The Liberal-Radical Relationship

The radical and the liberal suffer from opposite afflictions.* The radical, taking her distance from the mainstream as a measure of her probity, hastens the isolating slide. Existing in a brutally unjust world, her marginality, she reasons, is prima facie proof of her rectitude; if proximity to the center is a proxy for determining one’s…

The Quadrennial Conundrum

Last week, I did the dirty deed. I voted for Barack Obama. Begrudgingly wouldn’t begin to describe the manner in which I exercised the franchise. A recent Iowa transplant, I’d received my absentee ballot in the mail several weeks earlier, only to cast it aside as flotsam. After a couple weeks, I took the ballot…

The Failures of Neoliberalism

When confronted with failure, there’s a familiar retort that emanates from both extremes of the political spectrum: their prescriptions simply “haven’t been tried.” There were some complicating factors which scuttled the whole thing, or the prescribed measures weren’t enacted in full, or they weren’t given enough time to work. Therefore, it would be unfair to…

A Partial Mea Culpa

[Note: Originally posted at The Safe Depository.] Over the past few months, as a result of Occupy, my lack of awareness of leftist thinkers, and my exposure to Corey Robin’s fantastic The Reactionary Mind, I’ve become decidedly less enamored with that veritable hobby horse of mine, left-libertarian coalition building. So think of this as a…

The destructiveness of “hard work”

Few things in American society are as universally revered as a good work ethic. It’s one of the core values we attempt to instill in our offspring. Commentators and politicians have been known to denigrate the supposedly slovenly Europeans for their lack of it. It’s so woven into the country’s ethos in fact, that that…

Why Public Education Is Different From Other Public Goods

At the risk of abusing the rule of thumb that we Leaguers don’t have to abide by the strictures of journalistic timeliness, I’m going to riff off of a Freddie deBoer post from last summer. You’ve been warned. Here’s Freddie face-palming at the obloquy over Obama’s decision to send his kids to private schools: This…

Ron Paul and American liberalism

If you were hoping for Ron Paul’s swift exit from the spotlight, you’re out of luck. With strong showings in the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, the libertarian-leaning congressman will linger for the time being. More importantly for anti-interventionist, anti-drug war, pro-civil liberties lefties, his views will continue to circulate in the mainstream…

How the left can elevate the level of political discourse (and stop making a fool of itself)

I’m tired of liberals getting duped. Most conservative politicians don’t unswervingly support the free market, even if they profess as much. They’re pro-business capitalists more than free-market champions. The typical Republican will back bailing out large financial institutions then resist attempts to end “too big to fail,” that anti-competitive monstrosity. (The same is true, of…

Democracy and the rhetoric of protests: A response to Will Wilkinson and Julian Sanchez

Manichean rhetoric is employed, nuance is jettisoned, and catchy sloganeering reigns supreme. To believers in the primacy of intellectual honesty, the cacophony of protest can be disconcerting, the participants obstreperous. Will Wilkinson and Julian Sanchez certainly seem to think so. In recent posts, the two libertarians urge occupiers to stop occupying and start engaging with…

Democracy, technocrats, and the EU

The European debt crisis is still threatening to engulf the world. But have no fear, the technocrats are here! From yesterday’s New York Times: The question now, in both Italy and Greece, is whether the technocrats can succeed where elected leaders failed — whether pressure from the European Union backed by the whip of the…

Unions and the Occupy Movement

I recently compared the Occupy Movement to the New Left, but it’s truly striking how different the former’s relationship is with organized labor. The New Left assailed societal bureaucratization and powerful elites, including potentates in organized labor. Union members beat up antiwar protesters. Forty-plus years later, unions have gotten squarely behind Occupy Wall Street and…

Democracy, pluralism, and Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street movement is metastasizing, or salubriously spreading, depending on your perspective. Over the weekend protests occurred across the globe, with occupiers taking over Times Square, resisting removal in Chicago, and mobilizing in Madrid. Monday marked the month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. And its coffers are swelling. These are heady times for a…

Democracy and #OccupyWallStreet

It remains to be seen how effective the Occupy Wall Street folks will be. (We should see some more specific demands out of the occupiers in the coming weeks and months.) I tend to think some of the criticism from the left has been valid. But for all the flak they’ve received, it’s still spread…

Ralph Nader and left-libertarian convergence

Michael Tracy has an article up at The American Conservative on Ralph Nader’s quest to get progressives to align with libertarians like Ron Paul. For those with a longstanding interest in left-libertarian coalition-building, there’s not a ton of new information in the piece. As he’s argued in other venues, Nader sees felicitous convergence between libertarians…

Are white, anti-Obama liberals motivated by racism?

That’s Melissa Harris-Perry’s tendentious contention in her latest Nation column. The crux of her argument: The 2012 election may be a test of another form of electoral racism: the tendency of white liberals to hold African-American leaders to a higher standard than their white counterparts. If old-fashioned electoral racism is the absolute unwillingness to vote…

Troy Davis and the American justice system

I feel someone at the League should at least acknowledge—and inveigh against—the horrendous tragedy that occurred tonight. We’re in a sad, sad state as a country when Dick Cheney, a war criminal, can publish his memoir, make millions, and joke around with obsequious reporters while Troy Davis is mercilessly injected with lethal poison. This is…

Hi.

In the interest of brevity—and in an attempt to avoid undue solipsism—I’ll keep my introductory post short. I graduated from the University of Iowa in May and plan on enrolling in graduate school next fall. My background is in journalism (I worked at The Daily Iowan in various capacities throughout my college career) and political…