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…View More Statism Is Killing Creativity
A recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times claimed that the greatest works of literature are sexist, even those written by women; this determination was made by contrasting the number of times the pronoun “he” appeared in contrast to the pronoun “she.” This kind of logic, which bases a whole system of fairness on nothing but numerical frequency, is truly alarming as it promotes the notion that women can only be inspired by other women.…View More Ideas, Not Gender, Are What Should Inspire Readers
What is the proper end of government? It is a deceptively simple question. For most Americans, the answer probably resonates with the broad goals outlined in the preamble of the Constitution- establishing justice, promoting the general welfare, securing the blessings of liberty. Political theoreticians would largely agree, though in more formal language, perhaps citing Aristotle’s analogy that a city is simply a partnership, and all partnerships aim at some good. These, however, are abstractions of…View More What is the goal of government?
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 as to how it would achieve its lofty ends— “slims” government by capping spending levels at $.151 billion, slightly below…View More The Budget Blueprint is A Populist Nightmare, Not a Conservative Dream
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 in a self-affirming loop of populist efficacy whereby the people’s conception of words matters because it is the people who…View More How “America First” Rhetoric Reconfigures Classic Political Theory
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 future can voters truly ensure the election of a government that promotes and improves the culture of American government. There…View More The conservative case against term limits
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 malleable than non-fiat currency, which is based in a commodity, such as gold, with intrinsic value. Yet, even the values…View More Money is not “good” or “bad”; it is what each individual makes it