Self-interest vs. ideology

Is it better in the realm of politics to stand on principle or to pursue self-interest?  Most of us would probably say the former.  But Robert J. Samuelson argues that self-interest is superior, even morally, to following an ideology, which breeds conflict, governmental paralysis, and the demonization of opponents.

Mr. Samuelson shows that the left and the right are both fixated on ideology and that their rhetoric and tactics are pretty much identical to each other.  After the jump, you can see how he makes his case. [Read more...]

Good liberal theology vs. bad liberal theology?

British theologian Theo Hobson has a paradigm-scrambling article in the Christian Century, the magazine of record of mainline liberal Protestantism.  He says that liberal theology has suffered a “huge collapse,” particularly in its intellectual credibility in academic theology.   The “bad” liberal theology is faulted for being little more than a vague, rationalistic humanism, cut off from historical Christian doctrines and rituals (meaningful worship, the Sacraments). There is, however, a “good” liberal theology, he says, one that supports the “liberal state.”  By that he means a state characterized by freedom  (religious liberty as opposed to established churches, individual freedom of conscience, civil liberties).

Now, of course,in this country, the cause of political and religious liberty is championed by conservatives.  Theological conservatives would no doubt have a broader conception of liberal theology than Hobson does, finding other “academic theologies”–he mentions that of Barth and the radically orthodox Milibank–equally “liberal” insofar as they take a critical stance on the truth and authority of the Bible.  Still, you’ve got to read this, after the jump.  What do you make of all this? [Read more...]

The two paths for Democrats

We talked about the two paths for Republicans.  Apparently there are also two paths opening up for Democrats.  Two columns in the Washington Post cite a growing schism in the Democratic Party between old-line pro-union economic liberals and big business Democrats who favor Wall Street.  What the two factions have in common is social liberalism (pro-abortion, pro-feminist, pro-gay, etc.), but the party’s former solidarity on economic issues is coming apart.  (Which may be the opposite of what is happening among Republicans, with the big business faction and the populists agreeing on economics but differing on social issues.) [Read more...]

Socially conservative but economically liberal

Luke Foster notes a new breed of Christian political activists.  They are social conservatives–pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious liberty–but they are liberal economically (wanting government programs that help the poor) and they are running as Democrats. [Read more...]

What happened to Detroit

Detroit has filed for bankruptcy.  Charles Krauthammer explains why, going on to show why the “reactionary liberalism” that keeps adding entitlements without being able to pay for them cannot work for long, whether for a city or for a country. [Read more...]

Why today’s political ideologies are pretty much the same

James Kalb has published an article that explains (1) why Democrats and Republicans (also Libertarians, Anarchists, and Populists) are ultimately so similar; (2) why social conservatives, such as Christians and other traditionalists, have such a difficulty in being heard in the public square; (3) the underlying worldview that dominates contemporary Western societies; and (4) why this worldview is failing and how social conservatism might stage a comeback.

The article, published in Modern Age and online at Intercollegiate Review, is kind of long, so I urge you to read it here:  Out of the Antiworld | Intercollegiate Review.  After the jump, I will post excerpts to whet your appetite. [Read more...]


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