By now Randolph Bourne’s observation that “war is the health of the state” ought to be such a cliché that it would hardly need to be said. And yet, it must be said — often — because many still haven’t gotten the word.
Neuroscientist/philosopher Sam Harris caused quite a stir recently by defending the social networks’ conspiracy (his word) to suppress news coverage of Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s smoking-gun laptop shortly before Election Day 2020. Harris said the suppression was justified because Donald Trump was such a threat to America that he had to be defeated whatever the cost to the election’s integrity.
I have the impression that people think their own intuitions need not be questioned because they are reliable. But is that wise? I don’t think so.
The push-back against identity politics by disillusioned leftists is welcome, but the striving to replace identity with economic equality as the guiding political principle? Not so much.
National conservatism is objectionable on many counts — the name in itself tells you that — but it does pay tribute to free enterprise. A closer look, however, may cause one to doubt its commitment.
Regardless of written constitutions and the laws on the books, individual liberty is always at risk. And as liberty goes, so goes our capacity to live well, to achieve the good life as rational, virtuous social beings.
The brilliant people in the Biden administration and the U.S. Congress have decided that one thing America really needs is an Internal Revenue Service (!) fortified by 87,000 more employees and 80 billion more dollars so it can help reduce the inflation that currently menaces us. You don’t believe it? Oh, ye of little faith!
I have defended the idea of ideology per se and have disparaged the idea that anyone can operate without an ideology. The self-proclaimed non-ideological person is really one who has an implicit and therefore unexamined or underexamined ideology. No one really judges everything case by case as if nothing were related to anything else. We all have principles of some sort.
Many people formerly of the left, who have bid good riddance to their former political home, believe they can retain the mantle of authentic liberalism while ignoring its free-market component. They don’t want socialism, and they appropriately dislike the right-wing. But they also can’t abide the libertarian commitment to free markets either. So they declare themselves centrists void of ideology.
Human beings are self-actualizing social animals. We need to cooperate with others to flourish fully and (but?) we also need the freedom to make of ourselves the persons we wish to be; we need autonomy.