Religion

Will-to-Power Conservatism and the Great Liberalism Schism

By virtue of representing the correct vision of the good, these conservatives say, they have every right to use the coercive power of the state to interfere with others' choices.

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In the last few years, a major fault line has opened up on the American political right: Call it the Great Liberalism Schism. On one side are those of us who remain committed to classical liberal norms and values such as due process, free trade, and religious freedom. On the other side is an increasingly restless group of writers and thinkers at places like First Things and the Claremont Institute who say America has tried classical liberalism—and it failed us.

These "post-liberals" believe it's time for a conservative politics that stops worrying about protecting individual liberty and starts worrying about attaining the common good. Generally speaking, that means embracing "strong rule" by a government tasked, among other things, with "enforcing duties of community and solidarity in the use and distribution of resources," as the Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule put it in a March essay for The Atlantic.

There's nothing wrong with caring about the common good. It's just that the self-named Common-Good Conservatives don't have a monopoly on the idea.

Just as there are many competing visions of the good life at an individual level, people frequently disagree about what a good society would look like. Most political leftists believe religiously affiliated employers should be required to pay for their workers' birth control—and the language they use in defense of that position and others like it is nothing if not moral. Yet most people on the political right see that understanding of the common good as utterly mistaken. In a democratic society, how do you ensure that only the correct vision is coercively enforced?

At a sufficiently high level, we can all agree the concept is tied to human flourishing. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the common good as "the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily." The dispute, then, is about how to help people thrive. For many of us, protecting individual liberty is crucial as both a component of and a requirement for achieving that goal.

A free society is in itself a good thing. That doesn't mean freedom is the only good or even the highest good. But it is a good that must be included in any final accounting of the common good. To deny someone control over his own life is to assert your supremacy over him, violating his innate dignity as a person. The more coercion exercised, the greater the violation. While there may be pragmatic arguments against the institution of slavery, I trust we all recognize them as secondary. The first and most important reason to oppose human bondage, which is the opposite of human liberty, is that it's evil. A freer society is a better society, all else being equal.

But freedom isn't just a component of the common good. It's a prerequisite for other components as well.

Any list of the social conditions that promote human flourishing would certainly include things like justice for all and material abundance. When classical liberals emphasize institutions such as due process and free trade, it's precisely because we see them as means to these ends. Hence libertarians' seeming preoccupation with what the economist Deirdre McCloskey has termed the "Great Enrichment" of the last 250 years.

Classical liberals are not always comfortable employing common-good terminology, but creating the conditions under which people can thrive is undeniably the endgame of the classical liberal project. "We consider cooperation so essential to human flourishing that we don't just want to talk about it," wrote Cato Institute executive vice president David Boaz in his 2015 book The Libertarian Mind (Simon & Schuster). "We want to create social institutions that make it possible. That is what property rights, limited government, and the rule of law are all about."

But if the so-called Common-Good Conservatives are not alone in their concern for the common good, then their chosen moniker obscures what differentiates them rather than illuminating it. What might be a better appellation for this group? I suggest, to borrow a concept from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche about human beings' natural desire to expand and dominate, they would more accurately be described as Will-to-Power Conservatives.

In 1651, Thomas Hobbes described the precivilizational state of nature as "a war of all against all." It appears some people believe the introduction of rule of law did little to alter that fact. New York Post opinion editor Sohrab Ahmari, in a now-infamous 2019 essay for First Things, called upon conservatives to accept the hard truth "of politics as war and enmity." All societies have rulers, the Will-to-Power Conservatives seem to be saying; what matters above all else is ensuring that our tribe is dominant.

Don't take my word for it. In a recent symposium published by The American Conservative, editor of American Affairs Julius Krein (echoing his colleague Gladden Pappin) complains that "contemporary conservatism" lacks "a serious approach to wielding political power." Hillsdale College's David Azerrad argues that conservatives must learn to be "manly," "combative," and "comfortable" using "the levers of state power…to reward friends and punish enemies." And Claremont's Matthew J. Peterson insists that "conservatism must not merely make arguments…it must act on them, wielding 'regime-level' power in the service of good political order to do so."

Ahmari in his 2019 essay mocked classical liberals' "great horror of the state, of traditional authority and the use of the public power to advance the common good." He went on to urge conservatives to "fight the culture war with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils."

And what would the Will-to-Power Conservatives do with state control once acquired? The specifics vary from person to person, but the policy agenda can be characterized as right-wing on social issues (blue laws; crackdowns on pornography) and left-wing on economics (industrial subsidies; generous unemployment insurance). At the nexus of the two are proposals to use the tax code to encourage larger families, in which women preferably work less outside the home.

That formulation—socially conservative and fiscally liberal—may seem to have an uncanny valley quality, because it's the inverse of a common shorthand description of libertarianism. The Will-to-Power Conservatives make no bones about that: Their aim is "to challenge the moral-cultural dominance of radical liberal individualism," writes Krein. It is collectivist, if not authoritarian, by design.

Classical liberals seek a world in which everyone is free to live out his own conception of the good so long as he abstains from forcibly interfering with others' ability to do the same. We're therefore just as concerned with defending a person's right to view pornography or buy alcohol on Sundays (to the chagrin of some traditionalists) as we are with defending an employer's right not to be involved in the provision of his workers' birth control (to the chagrin of many leftists). One's freedom, as far as the law is concerned, does not depend on his using it to do what's objectively moral.

For Will-to-Power Conservatives, just the opposite is true: By virtue of representing the correct vision of the good, they say, they have every right to use the coercive power of the state to interfere with others' choices. In place of equal rights under the law, it's error has no rights. This is no way to achieve the common good.

NEXT: Brickbat: Minority Report

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  2. This is no way to achieve the common good.
    It is, however, a great illustration of how National Socialism really is socialism from the other side; once they go around the house to the back door, they and the communists at the front door are both thieves up to no good.

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      1. Am I missing something here? I’m not seeing a symposium, but a collection of tagged articles in the American Conservative. Some of which advocate classical liberalism.

      2. Stephanie, this is a desperate attempt you’ve made to come up with a boogeyman.

        1. Strikes me as a bit of a hail mary for team ‘BothSides’ because the description exactly defines the progressive left right now but with honest observation of all the conservative moral ground ceded over the years can only be called an embryonic movement to restart such a focus. Really, most republicans before trump would never cross the press on ‘values’ in fear of getting swamped by bad (and dishonest) coverage. (and yet still get that bad coverage because of the letter before their name) They are now what the dems were in the last 30 years… culturally they have lost and dont even want to fight those battles [b4 trump].
          Or maybe the article represents the alert to kill this baby before it is born… before too much trumpism makes it look like it could actually take off. We know how the dem and progressive sympathizers like their abortion rights… in a moral cause of course! and what could be more moral than trying to nip in the bud a movement that would be a progressive-right counterbalance to the left. i say progressive because it appears that the left is in charge of culture and values so they are the establishment in this case… any change – or progress – comes from change from the establishment.
          All that being said… a progressive-right would be just as evil with its intolerance as the left. It wont outlast trump for long so Steph doesnt have to worry bout that. Best case scenario is it allows for people of conservative values to be able to live by and voice their values [bakers and such] without harrassment by the state and progressive stooges.

        2. So… these people don’t exist? Or she mischaracterized them?

          Just because the left is being absolutely insane right now doesn’t mean that certain aspects of the right don’t bear watching.

          1. She’s reanimating the corpse of the Moral Majority and pretending that it’s still alive.

            1. I spend at least as much time reading First Things as I do Reason. Let me assure you that not only do these people exist, but that they range from the quixotic (R. R. Reno) to the terrifying (Michael Anton, Oren Cass, Marco Rubio).

              I have a lot of respect for some of their arguments about WHAT the good life is (whereas the Left is a lost cause), but when it comes to the concept of power, they are all too willing to become the leviathan. Michael Anton would probably even gloat about being known as a “will to power conservative.”

  3. The earth is a closed system. We only have resources that earth is capable of maintaining with our help.

    We are a colony in space.

    If you were part of a Mars colony expedition, do you think you would survive if your resources were used to maximize the profit motive?

    Of course not. Does that mean you’ll disparage a Mars expedition because of its “socialist” practices?

    1. Christ what a buffoon. No one disparages family authoritarianism either, or employees taking orders from employers, or actors taking direction from directors, or ….

      Christ what a buffoon. You must think yourself mighty clever for having been the first to think up such a strawman.

      1. You’re not refuting what I said.

        So what’s your point dipshit? That you’re a buffoon?

        1. He refuted you perfectly.

        2. You didn’t even try to answer a single thing I said. I at least tried, and your silence shows you know I succeeded in refuting you.

          Feel free to try again.

          1. You didn’t ask a question.

            In fact, including the ad hominem, you were completely irrelevant.

            So what’s your point dipshit?

            1. Look, you don’t even know what a “closed system” means in thermodynamics. Obviously so.

              And the Earth isn’t a closed system in ANY sense, let alone thermodynamic.

              1. You’re just wrong.

                “A closed system is a physical system that does not allow transfer of matter in or out of the system, though, in different contexts, such as physics, chemistry or engineering, the transfer of energy is or is not allowed.“

                http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed_system

                1. Umm…hello? The Sun! A huge source of energy and order, hanging right up there in the sky. Google it, if you don’t believe me. The Sun is why we can make the pie bigger.

        3. It was a highly effective refutation.

    2. 1. No, the earth is not a closed system. There’s this huge yellow thing in the sky that adds energy every 12 hours and a big white thing that makes water move.

      2 and more important to your point, yes I do think that resource maximization is achieved through the profit motive.

      This will always be true in any group larger than a large family. Central planning and control can theoretically be the more efficient choice when it is possible for one decision-maker to actually know and understand the individual needs of every member of the community. Dunbar et al sets that upper limit at approximately 150 members.

      1. I’ll refute your counter arguments as follows.

        1. The energy from the sun equals the energy which leaves earth. The energy On earth is a constant. That is consistent with a closed system.

        2. Maximizing profit with resources occurs without regard to the consequences of depleting those resources or creating the necessities of life that are not profitable. When life for all becomes the priority the profit motive no longer is.

        1. The energy from the sun equals the energy which leaves earth. The energy On earth is a constant. That is consistent with a closed system.
          The Earth also releases internal energy from radioactive decay and primordial heat. It must radiate both the energy from the Sun and the internal heat to maintain an energy balance.

        2. 1. The fact that a system is in steady-state does not make it a closed system. Those are two very different terms with different meanings and system implications.

          2. Just no. That’s not what “maximizing profit” means at all.

          1. No, the fact that significant quantities of matter, Specifically resources, does not enter or leave earth makes it a closed system. Energy can enter and leave a closed system.

            Profit and progress are not synonymous. The profit motive singularly seeks to make more money than has been spent. It doesn’t care about the future impact on earth.

            1. I’ll leave others to refute your “science”, but the cure for the tragedy of the commons – utter waste of unowned resources – is private property rights. Property rights are tradeable things. Property tends to get traded to those who are willing to pay the highest price to put the things to their greatest use. That greatest use is determined by consumers who either reward or punish the property owner.

              Julian Simon once made a famous bet with enviro-doomsayer Paul Ehrlich. Google that bet and see why your economic understanding is less than primitive…

              1. It seems all you do is leave the arguments to others. That’s probably for the best.

                Regarding property, clarifying your myopic and shortsighted view,

                you can’t take it with you.

                1. But I can use it or sell it while I’m here. Since property is of no use to you, send your to me…

            2. No, energy can not enter and leave a closed system. That’s absurdly wrong and not even close to the definition of a closed system.

              2. I never said that profit and progress were synonymous. But your cramped definition of the profit motive is as wrong as your definition of a closed system.

              If you’re going to make strawman arguments, at least try to make them vaguely plausible.

              1. Read em and weep dipshit.
                “A closed system is a physical system that does not allow transfer of matter in or out of the system, though, in different contexts, such as physics, chemistry or engineering, the transfer of energy is or is not allowed.“

                http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed_syste

                1. System can’t be limited to matter only. Stick to thermodynamics, who cares about Google?

            3. So plants don’t use solar radiation to grow and produce more plants? Sorry, not being contrary, but how was life on Earth going to expand and develop without added order and energy?

        3. You probably felt betrayed when every “peak oil” scare turned out false.

          You don’t understand prices at all to believe in such nonsense. Resources don’t “run out”. They get more expensive, people find other sources, including recycling, find ways to use the same resource more efficiently, find substitutes, and in ways unimaginable to central planners, find a zillion ways to continue in the face of adversity.

          1. Resources don’t “run out”.

            Spare some helium, brother?

            1. Juice – you fail to understand what a resource is. It’s not the physical item, it’s what the human mind conceives to do with it. Gasoline used to be a waste product of kerosene production…

            2. Tell that to the guys on Easter Island when they chopped down their last tree. Before they invented ships to emigrate, or rockets to colonize Mars.

          2. Your argument is that “resources don’t run out”.

            What keeps any overused resource from running out?

            1. In many cases, a profit motive. It becomes too expensive for people to continue using a resource that is nearly depleted.

              1. By that logic, nothing prevents someone with the financial means consuming the last of any resource.

                1. Except an understanding of value scales, and economics.

                  About 20 years ago, nat gas was selling at $12MCF and prices were expected to do nothing but rise. Then directional drilling technology became available and allowed the exploitation of methane et al in shale deposits. Nat gas is now in the $3-$4MCF range…

                  1. Did fracking poison your drinking water?

                    1. No. Nor is there any substantiated evidence that it poisoned yours or anyone else’s. Come on. You’ve got to have a real argument somewhere.

                    2. You are a dipshit.

                      “ It took nearly a decade, but former EPA scientist Dominic DiGiulio has proved that fracking has polluted groundwater in Wyoming”

                      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fracking-can-contaminate-drinking-water/

            2. Adam Smith, i.e. “the invisible hand” causes prices to go up as the resource becomes scarcer. ex: Helium becomes depleted so we get cracking and learn how to make high temperature superconductors for real and not just as toys. Maybe He runs out first, and we’re in a bind for a while, but we’re pretty smart and my bets are on H. sap., or our cyborg descendants at least.

        4. Only a couple billion years left! What’ll we do? Stalin, where are you when we need you!?!?!

        5. Consistent with a closed system doesn’t mean equals a closed system. You are just wrong, you dumb-ass nazi.

        6. >The energy from the sun equals the energy which leaves earth. The energy On earth is a constant. That is consistent with a closed system.

          You have overlooked entropy in your analysis.

          Plants use sunlight to reduce entropy. AKA perform work.

          I’m sure an engineer can rephrase this better.

        7. letting all your colonists die is bad for business. no profit maximizing firm would do that.

          1. One could make an argument that many profit-maximizing firms do not possess a sufficiently long worldview. Also, environmentalists could make an argument that ignoring environmental effects leads to a mis-pricing of environmentally costly goods and services.

        8. “A closed system is a physical system that does not allow transfer of matter in or out of the system, though, in different contexts, such as physics, chemistry or engineering, the transfer of energy is or is not allowed.“

          http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed_system

          1. So…no matter ever escapes earth’s gravitational pull?

            1. Not significantly.

              Tell you what, you wait for the earth re-supply mission.

              1. What resources have we run out of so far?

        9. The term closed system only refers to exchanges of matter – not energy

          1. You’re also wrong about that.

      2. While your first point is true, it does not negate the fact that resources are limited on this planet and that we must live with much of the waste created. You second point on resource maximization would be true if total profits were accounted correctly. In many cases profits are privatized while loses are socialized. For example coal fire power plants generate profits for the power company and its investors. While some of the power plants wastes (heavy metals, fine particulate matter, and various chemicals) are controlled, those beyond control are dumped to the atmosphere at expense of public.

        1. That BS about profits and losses again ignores the distribution of fundamental benefits. Power plants made electric power, which then supported the first world lives of all the customers–quite a social profit compared to life without electricity.

          1. Note that you said to all customers. Coal fired power plant emissions go to the atmosphere and are distributed over large area and for some pollutants world wide. The customers, who pay for the electricity, benefit, the owners and investors of the power plant benefits, the whole world population deals with pollutants.

            1. And the whole world benefits from improved material living standards provided by industrialization. Tell the millions who die from pre-industrial energy, like cooking on dung fires inside their huts, how much they have suffered from coal pollution.

        2. All things in moderation.

          Moderation is a thing.

          Moderation only in moderation.

      3. and assuming the dictator of the group of under 150 people actually has their best interests at heart, which is typically not the case.

    3. If you were part of a Mars colony expedition, do you think you would survive if your resources were used to maximize the profit motive?

      Yes. I trust that the resources necessary for survival would be the most valuable resources.

      1. Profits are the price we pay for efficiency.

      2. I wonder if anyone has ever written a book fleshing out this thought experiment?

    4. Profit motive might be yucky but it’s more trustworthy than power motive.

      1. Money is power.

        The profit motive supports reckless power.

        1. But the profit motive lets people who are good at creating value for everyone acquire more resources, so they can create more value. Over time it snowballs.

          The power motive lets people who are good at manipulating others squeeze more value for themselves out of the population. Over time they bleed people dry.

          1. Until we import resources from other worlds, we have a closed system of resources.

            The profit motive doesn’t look to the future, it simply requires that money in exceeds money out today.

            That doesn’t necessarily support live, which should be our motive on earth and most clearly would be everyone’s motive on a Mars colony.

            1. Free market prices – if they are allowed by governments to exist – tells us instantaneously what is in short supply, where and when.

              All your theorizing of Apocalypse Soon! falls apart under the harsh lights of markets…

            2. All the primordial nickel on Earth ended up down in the core. The nickel we mine today is all from old asteroid strikes. But I expect you don’t think that counts.

              1. Tell you what, you wait for the earth re-supply mission.

                1. Tell you what, make a list of what we’ve run out of so far…

    5. lol… Wow Rob; you bring new meaning to stupid.

      1. “[WE] only have resources” ( e = mc^2 ) which you ironically point out in the sun example but somehow ignore in your [WE] example. Lazy, non-profit = non-motivated, waste of spaces might have “only” resources but the rest of us MAKE resources.

      2. “do you think you would survive if your resources were used to maximize profits” — Clearly so; because if [WE] people on earth would’ve been born and saved our ‘dirt’ and ‘water’ resources in order NOT to maximize profit ( progress ) we’d ALL be dead by the age of 1 or 2 especially in harsher climates like Mars.

      3. “of course not”? – The stupidity

      Frankly I believe it entirely FAIR to get rewarded for my labors ( profit ) of which I will essentially return FAIRLY to another for their labors. Isn’t it amazing how that works? The very purpose of Money/profit is to make FAIRNESS in exchanges for other peoples labors.

      The very root of your thinking either lies in starving everyone to death by “saving static resources” and “no one working” or enslavement where the gauge of fairness is by some elected expedition king.

      My question is; where the heck to people learn to think so stupidly?

      1. 1. You make resources? No, we use resources to consume or make what we need.

        2. The choice isn’t between maximizing profit and using no resources. It is between maximizing profit and efficient use of resources to keep everyone alive.

        3. Perhaps I underestimated your stupidity. I’ll grant you that.

        1. ^Is it the compulsive “consumption” without creating resources what makes you so stupid? If that’s the case; I agree – lets make “efficient” use of your consumption until you can create a resource for someone else!!!!

          Oh, wait; you’re under the delusion you’re so helpless you cannot even create a resource. Well, perhaps the stupidity makes it so. Fear not though; once your stupidity kills you your flesh and bones will CREATE dirt. All is not lost.

          1. The profit motive doesn’t look to the future, it simply requires that money in exceeds money out today.

            That doesn’t necessarily support life, which should be our motive on earth and most clearly would be everyone’s motive on a Mars colony because like earth as far as resources are concerned it is a closed system.

            Without regulations, what you call socialism, the resupply mission to the Mars colony would find everyone dead because one fat fuck, you, didn’t want no socialist rules.

            1. “The profit motive doesn’t look to the future, it simply requires that money in exceeds money out today.”

              LOL, sure it does! What are profits? Future consumption.

              Dude, take Econ 101 before you embarrass yourself more in front of people who know what they are talking about…

              1. “What are profits? Future consumption.“

                No, profit is simply more money in than out today.

                If you consume all the resources today, you can’t buy more tomorrow.

                Your 101 concept of economics is a fiction. A pretty poor one at that complete with recessions and depressions.

                1. Have you always been retarded, or is this something new for you?

    6. Is that how you justify the actions of the Reich?

    7. Yes, I think a for-profit Martian colony would have a better chance of survival than one run for the “common good”.

      Because the experiment was already tried, at Jamestown and at Plymouth. Running things for the common good resulted in starvation and cannibalism, even in a land with plentiful resources.

      Once capitalism was established (tobacco farming in Jamestown and private farms in Plymouth) the colonies prospered.

      1. ^^^^Winner, winner, chicken dinner!^^^^

      2. Perhaps in an environment of stupid people, incapable of making rational logical decisions, they can only be self motivated to work through greed. Is that you?

        They’re doomed, but ignorance is bliss. Little wonder you can’t handle the truth.

        1. Not just perhaps but always in an environment of distributed and uncertain information. Central planning assumes perfect knowledge about what is available and what is needed by every person. Perfect knowledge is impossible therefore central planning will always be wrong. Profit-motivated decision-making will also be wrong but history shows quite clearly that it will always be less wrong. History also shows that profit-motivated decision-making is also more sustainable since it self-corrects as facts and knowledge change.

          1. I agree that in a corrupt environment the profit motive is the lesser of two evils.

            So what, aim low? Kowtow to corruption and take what you can, unconcerned about the future of this colony?

            That’s not for me. I use logic and science to perceive the closest approximation of truth, reality that I am capable of. I apply this effort to expose and vanquish corruption.

            Am I the best person for the job? Sometimes it seems like I’m the only one. Such is life.

            Those who have already given up and thrown in with corruption don’t generally like the light of truth shone upon them. They prefer bigotry.

            I just keep discerning and shining the light. The light should be law.

            1. So a narcissist and a fool. You should be in politics…

              1. Apparently, at your best, you think exposing and eliminating corruption is both foolish and narcissistic.

                That probably says more about you than you want.

      3. Lol they should have just taken the train to Iowa and picked up some staple crops.

        You know what happens in a desperate situation when one guy asserts the right to be the greediest asshole? He’s eaten first.

  4. I would have thought that the thing to do would be to get together the people who oppose the madness of the Left and the Left’s tame, graceful-loser “opposition.”

    Naturally, the national debt, and our country’s effective descent into debt peonage, would have to be acknowledged, so that’s where economically-literate libertarians come in.

    I presume that Ms. Slade is against legal abortion, contraception mandates, multiplication of “suspect classifications” in discrimination law, and other Leftist initiatives, and against the war plans of the Left and its kept “opposition.”

    And I would imagine that even if free trade is accepted as an end result, submitting to non-free-trade policies from other countries is not a good thing, and until other countries agree (and keep their agreement) to accept free trade, some retaliation against their unfree policies would not be a horrible sellout.

    And the habit of importing Democratic voters through immigration policy should be stopped before the whole question of resisting the Left becomes moot.

    So make a try at getting together around these things and stop Rev. Kirkland’s vision of a permanent California-style left-wing dominance. And if it’s too late to achieve that, at least create a record which shows that someone complained, so we can at least say we told you so when Leftist ideas curiously and unexpectedly don’t work out.

    1. Why not double down on prudish superstition, belligerent backwardness, and authoritarian intolerance, clingers?

      You’ve lost the culture war — why not get this over with quicker!

      As always, your betters than you for your compliance with their preferences.

      1. “your betters than you”

        My betters need the assistance of a proofreader.

      2. Yes, we will be getting over it quicker. And you progs are free to choke our rovers with your dead until you’re ready to stop.

    2. “submitting to non-free-trade policies from other countries is not a good thing”

      You should not imagine that. Unilateral free trade does not require “submitting” to other countries’ non-free-trade policies.

      If other governments want to tax their citizens to subsidize exports to us, what have we lost? Don’t fall into that predatory-pricing trap; it doesn’t work with monopolies and it doesn’t work with exports either.

      If other governments want to impose tariffs on their own citizens, yes, it hurts our exports, but it hurts them more, and retaliating by hurting our citizens is idiotic.

      Dollars out have to equal dollars in. There is no way to get around that other than tricking others into giving us free stuff or tricking others into burning the dollars they get from us. Exports are precisely like jobs: the work we do to be able to buy imports. If other countries want to tax their citizens to subsidize their exports (our imports) to buy more imports (our exports), what the dickens have we lost? Nothing; we have gained more cheap imports (cheaper cost of living) and sold more exports (more jobs to produce them). If other countries want to tax their citizens to slow down their imports (our exports), they have cost their citizens money and reduced how much chance their citizens have to produce exports (our imports) and thus also cost their citizens jobs. Why should we join in on that masochism?

      Unilateral free trade is best for us. It is ludicrous to let other countries’ self-harm induce us to also harm ourselves.

    3. And the habit of importing Democratic voters through immigration policy should be stopped before the whole question of resisting the Left becomes moot.

      I still think the Right could do a lot better at attracting those voters. Immigrants tend to be family oriented, socially conservative and hard working.

      1. For real, Republicans should welcome more poor immigration and restrict the professionals from Europe and Asia who will no doubt be more progressive.

    4. Or the conservative party could reach out to and welcome the immigrants from our Southern neighbors, who we’re fortunate to find are Christian, pro-family, pro-life, hard-working and entrepreneurial, and tend to have large families. Pushing natural Republicans into the commie camp through xenophobia is not only reprehensible, it’s a self-inflicted wound.

  5. Now all we need are a few philosopher-kings.
    Plato would approve.

    1. The problem with central authority is human fallibility.

      What we need is a philosopher-king-robot.

      1. just make sure its neural net programming includes a lot of Jefferson and Locke and Mises and Rothbard

  6. These “post-liberals” believe it’s time for a conservative politics that stops worrying about protecting individual liberty and starts worrying about attaining the common good. Generally speaking, that means embracing “strong rule” by a government tasked, among other things, with “enforcing duties of community and solidarity in the use and distribution of resources…

    This is nonsense. Quite frankly, for a managing editor (sorry, I just cannot capitalize her title), this is just poorly written and unreasoned crap. This lady writes like she works for Pravda. Pathetic.

    No conservative I have ever met has ever said, or even intimated a belief that stops worrying about the protection of individual liberty. Not one.

    1. Did you not see her cites? Those are people who believe that individual liberty must be secondary to building a good society, regardless of whether or not they say such a thing. If you’re going to go by what people say, well hell, Mao and Stalin and Hitler were all doing good things. You have to go by what they do, not what they say, and I personally know a shitload of people who agree that you should be free to do as you please, except for [fill in the blank], and then they’ll argue why the freedom to do as you please needs to be curtailed “for the good of society” and that, in this area, people who think they know what they want are mistaken, they want what they should not want and if they were smarter they would know that. When you question them more closely, it often comes down to the same thing – they’ve got kids and in the name of protecting their kids from “bad things”, they’re fine with government treating us all like children.

      1. Do you see her cites? I mean really see them. Because they in no way make a persuasive case to bolster her unintentionally hilarious attempt at movement definition.

        Mark Twain once said that “rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated”. And Dorthy Parker once remarked of Coolidge’s psssing “how could they tell?”Mencken has written “monarchy”, “dynastic”, and “Oriental”, therefore…it is time we root out the cult of praise and religious adoration for the Eternal Chairmen of the Kim dynasty in North Korea

        1. “amongst American essayists” was truncated from above

      2. Did you not see her cites?

        No, actually.

      3. Did you not see her cites?

        I did not see any specifics cited to evaluate at all. How much I can agree with when nothing is presented?

    2. Were the Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans conservatives?

      1. Not according to the Church of England.

    3. Then you have simply refused to read them. All you need do is open your eyes and ears to most of the nonsense coming from the Republican party today to see how much they want all Americans to follow their spiel and let them do the thinking for everybody else. It is the same on the left, of course, but for different goals.

      1. Seems to me the contradiction to that statement is that state’s rights is more active on the right.

        Conservatism has always believed there’s a place for government, with varying shades of minarchism.

        A lot of those articles (I’ve read) do a poor job communicating subsidiarity and maybe I’m just projecting my politics onto them, but I think conservatism can make a case for strong local government and weak central government – that allows common groups to live as they want.

  7. So you’re saying that there’s no difference in principle between statists on the left and statists on the right, that they both believe in Government Almighty, they just disagree on what it is government needs to be compelling people to do? Some of us have been saying this since about 1984 after it became obvious that the “Reagan Revolution” was not so much a revolution as a minor speedbump on the road to serfdom.

    1. Exactly — this is nothing new.

    2. ^Bingo; There’s no difference between Democrats and RINO’s although RINO’s might make different excuses for passing Democrats policy.

      1. i approve this message

  8. Just for the record; I stopped reading at the use of Atlantic as a reference, and added yet another “writer” to my ‘skip over this one’ list.

    1. This once, I’m going to white-knight for the author. She is citing the Atlantic article for the purpose of showing how she *disagrees* with it.

      1. This is exactly what I was thinking. The Religious Right has been around for years.

        1. And if I had to guess, I’d say the Atlantic published it to showcase divisions on the Right. But I could always be wrong.

    2. Why? Because you agree with some shit written in The Atlantic? Or do you recognize that shit written in The Atlantic is bullshit, just like Stephanie Slade is pointing out here? FYI, she’s not citing The Atlantic to agree with it, she’s pointing out that it’s bullshit.

  9. “In place of equal rights under the law, it’s error has no rights.”

    Strictly speaking, error *doesn’t* have rights.

    People have rights, sometimes even people who are in error.

    And government, at least in the U. S., ought to be under some limiting principles which limits the possibility of forcibly repressing certain forms of error.

    1. People have rights, sometimes even people who are in error.

      And if you’re worried that the majority of people are in error such that they must be compelled rather than persuaded to the correct position, well, it’s pretty good evidence that you lack the courage of your convictions.

      It’s like the people who are convinced China is going to eat our lunch because rather than relying on the inefficiencies of the free market, China uses much the more efficient central planning of a command-and-control economy and therefore we must become more like China in subsidizing the correct industries and dis-incentivizing the incorrect.

      Or the people who worry that American culture is so weak and fragile that a few million immigrants are enough to bring it down, not that American culture is dynamic and, Borg-like, simply absorbs other cultures.

  10. There are “will to power conservatives”, and there are “will to power leftists”; Which of these actually have enough power in society to be dangerous?

    I’ll grant that these morons are worth criticizing, but they’re not terribly influential, and for that exact reason: Most conservatives have gotten used to the idea that power is likely to be used against themselves, and are more inclined to try to reduce power than take command of it.

    That could eventually change, but only after the left had been beaten down long enough for people to forget the lesson. IOW, probably not in OUR lifetimes.

    1. The problem with your assertion is that we have “will to power” President at this time. We also have a Republican party will to follow in lock step. I think we need to change the President, even if only for 4 years, to correct back to a more moderate government.

      1. No, we do NOT have a “will to power” President, let alone a GOP following in lockstep.

        What’s being called “will to power” conservatism here is an actual, thought out, ideology. A stupid one, but that’s what it is. Trump doesn’t have an ideology, he’s a pragmatist. The closest thing he has to ideology is his often expressed belief that government ought to devote itself to the welfare of its own citizens, not the general welfare of the world.

        And the past 4 years would have been very different if the institutional GOP were in lockstep with Trump, rather than actively sabotaging him on everything but judicial nominations.

        Just consider his response to the pandemic. The most authoritarian thing he did was to close the border to travel from select hot spots, a standard anti-pandemic procedure every country uses. He certainly hasn’t been pushing the states around.

        The notion that, in the context of the early 21st century, Trump is a fascist threat, is something you have to be pretty thoroughly marinated in left-wing Koolaid to take seriously. He’s no libertarian, to be sure, but the horror is that he’s still more of a libertarian than what’s on offer from the Democratic party right now.

        1. President Trump is very much a “will to power” person. He has used acting appointments to by-pass Senate approval, he has blocks access to oversite, he has by-passed Congress to get wall funding, he has unilaterally imposed tariffs. He very much favors a authoritarian leader model. Republican have very much refused to hold him in check on many of these matter. Most knew he was guilty of the charges in impeachment and simply chose to side with him. Most know he has too many obligation to Russian leader Putin and they refuse to say anything. Ideologically he is nothing, but he will feed to the far right to hold power.

          1. Cool.
            Will to power it is then, mod.
            Time to wipe out leftists like yourself

          2. As-if the Obama administration wasn’t 100x worse? Just saying in relative terms Trump is pretty good.

          3. How do stupid and dishonest asses like you ever survive to adulthood?

      2. “we have “will to power” President at this time”

        It’s stupid claims like this that give away the fact that you’re not remotely “moderate”, but are in fact just a pedestrian DNC shill, regurgitating the narrative.

      3. The problem with your assertion is that we have “will to power” President at this time.

        Maybe he is, but what has he been able to do with it? He hasn’t even been able to overturn the left’s executive orders. Meanwhile we got Title IX reform (not to where it should be but better) and we may get Critical Race Theory removed from government policy.

        to correct back to a more moderate government.

        The alternative is not to a more moderate government. It’s to Biden who supports the extremism of the left including Title IX lunacy and the Green New Deal.

      4. Any attempt to ascribe to Trump any sort of coherent ideology or even a consistent attitude toward government, is just so much hot air.

    2. There are “will to power conservatives”, and there are “will to power leftists”; Which of these actually have enough power in society to be dangerous?

      Curious, where do you think Nationalist Populism falls in the spectrum of “conservatism?”

      Some of the key points of “will-to-power” conservatives like owning the left, winning the culture wars, etc are absolutely making in-roads into mainstream conservatism of 2020. George Will lost and Donald Trump won. The TEA Party is all but gone. These are just a few more recent examples illustrating that “will-to-power” conservatism is mainstream conservatism, at least today.

      1. Yes, I acknowledged that there ARE “will to power” conservatives. I just denied that they had enough power to be a danger.

        The right wants to win, just like the left does. But “will to power” isn’t defined by the desire to win, it’s defined by the willingness to win coercively.

        1. Correction: It’s defined by asserting that winning coercively is morally defensible. Plenty of people are open to using coercion, but ashamed of it on some level.

        2. Everything the state does is coercive. The “will to power” conservatives have already won and are in power. Natural rights based conservatism and libertarian ideals are near vanquished. A few of us refuse to give up. Very few.

          Jerryskids has it exactly right. The article misses. Natural rights are not a means to an end. They are the end.

          Power itself is another end. Power for its own sake. That is what we have now. It is why we argue for limited government because we understand what happens when you hand over the keys to your own liberty.

          As PJ Orourke put it “giving power and money to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys”.

          Yet we keep doing it. Most here on a so called libertarian website are going to do it again.

          1. Face it: the basic problem with Libertarianism as practical politics is that you can’t buy votes with smaller government and natural rights. Republicans and various other flavors of non-leftist politicians have been talking about smaller government for years, and what has it accomplished? The Left, on the other hand, has been inventing individual “rights” which require ever-bigger government. It was only a matter of time before some non-leftist would decide that fire has to be fought with fire.

            1. Oh no, not more rights!

              And for poor and marginalized people instead of corporations?? Anarchy! I mean totalitarianism!

            2. Practical politics.

              Go ahead and join whichever other team you wish.

              Issac Newton wrote

              “The idea of knowledge as cumulative — a ladder, or a tower of stones, rising higher and higher — existed only as one possibility among many. For several hundred years, scholars of scholarship had considered that they might be like dwarves seeing farther by standing on the shoulders of giants, but they tended to believe more in rediscovery than in progress.“

              His antagonist Hooke backed away after that. Newton was not correct in everything. He was certainly correct in some things.

              My own idea is to always hold the high ground. Once you go down it is much more difficult to get back up. Something Newton taught us all.

      2. Some of the key points of “will-to-power” conservatives like owning the left,

        This definition is flatly wrong. People who want to win the culture battles (“own the libs”) aren’t concerned about pushing specific government policies. They are exactly the opposite: they want to win so the left will quit bothering them and they can go back to drinking beer and shooting guns.

    3. Will to power conservative is an oxymoron. Unless we are going to start calling old school Marxists a sort of conservative.

      Nietzsche was well aware of traditionalist religiously based authoritarians, and had no need to coin a new term to describe or define them. Will to power was about finding a new source of authority, one held within the life force of the human individual, not one divinely inspired much less divinely granted.

      Slade thinks she is being clever trying to confront the anti-modernists on the right, but all she is doing is showing that she hasn’t done the background work necessary.

      1. “Will to power” for Nietzsche was also not a superficial, holistic thing.
        There are many wills, even within the individual, that struggle for dominance – often against the individual’s conscious intent

        1. Yes, but let’s not lose sight of what is really at issue. It’s not so much Nietzsche, nor his ideas, but how his ideas were considered by those thinkers who have laid out the problems with modern liberalism, problems that these conservatives have sought to address – from the book I linked – page 143

          Because, as Strauss argued, Nietzsche replaced the Platonic eros and pure mind with the will to power, “philosophizing becomes a mode or modification of the will to power; it is the most spiritual (der geistigste) will to power; it consists in prescribing to nature what or how it ought to be…; it is not love of the true that is independent of the will or decision.”20 The life-giving creativity of the will to power supplies truths and gods. But to what god could Nietzsche bow? None. He discovered the one detached and deadly that the “world in itself… is wholly chaotic and meaningless.” Gods and truths emerge out of human creativity (ie. the will to power), and meaning and purpose – which ground human civilization – do not depend upon some truth that is independent of human will. </blockquote?

          The notion that conservatives are engaging in anything approximating "prescribing to nature what or how it ought to be" is laughable on it's face.

          There is certainly a lot of there there, but Slade hasn't a laid a glove on any of it.

          1. Botched the HTML.
            One more time

            Because, as Strauss argued, Nietzsche replaced the Platonic eros and pure mind with the will to power, “philosophizing becomes a mode or modification of the will to power; it is the most spiritual (der geistigste) will to power; it consists in prescribing to nature what or how it ought to be…; it is not love of the true that is independent of the will or decision.”20 The life-giving creativity of the will to power supplies truths and gods. But to what god could Nietzsche bow? None. He discovered the one detached and deadly that the “world in itself… is wholly chaotic and meaningless.” Gods and truths emerge out of human creativity (ie. the will to power), and meaning and purpose – which ground human civilization – do not depend upon some truth that is independent of human will.

            The notion that conservatives are engaging in anything approximating “prescribing to nature what or how it ought to be” is laughable on it’s face.

            There is certainly a lot of there there, but Slade hasn’t a laid a glove on any of it.

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  12. So let me get this straight: These are people who rebel at the idea of accepting someone else’s definition of “common good,” but think everyone else should accept their’s?

    Idiots.

    1. Yes. And the basis (or excuse) for all human conflict since forever.

  13. Jeezus, this isn’t even good for a paper in a Sophomore Poli Sci class.

    A year later, we are still fretting over Sohrab Amani, a never-was Nobody who got his 15 minutes of Think Tank fame for being the first in a generation to revive the juggernaut Pat Robertson for President platform, and was roundly denounced by David French acting on behalf of every other Religious Conservative anyone has ever heard of.

    Sprinkled in, we get the unintentionally hilarious cites from 400 years ago, and single-word plucked out of context quotes.

    I mean, there is bad, and then there is beyond terrible. And this scattershot word salad whose sole purpose seems to be using a Nietchzian catchphrase to be the first to scarily label a group of somewhere between 1-5 nobodies as a means to impress the TA grading her paper is emblematic of what a joke this place has become

    1. The sad part is this lady is a managing editor. What does that tell you about Pravda Unreason?

    2. It’s amazing that an authoritarian and censorious strain of leftism is currently careening madly through universities, corporations (esp. PR and HR departments, newspapers, publishers and the government; but here at Reason Slade’s still pretending to fret about the dusty remains of the Moral Majority.

      1. Exactly. You are hiking thru Krueger National Wildlife Park unarmed, sleeping outside without a tent, and fretting about Saber Tooth’s leftover from the Ice Age in North America

      2. Republicans are in charge of the country. Not some women’s study professor you’ve never heard of.

        Cleanse your mind of the propaganda. You like fucking ridiculous whining about those things.

    3. They are not entirely nobodies, and they do represent a significant issue with the conservative movement. But yes, Slade does seem to be trying to force a cartoon caricature upon something that is much more thoughtful and considered than she either understands or is willing to understand.

      “We hold these truths to be self evident…” is not a liberal statement by modern standards. It makes claims to knowledge that simply cannot be supported by any mechanistic, materialistic (ie. ‘scientific’) understanding of the world. Nor is it ‘will to power.’

      There is real tension there, in our acceptance, understanding, and employment of that phrase. And also an explanation why the modern left is so opposed to it.

  14. Trumpism has taken over the GOP – Big Government Nationalism and Protectionism with a splash of Aborto-Freak thrown in.

    1. “Trumpism” wasn’t even the topic, but here you are, playing your only trick.

      1. Generally speaking, that means embracing “strong rule” by a government tasked, among other things, with “enforcing duties of community and solidarity in the use and distribution of resources,”

        Trump is the epitome of “Common Good Conservatism” as long as you’re a WASP.

        1. Using that as a definition everyone from Bernie to Kamala to AOC are “Common Good Conservatives”.

      2. And the Trump Welfare Handout Plan of 2020 is proof he is a Common Good Conservative.

        There is no classical liberal in Trump.

        1. Why do you always insist on blaming it on Trump, even though you know it was the house Democrats plan, Trump et al. talked them down almost two trillion and Trump couldn’t veto it.

          1. All that was needed to kill it was to tell Mitch MeConnell to not allow a vote on it in the Senate. The GOP can block anything all by themelves.

            Why is that hard to understand?

            1. Why is it so hard to understand that Mitch McConnell doesn’t give a bucket of warm piss what Trump wants? On one or two things they’ve had enough in the way of common goals to work together, outside of that McConnell has been pretty relentless about blocking Trump. See, for instance, the way he’s been keeping the Senate in nominal session to prevent Trump from making any recess appointments.

        2. Classical or Progressive, no liberal is complete without a face full of fist!

          1. Open wider, Nemo Aequalis. Your betters are not done shoving progress down your whining throat.

            Thank you for your lifelong compliance as a culture war casualty, clinger.

    2. I see this idiocy has found its intended audience

  15. Let’s here a big shout out for moderation and common sense. It has worked for this country for over 200 years and will continue to if we let it.

    1. We do tend to drift back to the center. Look at the recent total failure of the AOC/Bernie-Bro/Warren wing of Democrats. They were soundly defeated by a uncharismatic centrist fill-in.

  16. The ideological totalitarian state is not new; it the the default social arrangement that has persisted since people could talk. Just like family structure, authority is ultimately based on FYTW.

    Adding the sacred not only fulfills the human need for stories (and more arbitrary moral justification), it also makes it a crime to just think in ways that violate the scripture–no action required.

  17. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.

  18. These “post-liberals” believe it’s time for a conservative politics that stops worrying about protecting individual liberty and starts worrying about attaining the common good

    In other words, they’re leftists.

    1. Can one not be authoritarian AND to the right of center? Is it not possible people on the right are hostile to liberty?

      I do hate the Marxist-leftist coalition, but let’s not pretend the right is flawless in their defense of liberty.

      1. Of course people on the right can be authoritarian.

        The distinction I’d make is that the right tends towards authoritarianism, (Wanting to be obeyed on a finite set of issues.) while the left tends towards totalitarianism, wanting not just your obedience in all things, but your heart and soul, too.

        The right wants censorship of pornography. The left? Censorship of WrongThink. That’s a freaking big difference.

        1. Stack of Coins, can you comprehend this? Or are you just ordinary leftist trash?

        2. Both want to censor pornography and outlaw prostitution.

          There is not much distinction between what we call left and right.

          Both want to spend more. Both are in favor of a surveillance police state. Both want central government control of trade and economy. Both want more government power.

          Both sides love it when you call one side rightist or leftist trash. They have you now. There is another choice they do not want you to see. It is based on individual autonomy.

    2. “In other words, they’re leftists.”

      Not in any current understanding of the word. Think of them more as traditionalists greatly worried by the ‘radical experiment’ of 1776 in the British Colonies. An experiment that we look back upon and think not radical at all – less a revolution and more an evolution. Especially so when compared against the actual revolutions that have followed. One not too bad, if also imperfect and prone to it’s own excess.

    3. No, that’s not what defines the left.

      I think people make a mistake in assuming that “conservative” means only one thing, one particular sort of American conservatism. There are many strains of conservatism that do not align at all with classical liberal ideas.

      1. “There are many strains of conservatism that do not align at all with classical liberal ideas.”

        Indeed. When one hears the word ‘conservative’ being used it is essential that one recognize or clarify what exactly is is that the speaker is seeking to conserve.

        The people Slade caricatures see real problems with modern liberalism precisely because of it’s heavy focus on individualism which often overshadows the reality that for social animals to flourish there simply must be social concerns including elements that classical liberalism agrees should not be controlled by the state.

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  20. oh yay more Puritans!

    1. Unicorns and fairies actually. They don’t actually exist.

  21. Here’s the problem. A lot of libertarians are interested in forcing liberty on you at gunpoint. Meanwhile a lot of “conservatives” are interested in the bad sense of nationalism, meaning cheering for unnecessary wars and cheering the consolidation of power in the federal government that should be left to the States.

    “Liberty” is in some sense, ultimately subjective. The trade-offs that governments make and the lines they draw are subjective. Just within this one “nation” of America, there are many different cultures, customs, traditions, peoples, climates, etc. They all have different conceptions of liberty and different preferences. If they are all forced to submit to a one-size fits all federal government, then none of them have liberty and none of them have self-government.

    The people of San Francisco should have nothing to say about what Alabama’s government does on abortion or guns, for example, and vice versa. Even if you figure you’re on the side of “liberty,” forcing your rules on other jurisdictions is antithetical to liberty and self-government.

    1. A lot of libertarians are interested in forcing liberty on you at gunpoint.

      Citation needed.

      1. A leftist told me an example would be libertarians want to end social security even though most people want it. I suggested that libertarians would probably let social security continue, just not on a coercive basis. If you dig it, you pay for it and leave the rest of us out.

        1. When someone who believes in justice uncovers a Ponzi scheme, they don’t let it continue to run. They shut it down and repay the victims as much as they can, and stop new victims from being victimized.

      2. Well, If libertarians use guns to repel totalitarians seeking to impose their will upon others and some of those others just happen to be those wishing to submit to external authority then liberty is indeed being ‘forced’ upon them.

        Kind of like every exit is an entrance somewhere else.

        1. We’ve spent $7 trillion dollars in the last 20 years “liberating” folks in the Middle East with bombs and drones. They must be so thankful now.

          1. If you think we’ve been doing all that in order to liberate them I can certainly see your confusion.

            On the other hand, it’s not like they have suffered the horrors of actually being liberated, so you at least have that consolation.

            1. Maybe you missed the sarcasm. Anyway, it seems to me, a lot of libertarians are quite eager to go along with the globalist agenda on deluded notions that liberty is going to be advanced.

              1. I’m the one who missed the sarcasm?

                Ok.

      3. You don’t want people to vote because they will vote themselves programs and taxes you don’t like, and you constantly masturbate to guns. Gee I wonder.

  22. “We’re therefore just as concerned with defending a person’s right to view pornography or buy alcohol on Sundays”

    Are you going to invade the Middle East to liberate people and give them these rights?

    Are you going to continue debasing the Constitution to force this on States other than your own?

    1. Dude, I’m a regular comment section reader here and I post every so often. I’m not sure what the fuck you’re talking about man. Most of the folks around here are pretty anti-war. In fact, it’s one of the attributes about Trump that we like. Obama promised a lot, but failed to delivery.

  23. The only thing worse than nationalism is globalism.

  24. I suggest, to borrow a concept from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche about human beings’ natural desire to expand and dominate, they would more accurately be described as Will-to-Power Conservatives.

    I suggest, to borrow a concept from American economist Thomas Sowell about human beings’ natural desire to bloviate and enrich themselves through writing meaningless drivel, that the author of this article be more accurately be described as an Intellectual.

    And one of the worst kind.

    She isn’t even wrong, in that there clearly are lots of statists and authoritarians. It’s that she proclaims the discovery of this “amazing fact” with all the glee a teenager experiences when he discovers masturbation, pot, or boobs, and then expects to get paid for their trouble.

    1. You assume an awful lot about the writer’s motivations and emotions.

      1. I didn’t comment on the writer’s motivations and emotions at all, only on her writing.

        The article is meaningless drivel, the kind that intellectuals like professional writers produce for a living.

  25. History has a good record of demonstrating the will-of-power conservative’s policy. The Republican parties platform itself and its support of the US Constitution go at odds with that will whereas the Democratic parties platform proudly holds the will-of-power policy as it’s very underlying foundation of existence.

    1. Yes, at least there’s an argument within the Republican party about whether to impose the collective good on the rest of society.

      In the Democratic party, that argument has been over for a long time.

    2. The Republican’s don’t have platform in 2020, they instead dedicated themselves to following Trump.

      1. If the American people vote Republican because they want President Trump to reject the Green New Deal and they wants us out of Afghanistan completely, I’m perfectly happy with that.

        1. They didn’t vote for him the last time, and there is no scenario in which he wins the popular vote this time either.

      2. The Republican’s don’t have platform in 2020, they instead dedicated themselves to following Trump.

        Whereas the Democrats have a platform in 2020, which is, as usual, a complete sham: they say one thing, but once in power, they do something completely differently.

      3. It’s not that they don’t have a platform in 2020. It’s that they came out and officially said, “You know what? We still stand for the same things as we did 4 years ago, so we’re just going to stick with our 2016 platform.”

        So, they have a platform, it’s the 2016 one.

        I’d be more suspicious of a party that stood for something different every 4 years.

        1. Also the wall isn’t built yet and Hillary remains at large.

          1. Hillary is a disgraced crazy lady.

  26. Yes, but the narrative…

  27. “Just as there are many competing visions of the good life at an individual level, people frequently disagree about what a good society would look like.”

    Market forces are people making choices, and the only system where individuals are free to make qualitative choices for themselves is a market system.

    If there is a collective good, it’s when everyone is free to choose their own. Why can’t it be in the collective interests of everyone to choose their own religion, whether to shop at Walmart and trade with China, etc.?

    Why can’t it NOT be in the collective good to force people who don’t share our qualitative preferences to support them anyway over their objections and against their will using the coercive power of government?

    1. If there is a collective good, it’s when everyone is free to choose their own

      One of the free market choices people make is to gather together into associations and groups, associations and groups that achieve collective objectives and impose restrictions on their members to achieve those ends. In fact, without such associations, groups, collective objectives, and restrictions, societies can’t function.

      The difference between a libertarian society and an authoritarian/progressive society is that membership in such associations and groups is voluntary in a libertarian society, while in authoritarian/progressive societies, it’s imposed by the state.

    2. The claim that market capitalism offers us all the freedom we need is a sick fucking joke to someone with no money.

  28. I suggest, to borrow a concept from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche about human beings’ natural desire to expand and dominate, they would more accurately be described as Will-to-Power Conservatives.

    Who could object to linking conservatives with the same goals as modern political liberals to Neitzsche? That seems balanced. Of course we could just call them Nazis right? So much easier.

  29. These “post-liberals” believe it’s time for a conservative politics that stops worrying about protecting individual liberty and starts worrying about attaining the common good.

    If you stop advocating individual liberty, individual freedom and personal responsibility, you have not become ‘post-liberal’, you have become a leftist.

    Generally speaking, that means embracing “strong rule” by a government tasked, among other things, with “enforcing duties of community and solidarity in the use and distribution of resources,” as the Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule put it in a March essay for The Atlantic.

    ‘Enforced’ community is NOT community.

    Using strong government to control the use and distribution of goods has a name. And that name has nothing whatsoever to do with the right.

    There’s nothing wrong with caring about the common good. It’s just that the self-named Common-Good Conservatives don’t have a monopoly on the idea.

    There is EVERYTHING wrong with caring about the ‘common good’. Because it is impossible to do–and those who try end up imposing THEIR ‘good’ on anyone they can.

    1. So stop asking for my tax money to pay for police and jails to protect your property rights. Thief.

      1. You don’t pay any taxes, Tony.

  30. “These post-liberals believe it’s time for a conservative politics that stops worrying about protecting individual liberty and starts worrying about attaining the common good.”

    You know who else stopped worrying about protecting individual liberty and started worrying about attaining the common good?

  31. Will-to-Power Conservatives are socialists in all but name, and in that only because we allow them to lie about what they are enough to blind too many to the forest for all of their lies of trees.

    The Left has been crowded into an even farther left lane to keep out of the way as these “conservatives” and their less coherently ideological bedfellows the Trumpkins have drunkenly swerved left across many lanes of American political traffic.

    1. Stop defining “left” as “the boogie monster” and you might be contributing something halfway coherent in the way of a point. Why not just use the common understanding of words? No, they aren’t socialists because they believe in government doing things. Everyone believes in government doing things except smelly anarchists.

      And the left isn’t socialist either unless they advocate giving the means of the production over to the people.

      Use words better or else you might be assumed to be demonizing for the purpose of killing critical thought. The right can be bad all on their own.

  32. Coining a name for political alchemists obsessed with circumventing the irreconcilable contradictions within what is essentially a complicating of the the phrase, “The end justifies the means” does not a movement make.

  33. quote: “The dispute, then, is about how to help people thrive. ”

    No, that is NOT the “dispute”. The dispute is WHETHER one person ought to “help” anyone else to thrive.
    Yes, if someone’s house burns down from a riot and the insurance refuse to pay because of “riot or civil commotion” exceptions, perhaps someone(s) else who is able and so motivated (perhaps his own brother’s home did the same and he’s tapped out providing for him and family….) could step up and help.. or organise a cooperative effort.. or.. whatever could help.

    But to come along and have government at any level say WE WILL USE YOUR MONEY (tax money, tha tis) to build that guy a new home…. particlularly while that same governenment are spending millions pretending to curb the rioting, or pampering the destroyers, or otherwise wasting tax dollars encouraging, “giving space to destroy”, etc. then we have a serious breach of trust and responsibility.
    No, it is nEVER government’s place to make sure anyone “thrives”. That is rank socialism. Not what we are about. ANY TIME gummit forces, by rule of law, whether commanded or prohibited, ME to do womething I abhor )provide birth control” or finds to muder pre-born babies, that government is doing what it never was chartered to do.

    1. “No, it is nEVER government’s place to make sure anyone ‘thrives’. That is rank socialism.”

      But it is it’s place to protect your property claim. Because… God has a chubby for imaginary lines drawn in the dirt?

      Stop letting yourself take arguments about government overreach to a reductio ad stupidum where you are talking crazy. Everyone believes government should be there to help humans thrive, and we may differ on how to define thrive. Otherwise you have no more justification for property enforcement than I have for subsidized baby killing.

  34. Not a new idea from conservatives! And read your own comments board. Is freedom really OK if it leads to legal abortion? Baby killing!?

    Even in the face of 90% popular support for some policy, we are not free to it if it violates some libertarian maxim. That includes most of what constitutes modern society, by the way.

    Also this is largely a conservative Republican dish with some alt-right seasoning, and their approach to power has been well on display these past four years and longer. One little 8the grade civics truism about mob rule and and suddenly everyone has a skimpy fig leaf to cover 100% disdain for democracy.And since democracy is by definition bad, what’s the alternative other than “My ideas should rule because I’m say so”? Plenty of people here believe this.

    There is a fine tradition of exploring the utility of wise authoritarian rule. Most require the assumption of intelligent and good-willed philosopher kings. That the American right with its puerile cultural fixations and blunt plundering of the commons is actually saying the secret part out loud and thinking it’s a philosophical revelation is a hopeful sign that they may be finally getting too dumb to even cheat at elections.

    1. There is a fine tradition of exploring the utility of wise authoritarian rule. Most require the assumption of intelligent and good-willed philosopher kings. That the American right with its puerile cultural fixations and blunt plundering of the commons is actually saying the secret part out loud and thinking

      You’re projecting the crimes of the American left on the American right.

      it’s a philosophical revelation is a hopeful sign that they may be finally getting too dumb to even cheat at elections.

      Whereas the American left cheats at elections with relish and has a long tradition doing so. Just like Harris can call Biden a vile racist one debate and then buddy up with him as VP candidate; after all, what the Left says doesn’t represent what they actually do once in power.

      1. Whatever it is they plan to do, it’s absolutely certain to be better than what we’re doing now.

  35. “The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” ~ Albert Camus

  36. “The Nazis are well remembered for murdering well over 11 million people in the implementation of their slogan, ‘The public good before the private good,’ the Chinese Communists for murdering 62 million people in the implementation of theirs, ‘Serve the people,’ and the Soviet Communists for murdering more than 60 million people in the implementation of Karl Marx’s slogan, ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.’ Anyone who defends any of these, or any variation of them, on the grounds of their ‘good intentions’ is an immoral…enabler of the ACTUAL (not just the proverbial) road to hell.” ~ Rick Gaber

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  38. “It is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize that his own pride is of no importance in comparison with the existence of his nation; that the position of the individual ego is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole; that pride and conceitedness, the feeling that the individual … is superior, so far from being merely laughable, involve great dangers for the existence of the community that is a nation; that above all the unity of a nation’s spirit and will are worth far more than the freedom of the spirit and the will of an individual; and that the higher interests involved in the life of the whole must here set the limits and lay down the duties of interests of the individual. … By this we understand only the individual’s capacity to make sacrifices for the community, for his fellow men. ” These statements were made in our century by the leader of a major Western nation. His countrymen regarded his viewpoint as uncontroversial. His political program implemented it faithfully. The statements were made by Adolf Hitler. He was explaining the moral philosophy of Nazism.

    1. “I’m a nationalist.” —Trump

    2. Aha. I recall reading that as well as Goebbels and others.

      There is a political and moral opposition to that philosophy. We will be on the ballot in every state.

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