Posts Tagged ‘progressive’
October 13th, 2014 at 4:18 pm
Re Progressives, What Would the Founders Do?

As we gear up for another week of politics-as-usual, it’s helpful to keep our eyes on what we’re arguing for and how we do it. In a splendid little essay about civil discourse rightly understood, political scientists Matt Parks and David Corbin explain how to keep one’s dignity when defending our republic.

What’s a critic of Progressivism to do? Follow the example of Publius: argue vigorously about the common good while judging with charity the aims of one’s opponents. Respect friends of the rights and liberties of the people wherever you find them and seek to correct them when their means don’t match their ends.

Lies should be called lies and there’s no need to assume that well-intentioned plans and proposals will end well, but a healthy measure of forbearance joined with an openness to self-criticism will do more for the cause of republican government than a conservative equivalent of the Big Smathers Lie. The result will either be to reopen the public square to civil discourse by enlivening a debate over the common good or by showing Progressives, in their intransigence, to be both cynical and unserious about the most important political questions.

In other words, we honor the public square when we assume the best of our opponents’ intentions, even if we are compelled by logic and evidence to criticize their ideas.

It’s a high bar to clear, but worth the struggle.

June 1st, 2011 at 11:38 am
Huntsman Sounds Like the Gipper, Governs Like a Maverick

If you like Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater you’ll love Jon Huntsman’s opinion piece in today’s Wall Street Journal.  Sounding themes of economic growth, fiscal responsibility, and balanced budgets as the key to a prosperous future Huntsman even borrows the Gipper’s famous “time for choosing” phrase to headline his column.  Heck, the former Republican governor of Utah and ambassador to China even praises Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget resolution.

One problem: Jon Huntsman isn’t the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan.  Rather, he’s a slicker, more polished version of John McCain.  In a word, he’s a maverick whose method of policymaking is open to whatever the political consensus of the moment requires.  As I wrote for CFIF this week, Huntsman is attracting the same kind of “progressive” Republicans that flocked to McCain’s failed presidential bids.

For all his red meat economic rhetoric in today’s column, Huntsman can’t hide from his past support for President Barack Obama’s stimulus spending, growth in (state) government, cap-and-trade, and state-run health care.

Back in 2005 as governor, Huntsman gave a summary of his approach to illegal immigration that can be used as a window into how he governs in general: “I want to be a catalyst and report good ideas that will lead to a philosophy. That’s what we need first and foremost.”

Wrong.  In the Age of Obama, conservatives aren’t looking for a presidential candidate that formulates his governing philosophy on the fly.  Think about this: If this is the way Huntsman thinks of his job as an executive, is it too much of a leap to assume that this is the kind of ad hoc philosophizing he’ll look for in judicial nominations?  Haven’t we had enough of judicial activists making up the law as they go along, rewriting the Constitution so that it fits whatever facts are in play?

Yet that is exactly what Huntsman’s “report good ideas that will lead to a philosophy” statement suggests.  We’ve seen the kind of cognitive dissonance that Republicans like John McCain truck in when their policy positions are not tethered to conservative principles.  Huntsman is right in his economic prescriptions, but what conservative isn’t these days?  The real question is whether he’ll be right dealing with future problems that require him to use his first principles, whatever those are.

March 17th, 2010 at 1:49 pm
Progressives Pushing Health Care “Reform” in Med School, Too

Here’s proof that Jeff’s earlier post about 1/3 of current doctors leaving the profession if Obamacare passes may be just what Democratic leaders’ ordered.  According to an op-ed by two medical students, Progressives are skewing the curriculum towards promoting government-run health care.

Medical school curricula should include material on delivery of health care and provide honest viewpoints from both sides using the best data available. I can count numerous examples of the school providing a liberal perspective, but cannot cite one single example where a more conservative position was offered. This steady drumbeat of the progressive worldview is reshaping the minds of America’s future physicians. Ironically, as medical students, we are taught to hold the patient’s best interest in the highest regard. Yet, at the same time, we are taught that more government intervention between the physician and the patient is desirable. Unfortunately, history teaches us the two are often incompatible.

The assault on the time honored patient-physician relationship is happening on many fronts. But the unseen battle within the medical school classroom might be the most important of them all. Will the physicians of tomorrow even recognize the Hippocratic Oath and continue to serve the well-being of the individual patient? Or will our healers become pawns of a government-run health care system and ultimately become servants of the State?

Nationalized health care has long been the Holy Grail for the secular progressive. To reach this end, the left is now doing a textbook end-around of the American voter to achieve this prize. What is happening in the medical school classroom might render what happens in Washington meaningless, no matter how We the People vote.

H/T: Fox News Forum

January 30th, 2010 at 1:52 pm
A Scarcity of Creativity

The basic point of departure between progressives and classical liberals (a term I’m using to encompass any political ideology that supports a free market) when it comes to solving an economic problem is how each deals with scarcity. Scarcity occurs when the demand for a resource like land, labor, or capital is greater than its supply. The lack of the resource (i.e. it’s scarcity) leads to prioritizing how to use that resource most efficiently. This is where public policy disagreements come into play. Typically, progressives see just about everything as scarce, and argue for a neutral government to allocate scarce items fairly. For progressives, there is almost never an instance where the policy impulse to find a way to create more of something. Instead, government’s task is to “spread the wealth around” – be it energy through carbon credits, capital through welfare redistribution, or health care through rationing.

Classical liberals are of a different mindset. They start by questioning whether the scarce resource is correctly is really scarce. Consider health care. A progressive would argue that if the number of licensed doctors became static or declined, limiting the amount of patient visits per year would be appropriate in order to “share” the scarce resource of medical expertise over the largest amount of people. A classical liberal, though, would ask whether a licensed nurse could be allowed to take on more responsibility for diagnosing and treating patients with common ailments like colds, cuts, and other minor medical problems. By expanding the amount of people who are licensed to treat patients, the scarcity vanishes because people are allowed to visit a medical professional as much as they need to.

Now to the issue of job creation. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is proposing a bill to give people as young as 60 years old a financial incentive to retire early by offering early retirement with social security benefits and health care subsidies paid for from COBRA. The thinking is that are a finite amount of jobs in the American economy, and the federal government must find a way to get older workers out to create room for younger workers. Sounds like jobs are “scarce” these days, right?

Not so fast. The workers who have survived the rash of lay-offs are most likely to be those who are highly producing because businesses can no longer afford to carry dead wood on their payrolls. Moreover, if older workers are convinced to leave the job market, that means centuries of accumulated knowledge and expertise will be leaving with them. In the alternative, if it is the low-skilled elderly that Kucinich is targeting (a more likely scenario since guaranteed Social Security and COBRA benefits aren’t enticements for people making more than minimum wage), the vacancies they create won’t be enough to support younger workers with families trying to get out of apartments and into all those foreclosed houses.

The better way to look at how to create jobs isn’t to figure out how to best allocate the ones in existence – it’s figuring out how to encourage even more to be created. With more people working the economy will be that much stronger, which will eventually lead to the kind of scarcity only an employer fears: not enough hard-working, qualified people to fill all their employment needs.

January 14th, 2010 at 6:34 pm
Blanche Lincoln and the Liberals’ Litmus Tests

Who says Democrats have a big tent?  According to reporting by Politico, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), is feeling the sting of Arkansas progressives dissatisfied with her stances and voting record.  Forget the fact that Lincoln is a reliable vote whenever the Democratic Party needs her.   In fact, seemingly angry that her uncompensated support wasn’t copied, she’s called for fellow Democratic Senator Ben Nelson’s (D-NE) “Cornhusker Kickback” to be stripped out of the final health care “reform” bill.

Despite all this, the 15% of Arkansans that call themselves progressives are pining for the state’s more liberal Lt. Governor, Bill Halter, to primary Lincoln.  Her sins?  Apparently, backing off support for “card-check” legislation, not complying with an NAACP created quota for federal judicial nominees, and resisting a public option in health care “reform.”  On that last point, at least, Lincoln can claim to be representing the majority of Arkansas’ voters.  No matter.  For today’s Democratic “base” promoting a majority opinion is enough to get you drummed out of the Party.  Just ask Joe Lieberman.