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Category: Conservatism

Soulcraft in a Complex Society

In recent years, conservative commentators have criticized how the individualism of the neoliberal age has undermined the moral and ethical foundations of community in America. Yuval Levin’s 2014 essay “Taking the Long Way” argues that too many people on both the right and left are committed to a thin vision of liberty, defined simply as…

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The Derivations of Charles Koch

Despite himself illustrating their pitfalls, Koch has dedicated his life to constructing mental models. “He thinks he’s John Galt,” says one colleague, comparing Koch to the philosopher-hero of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Koch’s writings do little to dispel that assess­ment. In The Science of Success, Koch claims to have discovered, well, the science of success. Just as the natural world operates in accordance with fixed laws, Koch explains, so do fixed laws govern human well-being. Those same laws apply a fortiori “to the miniature societies of organizations”…

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Common Good Capitalism: An Interview with Marco Rubio

We have always had a political class, composed of politicians, donors, consultants, and media who make decisions about what our politics and campaigns should focus on. But never have the views of this political class and the rest of the country been so different. For our political class, the operating assumption has been that popular concerns, like families’ cost of living and industries moving to China, are issues that are either simply inevitable in modern society or can be dealt with by a tax credit or a government program. I think one of the lessons of the 2016 election is that these are more fundamental issues that demand deeper political attention…

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Momentum Lost: Surveying the Fractured British Left

In spring 2019 I published an article in this journal predicting that the British Left was far more divided than it appeared on its surface. I argued that the activist group Momentum, which had taken over the Labour Party, risked alienating traditional working-class supporters. My argument was based on the fact that Momentum tended to be…

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Ending the Interregnum: A Way through the Culture War

Politics is fundamentally agonistic. Not all interests and desires can be harmonized. Periods of cultural and economic hegemony sup­plant one another through material and ideational conflict. Within these periods there are winners and losers. Competing political parties quibble at the margins, but it is rare that an election gives rise to more than superficial change.…

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The Real Class War

Since at least 2016, the divide between the “working class” and the “elite” has been considered a defining issue in American (and Western) politics. This divide has been defined in occupational terms (“blue collar” versus “information workers”), geographic terms (rural and exurban regions versus major urban cores), and meritocratic terms (non-college-educated versus those with elite…

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Will Shifting Party Coalitions Change Policy Priorities?

America’s two major political parties appear to be in the process of swapping their historic coalition constituents. With that shift, many of our assumptions about what it means to be a Democrat or a Republican are coming apart at the seams. The most significant development seen in recent polling data is the exodus of college-educated…

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Trivial Pursuit

It would not be possible in the space of even a lengthy review to do justice to either the scope or the style of Brooks and Papo­la’s cine­matic achievement. I can only share some of what I saw. After a brief credit sequence we meet “Arthur,” which is what I will call the Brooks-esque character in the film. (I am going to assume we are not quite meant to identify him with the real-life Brooks, who cannot possibly be as stupid and sinister by turns as this guy…

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The New Brazilian Right

Ten years ago, Brazil was a left-wing success story. The Workers’ Party’s generous cash-transfer programs for poor families, bank­rolled by buoyant commodity prices and constructed on a preexisting foundation of fiscal discipline, helped to lift millions out of pov­erty. Constitutional order was maintained. The economy grew, and arrangements were reached between the reigning patronage party…

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McLuhanomics: The Medium versus the Market

Why has digital technology so scandalously betrayed the expectations set by market liberalism? What accounts for the vast divergence between the starring role digital tech was meant to play in the global consummation of market liberalism and the dis­ruptive, discrediting, disillusioning role it actually is playing? Why did liberal experts and liberal economics get it…

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