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"How do you justify your existence?"
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, February 11, 2005

One day, perhaps they'll notice that this represents not just a political, but an ideological problem...

Mark Schmitt
We can't possibly find ways to move society forward as long as everything is put neatly into boxes labeled "environment," "health care," "campaign finance reform," "low-income programs," "pro-choice," etc., and the coalitions that exist are made up of representatives from those movements. Trying to force environmentalists to think about health care doesn't solve the problem either. We need a whole new structure, built around a convincing narrative about society and the economy, and a new way to fit these pieces together.

Matthew Yglesias
As Mark says, what's needed here is something beyond "meetings or traditional coalitions around particular shared interests," which we do already have. What's needed, in short, is a real ideology that, as such, has adherents.
One might pause for a moment to ask oneself: why? Why does this coalition of special interests not have a "real ideology"? And, more to the point, why is one of our two major political Party still searching for a central raison d'etre -- something more internally consistent and principled than "overlapping consensus"?

Make no mistake, this question is not unique to Yglesias and Schmitt. John Podesta said something similiar, even as he brushed aside the matter of proper cart/horse placement....
"The question I'm asked most often is, 'When are we getting our eight words?' Podesta said. Conservatives, he went on, 'have their eight words in a bumper sticker: Less government. Lower taxes. Less welfare. And so on. Where's our eight-word bumper sticker? Well, it's harder for us, because we believe in a lot more things."
Without venturing into a normative judgement of the propriety of the liberal philosophy -- at the end of the day, I don't think a political philosophy can be "right" or "wrong", except in matters of internal consistency, and the reliability of its assumptions -- one has to ask oneself: why does modern political liberalism not have an organizing principle?
 
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Interesting piece. Why do you think the party doesn't publicly and simply state its most obvious organizing principle? Podesta has his "eight words" (really six) already: "More government. More taxes. More welfare." He just won't print the bumper sticker.

I work in marketing and have seen clients reluctant to state their real message before. In my opinion, the thing making it "harder for" Podesta is not that they "believe in a lot more things", it is that they believe in a lot more things, but they won't say it outright.

Do you think this is because they truly don't recognize that this is their message? Or do they recognize it but dance around it because they don't think it will sell?

Regardless of my agreement with the message, I know I would better respect the party's position if it was clearly and proudly stated.
 
Written By: ZG
URL: http://
Echoing ZG, it's been my impression that the Dem's problem is not "a lack of an organizing principle" but that the fractious nature of perceived support is due to the divisive ideology underlying modern liberalism. The Dems won't dare name the collectivist organizing principle permeating every facet of their platform, and the preferred method of manifestation is through identification politics (read "gender, sexual-orientation, and ethnic group politics"). In short, when what you're selling is "take from the disfavored and give to my favorites" it's hard to come up with a satisfyingly deceptive message.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Why do you think the party doesn't publicly and simply state its most obvious organizing principle? Podesta has his "eight words" (really six) already: "More government. More taxes. More welfare."
Sorry, guys, but that is not an "organizing principle". An organizing principle explains why you favor a particular course of action. It is the preeminent value, around which your ideology is based.

"More government" is a means to that end; it is not an end, in itself. Even in communism, "more government" was not the end, in itself.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
OK Jon try this one on for size.

"Cradle to grave control over your life because we know what's right for you and you are too ignorant to make those choices yourself."

I know that sounds trite but isn't that's essentially what the "Big Governemnt" liberals stand for?
 
Written By: Curt Mitchell
URL: http://
Nope. Obstructively cynical.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
It's only seven words but its what I believe government should be:

People Working Together for a Better Future.

By the way, have you noticed that you got smaller government under Clinton (I believe the size of the Federal workforce declined by 70,000) and are getting bigger government under Bush. Except, of course, for the things you want really college educations, police protection, protection of hunting and fishing lands, public health (as in clean, "mad cow" free meat - enough vacinations - safe, inexpensive drugs), etc.

Wake up and smell the manure from the factory farms...
 
Written By: Lindata
URL: http://
Sorry, guys, but that is not an "organizing principle". An organizing principle explains why you favor a particular course of action. It is the preeminent value, around which your ideology is based.
Ah, I chose my words poorly. I meant that as the boiled-down "slogan" of a liberal principle, as Podesta did with the other one. It is, I think, the bumper sticker for the current liberal message. But I see now that you mean this message doesn't have an organizing principle behind it.

Rereading, I also see that I missed where you said that a political philosophy is not right or wrong except in "the reliability of its assumptions". Missing this, I thought you were indicating the liberal philosophy is not necessarily wrong.

The messages "less government" and "more government" both require explanation of why they are favored courses of action. The "less government" explanation is based on reliable assumptions. However, the "more government" explanation is not, which prevents an organizing principle from forming. Actually, the fact that the principle doesn't form naturally is indicative of of the unreliability of the assumptions.

Is this correct?

(I hope you don't mind all the questions. The blog/comment medium can be addictive.)
 
Written By: ZG
URL: http://
Sensible solutions for complex problems. It ain't the cereal, its the box.
 
Written By: Oliver
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
Lindata: that's a good maxim for individual action, but it doesn't really organize anything. It's simply a call for organization.

What philosophy does that imply? As far as I can see, it's simply a restatement of Schmitt's point that liberalism consists of a coalition of disparate groups.

By the way, have you noticed that you got smaller government under Clinton
No, we didn't. It grew less fast, but we never got "less government".

Regardless, I reject the idea that you can correlate control of 1 out of 3 branches of government with the economy, or with the size of government. One could just as easily say "have you noticed that you got smaller government under the Republican Congress of the 90s". The only thing I think we can take away from the experience of the 90s is that, under those particular circumstances, having gridlocked Executive/legislative branches resulted in less-bad-than-usual legislation, from a (neo)libertarian perspective.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Maybe I should have been more precise. "Collectivism", as you correctly note, is merely a means to an end, namely "EGALITARIANISM" -- i.e. you can't have any more than me, even if you produce it yourself and make my life better because of it.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Rereading, I also see that I missed where you said that a political philosophy is not right or wrong except in "the reliability of its assumptions". Missing this, I thought you were indicating the liberal philosophy is not necessarily wrong.
As a whole, it's not. Value judgements depend entirely upon the inputs and outputs of the person making those judgements. That's not to say that I think liberal prescriptions will necessarily, in all cases, accomplish what they want accomplished. Rent control is a perfect example of a case in which it, demonstrable, does not.

Actually, the fact that the principle doesn't form naturally is indicative of of the unreliability of the assumptions. Is this correct?
I think it is, but I may be missing the underlying philosophy. That's really why I ended the post with a question, rather than a declarative statement.

The fiscal conservative/libertarian organizing principle is (essentially) that 1) individual liberty -- "positive rights" -- is an end in itself, and that 2) a free market is the best coordinating mechanism to achieve (whatever basket of goods a society wants at any given point in time).

Frankly, while "more government" may represent the means to some end, it is not--it itself--the end sought by liberalism. But what end do they seek?

Sensible solutions for complex problems. It ain't the cereal, its the box.
I'm not even sure what that means. Can you explain?
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Connectivity and shared benefits.
 
Written By: praktike
URL: http://
The first part is what the Dem "ideology" is. It's not Bush's "Hulk Smash" brand of nonsense. There are complex problems in the world, the way to tackle them is with common sense. The second part is the whole misnomer that the Dems have a policy problem. On issue, a bare majority of the populace supports the Dem position, but the GOP does a much better job selling a whole package, getting people to vote not on individual policy positions - which has been the problem to date.
 
Written By: Oliver
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
"More government" is a means to that end; it is not an end, in itself. Even in communism, "more government" was not the end, in itself.

The end in itself is Western European style democratic socialism. I should think that would be obvious to anyone acquainted with the Democrat party in the last 35 years.
 
Written By: Lance Jonn Romanoff
URL: http://www.ljonn.com/
There are complex problems in the world, the way to tackle them is with common sense.

This is a joke, right?
 
Written By: Lance Jonn Romanoff
URL: http://www.ljonn.com/
Compared to a foreign policy consisting of "Freedom is on the march", we're up to our eyeballs in jokes. And it's the Democratic party. Read sometime.
 
Written By: Oliver
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
So you were joking, then?
 
Written By: Lance Jonn Romanoff
URL: http://www.ljonn.com/
So Oliver, what is this Dem position that a bare majority supports?

And, pray tell, who is this bare majority? They must have stayed home in November.
 
Written By: David Andersen
URL: http://
"But what end do they seek?"

Cosmic justice. Universal fairness.

That's as close as I can get, and these are fairly nebulous. I don't think they have an underlying principle. I really don't.
 
Written By: David Andersen
URL: http://
Oliver, would you prefer "the party which calls itself Democratic but whose operatives carried out felony acts of vandalism as part of their campaign to steal the election in Milwaukee"?
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu
Triticale: Ouch!
 
Written By: David R. Block
URL: http://
Thanks for the follow-up, Jon. Very thought-provoking.

I submit that the organizing principle may be "equality", although not what that term once meant in political context. I see it more as a perverse simplification of the great equality causes: equal human value, equal rights, and equal opportunity. These were noble and necessary endeavors.

However, the cause for "equality" seems to have extended into things like equality of ideology, equality of values, equality of nation power, even equality of animals and plants, where the only goal is to achieve value equilibrium. Automatic support for the weaker and opposition to the stronger in any pairing makes sense in this context. The desire for more intrusive government also makes sense if its purpose is to force this equilibrium.

This is just a raw idea. There will be caveats that don't fit, just as there are in the other principles. I do think it covers the major liberal points of the day, though.

Through this prism one can see where some pursuits of equality have gotten off track. The struggle for human equality has universal meaning. The struggle for equality of all things, just for the sake of being equal, is meaningless.
 
Written By: ZG
URL: http://
Just for fun, can somebody tell me what the "organizing principle" of the GOP is? In your own words? In one sentence?

Seems to me it's "F... the people, f ... the planet, and f... democracy," but maybe I'm biased.
 
Written By: Barbara O'Brien
URL: http://
I think perhaps you are a bit biased Barbara.
 
Written By: David Andersen
URL: http://
Its the bare majority, who - when polled line up with the Dems on a slight few more issues than the GOP (usually on domestic issues). The GOP has an advantage on foreign policy, etc. But elections are not won on people agreeing with issues, as is plainly clear.
 
Written By: Oliver
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
Yes, but I still think the GOP doesn't have an organizing principle, either. Not one they'll admit to, anyway, or that they don't abandon as soon as the election's over.

And I challenge anyone to tell me otherwise. What is this organizing principle?
 
Written By: Barbara O'Brien
URL: http://
So what are they won on Oliver? I disagree. I voted for Bush over Kerry precisely because of issues; because I felt Bush -despite his faults - would handle issues important to me far better than Kerry. I suppose you'll claim I was dupped.
 
Written By: David Andersen
URL: http://
Just for fun, can somebody tell me what the "organizing principle" of the GOP is?

Not being a Republican, I really can’t say (or I should say, I’ll let a Republican define their party).

But my impression is its organizing principle is based in the right of an individual to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. That tends to see that party favor less government, lower taxes and less intrusion at least traditionally. They see defense as one of the few legitimate functions of government (again as a protection of the individual rights)

Given: what we’ve been seing lately, at least in the "less government" and "less spending areas", doesn’t necessarily conform to that principle.

The Dems on the other hand seem to tend toward an organizing principle which finds solutions for the vast majority of problems within the collective entity of government (instead of the individual) which has them tend toward policies that promote more government, more intrusion by government (more laws, more regulation), more spending and more taxes to pay for it all.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Barbara,

Above, Jon said:

"The fiscal conservative/libertarian organizing principle is (essentially) that 1) individual liberty -- "positive rights" -- is an end in itself, and that 2) a free market is the best coordinating mechanism to achieve (whatever basket of goods a society wants at any given point in time). "

I agree.

Now I don't think that GOP=conservatives, let alone libertarian. The organizing principle for the two major parties seems to be "get elected."

 
Written By: David Andersen
URL: http://
Barbara: And I challenge anyone to tell me otherwise. What is this organizing principle?

As I understand it, modern Republicanism is grounded in the idea of using the power of the state to provide as much opportunity to as many people as possible. This is, of course, different than the small-government roots of the party, and one of the reasons that a lot of libertarians (such as myself) can't ever identify themselves with the Republicans in toto, even if they do vote for them considerably more often than Democrats.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
The organizing principle for the two major parties seems to be "get elected."

It sure does seem that way one helluva lot of the time.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
As I understand it, modern Republicanism is grounded in the idea of using the power of the state to provide as much opportunity to as many people as possible. This is, of course, different than the small-government roots of the party, and one of the reasons that a lot of libertarians (such as myself) can't ever identify themselves with the Republicans in toto, even if they do vote for them considerably more often than Democrats.

It boils down to a tendency toward individual rights (Republican) vs. a tendency toward collective rights (Democrat).

It is that tendency toward individual rights (and what that means in terms of governmental philosophy and size) vs. the collective rights tendency of the Democrats (and what that means in governmental philosophy and size) which finds libertarians siding more with the GOP than the Democrats on many issues.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Republicanism is grounded in the idea of using the power of the state to provide as much opportunity to as many people as possible.

In Teddy Roosevelt's time, that was true. But that isn't true any more. Republican policies cause opportunities for most people to shrink. In truth, the modern GOP is all about manipulating and exploiting most people so that the rich and powerful few can get richer and more powerful.

The Democratic party hasn't been much use to anyone in recent years, but that's only because they are too much like Republicans. However, PROGRESSIVEISM is all about using the power of the state to provide opportunity to those people willing to work for opportunity, so that if those of us who are pushing the party to the left are successful, then the Dems will be better "republicans" than the GOP.

It boils down to a tendency toward individual rights (Republican) vs. a tendency toward collective rights (Democrat).

Oh, bullshit. Except for gun rights, the current crop of GOP wants to roll back rights for everyone. The GOP is all about using the state to indoctrinate and enforce a rigid and narrow view of "moral" behavior on the rest of us, and the hell with our rights, whether individual or collective.

I tend to vote Democrat (although the Dems annoy me almost as much as the Pugs sometimes) because I trust the Dems to protect my rights as an individual citizen better than the Pugs do. And the more progressive Dems are more likely to work toward a society that is still open to opportunity for those willing to work for it.

The Republicans are working AGAINST those things. If you aren't already rich and comfortable, fuhgeddaboudit.

Try again.
 
Written By: Barbara O'Brien
URL: http://
Barbara, spare us the goofy cliches and talking points. And furthermore, you're discussing the wrong party.

 
Written By: Lance Jonn Romanoff
URL: http://www.ljonn.com/
Lance, thank you for proving my point. Republicans don't have an ideology, they have a mythology. They have no guiding principles, just old slogans left over from an earlier age, and the only people who still believe those slogans describe what Republicanism stands for are too brainwashed to see the truth.

Wake up.
 
Written By: Barbara O'Brien
URL: http://
You're sort of cranky Barbara.

And, I think, a bit blinded if you think Republican's are working against anyone who isn't already 'rich and comfortable.' That notion is tossed about quite a lot but people who say it never seems to offer evidence of this pervasive mentality in the Republican party. How about some specific evidence of widespread efforts to quash the non-rich?
 
Written By: David Andersen
URL: http://
In Teddy Roosevelt’s time, that was true. But that isn’t true any more. Republican policies cause opportunities for most people to shrink. In truth, the modern GOP is all about manipulating and exploiting most people so that the rich and powerful few can get richer and more powerful.

Which policies cause "opportunities to shrink?" Drop the boilerplate rhetoric and provide a few specifics, please.

However, PROGRESSIVEISM is all about using the power of the state to provide opportunity to those people willing to work for opportunity, so that if those of us who are pushing the party to the left are successful, then the Dems will be better "republicans" than the GOP.

Well, it certainly is into "using the power of the state", but its laughable to pretend its using it to "provide opportunity to those people willing to work for opportunity". It does precisely the opposite in its approach to taxation for instance.

Tell me a major plank of any "progressive" agenda isn’t a PROGRESSIVE income tax. And its "progressiveness" punishes success.

Redistribution of income is a solidly "progressive" idea. And it is also an assault on individual and property rights.

Oh, bullshit. Except for gun rights, the current crop of GOP wants to roll back rights for everyone. The GOP is all about using the state to indoctrinate and enforce a rigid and narrow view of "moral" behavior on the rest of us, and the hell with our rights, whether individual or collective.


Oh give it a break, please. We’re talking about organizing principles, not "current crops" of anything.

Individual rights in property mean what?

Less taxes, less regulation, fewer laws regulating property, etc. Who has a tendency to champion legislation which favors that. It isn’t PROGRESSIVE Democrats.

I tend to vote Democrat (although the Dems annoy me almost as much as the Pugs sometimes) because I trust the Dems to protect my rights as an individual citizen better than the Pugs do. And the more progressive Dems are more likely to work toward a society that is still open to opportunity for those willing to work for it.

You tend to vote Democrat because you’re a doctrinaire "progressive" and have no place else to go ... at least be honest about this for goodness sake.

And as a good "progressive" you are more concerned about the collective of "society" than the individual.

Progressives certainly have no problem using the "power of the state" coercively to politically teraform society into whatever arbitrary image they choose as collectively "best", even if it means stepping on some individuals and their rights.

The Republicans are working AGAINST those things. If you aren’t already rich and comfortable, fuhgeddaboudit.

What "things"? What "individual rights" are being worked against by Republicans?

Specifics.

As for the "rich and comfortable", again, nice boilerplate, but get specific. Where are the Republicans violating individual rights to life, liberty or property in order to help the "rich and comfortable"?

Specifics.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Lance, thank you for proving my point. Republicans don't have an ideology, they have a mythology.

Well, do me a favor and explain how my dislike of your thought-free screed proves anything about a party of which I am not a member.

And again I repeat, you're discussing the wrong party.
 
Written By: Lance Jonn Romanoff
URL: http://www.ljonn.com/
"I trust the Dems to protect my rights as an individual citizen better..."

Why?

Dems are known to support, for example:

* bans of smoking in private businesses
* seatbelt, helmet, and airbag laws
* forced unionism as a condition for holding a job in several occupations
* eminent domain - taking private property in order to provide it for another private businesses which will pay more taxes
* bans on use of fireworks by citizens anywhere, no matter how safe
* termination of late-term pregnancies
* licensure requirements for trades (hairstyling)
* costly construction permits - no matter how inconsequential the project
* taxes for the sole purpose of redistributing wealth

All of these are infringements upon personal liberty. Now maybe none of these examples matter to you at all, but let us not kid ourselves that the Democrats are the great defenders of your rights.

I am also not saying, to be clear, that Republican's don't infringe upon personal liberties. The point of my comments is that Dems are just as bad (I think worse).

 
Written By: David Andersen
URL: http://
Thanks for this discussion. Because of the questions, I am now convinced that:

Liberals/Progressives/"whatever term hasn't been worn out yet" seem to think that all values and consequences are the result of society's attitudes and preconceived notions. Thus, if you change the way people think, you can create a perfect society in which no one hurts and there is no misfortune. Big government, higher education, news media...these are the main tools by which the liberals/progressives attempt to change the way people think so that there are no social penalties for any decision. That's how they can support this list:
* bans of smoking in private businesses
* seatbelt, helmet, and airbag laws
* forced unionism as a condition for holding a job in several occupations
* eminent domain - taking private property in order to provide it for another private businesses which will pay more taxes
* bans on use of fireworks by citizens anywhere, no matter how safe
* termination of late-term pregnancies
* licensure requirements for trades (hairstyling)
* costly construction permits - no matter how inconsequential the project
* taxes for the sole purpose of redistributing wealth
and insist they are for individual freedom without experiencing any distress over cognitive dissonance. "Freedom" is just a malleable term that can be utilized to get people to think the "right" way. Once everyone thinks correctly, they will do the right things and suffering will be eliminated. It's one of the reasons liberals/progressives hate religion, because they all state there is a higher power, and that some values are not negotiable.

Conservatives, on the other hand, seem to think that there are certain traits, values, and attitudes that appear naturally in humans and thus in society. The more people deny these values, the more they hurt themselves. The more people align themselves with universal truths, the smoother things go, although you still have to go through painful experiences to really learn these lessons. Conservatives don't mind temporary suffering that leads to greater maturity, understanding, or success later. Believing that there are natural consequences that guide behavior and ensure the well-being of society as a whole, conservatives *tend* to accept religion as a truth, or at least are not antipathetic toward it. And since these natural values/attitudes (call them morals) are best taught on a personal basis, the more people internalize and adopt them, the less government is needed.

Liberals/Progressives see government as a powerful and far-reaching tool to spread their message. Conservatives see government as a way to control negative behavior and resolve disputes. And so in what conservatives see as an increasingly immoral age, bigger government is necessary to counteract the "If it feels good, do it" mentality.

And that's what I see as the organizing philosophies.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
Our Way Or Else - We Need It!
 
Written By: Stephen
URL: http://
Wow, is it me or is Barbara making the same args as Homahota. Certanly not a good argument for "progressives" having independent thought processes.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Modern political liberalism and an "organizing principle" are contradictory ideologies. An "organizing principle" does not allow for a deviation or extension beyond it's defined base -- it requires ordered action and reaction.

Liberalism, OTOH, recognizes individuality, transcends differences and rejects arbitrary authority. Liberalism, by definition, cannot be defined by an organizing principle.

Have you been reading John Rawls?

 
Written By: Becky
URL: http://www.politicaladdict.com
Liberalism, OTOH, recognizes individuality, transcends differences and rejects arbitrary authority. Liberalism, by definition, cannot be defined by an organizing principle.

What is "liberalism by definition", Becky?

IOW, how does one define an ideology which has no "principle" at its base? And, in the political world, how does one organize its outreach or identify with the ideology without an "organizing principle"?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Ok, sorry I've been away in the midst of this conversation. I'll try to respond to the important points. For what it's worth, I sincerely appreciate the responses, especially from the liberals. I'm being sincere, and I appreciate the reciprocation.

Connectivity and shared benefits.
Yeah, well, that's not an "organizing principle", either. It could just as easily stand for Communism, or the Ujamaa phase in Tanzania. "Connectivity and shared benefits" is not an intrinsically "good thing", which--it seems to me--is a necessary prerequisite for an organizing priciple.

There are complex problems in the world, the way to tackle them is with common sense.
That's a cliche, not a principle. A principle would give you guidance about the nature and goal of that "common sense". Hell, everybody believes they're "solving problems with common sense".

ZG: I submit that the organizing principle may be "equality"

MICHAELW: "Collectivism", as you correctly note, is merely a means to an end, namely "EGALITARIANISM"
The two of you may be onto something. "Egalitarianism" as an end, in itself; as an ideal state. That seems to me to fit into the framework. I'd like to hear responses from liberals.


Just for fun, can somebody tell me what the "organizing principle" of the GOP is? In your own words? In one sentence? Seems to me it's "F... the people, f ... the planet, and f... democracy," but maybe I'm biased.
I'll tell you what I told Curt when he made similar speculations about the Democrats: Nope. Obstructively cynical.

The organizing principle of both the Republican and Democratic Parties is the same: get our people elected. The *ideologies* of the party-members, however, differ. There are a number of branches of conservatism, and I've never been able to understand some of those branches, which is why I restricted my answer to fiscal conservatives/libertarians -- their organizing principle is: 1) individual liberty -- "positive rights" -- is an end in itself, and that 2) a free market is the best coordinating mechanism to achieve (whatever basket of goods a society wants at any given point in time).

I won't speculate on the organizing principle of social conservatives. I don't understand them.

Its the bare majority, who - when polled line up with the Dems on a slight few more issues than the GOP (usually on domestic issues).
Ezra Klein and I discussed this recently, and I was--unfortunately--unable to finish it. (he deserved a better response, but I was too busy to give it the time it deserved) I think the fact that the Dems pull a slight majority on specific issues accounts for the fact that people like "good" things -- helping poor people, "justice", etc -- but it doesn't account for the fact that people also dislike too much government intervention. It's a matter of how you frame the question. Everybody likes (SS) having retirement income, but few people like being taxed for it.

In economic terms, Democrats represent the demand, and Republicans represent the supply. Everybody wants more, for less, and--when you're simply being asked a question, aside from being faced with the cost--you're generally going to favor "more".

In other words, I don't think yes/no polls can really guage the real demand level of the voters. And I think that, in part, that's what the Democrats have been faced with, lately.

However, PROGRESSIVEISM is all about using the power of the state to provide opportunity to those people willing to work for opportunity,
Well, we're all Neolibertarians here, so you'll understand why we find that idea objectionable. (Praise State from whom all blessings flow! Praise State, all subjects here below!)

However, that gives me some notion of the organizing principle of Proressivism: Egalitarianism, through State intervention. Would you consider that a fair approximation? (I'm asking here)

At any rate, I think your conflation of "Republicans" with the actual ideologies within the GOP is obstructively cynical.

Liberalism, OTOH, recognizes individuality, transcends differences and rejects arbitrary authority. Liberalism, by definition, cannot be defined by an organizing principle.
Ah, now here's an interesting concept. So, you're back to the point described by Schmitt and Yglesias, in which liberalism is simply a coalition of special interests?


Modern political liberalism and an "organizing principle" are contradictory ideologies. An "organizing principle" does not allow for a deviation or extension beyond it's defined base -- it requires ordered action and reaction.
Eh, maybe. I don't think that's quite accurate, in terms of ideology. "The Value of the Individual" is an organizing principle of libertarianism, yet there is wide variation among libertarians. An organizing principle is simply the basic, fundamental value, from which policies, opinions, etc are derived. Without that, what is a coalition, except opposition? It could have no coherent shared value. It would be a gang.
Have you been reading John Rawls?
I'm somwhat familiar with him, and his theory of justice seems applicable to this discussion, since Matt and Mark declared a need for a "real ideology". Rawls is the liberal political philosopher of record, and his concept of "overlapping consensus" is relevant.

What little I know of his philosophy, though, seems a rather utilitarian mish-mash of cooperative precedures and meshing mechanisms. It doesn't seem to be anything but "a good idea". That's great utility, but not such good principle.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Would anyone care to explain how the Right's fatwa against Eason Jordan jibes with the notion that the Republican Party stands for individual freedom? Maybe I missed it, but the last time I looked, CNN was a part of Time Warner, a private corporation, not a government agency, and most TVs in America had channel changers.
 
Written By: Steve M.
URL: http://nomoremister.blogspot.com
Certainly. You'll notice that no government pressure was brought to bear? It's called "public approval".

John Locke posited that law was divided into three areas:

*** moral (or "divine") law -- only enforceable by God.

*** Civil law -- the protection of "natural rights", enforceable by mankind, through government.

*** the law of public opinion -- peer pressure, approval/disapproval.

The Eason Jordan case falls into the third category. (though, frankly, I didn't see what the big deal was, since he quickly clarified his statement)
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Jon Henke:

"Egalitarianism" as an end, in itself; as an ideal state. That seems to me to fit into the framework.
I believe this used to be the principle, which was a politically viable one. But it has shifted from human equality to equality of all things, including the steps taken to achieve egalitarianism. In trying to equalize the tactics, the strategic goal seems to have been lost. Egalitarianism has become invalid unless the entire process of reaching it was fair to all parties involved.

If you think about, liberal politicians who speak in true egalitarian terms are considered the party's core: statesmen and humanitarians. Those who go beyond human equality to include non-human things, such as process, are often considered the fringe.
 
Written By: ZG
URL: http://
Certainly. You'll notice that no government pressure was brought to bear? It's called "public approval".

So, Jon, I guess you (and Locke) would also applaud the campaigns against Jeff Gannon and Sinclair and Dr. Laura's TV show. No?
 
Written By: Steve M.
URL: http://nomoremister.blogspot.com
Would anyone care to explain how the Right's fatwa against Eason Jordan jibes with the notion that the Republican Party stands for individual freedom? Maybe I missed it, but the last time I looked, CNN was a part of Time Warner, a private corporation, not a government agency, and most TVs in America had channel changers.


I think the last time I looked most Republicans said they stood for individual freedom and individual responsibility.

Jordan made and irresponsible statement. Now he gets to pay the piper. Note that no government coercion was used.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
So, Jon, I guess you (and Locke) would also applaud the campaigns against Jeff Gannon and Sinclair and Dr. Laura's TV show. No?

Its called the free market Steve. As long as the gov isn't engaged in supressing speech, those who disagree with something have every right to act responsibly to show their displeasure.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Ah, now here's an interesting concept. So, you're back to the point described by Schmitt and Yglesias, in which liberalism is simply a coalition of special interests?

John, I think you're blurring the notion of ideological [classical] liberalism and the purpose of the progressive political movement and/or Democrat Party. Yglesias and Schmitt were addressing the latter, not the former.
 
Written By: Lance Jonn Romanoff
URL: http://www.ljonn.com/
So, Jon, I guess you (and Locke) would also applaud the campaigns against Jeff Gannon and Sinclair and Dr. Laura's TV show. No?
Depends on what you mean by "applaud". I agree that Dr Laura and Jeff Gannon were objectionable figures, and deserved disapproval -- and that Sinclair was a blatantly partisan one that would merit disapproval from opponents. I would not have engaged in a campaign against them personally, but I would defend to the death your right to do so.

Does that answer the question?
I believe this used to be the principle, which was a politically viable one. But it has shifted from human equality to equality of all things, including the steps taken to achieve egalitarianism.
That sounds fairly accurate to me, though I think it could all fall under the auspices of the term "egalitarianism".


John, I think you're blurring the notion of ideological [classical] liberalism and the purpose of the progressive political movement
I don't think so. She said liberalism "recognizes individuality", not that it holds it as an end in itself.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
She said liberalism "recognizes individuality", not that it holds it as an end in itself.

I'd further add that it only "recognizes indivduality" when and only when individuality doesn't conflict with whatever collectivist goal is at stake.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I'd further add that it only "recognizes indivduality" when and only when individuality doesn't conflict with whatever collectivist goal is at stake.

Upon a second read, I see that Becky is referring to phony, "modern political liberalism" - this is, collectivist statism. I initially thought she was referring to actual liberalism of the kind formulated by Locke, Mill, Spencer, Nock, etc. Consequently I retract my previous comment.

 
Written By: Lance Jonn Romanoff
URL: http://www.ljonn.com/
..."that is" not "this is". Typo.
 
Written By: Lance Jonn Romanoff
URL: http://www.ljonn.com/
After reading Ace's spoof on L'Affair Gannon, I can't take it very seriously.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I have a suggestion for Podesta's need for a simply worded bumpersticker for the dems. "I support whirled peas!!" Not orginial I know, but is as coherent as anything else they have to say.....
 
Written By: bigeyes50
URL: http://
How about "Vote for a National Happiness Authority"? That should do the trick.
 
Written By: dearieme
URL: http://

 
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