Featured

Bad Moon Rising

“November 8, 2016, 4pm. My boss swings by my desk. She’s smiling, putting her coat on, talking of champagne with neighbors. She leaves, I check Facebook. Lots of selfies. One from Liv- white pantsuit, red ‘I voted’ sticker, red lipstick to match. It’s all planned. I close it. I flash back to 2004, downtown Hilton, DNC headquarters. A young democrat plays a hopeful melody on the lobby piano while we all get drunk in the ballroom bracing for victory, which never comes.”

Featured

A Desperate Plea for a Renewal of Citizenship

Because of neglect of the role of the broader role of citizenship, Americans can blame themselves for the unenlightened bitterness and abject stagnation of politics. We can do better, but it will require a renewed interest in achieving common things instead of individual victories. It will require taking our job as participants in a democracy more seriously.

Featured

Dignitas Versus Auctoritas

This one is going to be a squeaker.

Sketching a National Security State Saner Than Today

As my isolation from the chattering classes continues, I’m inclined to go into hypotheticals and counter-factuals. One such hypothetical I returned to over the past few days is the following: What would a saner (but necessarily flawed) national security state look like? A handful of disclaimers before I provide my ruminations. First, this exercise is…

Sit Down and Shut Up! (Because we are many and you are not)

This piece by Rebecca Solnit serves as the best example, but there are countless others as well. In short, many self-proclaimed liberals can’t stand that (1) their guy might be just as morally dubious as the other, or that (2) their deepest partisan urges might conflict with their penchant for moralistic hand-wringing. Liberal pundits and…

Democracy and Occupy Wall Street

Shawn writes: After facilitating at a general assembly several weeks back, one of my best friends received a message from a participant thanking him for the empowering experience. Even in the “world’s greatest democracy,” she had never felt as engaged in the democratic process. At a recent Occupy DSM statement of principles working group meeting, one member…

Tunisia and Iraq

The analytical gymnastics Jennifer Rubin is forced to perform here to defend the invasion of Iraq are pretty impressive. If the Tunisian revolution spurs reform in neighboring countries, her line of reasoning goes, Iraq’s quasi-democratic political process must be having a similar effect in the region. I know little about the Middle East and less…

Returning the House (and the President) to the People

In my recently concluded interview with Publius from ObsidianWings on the role of the administrative state, a central question was how citizens can better hold the executive and legislative branches accountable and prevent regulatory capture.  It seems clear to me (although Publius may disagree) that these issues are closely related to the issue of growth…

Publius Squared: The Regulatory State, Congress, and Democracy

As many people should know, Obsidian Wings is often a bastion of worthwhile discussion and debate combined with unapologetic opinion in the sea of hackery and straw men that is the political blogosphere.  Over the last several days, the site’s most prolific blogger, as well as an expert on communications law and a passionate advocate of…

Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun

On foreign policy, I’m something of a realist/intervention-skeptic, which is why I’m inclined to agree with Daniel Larison when he argues that democratization isn’t terribly compatible with stability: Egypt and Jordan can remain at peace with Israel despite the profound unpopularity of this arrangement because the governments are unaccountable and authoritarian. Surely the elections in…

I’m caught in the grip of the city, madness*

Ezra Klein is worried that our dysfunctional debate over health care reform is symptomatic of broader problems with our democracy: What we’re seeing here is not merely distrust in the House health-care reform bill. It’s distrust in the political system. A healthy relationship does not require an explicit detailing of the “institutional checks” that will…

a quote for a cloudy summer morning

“Moussavi passed through this system of ideological control; he’s no radical reformer. But what’s happened is that simply by representing an alternative, Moussavi became a vehicle for the expression of the hopes of people who are far more radical in their reformist attitudes than anyone in the dominant power structure. Even though the players in…

Taking the Wrong Approach

I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that both sides of the “Did We Torture?” debate are doing themselves a big disservice in how they approach their arguments.  This perhaps isn’t surprising since I tend to think this is the case on most controversial hot-button topics. The pro-waterboarding side’s real argument isn’t that waterboarding, etc., aren’t…