I also tweeted this Haidt quote last night. Not only did a lot of people in the replies share Haidt’s pessimism, but quite a few said that they thought thirty years was being too optimistic, and that the collapse would occur before then.https://t.co/837tiZY1Rw
— A New Radical Centrism (@a_centrism) August 9, 2020
One thing which has struck me about the varying protests–>riots–>violence in American cities is the lack of political leadership, institutional strength and public sentiment required to address them. A lot of political actors and voting Americans apparently share overlap with the ideas leading many people into the streets.
Such events also seem localized and inchoate, pretty continuous in Portland and Seattle (many more Antifa), and in Chicago over the weekend, pretty indicative of the problems Chicago’s had for a long time regarding race relations, political corruption and crime.
Of course, many people are looking to our political leadership, institutions and broad public sentiment to address these issues at the moment, finding questionable leadership, overbuilt institutions and bands of unsatisfyingly balkanized public sentiment.
It looks as though we have systemic issues and lot of fluid change going on, and it’s getting more and more difficult to remain reasonable about what politics can do with the passions and loyalties it inspires.
Some years ago, now, Walter Russell Mead was arguing that the blue progressive social model was unsustainable (I suppose the red would be too, to some extent, on this view). The government can’t prop up what has been lost with unsustainable spending and a vastly increased Federal project. Mead thought we needed a new liberalism since the old had diffused itself upon the loss of manufacturing, private sector jobs and globalization.
It would seem Donald Trump disagrees about the role of the coal and oil industries, manufacturing, and what globalization means for an American worker he sees himself representing as President (peeling off many working folks, and some ‘minorities’ from the excesses of identity politics with economic growth populism).
Mead finishes with:
‘We’ve wasted too many years arguing over how to retrieve the irretrievable; can we please now get on with the actual business of this great, liberal, unapologetically forward-looking nation.’
Perhaps more liberal attitudes are becoming more prevalent in American society, or at least perhaps there is a waning of religious conservatism and Christianity in the public square.
I’m having trouble imagining how traditional belief will get along with the products of (R)eason, rationalism, materialism, determinism and atheism under some kind of big-tent (L)iberal project.
Strange bedfellows, anyways. This would seem especially so amongst progressive true-believers and practitioners of radical identity politics.
Charles Kesler took at look at how he thought Obama might have understood himself back before the election of 2012.
That is to say, Kesler envisions a liberal tradition bubbling-up during the administrations of Woodrow Wilson to FDR, LBJ through Obama.
During Obama’s fourth-wave liberalism, then, there there were visible ‘postmodern’ strands and Civil Rights strands. There were blessedly more evolutionary anti-history Hegelian historicist strands over revolutionary Marxist strands.
‘We Are The Change We’ve Been Waiting For‘ may be preferable to ‘Peace, Bread & Land.‘
Personally, I still think we’re on a longer trend-line towards more Continental problems, but, frankly, there’s high variability in such a prediction.
Related On This Site: He explains what he thinks that blue social model is in depth, and the people who make it up: Thoughts On Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: “Why Blue Can’t Save The Inner Cities Part I”
On Mead’s thinking, libertarians who point out the lessons of Hayek’s ‘The Road to Serfdom‘, and Straussian conservatives who follow Strauss‘ end run around nihilism/moral relativism, and the three crises of modernity, may not be necessary. We’ve not arrived at these particular problems of Continental Europe.
Related On This Site: Where is Mead coming from?: Repost-Via Youtube: Conversations With History – Walter Russell Mead…
Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working. Check out his series at The American Interest.
Francis Fukuyama And Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘None Of The Above’
Some thoughts on Fukuyama and Leo Strauss: Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’
Charles Fried and Randy Barnett among others, testify as to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (Nearly 3 hrs, but likely worth your time. You can skip to the parts you’d like)
Originalism vs the ‘living constitution?” George Will Via The Jewish World Review: ‘True Self-Government’…A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”
The classical liberal tradition…looking for classical liberals in the postmodern wilderness: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”… From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’…Looking to supplant religion as moral source for the laws: From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum.New liberty away from Hobbes?: From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’…Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal: Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”