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LOSING OUR DELUSIONS: Not Much Left (Despondent Liberal on state of Liberalism)
New Republic ^ | 2/17/05 | Martin Peretz

Posted on 02/17/2005 6:31:56 PM PST by pissant

I think it was John Kenneth Galbraith, speaking in the early 1960s, the high point of post-New Deal liberalism, who pronounced conservatism dead. Conservatism, he said, was "bookless," a characteristic Galbraithian, which is to say Olympian, verdict. Without books, there are no ideas. And it is true: American conservatism was, at the time, a congeries of cranky prejudices, a closed church with an archaic doctrine proclaimed by spoiled swells. William F. Buckley Jr. comes to mind, and a few others whose names will now resonate with almost nobody. Take as just one instance Russell Kirk, an especially prominent conservative intellectual who, as Clinton Rossiter (himself a moderate conservative) wrote, has "begun to sound like a man born one hundred and fifty years too late and in the wrong country."

At this point in history, it is liberalism upon which such judgments are rendered. And understandably so. It is liberalism that is now bookless and dying. The most penetrating thinker of the old liberalism, the Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, is virtually unknown in the circles within which he once spoke and listened, perhaps because he held a gloomy view of human nature. However gripping his illuminations, however much they may have been validated by history, liberals have no patience for such pessimism. So who has replaced Niebuhr, the once-commanding tribune to both town and gown? It's as if no one even tries to fill the vacuum. Here and there, of course, a university personage appears to assert a small didactic point and proves it with a vast and intricate academic apparatus. In any case, it is the apparatus that is designed to persuade, not the idea.

Ask yourself: Who is a truly influential liberal mind in our culture? Whose ideas challenge and whose ideals inspire? Whose books and articles are read and passed around? There's no one, really. What's left is the laundry list: the catalogue of programs (some dubious, some not) that Republicans aren't funding, and the blogs, with their daily panic dose about how the Bush administration is ruining the country.

Europe is also making the disenchanting journey from social democracy, but via a different route. Its elites had not foreseen that a virtually unchecked Muslim immigration might hijack the welfare state and poison the postwar culture of relative tolerance that supported its politics. To the contrary, Europe's leftist elites lulled the electorates into a false feeling of security that the new arrivals were simply doing the work that unprecedented low European birth rates were leaving undone. No social or cultural costs were to be incurred. Transaction closed. Well, it was not quite so simple. And, while the workforce still needs more workers, the economies of Europe have been dragged down by social guarantees to large families who do not always have a wage-earner in the house. So, even in the morally self-satisfied Scandinavian and Low Countries, the assuring left-wing bromides are no longer believed.

he conflict between right and left in the United States is different. What animates American conservatism is the future of the regulatory state and the trajectory of federalism. The conservatives have not themselves agreed on how far they want to retract either regulation or the authority of the national government. These are not axiomatic questions for them, as can be seen by their determined and contravening success last week in empowering not the states against Washington but Washington against the states in the area of tort law. As Jeffrey Rosen has pointed out in these pages, many of these issues will be fought out in the courts. But not all. So a great national debate will not be avoided.

Liberals have reflexes on these matters, and these reflexes put them in a defensive posture. But they have not yet conducted an honest internal conversation that assumes from the start that the very nature of the country has changed since the great New Deal reckoning. Surely there are some matters on which the regulatory state can relax. Doubtless also there are others that can revert to the states. Still, liberals know that the right's ideologically framed--but class-motivated--retreat of the government from the economy must be resisted. There will simply be too many victims left on the side of the road.

At the same time, U.S. politics has not yet confronted a phenomenon that has been on the front page of the international financial press for years. This is the dizzying specter of economic competition from China, whose hold on U.S. Treasury bonds leaves the dollar vulnerable to a tremendous decline should China decide to sell them. (There is a new model of society emerging before our eyes: a most rapacious capitalist economy under a most pitiless communist political tyranny.) The industrialized states of Europe and, predictably, Japan are battening down their hatches rather than admitting to the challenge from China. But China will not go away.

There is also a rapacious capitalism in our own country. Of course, it is not as brutalizing as it is in China. But it is demoralizing and punishing. Moreover, it threatens its own ethical foundations. The great achievement of U.S. capitalism was that it became democratic, and the demos could place reasonable trust in its institutions. The very extent of stockholding through mutual funds, pension funds, and individual holdings is a tribute to the reliability of the market makers, the corporations themselves, and their guarantors. We now know that much of this confidence was misplaced and that some of the most estimable companies and financial institutions were cooking the books and fixing the odds for the favored. Eliot Spitzer has taught us a great lesson in our vulnerability. Many individual corporations, investment banks, stock brokerages, insurance companies, auditors, and, surely, lawyers who vetted their contracts and other arrangements were complicit in violating the public trust. What does a certification of a financial report by an accounting firm actually prove when each of the Big Four (formerly the Big Five) has been culpable of unethical behavior on several counts? What has happened on Wall Street in the last few years would be tantamount to the doctors of the great teaching hospitals in the United States deciding in secret to abjure the Hippocratic Oath. For some reason, even liberals have been loath to confront this reality of the country's corporate and financial life. Yes, it is true that greed plays a role, even a creative role, in economic progress. Still, greed need not go unbridled. What is a responsible liberal for if he doesn't take on this task?

iberals like to blame their political consultants. But then, if you depend on consultants for your motivating ideas, you are nowhere. So let's admit it: The liberals are themselves uninspired by a vision of the good society--a problem we didn't have 30 years ago. For several years, the liberal agenda has looked and sounded like little more than a bookkeeping exercise. We want to spend more, they less. In the end, the numbers do not clarify; they confuse. Almost no one can explain any principle behind the cost differences. But there are grand matters that need to be addressed, and the grandest one is what we owe each other as Americans. People who are voluntarily obliged to each other across classes and races, professions and ethnicities, tend to trust each other, like a patient his doctor and a student her teacher. It is not easy to limn out such a vision practically. But we have it in our bones.

In our bones or not, it is an exacting and long-time task. It's much easier, more comfortable, to do the old refrains. You can easily rouse a crowd when you get it to sing, "We Shall Overcome." One of the tropes that trips off the tongues of American liberals is the civil rights theme of the '60s. Another is that U.S. power is dangerous to others and dangerous to us. This is also a reprise from the '60s, the late '60s. Virtue returns, it seems, merely by mouthing the words.

One of the legacies of the '60s is liberal idealism about race. But that discussion has grown particularly outmoded in the Democratic Party. African Americans and Caribbean Americans (the differences between them another largely unspoken reality) have made tremendous strides in their education, in social mobility, in employment, in housing, and in politics as images and realities in the media. Even the gap in wealth accumulation between whites and blacks has begun to narrow, and, on this, even tremendous individual achievement over one generation cannot compensate for the accumulated advantages of inherited money over two or three generations. Still, the last 30 years separate two worlds. The statistics prove it. And this, too, we know in our bones.

But, in the Democratic Party, among liberals, the usual hustlers are still cheered. Jesse Jackson is still paid off, mostly not to make trouble. The biggest insult to our black fellow citizens was the deference paid to Al Sharpton during the campaign. Early in the race, it was clear that he--like Carol Moseley Braun and Dennis Kucinich--was not a serious candidate. Yet he was treated as if he just might take the oath of office at the Capitol on January 20. In the end, he won only a handful of delegates. But he was there, speaking in near-prime time to the Democratic convention. Sharpton is an inciter of racial conflict. To him can be debited the fraudulent and dehumanizing scandal around Tawana Brawley (conflating scatology and sex), the Crown Heights violence between Jews and blacks, a fire in Harlem, the protests around a Korean grocery store in Brooklyn, and on and on. Yet the liberal press treats Sharpton as a genuine leader, even a moral one, the trickster as party statesman.

This patronizing attitude is proof positive that, as deep as the social and economic gains have been among African Americans, many liberals prefer to maintain their own time-honored patronizing position vis-à-vis "the other," the needy. This is, frankly, in sharp contrast to President Bush, who seems not to be impeded by race difference (and gender difference) in his appointments and among his friends. Maybe it is just a generational thing, and, if it is that, it is also a good thing. But he may be the first president who apparently does not see individual people in racial categories or sex categories. White or black, woman or man, just as long as you're a conservative. That is also an expression of liberation from bias.

t is more than interesting that liberals have so much trouble recontextualizing race in the United States. It is, to move to the point, pathetic. And it leaves work undone. In Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's majority opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger (the Michigan affirmative action case), she wrote that the Court assumed that, in 25 years, there will no longer be a need for affirmative action. Unless things change quickly, she will be completely off the mark. Nearly two years have passed since that ruling and virtually nothing has been done to make sure that children of color--and other children, too, since the crisis in our educational system cuts across race and class--are receiving a different and better type of schooling, in science and in literacy, than those now coming into our colleges. This is not about Head Start. This is about a wholesale revamping of teaching and learning. The conservatives have their ideas, and many of them are good, such as charter schools and even vouchers. But give me a single liberal idea with some currency, even a structural notion, for transforming the elucidation of knowledge and thinking to the young. You can't.

This leaves us with the issue of U.S. power, the other leftover from the '60s. It is true: American liberals no longer believe in the axiomatic virtue of revolutions and revolutionaries. But let's face it: It's hard to get a candid conversation going about Cuba with one. The heavily documented evidence of Fidel Castro's tyranny notwithstanding, he still has a vestigial cachet among us. After all, he has survived Uncle Sam's hostility for more than 45 years. And, no, the Viet Cong didn't really exist. It was at once Ho Chi Minh's pickax and bludgeon in the south. Pose this question at an Upper West Side dinner party: What was worse, Nazism or Communism? Surely, the answer will be Nazism ... because Communism had an ideal of the good. This, despite the fact that communist revolutions and communist regimes murdered ever so many more millions of innocents and transformed the yearning of many idealists for equality into the brutal assertion of evil, a boot stamping on the human face forever.

Peter Beinart has argued, also in these pages ("A Fighting Faith," December 13, 2004), the case for a vast national and international mobilization against Islamic fanaticism and Arab terrorism. It is typologically the same people who wanted the United States to let communism triumph--in postwar Italy and Greece, in mid-cold war France and late-cold war Portugal--who object to U.S. efforts right now in the Middle East. You hear the schadenfreude in their voices--you read it in their words--at our troubles in Iraq. For months, liberals have been peddling one disaster scenario after another, one contradictory fact somehow reinforcing another, hoping now against hope that their gloomy visions will come true.

I happen to believe that they won't. This will not curb the liberal complaint. That complaint is not a matter of circumstance. It is a permanent affliction of the liberal mind. It is not a symptom; it is a condition. And it is a condition related to the desperate hopes liberals have vested in the United Nations. That is their lodestone. But the lodestone does not perform. It is not a magnet for the good. It performs the magic of the wicked. It is corrupt, it is pompous, it is shackled to tyrants and cynics. It does not recognize a genocide when the genocide is seen and understood by all. Liberalism now needs to be liberated from many of its own illusions and delusions. Let's hope we still have the strength.


TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: beinart; dhpl; liberalism; liberals; peretz
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To: Darkwolf377
He's merely saying conservatives have ideas, not that he agrees with them...or he'd have SAID that.

I thought he did.

The conservatives have their ideas, and many of them are good, such as charter schools and even vouchers.

"Good" isn't quite the same as "agree". But, in this context, it's pretty close.

And I'd submit that we agree with Peretz in principle that "this is about a wholesale revamping of teaching and learning". But I'd also agree with you that Peretz wouldn't agree with us about how to accomplish the revamping.

51 posted on 02/17/2005 8:32:26 PM PST by okie01 (A slavering moron and proud member of the lynch mob, cleaning the Augean stables of MSM since 1998.)
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To: pissant
Reinhold Niebuhr

I remember reading 'Moral Man, Immoral Society' in college. It was required text for a Religious Studies course at Penn State, believe it or not. The idea behind the title can be boiled down to one example (in Niebuhr's thinking): the execution of a murderer.

52 posted on 02/17/2005 8:40:50 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: dirtboy
The classical liberal realizes that most of the problem is cultural - and that just ain't a black problem, it's a big problem with white kids as well (I know, I used to be one).

It's a cultural problem. And it's a structural problem.

The cultural problem also involves the parents. The ideal circumstance is a two-parent family with one wage-earner. That used to be the default arrangement. Now, it's a single-parent family or, if its a two-parent family, the kid is still consigned to daycare or latchkey status. In either event, less than ideal.

While they can still be overcome, a high proportion of kids today are handicapped by their circumstances.

And it's structural because the Colleges of Education are spewing out ill-trained (but highly indoctrinated) teachers who can't teach. They have been trained as "facilitators" (Lord, I hate that word), but are ignorant when it comes to knowledge of the subjects they must teach. That circumstance is, doubtless, because their teachers are ignorant.

And it's structural because the never-ending quest for centralization (and race mixing in the name of "diversity") has created gigantic, unmanageable temples of chaos. These replaced (and destroyed) the comfortable neighborhood school, which so involved children, parents, teachers and an administrator in one social fabric woven of trust and familiarity.

In that respect, there's nothing wrong with public education that a few truckloads of dynamite wouldn't fix.

And, if schools returned to the neighborhoods, I wonder what impact that would have on the culture...???

Bussing was one of the Great American Mistakes in history. It changed the direction and focus, the very goal, of public education. For the worse. And, perhaps, forever. Noting that it was the unintended (and inevitable) consequence of a liberal "good deed" doesn't make it any more palatable...

53 posted on 02/17/2005 8:52:17 PM PST by okie01 (A slavering moron and proud member of the lynch mob, cleaning the Augean stables of MSM since 1998.)
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To: pissant

Outstanding article! Thanks for posting it. Thanks to Martin Peretz for writing it!


54 posted on 02/17/2005 8:53:13 PM PST by PGalt
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To: pissant
Sound exactly like the anti-immigrant yahoos.
55 posted on 02/17/2005 8:57:44 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: pissant
You hear the schadenfreude in their voices--you read it in their words--at our troubles in Iraq. For months, liberals have been peddling one disaster scenario after another, one contradictory fact somehow reinforcing another, hoping now against hope that their gloomy visions will come true.

WOW!!!
This is an unbelievable admission from a liberal about his own party, the Democrat Party.

I, and many others around here, noted long ago that the Democrats were silently begging not only for an economic recession in which people lost their jobs, their homes, and their savings, but for lots and lots of filled body bags to come home from Iraq. It was clear that the Democrats figured their election prospects improved with such tragedies. We all shook our heads and wondered just how sick the Democrats were....

And here, along comes this author to confirm our suspicions - - the Democrats were, and remain, sicker than Dahmer's vomit.

56 posted on 02/17/2005 9:01:17 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: okie01

That's a huge part of the issue. But I came from a two-parent home, had a comfortable middle-class existence, went to a school without busing - but there still was a pronounced peer culture that belittled kids who tried to achieve. And that, IMO, is just as huge an impediment, especially in the black community, as all the higher-level social pathologies. And it is the hardest to solve, given that patholotical youth peer cultures, by nature, react negatively against efforts by authority figures to change them.


57 posted on 02/17/2005 9:06:41 PM PST by dirtboy (Drooling moron since 1998...)
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To: JasonC
Beautifully put.

It is an oversimplification approaching cant to use the P word - paradigm - in political discussion, but I think Peretz may have reduced a good deal of liberal fluff to a couple of base ideas that even he has not thoroughly examined.

Still, liberals know that the right's ideologically framed--but class-motivated--retreat of the government from the economy must be resisted.

Now we have the C word - class - and therein lies one of the major difficulties with current liberal doctrine - an overdependence on Marxian class theory as the unmoved mover of society. In point of fact, it isn't so much the democratization of capitalism that is the signal accomplishment of American economy, it is the degree to which class mobility renders class itself obsolete as a means of understanding social dynamics. This is truly heresy, but I think it deserves serious consideration.

There is nothing wrong, necessarily, with an emphasis on the group protecting and enabling its constituent individuals, which is the liberal emphasis (the conservative emphasis, contrarily, is that the individual protects and empowers the group, equally valid and more appealing to the individualist). Where this goes wrong is the insistence that the group properly describes everything important about its constituents and that they have little reality outside it. It is this assumption that leads the liberal to insist that a black man who is a CEO of a major corporation and living in a million-dollar mansion is "oppressed," not by virtue of his considerable individual accomplishments but by virtue of class membership.

That's the fallacy of class theory, and until the liberals examine and modify it they will be at the mercy of an antiquated, disproven ideology whether they succeed in winning an election or not.

58 posted on 02/17/2005 9:39:46 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: pissant; Darkwolf377

Reality is finally making a dent in some of the libs consciousness, though they still have a long, long way to go. Proof of this is the selection of Howie as their leader.

The other problem that will take them a long time to overcome (if ever) is their congenital ignorance of economics. The following passage provides the evidence:

"This is the dizzying specter of economic competition from China, whose hold on U.S. Treasury bonds leaves the dollar vulnerable to a tremendous decline should China decide to sell them."

It also illustrates the shallowness of their thinking, because if he had thought about this statement for another second he would have realized that China would be cutting their own throat if they dumped all the treasuries.


59 posted on 02/17/2005 9:56:12 PM PST by aquila48
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To: aquila48
Good points. I'm in no position to criticize because my understanding of economics is primative at best, but I have noticed many dems have a very black and white view of economics--based on morality. We only should deal with poor developing nations, or something--I really can't grasp their economic values, but they SEEM to be saying we can't deal with anyone who's got a strong economy. Or something.

But they do seem to have a terrible time dealing with an approach to China. Even *I* can see that were China to knock out the US, its own economy would tumble. The only reason they would have to hurt us would be if they intended to take us over in one fell swoop without destroying our infrastructure and natural resources.

One benefit of the Iraq war is to show our rivals how difficult it would be for them to take over any country not in their back yard.

60 posted on 02/17/2005 10:03:56 PM PST by Darkwolf377 ("Drowning someone...I wouldn't have a part in that."--Teddy K)
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To: All

Great writing from an honest liberal.


61 posted on 02/17/2005 10:11:09 PM PST by Luke21
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To: pissant

Yeah, but still clueless.


62 posted on 02/17/2005 10:19:17 PM PST by Frumious Bandersnatch
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To: filbert
"I think that was really my point. As far as I know, there isn't a real Leftist alternative to FR. About the only site I know about that has halfway reasonable leftie discussions is Strauss & Howe's fourthturning.com. Even that is only palatable in small doses."

I have read much of the work on the Fourth Turning site and think as a social theory it is very interesting. I have not gotten into the discussion boards though. They seemed to be too into the details of the theory for me to get into easily. I am surprised to hear that the discussions are leftist because I thought that Strauss and Howe were somewhat conservative or at least not leftist.

Which of the discussion threads on Fourth Turning would you recommend?

Agreed about there being no alternative to FR on the left. The left fails to realize that FR cannot be duplicated just by copying the format any more that Air America can imitate Rush, Laura or Hugh. FR is an out-picturing of a greater revolution that is going on in American politics and society. Thanks to JimRob, FR came into being as a result of that revolution. That revolution is not happening on the left so they can't grow things like FR or conservative talk radio.

Mr Sol
63 posted on 02/17/2005 10:31:13 PM PST by Solar Wind
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To: pissant

Yikes! Way to go Marty! You've come a long way from firing Michael Kelly for criticizing Al Gore. Or was it Andrew Sullivan? Anyway...nice progress and well said.


64 posted on 02/17/2005 10:40:04 PM PST by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: pissant
For months, liberals have been peddling one disaster scenario after another… hoping now against hope that their gloomy visions will come true.

True. Everyone who is attached to a gloomy vision from the 60's is a walking disaster. But the liberals today reject the profound liberalism of John Locke and Thomas Jefferson and are people who are attached to a gloomy vision from the 60's. Therefore, liberals today are a walking disaster. As Martin Perez writes,

"The liberals are themselves uninspired by a vision of the good society."
65 posted on 02/17/2005 10:41:19 PM PST by Falconspeed (Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others. R.L.Stevenson)
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To: Solar Wind

re: the Fourth Turning site . . . I'm not sure I can recommend any threads. I go over there every now and again (mainly since 9/11). In fact, for a while they had a very interesting discussion about whether or not 9/11 was the trigger for their "Crisis" phase in their four-stroke history theory. Most of those threads are infested by liberals of the Bush-Oil-Conspiracy ilk, if I recall correctly. But there was at least some degree of fairly rational discussion. I'd comment further but Comcast (my broadband provider) doesn't seem to want to resolve the domain name for the site right now.

I think Strauss and Howe might possibly have some conservative leanings, but they don't appear to participate very much over there any more.


66 posted on 02/18/2005 1:28:21 AM PST by filbert
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To: pissant

Sounds like this liberal has a fairly firm grasp of reality, and what that reality is doing to his political party.


67 posted on 02/18/2005 7:13:24 AM PST by Grampa Dave (The MSM has been a WMD, Weapon of Mass Disinformation for the Rats for at least 4 decades.)
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To: pissant
This writer is someone with whom one could have a civil conversation, freely discuss ideas, agreements, and disagreements, and go away respecting if not ageeing with his points of view.

It wasn't so long ago (the 80's in my case) when I would have very friendly and spirited give and take with liberal democrat friends. That is now barely possible and I honestly believe that it wasn't me who's changed. People like this writer (Christopher Hitchens also comes to mind) on the left have indeed become a very rare species.

68 posted on 02/18/2005 7:58:10 AM PST by katana
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To: pissant
Who is a truly influential liberal mind in our culture? Whose ideas challenge and whose ideals inspire?

Lawrence Summers. Unfortunately his idea that challenged was a conservative idea.

These are not axiomatic questions for them, as can be seen by their determined and contravening success last week in empowering not the states against Washington but Washington against the states in the area of tort law.

No, it is evidence that we want things handled where they should be handled. If a case has participants from several states it is no longer a matter to be decided by the one state with the most liberal judges but by the federal government

Still, liberals know that the right's ideologically framed--but class-motivated--retreat of the government from the economy must be resisted.

Here is the peak of his error. Liberals see classes. Conservatives only see people.

69 posted on 02/18/2005 7:59:10 AM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: pissant
People who are voluntarily obliged to each other across classes and races, professions and ethnicities, tend to trust each other, like a patient his doctor and a student her teacher. It is not easy to limn out such a vision practically. But we have it in our bones.

An interesting read, but the author is still being intellectually dishonest if he believes this. Liberal programs of big-government, welfare and wealth distribution are not VOLUNTARY, they are enforced by law, and as such, involve implied violence upon a section of the population - the productive section whose wealth is confiscated to pay for the program.

A second point: elsewhere, the author points out that some capitlist entities, such as Enron, have committed fraud, and then reasons from the single to the general - capitalism cannot be trusted etc so government bureaucrats should be in control. While that is a logical fallacy in itself (reasoning from the single to the general), it also raises the question, ignored by the author, "why should we trust government anymore than corporations?" Obviously, governments are capable of defrauding the population in many ways (inflation, currency devaluation, abuse of eminent domain rights, changes in the covenant between current taxation and future "entitlements", confiscation of pension rights etc).

That the author ignored these issues tells me that this is actually an example of what he decries - more shallow thinking, dressed up with a good helping of adjectives.

The great unspoken truth, which the author cannot bring himself to admit, is that liberalism/socialism is bunk.

70 posted on 02/18/2005 9:01:39 AM PST by alnitak ("That kid's about as sharp as a pound of wet liver" - Foghorn Leghorn)
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To: pissant
Thanks for posting.

Rush just said he's going to read excerpts from this today.

71 posted on 02/18/2005 9:09:17 AM PST by shhrubbery!
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To: pissant

El Bumpo


72 posted on 02/18/2005 10:54:34 AM PST by Run Silent Run Deep
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To: blanknoone
There is also Lenin. Stalin. Trotsky. Mao.

In the more modern mold, there's Chomsky.

73 posted on 02/18/2005 10:56:42 AM PST by kevkrom (If people are free to do as they wish, they are almost certain not to do as Utopian planners wish)
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To: JennysCool
The vast majority of the public doesn't realize that the labels "liberal" and "conservative" don't mean what they did 30 years ago.

Good point. As another twisting of language... many of President Bush's major proposals are both progressive and liberal in the true senses of the words, not in their current meanings. It are the Democrats who have become conservative and reactionary.

74 posted on 02/18/2005 10:59:05 AM PST by kevkrom (If people are free to do as they wish, they are almost certain not to do as Utopian planners wish)
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To: pissant
Losing their delusions?!

Without delusions liberals would have no ideology whatsoever.

75 posted on 02/18/2005 11:03:54 AM PST by CaptRon (Pedecaris alive or Raisuli dead)
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To: pissant
Scary to see a liberal "getting it". The following comment's true, and the writer is brave to say it:

For months, liberals have been peddling one disaster scenario after another, one contradictory fact somehow reinforcing another, hoping now against hope that their gloomy visions will come true.

I happen to believe that they won't. This will not curb the liberal complaint. That complaint is not a matter of circumstance. It is a permanent affliction of the liberal mind. It is not a symptom; it is a condition. And it is a condition related to the desperate hopes liberals have vested in the United Nations. That is their lodestone. But the lodestone does not perform. It is not a magnet for the good. It performs the magic of the wicked. It is corrupt, it is pompous, it is shackled to tyrants and cynics. It does not recognize a genocide when the genocide is seen and understood by all. Liberalism now needs to be liberated from many of its own illusions and delusions. Let's hope we still have the strength.

76 posted on 02/18/2005 11:23:17 AM PST by GOPJ (Liberals haven't had a new idea in 40 years.)
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To: kevkrom

Chomsky is no more modern. He is just as old dusty and broken...he just never got the chance to seize power.


77 posted on 02/18/2005 11:27:50 AM PST by blanknoone (Steyn: "The Dems are all exit and no strategy")
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To: JennysCool
Here and there, of course, a university personage appears to assert a small didactic point and proves it with a vast and intricate academic apparatus.

Ward Churchill?

Nope, Churchill's not smart enough to do the "intricate academic apparatus" thing -- Churchill's a Move-On type -- he does his deed with the grace of a thug and the wit of a goon's sledge hammer.

78 posted on 02/18/2005 11:34:07 AM PST by GOPJ (Liberals haven't had a new idea in 40 years.)
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To: JasonC
Well said, JasonC:

The new left never had ideas on its side. It had sophistry and rhetoric and attitude. All of it borrowed from failed European radicalism of an earlier generation. Orwell, Koestler, and Arendt despised that radicalism, looked on it as a disease, a flight from reality. The new left was never about anything else. The cultural heights lost, they decided to fight on in the sewers.

79 posted on 02/18/2005 11:39:57 AM PST by GOPJ (Liberals haven't had a new idea in 40 years.)
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To: JasonC
Without ideas, without a clue -- the Democrats are clueless what has happened to their world.

IMHO it is the old media monopoly that has failed them. In days gone by the Democrats didn't have to think, they could count on the old media to fill in their ideas, enshrine those psuedo-ideas in untouchable glass cases and proceed to tell the folks that it was unimpeachable truth. Today with the advent of the citizen journalists, forums, blogs and the means to get their message out, the old media can no longer do the job -- the glass case has been destroyed. The Democrats are left with no cover for the fact they have no ideas -- and worse no solutions.

One could make the case that the Democrats lost their ability to think when the Vietnam war old media scam 'America lost' was successfully pulled off. The good news is they bought it.
80 posted on 02/18/2005 11:53:32 AM PST by Tarpon (Hate is not a plan for America)
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To: All
Unless I am missing something the DLC's New Democrat On Line (ndol.org) agrees. Twentieth century liberalim belongs on the trash heap (as conservatism deserves to remain in the trash heap, of course.)

A third way is needed. The New Democrat Third Way progressives favor free markets to build wealth and bring "social justice" to the masses. They are for rules-based "free trade" and globalization. They make the rules. They are Davos.

Hardly any difference between them and our very own "free traders."

Well, except for one difference. When the progressives and their Davos elites ask you "free traders," do you have rope to sell? RUN!

81 posted on 02/18/2005 1:56:45 PM PST by WilliamofCarmichael (MSM Fraudcasters are skid marks on journalism's clean shorts.)
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To: pissant

Yes, it was interesting. A trifle whiny, but a start.

We have a great system of checks and balances in this country. We are a two-party (+) system for a reason. If the Republicans get too fiscally tight (not including Bush who must stop trying to please everyone), then the people speak and vote Dems in. If we start spending too much on social programs to the detriment of the actual purpose of the federal government, the people speak and vote Republican. Like scales in perpetual motion, we keep moving toward balance without ever getting there, but that's a good thing.

The Dems have a big problem. They allowed the socialists to control their party. They have to figure a way out of that problem if they want middle America to take them seriously.


82 posted on 02/18/2005 2:49:54 PM PST by sageb1
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To: pissant
Take as just one instance Russell Kirk,

Russell Kirk wrote great -- and award winning -- ghost stories.

83 posted on 02/18/2005 2:53:13 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: Shisan

No, they don't believe they're evil...they think they're good. But remember the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Communism was thought to be a great thing by many normally sane people in the twentieth century. I'm sure most of them never imagined the great horrors communism would inflict on humanity. And I'm also sure that there are still many gullible types today who think that complete government control of everyone's lives is the way to go. These people aren't evil. But what they do many times ends up being evil.


84 posted on 02/18/2005 4:22:33 PM PST by driftless ( For life-long happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: Darkwolf377

I'm afraid you are right. He writes as Biden talks, endlessly and to no point. He seems unable to escape from Marxism 101, the class struggle, which only he and his special friends know how to use for the benefit of mankind.
BTW, how many FReepers attend private dinner parties on the upper west side? Notice that he presumes everyone knows he is referring to NYC.
The man is a snob if not worse and certainly no insightful hero.


85 posted on 02/18/2005 4:41:49 PM PST by Shisan (Jalisco no te rajes.)
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To: Shisan
LOL Well put.

Writers on the left think they will earn some kind of cache as being "unbiased" if they add a couple of sentences to their usual Marxist boilerplate about "reaching out" and common ground" before they devote 95% of their articles to the atrocities of the Bush administration or whatever. It's The New Objectivity, and I ain't buying it for a second.

86 posted on 02/18/2005 4:45:33 PM PST by Darkwolf377 ("Drowning someone...I wouldn't have a part in that."--Teddy K)
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To: pissant
Harvard (where Marty Peretz teaches) is where American political parties go to die. Or at least that's what they've started to say about New England. The Federalists and Whigs were considered the Harvard or New England party and look what happened to them. Whenever any party gets tagged as an elite party it's a sign of sickness. That was the case with the Democrats in the 1860s and the Republicans in the 1930s and now with the Democrats again.

A half century ago, intellectual elites saw the Democrats as the rising party of the common man, but they also saw an opportunity for themselves as the liberal leaders of that party. And they succeeded in doing just that. They put themselves at the head of the movement, and when the turned around the rank and file was gone, or at least wasn't there in sufficient numbers to win elections.

There's probably a connection between the two developments. The more a party is dominated by elites, know-it-alls and world-savers, the more likely ordinary people are to abandon it. Republicans shouldn't gloat, though, as there's a lesson for them in the Democrats' decline. Parties need to be organized to win elections, but the more they become highly controlled, top-down mechanisms that work out the answers in private and impose them on the rank and file, the more likely it is that voters are to turn against them.

87 posted on 02/18/2005 5:12:42 PM PST by x
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To: Deb

You are right. This deeply introspective, rigidly honest,
searcher of the truth was the one who fired Michael Kelly for disagreeing with him about hopeless Al. Scratch a liberal and you will find fascist.


88 posted on 02/18/2005 5:17:27 PM PST by Shisan (Jalisco no te rajes.)
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To: pissant; wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; ...

From time to time, I’ll post or ping on noteworthy articles about politics, foreign and military affairs. FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.


89 posted on 02/18/2005 5:48:04 PM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem
Thanks for the ping, neverdem! Just a minor anecdote on this reference in the article to John Kenneth Galbraith:

I think it was John Kenneth Galbraith, speaking in the early 1960s, the high point of post-New Deal liberalism, who pronounced conservatism dead.

When John F. Kennedy was considering candidates to fill the post of Secretary of the Treasury, he asked the advice of Republican Robert Lovett, who had considerable experience on Wall Street. JFK wanted to know, what did people on Wall Street think of Galbraith's economic theories? Lovett answered, "He's a fine novelist."

90 posted on 02/18/2005 6:31:10 PM PST by Fedora
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To: Fedora

LOL!


91 posted on 02/18/2005 6:51:31 PM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: blanknoone; expatpat
That is an extremely limited view. There is also Lenin. Stalin. Trotsky. Mao.

Depends on the meaning of "is." (:-)

The question was Who is a truly influential liberal mind in our culture?

The names you mention bring to mind the word "was."

92 posted on 02/18/2005 7:29:31 PM PST by lancer (If you are not with us, you are against us!)
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To: lancer

The mind of Marx, in the form of his writings, IS still very influential in the liberal culture.


93 posted on 02/18/2005 7:37:17 PM PST by expatpat
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To: pissant
There is a new model of society emerging before our eyes: a most rapacious capitalist economy under a most pitiless communist political tyranny.

Um, I think that its called Fascism, and there is nothing new about it.

The word fascism has come to mean any system of government resembling Mussolini's, that

* exalts nation and sometimes race above the individual,
* uses violence and modern techniques of propaganda and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition,
* engages in severe economic and social regimentation.
* engages in corporatism,[1]
* implements or is a totalitarian regime.

94 posted on 02/18/2005 7:43:12 PM PST by Plutarch
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To: pissant

bump


95 posted on 02/18/2005 9:59:06 PM PST by GOPJ (Liberals haven't had a new idea in 40 years.)
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To: pissant

btttt


96 posted on 02/18/2005 10:01:02 PM PST by dennisw (Seeing as how this is a 44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world .........)
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To: expatpat
Because Communism doesn't reward the producers, it has to oppress them into submission. 200 million murders is pretty clear proof it doesn't work.

Pray for W and Our Troops

97 posted on 02/18/2005 10:04:51 PM PST by bray (Iraq Freed Politically and Pray it will be Freed Spiritually)
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To: lancer
The names you mention bring to mind the word "was."

They are just as influential on the left as ever.

98 posted on 02/19/2005 4:02:46 AM PST by blanknoone (Steyn: "The Dems are all exit and no strategy")
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To: sauropod

finish reading later.


99 posted on 02/19/2005 4:09:31 AM PST by sauropod (Hitlary: "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.")
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To: expatpat

That's exactly what I was thinking as I finished the article. Howard Dean complained about someone tieing the DNC to Lynne Stewart, but the fact is that Dean and the Deaniacs at MoveOn.Org, who claim to be in charge of the Democrat party, are inextricably linked to the communist National Lawyers' Guild, of which Lynne Stewart is currently the most prominent member. The National Lawyers'
Guild founded MoveOn.Org.


100 posted on 02/19/2005 4:25:35 AM PST by Eva
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