Saturday, March 11, 2017

Today’s liberalism is an anachronism - from Shelby Steele

Some quotes from the Shelby Steele article linked below that I really liked. My italics
"America became stigmatized in the ’60s as racist, sexist and militaristic, it wanted moral authority above all else. Subsequently the American left reconstituted itself as the keeper of America’s moral legitimacy. …From that followed today’s markers of white guilt—political correctness, identity politics, environmental orthodoxy, the diversity cult and so on.
This was the circumstance in which innocence of America’s bigotries and dissociation from the American past became a currency of hardcore political power. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, good liberals both, pursued power by offering their candidacies as opportunities for Americans to document their innocence of the nation’s past. …
For this man liberalism was a moral vaccine that immunized him against stigmatization. For Mr. Obama it was raw political power in the real world, enough to lift him—unknown and untested—into the presidency. But for Mrs. Clinton, liberalism was not enough. The white guilt that lifted Mr. Obama did not carry her into office—even though her opponent was soundly stigmatized as an iconic racist and sexist.
Today’s liberalism is an anachronism. It has no understanding, really, of what poverty is and how it has to be overcome. It has no grip whatever on what American exceptionalism is ... Instead it remains defined by an America of 1965—an America newly opening itself to its sins, an America of genuine goodwill, yet lacking in self-knowledge.
This liberalism evolved within a society shamed by its past. But that shame has weakened now.

This liberalism came into being not as an ideology but as an identity. It offered Americans moral esteem against the specter of American shame. …
Let’s stipulate that, given our history, this liberalism is understandable. But American liberalism never acknowledged that it was *about white esteem rather than minority accomplishment*. … Liberalism is exhausted because it has become a corruption."

Monday, March 6, 2017

More musings on the passing of time

I have entered my 70th year. I cannot even remember ever anticipating getting this old. I remember thinking about 60, yes, but 70, that was so far away. Inside I am still 30.
The way my life has unfolded bears a tenuous resemblance to the way I imagined it unfolding. I wanted to be an economist, to teach and write, and I have achieved that in a way I could never have imagined, gaining some real-world business experience along the way. And if things had continued the way they are now, I would have been more than happy. Who would have thought that this year will be my busiest for quite a while - conferences, seminars, book project, an exciting institutional project, and more articles to add to the uptick in recent years (thanks to my young colleague Nicolas Cachanosky for a lot of this).
Add to this many family blessings and I conclude that I am the richest man alive.