Saturday, February 19, 2005

The New Republic and Pursuit of Happiness Agree

Ok, well not exactly. Martin Peretz in the The New Republic writes of the decline of liberalism in the United States and I wrote of the Democratic death spiral (see below). Effectively, Peretz is discussing the cause, and I the effect. From the article:

It is liberalism that is now bookless and dying. The most penetrating thinker of the old liberalism, the Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, is virtually unknown in the circles within which he once spoke and listened, perhaps because he held a gloomy view of human nature. However gripping his illuminations, however much they may have been validated by history, liberals have no patience for such pessimism. So who has replaced Niebuhr, the once-commanding tribune to both town and gown? It's as if no one even tries to fill the vacuum.......

Ask yourself: Who is a truly influential liberal mind in our culture? Whose ideas challenge and whose ideals inspire? Whose books and articles are read and passed around? There's no one, really. What's left is the laundry list: the catalogue of programs (some dubious, some not) that Republicans aren't funding, and the blogs, with their daily panic dose about how the Bush administration is ruining the country.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. As a conservative that came to the movement because of its spirited intellectual thought, nothing concerns me more than a political landscape in which the liberal side fails to bring any ideas to the discourse. Sadly, that is the state of play in the U.S. and I dare say the world today. Unchallenged, I believe that conservatism will grow stagnant and fail to evolve to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

As of now, I think the most likely outcome will be the death of the Democratic party and the ascendancy of a new libertarian ideology. Most likely, the newly ascendant group will be a splinter party that breaks off from the Republicans due to their frustration with the bloat that comes from incumbancy. We'll see. Perhaps Mr. Peretz offers the first sign that the liberals, and their party the Democrats, have some life in them yet.

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