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Category: Progressivism

Reevaluating the Culture Wars

In America, “culture war” is a term of surprisingly recent origin. It dates from the early 1990s, and the conflict it signified was declared over almost as soon as it was named. “In his convention speech, Pat Buchanan referred to the ‘culture wars,’” Irving Kristol wrote in 1992, “I regret to inform him that those wars are over, and the Left has won.”…

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Capitalism’s Character Types

Writing in the Atlantic, in an article titled “How Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration” (July/August 2017), Peter Beinart asks why Democrats moved from evenhandedness on the issue of immigration to a fervent belief in open borders. Why did they move from support for patriotism to contempt for the nation-state? Why do they refuse to…

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From Progressive Neoliberalism to Trump—and Beyond

Whoever speaks of “crisis” today risks being dismissed as a bloviator, given the term’s banalization through endless loose talk. But there is a precise sense in which we do face a crisis today. If we characterize it precisely and identify its distinctive dynamics, we can better determine what is needed to resolve it. On that…

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Toward an All-American Affairs

We need to find a way forward together. By we I mean Americans, all Americans in our splendid and difficult diversity. We need new ideas, including the kinds of ideas that are being put forward on these pages. But we are no longer in the eighteenth century, when a small group of propertied white men can provide the ideas, doctrines, and laws to guide the nation…

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Uncivil Religion

Walter McDougall is America’s greatest living historian. His The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (1985) earned him the Pulitzer Prize. His Promised Land, Crusader State (1997) summarized American foreign policy from the founding to our own time while explaining twentieth-century statesmen’s radical departures from their predecessors. In Freedom Just around the Corner: A New American History, 1585–1828 (2004) and…

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Romance and Socialism in J. S. Mill

John Stuart Mill had the worst personal life of any libertarian philosopher, a competitive category for bad personal lives. Marriage in particular has a record of making libertarian philosophers behave discreditably—that is, in a way that brings discredit not just on their character but on their ideas. Bertrand Russell famously divorced the first of his four wives after a bicycle trip: “suddenly, as I was…

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The Anxieties of Conservatism

The conservative movement is understandably in a state of anxiety. Donald Trump was not their candidate. The key issues of his campaign were not those in which the Right’s leading thinkers had invested their efforts. The major organs of conservative opinion distanced themselves from his candidacy, only allying with him tactically, and in many cases…

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A Renewed Republican Party

“However sudden and momentous be events that have just taken place so swiftly, the author can claim that they have not taken him by surprise.” So wrote Tocqueville in the Author’s Preface to the Twelfth Edition of Democracy in America, on the occasion, in 1848, of the final political repudiation of the effort to restore…

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