the civilizational tango

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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6 Responses

  1. Mark says:

    Progressive and Conservative lived in harmony for many years:

  2. greginak says:

    The “Europeanization of the American economy ” is a scare tactic. Obama is not coming close to creating that kind of welfare state. In many/most places in Europe Obama wouldn’t even been considered on the left side of the spectrum.Report

  3. mike farmer says:

    I think you are close to the realization that benvolence can voluntarily arise from within society, especially in the 21st century, which is so much different re: social imaginaries than in the beginning of our nation when capital accumulation was vital to establish stability and progress.

    As you rightly state, government involvement in favoring big businesses is the antithesis of capitalism — neither the corporations nor the government are applying capiltalist/free market principles — but this can resolved by limiting the power of governmet so that they can’t favor big corporations over smaller, less connected competitors — however, in order to create the social safety net you rightly state our society wants at this stage, without the damaging effects of dependence as in the present welfare state, voluntary associations need to be responsible for the development of innovative solutions in the public sphere. It’s my opinion that the only way we can reach that balance you talk about is through limiting the power of the state and empowering, by abolishing the income tax and other burdensome taxes, the private sector to create voluntary associations which collect donations and development innovative programs to help those in society who are having a hard time, or disabled, unemployed, uneducated, etc. The possibilities for society to join together and apply community efforts to social problems is practically unlimited. It does truly amaze me at the lack of societal confidence in our benevolence and ability to develop voluntary associations to help others — associations which would most likely be superior to government efforts in results.

    With limited government and a vibrant economy (which i think we would have if we limited the government) the generosity and creativity of this nation would handle social problems in ways government hasn’t, or can’t, imagine. I don’t write this start an argument, or to answer every problem people have with the private sector — my whole point is that if we’re looking for solutions, we need to consider all options, and what I propose is an option — it’s a change in direction to begin looking at the possibility of private, voluntary solutions. So, I’ll post this comment and let it go.Report

  4. Good point Mark! That leads to my question for E.D. (and let me preface this question by apologizing if I’ve asked it here before.)

    E.D. , When you say, “I have described progressive and conservative politics as existing in a sort of necessary “civilizational tango.” are you using ‘progressive’ as a substitute for ‘liberal’ or do you mean something else?Report

  5. E.D. Kain says:

    I use “progressive” because I am distrustful of the larger “liberal” tradition which is primarily (or historically) focused on economic liberty. So my use of progressive denotes my cultural or social beliefs. It’s probably not an important distinction in all honesty.Report

  6. Just wondering. I tend to think of progressivism as something that can comfortably exist on both sides of the aisle. More of a modifier to traditional liberalism or conservatism than an ideology in itself.Report