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The Right Path, Prologue: The MRM, Manboobz, and the Possible Futures of the American Left

The left isn’t where the right is today, but more and more they appear to be starting down the same path the right unwisely chose twenty years ago. Tod Kelly sets the table for an upcoming short series. BSDI knee-jerkers, start your engines!

Ideology is the Enemy: Prelude

Over the next several weeks months I will be writing about the recent ascendance of ideology in the United States and why it worries me.  Specifically, I worry that the voting public’s generations-long desire to live in a peaceful, vibrant, financially feasible and pluralistic community is being slowly replaced with a willingness to abandon those…

The State of the Union’s Quiet Radicalism

Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast’s response to the president’s fifth State of the Union address sounds much like my own. It was Obama’s second liberal stemwinder in a row; and if nothing else, the speech was a testament to the sincerity of the president’s oft-stated focus on the “long game” of politics: What is not…

What’s the Matter with New York?

Two months ago, which is, like, 49 months in blog-months, Kevin Drum suggested there was a very good essay to be written called “Why People Hate Liberals.” This is not that essay. But it reminded me that there’s something that irritates me quite a lot about liberals. And I say this as a full-fledged card-carrying pretty-much-liberalish-certainly-more-left-than-rightist. That…

The Artist as Judge

Some months ago, I wrote of Marilynne Robinson that, Regardless of her political preferences, her worldview, in its starkly Calvinist way, and insofar as it’s expressed in those novels and Absence of Mind, is conservative in a way that goes far beyond the political. I further claimed that her novels Gilead and Home were “at…

IDEALog Comparison, or Maybe We’re Really All Liberaltarians

by James Hanley Thanks to all who took the time to take the IDEALog survey and report their results to me, and my apologies for taking so long to present the results. I’ll present the findings in a moment, but first some background and development (just to make this an excruciatingly long post). Background: Liberalism…

Wiring the Wonky Left’s Moral Compass

Thanks in no small part to Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher, my post last week on the “Wonky” American Left has generated some interesting discussion. Given that I’ve been unsuccessfully pushing this argument for a few years, I couldn’t be happier with the response. Debate beats quietude every day of the week. Here’s a modest…

Testing ideology

~by James Hanley Fellow reader Stillwater, responding to my critique, writes: you [Hanley] keep insisting there is this significant difference between our theories, our policies, our preferred values, our analytical methods. If there isn’t a category difference captured by all those distinctions, then we’re talking about subtle shading on the edges of things. But if…

No, Americans are not “operationally liberal”

Responding to my demurrer to “the old saw that Americans are ideologically conservative but operationally liberal,” Yeggmen sticks up for the saw:  what researchers have (repeatedly) done is get a bunch of people together and have them fill out a long and comprehensive political questionnaire. They ask them to choose an ideological label, vague questions…

The economic hurdles of a left-libertarian alliance

~by Shawn Gude We’re in rather unpropitious times for left-libertarian bridge-building. I don’t take glee in making this assertion; I’m more crestfallen than content. Indeed, I’ve spilled a fair amount of ink arguing that leftists and libertarians should join forces on an array of paramount issues (and advanced the selfsame argument in my senior thesis).…

Liberalism, Centrism, and Libertarianism

Since I have been called a “fake liberal” recently, I thought I’d delve into the subject once again. I am a liberal mainly because the rather short arc of liberalism traces pretty well alongside the equally short arc of human progress, out from the bonds of poverty and class dependency and toward something better, toward…

To Boldly Go Where No Two Men Have Gone Together Before

~by Ryan B I want to bounce off of this Alyssa Rosenberg post, not because we have a deep disagreement, but because I think she’s not being totally fair. She’s certainly right that Abrams’ insistence that a gay relationship work with the plot is at odds with the way he portrayed the Spock/Uhura relationship in…

Market liberals

Matt Yglesias makes tons of sense with his latest foray into an ongoing debate between him and John Quiggin and others. I think Matt operates in that awkward position of being not-progressive-enough for much of the American left, and not-libertarian-enough for the libertarians. So he’s constantly defending himself from both flanks, with many libertarians nodding…

Why Leftists Should Embrace (Some) Charter Schools

~by Shawn Gude One of the joys of intellectual development is having one’s views challenged and, if not fundamentally altered, at least measurably modified. When beneficial, this transformation is actuated not by perfunctory acceptance, unmoored from personal principle, but a realization of errancy after critical reflection. That’s exactly what’s happened to my thinking on charter…

The Conscience of a Liberal

Despite modern liberalism’s sweeping scope, no one seems to know quite what it is. Liberalism appeared somewhere in the sixteenth century—“St. George, in the guise of Rationality,” as Kenneth Minogue puts it—to slay the dragons of despotic kingship and religious intolerance. Centuries later, liberalism slew the dragons of slavery, poverty, and later “the inert scaliness…