Political philosophy – Section One

 also see Political Philosophy – Section Two

Is a New Political System Emerging in This Country? by Tom Engelhardt, billmoyers.com from TomDispatch,.March 25, 2015 … based on developments in our post-9/11 world, we could be watching the birth of a new American political system and way of governing for which, as yet, we have no name. And here’s what I find strange: the evidence of this, however inchoate, is all around us and yet it’s as if we can’t bear to take it in or make sense of it or even say that it might be so….it seems to be based, at least in part, on the increasing concentration of wealth and power in a new plutocratic class and in that ever-expanding national security state. Certainly, something out of the ordinary is underway and yet its birth pangs, while widely reported, are generally categorized as aspects of an exceedingly familiar American system somewhat in disarray.

Trump and the Transformation of Politics  by John Feffer, commondreams.org, by  Foreign Policy In Focus, August 27, 2016 - Excerpt – The current politic al order is coming apart… Illiberal populists all over the world are benefiting from three simultaneous backlashes. The history of political parties is rather boring. Not much has changed since the French Revolution, which produced the the terms “Left” and “Right” to reflect where people sat in the National Assembly. The early 20th century saw the rise of Communist parties on the far left. Shortly later, fascist parties began to emerge on the far right. Aside from these challenges from the margins, most countries have produced some version of a conservative (Christian Democrat, Republican) party and a liberal (Labor, Social Democratic) party. These parties have alternated in power, sometimes even ruling in coalition….full text

Perle Denies Any Neoconservative Influence in Bush Administration, February 19, 2009: — In a speech at the Nixon Center, neoconservative guru Richard Perle attempts to drastically rewrite the history of the Bush administration and his role in the invasion of Iraq. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank writes that listening to Perle gave him “a sense of falling down the rabbit hole.” Milbank notes: “In real life, Perle was the ideological architect of the Iraq war and of the Bush doctrine of preemptive attack…But at yesterday’s forum of foreign policy intellectuals, he created a fantastic world in which: Perle is not a neoconservative. Neoconservatives do not exist. Even if neoconservatives did exist, they certainly couldn’t be blamed for the disasters of the past eight years.” http://progressivevalues.org.s150046.gridserver.com/iraq-war-timeline-highlights-1965-to-2009/

Leo Strauss and the “Crazies in the Basement” By Donald Archer,  OpEdNews Op Eds 4/24/2008 – From the beginning of his presidency, George W. Bush has surrounded himself with radical neo-conservatives, with what his father, the first President Bush, called “crazies in the basement.”   They have advised him on everything from political strategy to foreign policy.   What they have in common is the warped worldview of Leo Strauss: a charismatic and influential professor of political philosophy at the University of Chicago during the 1950s and 60s.…The ideology of Leo Strauss and the neo-conservatives is the antithesis of the Enlightenment wisdom that inspired the ideal, if not the actuality, of the American Revolution and the modern constitutional democracy—a liberal society that promotes and is maintained by critical thinking, a well-informed electorate, and an open, transparent government.     This is the ideological war now being fought.

The rise of American authoritarianism by Amanda Taub, VOX.com, March 1, 2016  A niche group of political scientists may have uncovered what’s driving Donald Trump’s ascent. What they found has implications that go well beyond 2016. Trump has found the key to appealing to authoritarians, which makes him dangerous. The ability of any political party to respond to the anxieties of this group of people is very limited. Do we have institutions and structures in place to prevent the dark side of this growing trend? This is a long but essential article to read and understand.

The Progressive Movement and the Transformation of American Politics By Thomas G. West, Ph.D. and William A. Schambra, Heritage Foundation, 2007 Progressivism was the reform movement that ran from the late 19th century through the first decades of the 20th century, during which leading intellectuals and social reformers in the United States sought to address the economic, political, and cultural questions that had arisen in the context of the rapid changes brought with the Industrial Revolution and the growth of modern capitalism in America. The Progressives believed that these changes marked the end of the old order and required the creation of a new order appropriate for the new industrial age. There are, of course, many different representations of Progressivism: the literature of Upton Sinclair, the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, the history of Charles Beard, the educational system of John Dewey. In politics and political thought, the movement is associated with political leaders such as Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt and thinkers such as Herbert Croly and Charles Merriam. Remarks by Thomas G. West: The thesis of our book, The Progressive Revolution in Politics and Political Science, is that Progressivism transformed American politics. What was that transformation? It was a total rejection in theory, and a partial rejection in practice, of the principles and policies on which America had been founded and on the basis of which the Civil War had been fought and won only a few years earlier. When I speak of Progressivism, I mean the movement that rose to prominence between about 1880 and 1920. In a moment I will turn to the content of the Progressive conception of politics and to the contrast between that approach and the tradition, stemming from the founding, that it aimed to replace. But I would like first to emphasize how different is the assessment of Progressivism presented in our book, The Progressive Revolution, from the understanding that prevails among most scholars…My own view is this: … the most important cause was a change in the prevailing understanding of justice among leading American intellectuals and, to a lesser extent, in the American people. Today’s liberalism and the policies that it has generated arose from a conscious repudiation of the principles of the American founding.