The Occasion of the “True Believers” in the GOP: The McGovernites.

In watching the Democratic Convention tonight, I had an observation: For the first time in my memory, the convention did not feel like it was hiding a lot of closet radicals, now “radical” in the bad sense of the term, as in “offensive to the beliefs of many citizens.” I argue that the turn in American politics towards causes that had nothing to do with running and sustaining a...

Book review: The Parties vs. the People.

From the interview by Terry Gross, of Fresh Air, with former Mickey Edwards, GOP Rep. from Oklahoma. In his 16 years in Congress, Republican Mickey Edwards came to a strong conclusion: Political parties are the “cancer at the heart of our democracy,” he tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. …… Edwards cites the selection of committee chairmanships as a way to enforce partisanship...

Andrew Sullivan on Paul Ryan’s “Zombie Economics”

Andrew Sullivan on Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. But, no, he is not a serious fiscal conservative. Not even close. In 2012, decades after supply-side economics was proven not to add more revenues than it gave back, Ryan is still a true-believer. His view is that if you cut taxes massively, you will decrease the debt. But this is the primary reason we currently have the massive debt that began its...

My remarks on Ryan’s choice as VP.

Democrats shouldn’t be overly confident about the notion that Ryan will turn voters off. Two reasons: First: Ryan and the Republican Party have a philosophy behind them – albeit what political philosophers call “disordered philosophy.” For complex reasons relating to the influence of Puritanism on the American mind, a very high percentage of American voters are highly susceptible to...

Some thoughts on free market zealots.

The two sources of disordered public philosophy today are the Austrian School of Economics and Ayn Rand. We cannot grasp why these political philosophies are wrong by focusing on their substantive claims. The primary claim of both movements is that freedom is a sort of highest good. Rather, we must look to the form of these belief systems. What does this distinction point to? To say we must look to the...

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