Socialism and its Discontents

Or, how we got here:

A question for the Reverend Jackson: Who has been running the show in Newark, in Chicago, in Detroit, and in Los Angeles for a great long while now? The answer is: People who see the world in much the same way as does the Reverend Jackson, who take the same view of government, who support the same policies, and who suffer from the same biases.

This is not intended to be a cheap partisan shot. The Democratic party institutionally certainly has its defects, the chronicle of which could fill several unreadable volumes, but the more important and more fundamental question here is one of philosophy and policy. Newark, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles — and Philadelphia, Cleveland, and a dozen or more other cities — have a great deal in common: They are the places in which the progressive vision of government has reached its fullest expressions. They are the hopeless reality that results from wishful thinking.


—”Who Lost the Cities? There is more wrong with Ferguson than the Brown case,” Kevin D. Williamson, today.

Many on the right are still openly aghast and amazed at how the supposedly pro-diversity, tolerant Left is in favor of punishing people with traditional views of sex and marriage (now redefined as “anti-gay”). Managing the messages that ordinary, less political voters hear is the key to power in our democratic system. The technological advances that might seem to open up the democratic process are instead being deployed with increasingly sophistical social psychological underpinning for the purpose of propaganda: of creating a team that hates all those outside its magic, redeeming boundary line.

It is being done by liberals, for liberals. Given the realities of team psychology, conservatives like me cannot even credibly critique it, much less stop it.

But it is making a mockery of the idea of the Liberal values we all as Americans once so recently, so very achingly recently, shared.

“Organizing Groupthink,” Maggie Gallagher, today.

Paul Waldman of the Washington Post’s Plum Line blog takes libertarians to task for supposedly being silent about events in Ferguson, Missouri, where a police officer shot an unarmed black teenager, and then the authorities reacted to demonstrators with excessive force. He speculates that the silence is because libertarians ” believe that when somebody’s grandson has to pay taxes on their inheritance, it’s a horrifying injustice that demands redress, but when somebody else’s grandson gets shot walking down the street, that’s just how things go sometimes.”

Waldman’s speculation is based on a false premise. Libertarians have in fact had plenty to say about both Ferguson specifically and overaggressive policing generally. Walter Olson of the Cato Institute – the nation’s leading libertarian think tank – recently wrote a post describing the events in Ferguson as an example of indefensible police militarization, an issue he and others at Cato have focused on for years. As Waldman partially recognizes, Reason – probably the nation’s leading libertarian publication – has posted numerous items about Ferguson on its site, nearly all of them highly critical of the authorities.


“Libertarians have been anything but silent about police abuses in Ferguson, Missouri [Updated with link to op ed on Ferguson by Sen. Rand Paul]”, Ilya Somin of the Volokh Conspiracy, at the Washington Post, yesterday.

Exit quote:

Heh. That subtitle was previously suggested for an earlier treatise on the horrors of socialism.

Update: “Aesthetics matter.”


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