Echoes of 1968

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I don’t place much stock on timeframe anniversaries, but this fiftieth year since 1968 has been thumping my brain like a Poe short story. I got another one of those college reunion notices the other day. Come celebrate, said the words. But the subtext screamed: five decades gone, mofo. What I experienced as a youth I now think about as history. In 1968 we were trying to stop a war, confront racism, fight the con men and crooks. Nonetheless, in 1968 a crook won the election—and wasn’t gone until six years later. The war eventually stopped. Today’s crook is still in office. He is extremely dangerous, but his reckoning will come. Sooner, if we learn from old mistakes and betrayals. Not…

Race, Culture and the Dynamics of Prejudice

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Race, Culture and the Dynamics of Prejudice byJohn Wood, Jr.Posted on September 24, 2018September 26, 2018Racism is looked upon as the defining sin of the West. Tribal warfare has stained human history and the conflicts between clans and nations have catalyzed the shifting boundaries of social and national allegiances the world over. In western history, however, this distinction between tribes took particularly pernicious form via race-based slavery and legal structures of oppression, justified by the assumed validity of self-serving doctrines of racial superiority. Because of this history, many of us naturally assume that not merely the inequalities, but the social animosities that still persist in western societies are manifestations of this legacy of racism—and, in many respects, they are. On…

Liberalism as Pluralism: A Conservative Argument.

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There are several possible conservative arguments for the liberal tradition, especially within Anglo-American strains of liberalism. Michael Novak’s book The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, a serious account of the type of morality democratic capitalism requires and produces, offers one compelling narrative as to why the American tradition ought to be pursued. Yet, it is an outlier in conservative intellectual history: most of which is either anti-capitalist, or highly critical of capitalism.  Furthermore, like many conservative writers, Novak conceptually conflates capitalism, democracy and liberalism. Popular discussions of cultural Marxism, postmodernism and the alt right have also largely been avoided by conservative liberals. While John Gray, in The Two Faces of Liberalism, has raised excellent points on this subject, his book has only…

A Healthy Democracy Is Always In Flux—The People Deserve Another Vote

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Let me take you on a metaphorical coach journey. One hundred passengers are heading down the motorway towards Europe when, suddenly, the driver suggests taking a detour to the nostalgia-based theme park, Brexitland. This proposal proves divisive. A lot of the older passengers are incredibly excited about this new development. The younger ones tend to be less keen. They’ve heard stories about dangerous rides, expensive food, long queues. They determine that the fairest way to decide is to hold a vote—and the Brexitland option wins out by 52–48. Despite much grumbling from the losers, the coach driver turns off the motorway and up the dirt road that leads towards their chosen destination. Things do not go smoothly, however. The coach…