Four (Oops! Five) bonus tracks (11/15/13)

    1. Sounds simple enough
    2. The Triumph of the Liberal State
    3. Liberalism lives, Progressivism on life support
    4. Should we recover Camelot?
    5. Un petit Jeremiad


America’s high-earners are more likely to be married. Its low-earners are not: There is a reason why the Julia in President Obama’s “Life of Julia” slideshow got what she needed from President Obama’s policies at every point in her life (and never needed anyone else for anything else). As Peter Lawler has pointed out, the combination of weak social networks and the responsibility of raising children tends to incline voters toward statist policies …
Conservatives can’t win as just another party of government. They can always be outbid. But the bidding of the statist left has its own costs. Those costs are only bearable if the alternative seems like being left entirely on your own. Conservatives can offer a reasonable balance. They can offer a tax system that makes it easier to form a family and find a job rather than crushing the economy to pay for endless government promises. Conservatives can offer protection from catastrophic medical bills and a more productive health care system as opposed to the cost and chaos of Obamacare. Conservatives can make it easier for workers to gain skill and make the most of their talents. Instead of discarding limited government politics, conservatives can apply limited government politics to the lives of people near the earnings median.

(Pete Spiliakos, A Relational Limited Government Politics) Sounds good to me, but it’s a little short on detail.


[M]ake no mistake: America is a liberal country, indeed, America is the very triumph of liberalism.
This might seem like a strange claim, since many would maintain that the conservatives are a viable political force and actually in the ascendency. This is true enough, but when we examine the content of this “conservatism,” we find that it consists almost entirely of economic and political liberalism, and only maintains its ties to traditional conservatism on a few social issues, such as abortion and homosexual marriage. Aside from these restricted issues, what American conservatism actually conserves is the values of the Enlightenment, that is to say, the Liberalism of Locke.

[A]s liberalism came into ill-repute during decades of economic turbulence at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, “liberalism” rebranded itself as “capitalism” and was sold as the content of a new “conservatism.” This may have been the greatest marketing trick since Tetzel’s sale of indulgences;

(John Médaille, from a long and provocative essay, The Triumph of the Liberal State)


People are wondering if we are seeing the end of liberalism. We are not. Liberalism, a great and storied American political tradition, will survive this. But progressivism—liberalism without blood—has been badly, deeply damaged. We are seeing the end of its first major emanation, ObamaCare.

(Peggy Noonan)


As I think back fifty years, it seems to me that the searing sorrow and shock of the assassination froze us Baby Boomers in time. The martyred Kennedy of Camelot—not the real man—became the avatar against which we measured all other presidents. Our perpetual quest to recreate his magic hasn’t been good for us—or the country.

(Wesley J. Smith, Let JFK RIP? It’s Complicated)


My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Jeremiah 2:11-13 (RSV)

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.