In terms of public actions, there are few more selfish acts than voting. Voting is an individual act: a vote for or against a candidate or a ballot question is ultimately a reflection of that voters’ interests and value-judgments. And a reflection of that voters’ interests and value-judgments alone. The voting booth asks citizens to grade politicians. The metric for this evaluation? The individual’s interests and the degree to which they have been protected by…View More Voting Is Selfish. Which Is Why Get-Out-The-Vote Drives Are Unseemly.
The idealist is often perceived as something akin to a knight of Arthurian legend: a man of exceptional virtue, who sidesteps the pitfalls of temptation by strength of will alone, whose fallible mortality is made adamant by his steadfast belief in certain eternal truths. He not only espouses virtue; he personifies it. But there is a fine line between Galahad and Don Quixote, and more often the idealist turns out to be not a chaste…View More Idealism Has a Place in a Pragmatic World
Democratic government has its fair share of drawbacks, and perhaps none of these contributes to dysfunction so much as the constant pressure re-election exerts on the minds of politicians. Desirous of retaining their influence and position, the temptation to use voting power as a lever and extort kickbacks for interest groups in constituencies who are powerful enough to sway electoral outcomes overpowers whatever duty a politician has towards the drafting of well-grounded public policy. Constant…View More Lights, Camera, Politics
There is a strain of modern political thought that equates specialized knowledge and topical expertise with elitism, itself rooted in anti-populism. Such thinking contributes to high levels of political inefficacy as the operational premise of representational government is that legislators, who dedicate their time to informing themselves on issues that affect their constituents, will use their knowledge of both the issues and their constituencies to make political choices calculated to promote the interests of residents…View More Congress Is Inept Because It Was Never Meant to Be the Primary Political Problem Solver
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
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?
The 2016 election represented a fundamental shift in American politics. Donald Trump’s ability to successfully position himself as a Republican who publicly repudiated traditional right-wing ideas such as free trade and limited government reconfigured the traditional two-party divide. America now has two parties that embrace a strong, managerial federal government. This is not a phenomenon solely dependent on Trump; he simply spearheaded the movement. An observation of Congressional Republican opposition to Obamacare—which slowly morphed from…View More Intraparty GOP Opposition Should Be Touted in New Administration