We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Liberalism's most acute critics such as University of Virginia political scientist James Ceaser emphasize the centrality of crises, real or manufactured, in expanding the size and reach of the liberal state (as in the recent case of the supposedly imminent global warming catastrophe). In Never Enough, Voegeli, a visiting scholar at Claremont McKenna College's Henry Salvatori Center and a contributing editor of this journal, points to a complementary concept: liberalism, he argues, "lacks a limiting principle." This boundlessness, as it might be described, is familiar to Americans across the country who have watched, for instance, secondary school costs and college tuitions grow at roughly twice the rate of inflation for a quarter-century now. This boundlessness generates some of the apprehension that animates the Tea Parties. As a friend asked me rhetorically—referring to the fact that the failing schools in Washington, D.C., spend $28,000 a year per pupil while Harvard tuition costs $34,000 a year—"When will enough be enough?"
In my view, never. It's a vote-buying game built on the childish wish-fulfillment fantasies of voters. Long ago, when Mario Cuomo had a short-lived radio talk show, I called in and asked him what the end point was of Progressivism. The gabby Cuomo became instantly tongue-tied when I asked him about government auto insurance.
Another quote from this excellent review:
"Democracy," said liberalism's pre-eminent founding father Herbert Croly, "must stand or fall on a platform of possible human perfectibility." These were the words of a radical, not a reformer—a man who, like Karl Marx and Auguste Comte, saw himself as leading humanity to a higher and more refined stage of civilization. Croly wanted the collective power of society put "at the service of its ablest members," who would be given the lead roles in the social drama of Progress. Boundlessness is built into the DNA of American liberalism.
Liberalism was to be a new covenant in which the priests of Progress led the people into the promised land of a full blown European-style welfare state. But in the intervening century, two of the key building blocks of liberalism—namely the concept of Progress and the popular appeal of government—have become problematic, the first for liberals themselves and the second for much of the populace.
Well said. Funny how many folks do not wish to be perfected by their betters, and prefer to be left alone. I guess most Americans aren't Euroweenies at heart, and prefer to be citizens, not subjects.
As a teacher in a Catholic inner city high school in Brooklyn, NY, I am dumbfounded that such a sum is expended on a per pupil basis in a failing school system. The tuition is $7,000 a year. An additonal $2,000 per student is provided by alumni/coporate giving. Our retention rate is very high, 97% of our students go to college, and the rest enter the military or a trade/technical programs. The faculty is unionized. GO FIGURE!
No limiting principle, indeed. An example I've used a lot: if we could go back and offer the organizers of the first Earth Day the state of environmental quality we have today, there's no doubt they'd jump at the deal. But now we have an EPA with a multi-billion dollar budget, and there won't be any deals--it'll take a bureaucratic battle of Stalingrad to be rid of it and its ilk.