Progressives and progressivism

Alan Taylor’s revolution

Featured image From its very beginning in the United States, the Progressive movement has disparaged the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the American Revolution. Take Alan Taylor, for example, who represents the state of the art. Taylor is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia. Despite the chair he holds, Taylor is not much of a fan of the American Revolution. The New York Times »

The End of the “End of History”?

Featured image On Friday morning I happened to have breakfast in the Bay Area with a center-left writer of some prominence who was once a conservative, who, surveying the wreckage of the Brexit vote alongside the decay of liberalism under Hillary and Bernie, sighed that “I’ll probably end up a conservative again.” Since it was a private conversation I won’t say who this person was, but suffice it to say he’s attacked »

Resolving the Contradiction of “Progressivism”

Featured image Historians and political theorists have long puzzled over how to resolve the glaring contradiction of Progressive ideology—namely, that Progressive “reform” emphasizes greater “democracy,” and championed innovations like the direct election of Senators, the initiative and referendum, etc. Give the people what they want! Up with democracy! At the same time, Progressives also advanced the theory of government administration deliberately remote from politics and popular accountability—the Administrative State staffed by elite »

The Laziest Liberal Argument: “The Side of History”

Featured image In his lamentable speech last night, President Obama concluded that we could be confident of defeating ISIS because we are “on the right side of history.” As though “history” cares about us, and has something tangible like the force of gravity to bring to someone’s side. It’s what substitutes for gravitas among liberals. As the Wall Street Journal commented this morning, “History is made, not delivered as a birthright, and »

At Princeton, Wilson under review

Featured image At Princeton, events have coughed up today’s blather from President Eisgruber. A reader has forwarded the email below to the Princeton community. President Eisgruber recapitulates the regnant platitudes at great length. Chalk him up as another of the academy’s gutless wimps. Long story short: blah blah blah. Slightly longer story: they’re going to be exploring the legacy of Woodrow Wilson. I recommend that President Eisgruber et al. read R.J. Pestritto’s »

Doomed to failure, cont’d

Featured image President Obama spoke before the United Nations General Assembly today (video below, transcript here). The video runs about 43 minutes. Listening to it, I would have estimated a Castroite 4 hours and 43 minutes. It is excruciating. The tone is professorial, patronizing, obnoxious, and unmanly. Obama challenged, and was followed by, Vladimir Putin. Putting the merits of their presentations to one side, the contrast was not to Obama’s advantage. At »

Can “Liberalism” Be Reclaimed from the Left?

Featured image Harvey Mansfield remarked a while back that “the job of conservatism is to save liberalism from liberals.” The left may be giving us an unintended assist with this project.  One of the best things to happen to political discourse in recent years is that many leftists stopped calling themselves “liberal,” and adopted “progressive” instead. Even Hillary Clinton for a time, back around 2007, said “I’m not a liberal—I’m a progressive.” »

The Progress of Progressivism

Featured image In trying to decide for a previous post what version of the Progressive Operating System (POS) we’re currently using (6.0? 8.0?), I just arbitrarily decided to go with 12.0. Oh, now do pipe down; Microsoft Windows is my model here; the acronym POS is a pure coincidence. But in any case I’m sure Progressives will scorn this as “Whole Numberism,” which is defined in the PC Dictionary as a “microaggressive »

Paul Krugman Takes on the Pizza Lobby

Featured image Paul Krugman’s latest column is titled “Pepperoni Turns Partisan.” It is a trivial piece; years ago, Krugman apparently resolved never to spend more than half an hour on any column, and he isn’t pushing the envelope here. Still, it has entertainment value. Krugman begins: If you want to know what a political party really stands for, follow the money. … So what do contributions in the last election cycle say? »

The Pity Party: A word from the author

Featured image William Voegeli is a senior editor of the Claremont Review of Books, and the author, most recently, of The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion. I read a galley copy of the book this summer and believe it to be an important book. Bill is a natural teacher and he entertains while he instructs. The book was published on Tuesday. I asked Bill to preview it for our »

Mucking around revisited

Featured image Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism has just been published in paperback. Our friend Jean Yarbrough took a devastating look at what Goodwin has on offer this time around in the pages of the Claremont Review of Books. In light of next week’s elections, Professor Yarbrough’s account of the book – of the incestuous relationship between »

The Roosevelts: A hagiography

Featured image When writer Mark Gauvreau Judge was repeatedly invited to review Ken Burns’s 10-part, 18-and-a-half hour documentary on the history of jazz in 2000, his response was always the same: “I don’t need to see it to write a review. It’s Ken Burns, hippie granola-head and king of the documentary-melodrama, which means we’re in for yet another race-obsessed orgy of political correctness.” (In retrospect, Judge concedes, he was only “half-right.”) With »

Civil War on the Left, Part 9

Featured image Further to our occasional series about the civil war on the left (part 8 here), it is worth taking note of a new article by Paul Waldman in The American Prospect (one of the more smartly written lefty journals) entitled “Can Liberalism Survive Obama? Yes, It Can.”  I’ll skip over the obvious ironic mocking of the title, and proceed to some relevant excerpts: It isn’t hard to find discontent with »

A book for all seasons

Featured image Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is the book of the season. Published by Harvard University Press, it is a surprise best-seller. At the time of its publication earlier this year it neatly fit Obama’s theme of the moment on income inequality. Readers seem to have abandoned the book at page 26, as Obama seems to have abandoned the theme of income inequality. As the title of his book »

CRB: Mucking around

Featured image We welcome the publication of the Spring issue of the Claremont Review of Books (subscribe here) this week. In keeping with custom our friends at the Claremont Institute have allowed us to preview three pieces I chose for our readers. We began on Monday with CRB senior editor William Voegeli’s essay “The Redskins and Their Offense.” Yesterday we highlighted “Whistleblowers and traitors,” Hudson Institute senior fellow Gabriel Schoenfeld’s review of »

A Less-Is-More Presidency? (And Who Ruined It in the First Place?) [with comment by Paul]

Featured image A few days ago George Will devoted a column to advocating that a good presidential candidate—and by extension a good president—would be someone who talked less and promised less: All modern presidents of both parties have been too much with us. Talking incessantly, they have put politics unhealthily at the center of America’s consciousness. Promising promiscuously, they have exaggerated government’s proper scope and actual competence, making the public perpetually disappointed »

The Great Society’s greatest achievement isn’t so great

Featured image The Washington Post is running a series called “The Great Society at 50.” At times, the project seems like an effort on behalf of progressivism to revive the reputation of a shockingly bad liberal president, just as the buzz around Thomas Piketty’s new book seems like an effort to revive shockingly bad economic doctrine. It happens that my father had a ringside seat for the launch of the Great Society »