Similarities & differences between libertarians and conservatives

In the course of an essay on the history and negative consequences of progressivism, Bradley J. Birzer discusses its two main opponents, conservatism and libertarianism.  He gives both what they agree on and what they disagree on.  See what he says after the jump.

Is libertarianism really a major opponent of progressivism, or is it rather, with its dismissal of traditional authorities, a particular manifestation of it?  If conservatism has a communal dimension, as opposed to libertarian individualism, does that put it closer to the corporate emphasis of progressivism?

But here is the big question, highly relevant to the current election:  Given the differences between these three ideologies, does it make sense for a conservative to vote libertarian against a progressive presidential candidate?  Or is the gulf between conservative and libertarian too wide for that?   [Read more…]

The four tenets of Progressivism

George Will has discerned four core tenets of progressivism.  See them after the jump.  Where do you see these ideas being manifested in, for example, the Democratic presidential campaigns and in academic speech codes?  Those of you who are progressives, do you agree that this is what you believe?

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In a column about whether the president should replace Antonin Scalia (worth reading on that topic alone), Peggy Noonan digresses on how the left today is unappeasable–pushing and pushing, allowing no compromise or dissenters, demanding everything.  And how the current political climate shows that the general public is starting to push back. [Read more…]

Are Liberals Losing the Culture Wars?

It seems as if cultural conservatives are losing battle after battle, with the American public embracing gay marriage, sexual permissiveness, drug legalization, and on and on.  But an article in the usually liberal Atlantic, looking at last week’s election results and other indicators, argues that liberals may be overplaying their hands and that Americans are not as culturally progressive as has been assumed. [Read more…]

Elizabeth Warren’s 11 tenets of Progressivism

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), the liberal favorite, spoke to the Netroots Nation, the big convention of left-leaning bloggers and activists.  She answered the question “What does it mean to be a progressive?” by listing 11 beliefs that will probably form the framework of a progressive platform.  See them after the jump.  Discuss. [Read more…]

Progressivism and college football

George Will reviews The Rise of Gridiron University: Higher Education’s Uneasy Alliance with Big-Time Football by Brian M. Ingrassia, in which we learn that big-time intercollegiate football grew out of progressivism and its vision for higher education:

Higher education embraced athletics in the first half of the 19th century, when most colleges were denominational and most instruction was considered mental and moral preparation for a small minority — clergy and other professionals. Physical education had nothing to do with spectator sports entertaining people from outside the campus community. Rather, it was individual fitness — especially gymnastics — for the moral and pedagogic purposes of muscular Christianity — mens sana in corpore sano, a sound mind in a sound body.

The collective activity of team sports came after a great collective exertion, the Civil War, and two great social changes, urbanization and industrialization. . . . .

Intercollegiate football began when Rutgers played Princeton in 1869, four years after Appomattox. In 1878, one of Princeton’s two undergraduate student managers was Thomas — he was called Tommy — Woodrow Wilson. For the rest of the 19th century, football appealed as a venue for valor for collegians whose fathers’ venues had been battlefields. Stephen Crane, author of the Civil War novel “The Red Badge of Courage” (1895) — the badge was a wound — said: “Of course, I have never been in a battle, but I believe that I got my sense of the rage of conflict on the football field.”

Harvard philosopher William James then spoke of society finding new sources of discipline and inspiration in “the moral equivalent of war.” Society found football, which like war required the subordination of the individual, and which would relieve the supposed monotony of workers enmeshed in mass production.

College football became a national phenomenon because it supposedly served the values of progressivism, in two ways. It exemplified specialization, expertise and scientific management. And it would reconcile the public to the transformation of universities, especially public universities, into something progressivism desired but the public found alien. Replicating industrialism’s division of labor, universities introduced the fragmentation of the old curriculum of moral instruction into increasingly specialized and arcane disciplines. These included the recently founded social sciences — economics, sociology, political science — that were supposed to supply progressive governments with the expertise to manage the complexities of the modern economy and the simplicities of the uninstructed masses. [Read more…]