Reading of Populism

To possess an ideology requires a strong sense of morality and a commitment to an analytical process that is indefatigable, both in the regard that it questions values and assumptions universally, without regard for personal prejudice, and in the regard that its questioning is all-encompassing; it does not waver to account for fatigue or a lack of interest in a particular subject. In other words, to be an ideologue is a laborious and time-consuming process.…

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Statism Is Killing Creativity

Originality has never been much of a virtue in politics. Protecting the long-term interests of the state, its officials and its citizens requires stasis. Politics institutionalizes the status quo, preserves the standing order. Regimes that fail to do so form the detritus of history. The novel and untested is a threat in politics; the radically different might provide the solution to inequity, but it could just as easily exacerbate it. States have a primal instinct…

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