Back In A Bit…

I’m working on a long post about the crisis in liberalism, based in part on having just re-read Theodore Lowi’s “The End of Liberalism” which I pulled off the shelf when it called to me…

…but TG reminds me that today is our 1st anniversary and we have better things to do.

So I’ll leave you with a Lowi quote:

The most clinically accurate term to describe the American variant is interest group liberalism. It may be called liberalism because it expects to use government in a positive and expansive role, it is motivated by the highest sentiments, and it posesses strong faith that what is good for government is good for the society. It is “Interest group liberalism” because it sees as both necessary and good that the policy agenda and the public interests be defined in terms of the organized groups in society.

– p. 71

There’s a lot here to work with… especially in the “Era of the Armed Liberal,” as Austin Bay puts it.

15 thoughts on “Back In A Bit…”

  1. “The End of Liberalism” is copyright 1969, with a second edition (c) 1979. It’s not a new bestseller, therefore, but a political science classic worth a read by anyone interested in the subject.

    It also has implications on both sides of the spectrum – Lowi concludes that “interest group liberalism” is a “regime phenomenon,” as opposed to a partisan one. Everything I’ve seen says that’s true, though the parties’ responses to this fact differ.

    Lowi’s notes on “the ratchet effect,” bureaucratization of routine functions,” new welfare vs. old welfare,” juriical democracy” et. al. certainly helped to shape the debate and the critique of the welfare state right into the present day.

    What A.L. and many other independent liberals are seeing these days is a party reshaped by and in the image of this phenomenon, to a point where they believe it has lost touch with both its values and its traditional constituency.

    This stuff happens all the time in politics, of course. It’s only a problem insofar as it proves maladaptive in politics’ Darwinian world and/or destructive in the public sphere.

    Lowi’s critique that remains largely unanswered at the intellectual level, even as its target remains unreplaced at the political level. Hence the long, slow decline of liberal hegemony in American politics since the 1960s, Bill Clinton’s attempts to map out a “Third Way”, et. al.

    Will the next step be the “Berkeleyization” of the Democratic Party, the hegemony of interest group liberalism and enshrinement of its academic wing, and a spiral into irrelevance? Will it be significant reshaping of its foundations and value to accomodate these criticisms? Or continued muddling along as usual?

    The answers matter, of course. I’ll be interested in A.L.’s article.

  2. I took Poli Sci from Lowi when I was an undergrad at U of Chicago in the late 1960s. He was very nice and encouraging of undergraduates. The moment he had the offer from Cornell he fled Hyde Park. It was a crummy neighborhood and he had young children at the time.

    Is he still alive? teaching?

  3. What I find fustrating is the orwellian confounding of language, the leftist rewrite and falsification of history, and the loss of the ability to converse on ideas because the left continually redefine words as a tactic to further the dreams of their gulags.

    Hitlers National socialist germany, just a few microns to the right of lenin (vanishing point effect on perspective from where I am) but 900 miles to the left of me, is redefined as “right wing”.

    Mass murder, and genocide, progroms particular to the left since its birth in the latter 1800s, Even Margeret Sangers Eugenics was as much an import into Germany as was the import of marxism into our universities by the KGB. and yet somehow they still wiggle free of the well deserved condemation for it.

    In Austalia the Liberals are the good guys, in the USA they would be called conservative Republicans, they are in most ways kinsman with the Republican conservatives of liberal republican constitutional democracy.

    But in the USA, “Liberals” sleep with marxists, and advocate the evil progressive tax (direct out of the communist manifesto!) and govt mangling in society, something a true Liberal in the Classical sense would never have imagined. and would have found offensive.

    Only one maximum evil idiology has the planet seen, Communism, and the slightly less intrusive “Third Way” form of it called by many names over the years, Nazi-ism, facism, Social Democrats, progressives, etc. they are all flavors of the same evil.

    I assert that Liberalism in the USA does not exist any more, it is perverted twisted and mixed with marxism, an incompatable ingredient.

    The language is twisted and purverted to confound the debate of ideas, and I assert it is deliberate.

  4. bq. _”Creditors have two signigant risks with debt. One is that the debt will not be paid (it will either be discharged in bankruptcy or the debtor will die). The other is that the creditor will incur more costs collecting a debt than it receives. The bankruptcy reform appears to limit the first risk, but increases the second.”_

    On point one limiting the first risk is bad? Why? Bankruptcy is a possibility for all regardless of stature or status is it not? Death is inevitable is it not? Each in and of itself is a risk and as a lender would I not find it prudent to limit the risk? As a lender I’m limited as to the information I can garner to assess that risk, am I not?

    bq. _”I see the 30% interest balloon as more of a lateral strategy to “push” the debtor into bankruptcy and maximize that creditor’s position vis a vis other creditors.”_

    As to the second case we are talking potential usury rates. Unless I miss my guess we have “laws in place”: for this situation as well.

  5. Sorry for the errant post #13 A.L. – please delete. Twice in one day I’ve managed to get my wires crossed – must be *Monday*.

  6. Congradulations AL. My wife and I are celebrating our (7th) wedding anniversary today too. Well, as much as we can celebrate with two young children and no babysitter. All the best.


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