Edward Glaeser At The City Journal: ‘The GOP And The City’

Full post here.

Link sent in by a reader.

The piece comes off partly as a re-branding attempt for the GOP:

‘The Republicans’ abandonment of the city is good neither for their party nor for urban America.  The GOP clearly needs a heftier percentage of the urban vote, but winning it by means of fiscal pandering or redistribution isn’t the way to go-partly because such a strategy would cost rural and suburban votes and partly because it would be wrong.  A better approach is to offer the good ideas that cities desperately need.  Republicans have plenty.’

Glaeser offers some fresh thinking on crime, education, and transportation, and suggests that Republicans get back in the game in our cities. He’s right in pointing out that if people find certain principles worth living their lives by, then the party offering policies based on those principles would likely get more votes, and presumably address certain problems in our cities.

Outcomes may vary.

To take a step back, though, I don’t know how you get any politics without fiscal pandering, various other forms of pandering, and well, politicians.  Politicians move toward the incentives our system of laws and rules creates, and the incentives that the voting public provides for them.  They can’t be seen as too far ahead of the people, and are always beholden to many voting blocs and interest groups.  I favor understanding politics as a necessary evil, and as one of the last resorts to implementing principles in our lives. Our big city machine politics is often corrupt enough as it is, full of back room dealing, and used as a system of patronage.  See Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York for starters.

Perhaps this is partially a response to the success of the Obama community activist model, which may be enough to make you depressed, but which can also sharpen your realism.

To back up another step, here’s a quote from P.J. O’Rourke:

‘When you look at the Republicans you see the scum off the top of business. When you look at the Democrats you see the scum off the top of politics. Personally, I prefer business. A businessman will steal from you directly instead of getting the IRS to do it for him. And when Republicans ruin the environment, destroy the supply of affordable housing, and wreck the industrial infrastructure, at least they make a buck off it. The Democrats just do these things for fun.’

Well, the Democrats do things for money and power as well, torn between their beliefs and the institutions and incentives they’ve created in the wake of those beliefs.

If you really want to become skeptical, and nearly anarchical for a moment, you could read Albert Jay Nock’s ‘Anarchist’s Progress.‘  I know that will sound a little radical for some readers, but it’s likely worth your time.

In addition, click through for how not to fashion a winning libertarian PR campaign in NYC under “Guns For Tots Revisited”, back in 2003.  It’s interesting to see how our nuttily portrayed libertarian protagonist presaged the gun control debate and the consequences of Bloomberg’s nanny statism by cleaving to his libertarian principles.  A fight was brewing:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Guns for Tots Revisited
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook


Addition:  In other words, win the culture first, and convince people by your deeds, which is not exactly how politicians think, I know.

Related On This Site:  I will join the City Journal in highlighting the effects of liberal utopianism and the twisted incentives of the Welfare State: …Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘Radical Graffiti Chic’…Kay Hymowitz At The City Journal: ‘How Brooklyn Got Its Groove Back’…Repost-William Stern At The City Journal: ‘How Dagger John Saved New York’s Irish’

The people who promise solutions to poverty and homelessness seem to be engaged in a utopian cost-shifting exercise which favors their interests and overlooks crime, violence and personal responsbility…hardly a way to balance the budget: Repost-Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘The Sidewalks Of San Francisco’

Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’…Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘City Planners Run Amok’

Trade and commerce aren’t just vehicles for nanny statism, equality delivery services and racial harmony…they are well…trade and commerce:  Via Youtube: Ric Burns—New York: A Documentary Film – Episode One: The Country and The City (1609-1825)Joel Kotkin Via Youtube: ‘Illinois Is In A Competition’

Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture? –From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar ManFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’… some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’

Is the same definition of ‘community’ connected with one that can stifle economic growth through political means?: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?

A Few Thoughts On Foreign Policy-Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Conservative Principles Of World Order’

Full piece here.

Click through for some ideas on resetting conservative foreign policy principles:

‘If Republicans adopt this basic view as a counterpoint to that of the second Obama Administration, it would be good for the country. It makes sense on its own terms and it would encourage a more serious approach to a subject we have lately tended to sleepwalk through. Can Republicans come together around this vision? Please, I hope so.’

The Republican party has not been showing good foreign policy leadership, and there seems to be a real lack of overall vision lately. Garfinkle throws out some ideas: American liberty as the measure of all things, international security through strengthened sovereignty, and live and let live, as some possible guiding alternatives.

In the meantime, what’s the current administration’s approach?:

Here’s a quote from Anne-Marie Slaughter, on liberal internationalism:

‘The central liberal internationalist premise is the value of a rules-based international order that restrains powerful states and thereby reassures their enemies and allies alike and allows weaker states to have sufficient voice in the system that they will not choose to exit’

America must be restrained, and constantly appeal to and/or help to create an international order, regardless of the design flaws of the current international order.  The liberal international map doesn’t always line up with the terrain, and can overlook many problems beyond the limits of its understanding.

For example:

What kind of table do we have to sit at if Al Qaida and the Taliban, or the people ruling Northern Mali are on the other side?  Obama is still using drone strikes, special ops and security agency capabilities on them anyways, so some of this may simply be politics.

Does the formality of speaking with the Taliban, say, before some potential military action, or listening to Gadhafi or Ahmadinejad (both state sponsors of terror) drone on for an hour on the floor of the U.N., or waiting for the U.N. to act in the case of Syria, have some symbolic value that eclipses the value of our freedom to act unilaterally or in an alternative coalition to which we are bound under different rules in protecting our interests?

What dangers are coming from picking winners and supporting rebels (which America has almost always done from installing a Shah, to supporting the Taliban against the Russians) in what seem like endless Middle-Eastern conflicts according to the liberal internationalist doctrine alone?

What if Russia is simply adversarial (Cold War), and like some in China, would pursue interests and ideals that put it in direct conflict with what we hold most dear, as well as our interests?

And perhaps most importantly:

What confers legitimacy and moral authority upon those international bodies to whom we would appeal to resolve our disputes, bind ourselves, and try to bind others, given the enormous chasms between peoples and ideas, free and unfree societies, wealthier and impoverished nations, rogue actors and rogue states?

Part of the reason the U.N looks and acts the way it does, is because it reflects what’s out there.  The incentives may simply be wrong.

I suppose the burden is on those of us who espouse more conservative, or classically liberal Western ideas and principles to come up with something.  Generally the ideals which guide many European secular humanists, the human rights crowd, and those who often seek peace unto itself find liberal internationalism appealing, and many such folks have been most effective at creating international institutions.  That said, I’m not necessarily on board what’s become of the neo-conservative option either;  using military force to spread democracy, often resting upon the national greatness platform.   The long-term consequences and costs of Iraq are up for debate, but if Iraq is how that vision is implemented, a debate is overdue in my opinion.  We can still pursue our interests, but we’ve arguably got to be a little smarter and more strategic about it.  We’ve got to earn our national greatness again.

Here’s a suggestion I threw up before, just to put it out there:

How about a coalition of free traders, that works for the common self-interest of protecting the life-blood of our respective economies with naval forces against piracy, drug-runners, and corrupt and aggressive regimes that agitate in international waters?  Perhaps America, Britain, Australia, Canada, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, Germany, France, Israel, Brazil, Chile (China down the road) could start something like a cleaned up, international, merchant marines?

Or maybe regional trading partners are responsible for their own waters and borders, and more powerful actors can assist in regional waters and international waters.  It would be nice to see trade come front and center in at least guiding how freer and more trade oriented societies pursue common interest, and this could include China, to some extent.


What about here at home, and our economy?:

-As Garfinkle points out, domestic policy will affect what we do abroad:

Many people are looking around and seeing signs of cultural and political stagnation and real economic stagnation, if not decline, for the U.S. relative to the rest of the world.  The winds have changed, but we still can set our sails again.

At the end of the video below made right after Obama was elected in 2008, Peter Thiel argued that real growth has been stagnant since about 1970 after accounting for the recent housing collapse.  The average family is working harder to stay mostly in the same place.  He attributes this to the fact that real technological advancement is obviously occurring, but just not exponentially, and it’s not exponentially increasing real wages, nor the same growth rate for the GDP we had for previous generations (mainly the Boomers).   Those days of economic growth may be gone and this is mostly due to increased global competition and a new landscape to which America needs to adapt.

He wants to reframe the debate away from the culture wars and battles for control of the public square (the decline of institutionalized religion, the rise of feminism, women in the workforce, race, identity politics etc).  Politically, the Left clearly has a lot of reasons for holding aloft science and technology (at the very least they’ll always need a goose to lay the golden eggs, but it goes much deeper).  The Right begrudgingly accepts the importance of technology, but downplays its importance and has its own plans, according to Thiel.

He’s started the Thiel Fund that offers money to people willing to pursue an idea outside of the academy.  He wants people to focus on the state of education, especially STEM going forward, to be a little more realistic on the tech economy, and to stay competitive globally and to work toward open trade and freer capital markets.

Addition:  Does he advocate for greater realism on the tech front or is he lamenting the lack of grand, sometimes utopian visions attached to capital markets?  See the link to Virginia Postrel above.


Related On This Site:  Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest’s Via Media: “The Rise Of Independent Kurdistan?”..Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest on Egypt: ‘Still More of the Same—and Something New’

How does America lead or pursue its interests in this new landscape?:  We need to confront the rise of Islamism and the realities of many Muslim societies through our policy.  Putting women’s rights and international institutions front and center when you’re dealing with Al Qaida and the Taliban, assorted enemies, a suspicious China and a weaker adversarial Russia has serious problems …Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill…Daniel Deudney tries to build a global raft partially upon Kant’s idealism and says the global institutions we’ve got are better than nothing: Repost-Daniel Deudney On YouTube Responding to Robert Kagan: ‘Liberal Democracy Vs. Autocracy’

From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’… part of Fukuyama’s platform came from Huntington, but also Hegel via Kojeve.  From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington…Can economics and politics ever be a science…Hegel’s influence can be problematic: Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’…Has Fukuyama turned from Hegel toward Darwin…do we need a more moral, bureaucratic class here in America and across Europe?: Adam Kirsch Reviews Francis Fukuyama’s New Book At The City Journal: ‘The Dawn Of Politics’

David Brooks At The NY Times: ‘Party Of Strivers’

Full piece here.

‘But there is a flaw in the vision the Republicans offered in Tampa. It is contained in its rampant hyperindividualism. Speaker after speaker celebrated the solitary and heroic individual. There was almost no talk of community and compassionate conservatism. There was certainly no conservatism as Edmund Burke understood it, in which individuals are embedded in webs of customs, traditions, habits and governing institutions’

Well, there’s the matter of battling against the current administration and its constituencies which generally seek to vastly increase the size and scope of government, bending the social contract toward collectivist ideals as well as their own interests.  Political favoritism, expanding bureaucratic control, and cronyism will naturally come with the territory.

A Burkean return to conservatism would be nice, but the rise of libertarianism in the U.S. usually coincides with the rise of particularly liberal administrations out of necessity.  Most of this administration’s defenders wish to define individuals as free from those customs, traditions, habits that are religious, or even practically conservative.

I do recall Ross Douthat floating the idea of getting back to basics for conservatives, away from individualism and the libertarians, which was likely preparation for the upcoming election (E.J. Dionne also suggested a return to community, but mostly to protect the current administration and “community” of the secular and Statist variety).

Libertarians and liberals share a broad swath of the same turf of liberty as a guiding ideal, and both mostly wish to drive change toward themselves and their ideals as seems natural to the human condition.  Libertarians, in my experience, think of themselves as the true classical liberals.  They see current liberals having gone down the path of excessive individualism and collectivism (liberals believing that institutions will guide and perfect the individual and they will run the institutions, thus increasing liberty….and for which they always promise more equality…at some point in the not too distant future).

Brooks finishes with:

‘Today’s Republican Party may be able to perform useful tasks with its current hyperindividualistic mentality. But its commercial soul is too narrow. It won’t be a worthy governing party until it treads the course Lincoln trod: starting with individual ambition but ascending to a larger vision and creating a national environment that arouses ambition and nurtures success.’

Fair enough, but for whom is David Brooks writing?

*** Food for thought:  A girl from Kansas makes her way to Seattle, then Hawaii, then Indonesia, on a trajectory away from the customs, traditions, habits and governing institutions for various ideological and personal reasons.   The Republican ticket promises to restore a government that works for the customs, traditions, habits from which she was likely running.

Related On This Site: Does all that sociological analysis naturally lead towards a more liberal political philosophy?: Will Wilkinson At Forbes: ‘The Social Animal by David Brooks: A Scornful Review’…Charlie Rose has a full interview with Brooks and his new bookDavid Brooks At The NY Times: ‘Why Our Elites Stink’From Darwinian Conservatism By Larry Arnhart: “Surfing Strauss’s Third Wave of Modernity

William Saletan and Ross Douthat At Slate: ‘Liberalism Is Stuck Halfway Between Heaven And Earth’…Douthat’s The Grand New PartyRoss Douthat At First Principles: ‘The Quest for Community in the Age of Obama: Nisbet’s Prescience’

Yes, Edmund Burke opposed the French Revolution: Sunday Quotation: Edmund Burke On The French Revolution..

Still reliving the 60’s?: 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 trendy leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

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Ronald Bailey At Reason’s Hit & Run: ‘Are Republicans or Democrats More Anti-Science?’

Full piece here

A bold statement, but it’s a political football at the moment:

‘On the specific issues discussed above, I conclude that the Republicans are more anti-science. However, I do also agree with Berezow that scientific “ignorance has reached epidemic proportions inside the Beltway.’

Meanwhile, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope in Chile is just coming on line.  Video at the link.

Related On This SiteRonald Bailey At Reason: “I’ll Show You My Genome. Will You Show Me Yours?”… There’s science and there’s science education. Isn’t Dennett deeper than that? From The Access Resource Network: Phillip Johnson’s “Daniel Dennett’s Dangerous Idea’Repost-Steven Weinberg’s Essay ‘On God’ In The NY Times Review Of Books

Maybe if you’re defending religion, Nietzsche is a problematic reference: Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy…

There’s plenty of scientism on the Left as well.  Don’t immanentize the eschaton!: From The NY Times: ‘Atheists Sue to Block Display of Cross-Shaped Beam in 9/11 Museum’

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