Conservative liberalism vs. progressive liberalism

Edmund Burke is considered the father of modern conservatism, while his contemporary Thomas Paine is a forerunner of modern liberalism.  Yuval Levin has written a new book, The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left.

A review by Michael Gerson discusses his thesis that both theorists, for all of their differences, care about liberty and reform, though they seek those ideals through different means.  Burke and Paine–like many conservatives and liberals to this day–exemplify the conflict between “conservative liberalism” and “progressive liberalism.” [Read more…]

“Rewilding” the USA with lions & elephants

An article about what knocked off the mammoths–not man as previously thought, but climate change–got even more interesting when it told about a current proposal that environmentalists are making:  “Rewild” America by bringing back into the countryside elephants, camels, lions, and other ancestors of animals that have gone extinct. [Read more…]

Superiority + insecurity + discipline = success?

Amy Chua, the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, has written with Jed Rubenfeld another controversial book about ethnic drive: The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America.

Members of certain cultural groups do really well in terms of economic and social success.  Others don’t.  Those that do, according to the book, have three traits:  a sense of cultural superiority; a sense of personal insecurity about measuring up to that superiority; and strong self-discipline and capacity for delayed gratification.  We’ll let the Washington Post book reviewer explain after the jump, though I want to make some religious connections. [Read more…]

Ugliness and Civilization

Have you noticed how ugly most of our communities are, all the strip malls, concrete boxes, offices, and even churches, void of aesthetic touches?  There is certainly “art,” but it tends to be walled away in museums, rather than being part of a living community (as many of the pieces in museums once were).  Have you noticed that this is a relatively new phenomenon?  In the cover story for the latest National Review, Michael Knox Beran writes about why that is and what the decline of beauty and the rise of ugliness tell us about our civilization. [Read more…]

Employer mandate postponed yet another year

President Obama postponed yet again the Employer Mandate part of Obamacare, which will require employers of 50 or more workers to provide them health insurance.  The measure was supposed to go into effect in 2014, but he had earlier postponed it until 2015.  Now it will not go into effect until 2016.  Never mind that these postponements violate the text of the law.

Employers of 100 or more will still have to offer insurance next year, though they received some breaks too, detailed after the jump.

[Read more…]

Pro-American vs. Anti-American conservatives

Political theorist Patrick J. Deneen notes two different and conflict schools among Roman Catholic conservatives:  one believes that Catholic Christianity is compatible with American democracy, with its ideals of freedom, individual rights, free markets, etc.  The other faction believes that all of these American ideals grow out of a philosophical liberalism that is incompatible with Catholic Christianity.

Read Prof. Deneen’s account, excerpted after the jump.  Can these arguments have resonance for non-Catholic Christians?  Or non-Christian conservatives?  Are American Christians too wedded to “Americanism”?  Or would the anti-American line of thought yield a political system that is far worse? [Read more…]