I hardly see Obama as Hamiltonian. While you rightly describe his bias for strong features of a strong centralized government, he also was strongly opposed to the expansion of state power into everyday business of the people, particularly the elite. He essentially wanted the central government to facilitate an environment conducive to the pursut of commerce/business interests. He believed in a powerful defense posture to protect those interests abroad. While some of the framers came from a philosophical perspective on liberty, Hamilton came to it from an economic one.
OSlash is closest to Woodrow Wilson, but in reality more like modern western European leaders. We have not seen the like of him before from a philosophical perspective.
Well, to further break up our moment of agreement you said - "But, of course, a successful revolution could never, in any meaningful sense, be “illegal.” That is about it. Perhaps you meant how you clarified it, but your words failed you. Franklin's comment in the play I always took to mean the action to break from mother country is never illegal to those attempting to do so and always from the mother country's perspective, which too, is not exactly the thought you were originally conveying but I saw it coming from the same perspective, which is what triggered the thought.
With regards to our larger point of disagreement, you do allow your distaste - entirely proper of course - of slavery to cloud yor judgement of historical fact. Yes, the South economically felt they needed slavery and that they needed to expand its practice in some part to the new territories in a growing nation. Yes, abolitionists, were very much opposed to its expansion. However, slavery was codified in the Constitution and SCOTUS rightly determined that slaves were in fact property subject to provisions which governed same. I don't suggest there was no way to change this through legal fiat, but it would require the normal process of legislative proceedings, which the South knew would eventually overwhelm them if new states were admitted all as non-slave. The South's positions on slavery while repugnant to us today were in fact well grounded in the law of the time.
As to each sides behavior in that fight over slavery, both sides were subject to extremists who felt they had the moral authority to take the law into their own hands - and they did with regularity.
I know we are not debating whether or not slavery was wise or ethical or morally appropriate. And in reality, unless the South was willing to concede a drawdown of the practice, a fight was coming. But, however, if the North had been willing to concede its expansion, there would have been no fight either. While that would not have been my preferred position, that position would have stopped much bloodshed. It is possible with increased mechanization slavery would have died out on its own as uneconomical. But the North's demand to stop slavery now - was as much a part of the start of the Civil War - as the South's desire to continue the practice.
I think the language of the Preamble is crucial here–”We the People,” rather than “We the States”–the argument (it’s been a while but think Lincoln addressed this as well) would be that only a new convocation of “the people of the United States” (i.e., not some part of it) could dissolve the Union. But, of course, a successful revolution could never, in any meaningful sense, be “illegal.” Such a move is ultimately extra-constitutional. The question then becomes whether the government resisting the revolution has the arguments against, on the terms of its own constitution, to muster the support to prevent it. A revolution is obviously more likely to succeed, especially in a country like ours, when there has, in fact, been a “long train of abuses,” etc.–but leading up to the Civil War, the abuses were almost completely by the South.
I would disagree with your characterization that all the abuses were from the South, as the politics of the day were drawn by many parties from all over the country; I am afraid we get too stigmatized by the stain of slavery in the South and feel it overrides everything else.
I do agree however on your characterization of a successful revolution being illegal. I am reminded of the play 1776 where Franklin I believe upbraids Dickenson on revolutions only being illegal in the third person or something like that!
@ CK MacLeod:
I haven't seen it anywhere either - but if the Union could be voted upon, could it not also be voted out so to speak?
I would suggest that might be an interesting idea for you to do.
He relates that the Nazis, who were socialists, were fascists and of the left. They are cousins - fascism, nazism, socialism, communism. We look at the Nazis and quite appropriately look to their racial politics and go, yuck. And then they acted upon it, double yuck. Nothing can be like that horror we feel. Well actually, it can. Nazi Germany had many trappings of the fascist and modern day leftist state. Take another look. I would be intersted in your assessment after the second shot at it.
I should have been more precise. I still however disagree. The result of the civil war was the final argument in the supremecy of the federal government over the states.
To your later point about the provocation it is well considered. I just don't know. What if South Carolina had sued in the Supreme Court that sucession by a state could not be stopped by the federal government. What if the entire South had done so, without firing a shot. Suppose as the case was heard, and it would be heard quickly no doubt, the South approached Britain for recognition if successful and established trading relationships in the meantime while refusing to turn over federal levies. While the North was more industrialized, the South was home to more raw material. What if.
He argued - correctly I believe - that progressivism and fascism were very generously interchanged with one another by their proponents of the day to the point it would be difficult to exactly determine their points of difference. He does not maintain that the US had it continued on that path would have become an outwardly tyrannical fascist state but a rather benign one, and perhaps it already to some degree is today.
In essence, fascism is the modern day liberal's father or grandfather.
No he pretty much says it is of the same family as communism and socialism, of the left, of Rousseau. It is a pretty basic premise, not that it was kind of like it. I will dig out some quotes but I too don't have it in front of me.
I just ran into it.
the subtitle from the title page - "The Secret History of the American Left"
Page seven - "The major flaw in all of this is that fascism, properly understood, is not a phenomenon of the right at all. Instead, it is, and always has been, a phenomenon of the left."
Seems pretty clear to me.
CK MacLeod wrote:
Incidentally, as to the origin of the phrase “liberal fascist,” there’s some confusion about where exactly Goldberg got it, but it’s usually attributed to HG Wells 1932 – discussion here. I’m not disputing that Reich may have used it first or separately. The author of the just-linked post has the impression that Goldberg got it from Wells via his own work, though Goldberg himself has spoken of a “rich history” behind the phrase.
I think it’s relevant to the discussion of progressivism in part because Goldberg, throughout the book and ever since, has been at pains to distinguish between “liberal fascists” and “fascist fascists,” and to assert that he never meant to suggest that they were the same thing, or for that matter that contemporary liberals deserved to be thought of as fascists. His objective throughout the book, to me, seems more to be to defend against the assumption held on the left that fascism is a phenomenon chiefly or essentially of the right. He never gets to the point of suggesting that historical fascist movements were chiefly or essentially phenomena of the left. Beck is much less cautious, and I think Golderg could be faulted for allowing himself to be made use of by Beck at times, if Goldberg really meant what he said about avoiding false equivalences.
He does most certainly state, often, that fascism was of the left. It is one of his main premises.
The civil war was not fought over the issue of civil rights. It bore no significant motivation in his decision to forcibly re-unite the states. His resolve was to maintain the union. He had stated that if he could save the union without freeing the slaves he would have done so, and that he freed them in order to save the union, mostly to render it impossible for Britain or France to intercede in the conflict on behalf of the South. It placed the morality of slavery front and center and guarenteed the South would have to go it alone.
You suggest Lincoln used the principles of the Declaration to argue against secession, yet you remain quiet about slavery's continuing conflict with the basic premise of the same document.
I have often thought that the real mistake was the firing on Ft. Sumtner (sp?). It gave Lincoln the opportunity to move right past the constitutional aspects of dissolution of the union and allowed him to maintain that federal territory had been attacked by a state. What if they hadn't fired first?
It is dangerous to place meaning on a work you haven't yourself read. Your analysis provided has the additional problem of being wrong. Goldberg does not argue that modern day liberals are fascists but that fascism is from the left, that fascism is in the political body of thought of the left, not the right - as the term is often used. His book is not an extension of his columns, but rather a serious work, extensively researched and footnoted. You may disagree with his conclusions, but you would do well to read it before saying so.
I think the cover was the publisher's idea - yes damn marketers!!
Whatever you might think of his conclusions, I think you would find it a serious book, considerately offered for serious thinking, not a gratuitous swipe just for fun.
Oh I so enjoy your entreaties to us all to ignore what is happening right in front of our faces and join you in wonderland. Conservatives, of any stripe, color or shape are the toast of the land, and growing.
You know, if Mitch Daniels became the next president (2012 when Carter, Jr exits) I wonder of the left would be able to stand it?
In all seriousness, he suggests we were living under a government with fascist tendencies, but not a fascist government per se. He points out with pretty good background the fascist political arguments of the day and their implementation in societies and how those societies that were directly fascist and those with fascist tendencies were talking together. If you don't read it, pretty difficult to really know what the author was getting at, and I don't claim it always reads easily. I consider it pretty deep political philosophy which isn't my favorite thing to read in general. But no one has been able to really suggest his analysis is devoid of merit, though some reach different conclusions than he does. It is making its way into many college level poli sci classes if we are to believe the author himself and some taught by teachers who do not agree with him but feel it is a valuable material in their discussions.
I know you like to play, and thats fine, but I think dismissing the book as you have probably defeats your purposes.
Bismark was the architect of the all encompassing social state. Early academic progressive political thought was centered in Germany. His work led the way for the crazies that followed, not Marx really in my opinion. But his hands really weren't that bloody in and of themselves outside of his creating the fissures that helped guarentee WWI. That was for other reasons not directly linked to progressivism. Bismark used progressivism as a method to bring together the fractious german states into what we know (mostly) as modern Germany. I probably should have also started that list of names with the guillotine as it was so intertwined with the wackos of the french revolution. Funny how some of them eventually found their way to her blade not too long thereafter.
CK - I think we may be passing each other by then, because I do not see the term in that way. I feel you see it more as progress in general, and I see it as the attack on individual liberty. You see it as being since time immortal and I see it as a by-product of the failed French revolution. The enacting of laws which defined how we agree to play the game of business is not so much progressivism to me, but rather the core belief that a central grouping of intelligent (allegedly) people have the ability to make decisions and improve society at large in a manner superior to the activity of individuals making numerous decisions on a daily basis in their own self interest. The Founders believed in the people following their own self interest, the progressives in following Rousseau and his insistance in the individual being subserviant to the state.
I believe this to be the definition of Beck. I know where Rousseau's philosophy went, and it is responsible for more death on this planet than I can ever imagine. It was Bismark, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. Utopia on earth is not for us to force upon those for whom utopia has a different meaning. The progressives ignore this. Their political defeat is necessary for the betterment of the world. Then each of us can build our own little utopia, to the best of our own ability.
@ CK MacLeod:
You’re quite right about the figures being dated. And in just about everything you’ve said on this thread.
I hope that you’ll forgive me for pushing the point about definitions, but I spent far too much time having that point drilled into my little green head.
Without definition of terms, you end up with unnecessary confusion.
That’s how you get people thinking that a book titled “Liberal Fascism” actually is serious in making the case.
Only people who haven't read the book make that argument for the most part. There is legitimate reasons to take issue with its premises, and some have made them in a scholarly manner, but yours isn't one of them.
@ CK MacLeod:
I am going to study the last half of your last comment for awhile before jumping in, but it strikes me as missing something significant.
Please do tell!
A question for you that would perhaps help me. How do you define progressivism?
I am going to study the last half of your last comment for awhile before jumping in, but it strikes me as missing something significant.
CK - I certainly take no issue with your concern on Beck's tone - it was overly broad and over the top. While there are RINOs and even DIABLOs in the GOP there are others in the GOP fighting for policies and positions that are probably right up Beck's alley. Rush had a very interesting comparison today linking say Pelosi and Canter and DeMint and Reid and suggesting that they are the same is ridiculous; of course done in his own special way of course. That really is all I heard of his show, but it makes a good point.
As to your larger issue on progressivism and hating Wilson I think it is going to take a little more time for me to digest. I understand your distaste of hating Wilson while it gives me very little concern whatsoever, he was for the most part a miserable human being who belittled and demeaned people for whom he felt their opinion was of no value - please get out of the way and allow your intellectual betters run the show. Perhaps this is just my area of being overly sensitive to the condescending behavior of certain elites who think they truly do know better. They all tend to act the same way, as the similarities in Wilson and Obama's personalities show.
I see this as a distinct threat to the American way of life, and a direct desire to subvert the meaning of the constitution and representative government as opposed to swearing to protect it in their oaths. This isn't just a policy disagreement, this is transformation from government by the people and for the people (which Lincoln did respect despite very rational complaints about big government bias - for his day - from modern day conservatives) to government as caretaker of the nation, nanny of us all. This is to be done without the utilization of the ammendment process but through ever greater grabs for power. I say this without failing to understand that some manner of elite will naturally arise in a society and that there is nothing wrong about it. The Founders themselves understood this, and wished to protect this from the passion of the public at large, which was somewhat behind the Senate's original design.
To your strawman arguments about child labor and the like, that I feel is very narrow. Much of the progressive legislation of the past does great damage today - farm price supports, wage and price controls at various times, TVA, social security, food stamps, welfare pre-Cinton reform, CRA, I could keep typing but you get the point. The only thing really sparing us a further descent into nanny statism is that we ran out of money.
The government's role should be to set ground rules and allow the market to work. Veering off that path is always dangerous and should only be contemplated with great reserve. Alas, the health care debacle puts that idea to rest. It is all about grabbing the power and remaking society through government's heavy hand with the idea that they will get around to fixing it later - just trust me for now. That is why they exempt themselves from almost all their laws anyway.
No, calling out progressivism for what it is - and some GOP for enabling it - is not something I can chide Beck for. But he must keep himself from generalizing, which is what I think he got caught doing. It harms the message because in the first place it isn't true.
CK, I am reading and trying to understand your concern. Is it that he was over the top and that his veering into 3rd party movements can result in the statists continuing their run or do you question his analysis of progressives and what their end game is? His analysis of progressives is pretty much spot on and Wilson is actually worthy of being hated, as Wilson hated his political enemies. Goldberg's book was an eye opener to me, for while I knew some of the issues about him, I better understand now how truly dangerous he was. The question of the current progressive wing of the democratic party seems to be whether their desire for the institution of fascism in the US is benign or aggressive. I will foresake the revolutionary split that came from the US and French revolutions, as I am sure you are familiar with them already, but I am not for the state - I am for me.
Rush's warning to Beck about third party was spot on, but I doubt that their sentiments on progressives is too different.