The Collectivism of Immigration Rhetoric

The tenor of racial politics has been on a steady increase throughout the Obama and now the Trump administration. But in the cross-purposed tribalistic shouting between left and right which has come to comprise the punditry of today, there’s little room for core principles, which is a shame, really, because it overlooks a crucial element of racism and its perniciousness: it is inherently collectivist. Laura Ingraham made quite the splash last week when on her…

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Economic Protectionism and the Tyranny of Taxation With Representation

Economic protectionism, much like the populist tradition of which it is often born, involves the exportation of need. Individuals are not primarily responsible for securing, or often even defining, their own needs, but task an intermediary figure, in whose goodness they place their trust, with doing so. Even as a certain type of grasping, malevolent elite becomes the archetypal bogeyman in the populist’s dichotomous morality play, the downtrodden masses champion their own elite: a modern-day…

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American Party Culture, Part 4: The Struggle for Popularity

Messages of political unity have a particular magnetism. For certain, campaign rhetoric that appeals to the ability of a nation to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds if people put differences aside and pull together for the common good is like lodestone for would-be politicians. “Come together” messaging might seem incongruous in the framework of inherently divisive elections, where competitors speak of hope and unity in one breath then deride the motives of their opponent in the…

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The Rise of Economics as an Element of National Security: Part I: The Inequity Engendered by Protectionism

National security has become the catchall justification for government inserting itself into matters which are beyond the purview given it by the Constitution. The definition of what constitutes a threat has expanded to a point where all manner of things are now regulated under the guise of protecting the people. Security is no longer simply about protection from physical harm, but also a function of stability and prosperity; it is not about the largely passive…

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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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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 in a self-affirming loop of populist efficacy whereby the people’s conception of words matters because it is the people who…

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2016 and the New Populism

Election night confirmed a long-held suspicion. This whole electoral cycle has been a lesson in humility for pundits overconfident in the reliability of data forecasting, broadcast from the Twilight Zone. That said, the profundity of it is staggering, even for skeptics like myself. This was not a runaway victory for Trump. Yet, because the forecasts were so very wrong, it certainly feels like a mandate. In the coming days, shattered political scientists are sure to…

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