Novus Ordo Seclorum, Weekly Politikos

PROGRESSIVE MESS

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By David Beilstein

FOLLOWING the post-mortem on Mitt Romney’s campaign, many have blamed the robotic candidate for heralding electoral defeat at the top of the party’s ticket, plunging the GOP into disgrace.  NRO’s Jonah Goldberg’s analysis is reflective. A campaign of shallow ideas, will often gather diaphanous results. While the Democratic Party is also riddled with shallow ideas, they got a break in both 2008 and 2012 because perceptions were—are, to a large degree, Republicans created the problems to begin with.

The GOP’s historic one-two punch: competency in foreign policy and economic vitality, where destroyed during George W Bush’s two-terms. Needless to say, I would recommend classical liberals look further.

Republicans lost all over the electoral map, with good and bad candidates.  That’s a classical symptom of party failure over and against individual candidates. Michael Wash on NRO writes about the real unattractive teleos of progressivism. Walsh’s point: the Republican Party’s inability to run against progressive aims, in the aggregate, is the real problem.

For “progressivism” is rooted in the belief that — under the guise of “serving the public” — a mandarin class ought to have authority over the grubby masses, whose own worst impulses must be constrained for the “greater good.” It’s the whole thrust behind the leftist project to nationalise every issue, to turn Washington, D.C., into the ultimate arbiter (which is why federalism has to be destroyed) and to concentrate all the reins of power in the capital. After all, it’s hard to have a decentralised dictatorship of the proletariat.

Walsh’s paragraph sums up everything that progressivism is, and why it is so bad for America—a country devoted to the individual as supreme, lofty and high above the state. The state serves the individual, constitutionally. Not vice-versa. Progressivism reverses this order against constitutional parameters.

As such, one can quickly see how progressive political ideals eliminate sovereignty of the individual—the right to choose as Milton Friedman liked to put it. Also, individuality as understood properly, ceases to exist in any real way under such an ideology. One may see, however, that moralistic-progressive tendencies  animating social conservatism, are in increasing troubled water as an effective counter-weight to statist progressivism. Both see the state in like terms, just with different overall ethical visions. It should be stated empirically, the framer’s vision was neither.

If team Romney (as well as Republicans in general) made a mistake, it was not running against the overall progressive ideal and it’s negative consequences. Progressivism, unlike classical liberalism, does not submit to reality—unanchored from individual needs and wants.

Romney did an able job pointing out that Obama had a lackluster first-term. But the “why” is what’s important. Emotional rhetoric aimed at restoring America, but slip-streaming back into a golden-age ante does not answer the “why” question, and as said before, is easy to counter. Obama countered good enough in the second and third presidential debates, to gather enough support for reelection.

Still, it is in answering the “why” question that gives explanatory capital to whether Obama just needed more time to make things right—which he convinced the American people was the case—or, that the president was running quickly in the wrong direction, and likely making the situation worse.

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