Our Crisis of Classic Hobbesian Liberalism

is a superb quite short article briefly summarizing the current crisis of USAian and other democracies in the form of a summarizing review of two useful recent books.

Liberalism, as Fukuyama describes it, functions as a political technology for the management of otherwise irreconcilable differences. Liberals from the time of Thomas Hobbes in the 17th century have erected a series of procedural rules and normative principles—above all, the rule of law and the rights of individuals to pursue their own preferences—to limit the reach of absolutist doctrines. Liberal rules and norms allow people of different views not only to get along but to subscribe to the implicit “contract” on which democratic government rests. Liberalism is endangered when the “factions,” to use James Madison’s term, that arise naturally in society cease to respect the rules and norms.

The author of the above linked review, James Taub, along with the brillaint acerbic Anne Applebaum are my favorite Realist Liberals. Like them I am not seeking Paradise on Earth, but simply arrangements that make mutually possible our various different “pursuits of happiness.”

david fb


Liberal is a sick word because it used to mean one thing in the Old World, in America it means the opposite.

Hayek and Election 2000

From the Preface to the 1956 USA edition of “The Road to Serfdom” by F. A. Hayek.

"The fact that this book was originally written with only the British public in mind does not appear to have seriously affected its intelligibility for the American reader. But there is one point of phraseology which I ought to explain here to forestall any misunderstanding. I use throughout the term ‘liberal’ in the original, nineteenth-century sense in which it is still current in Britain. In current American usage it often means very nearly the opposite of this. It has been part of the camouflage of leftist movements in this country, helped by the muddleheadedness of many who really believe in liberty, that ‘liberal’ has come to mean the advocacy of almost every kind of government control. I am still puzzled why those in the United States who truly believe in liberty should not only have allowed the left to appropriate this almost indispensable term but should even have assisted by beginning to use it themselves as a term of opprobrium. This seems to be particularly regrettable because of the consequent tendency of many true liberals to describe themselves as conservatives. [emphasis added]

This confusion is what caused the emergence of the word ‘libertarian.’

The Captain

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When was the last time you were in the US?

That entire notion of the pigheaded conservative is going out the window. No one is listening to white males or boomers who are not coming forward with better ideas.

1776, 3777, 2778, 1779, 1880.

The Captain

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0881, 9771, 8772, 7773, 6771

Not that this makes more sense.

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Personally I prefer 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144


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How many chicken beaks have found the sparrow?

We will test that hypothesis in November.


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Look at the budget proposal we can not discuss here and see what the Millennials and Zs will do. Also recent polling on abortion shows a very new landscape.

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As does polling of party preferences among non-whites, moving conservative.



Why am I posting here? Because it is ever more obvious that the political crackup the USA and much of the modernized world is suffering has extreme macroeconomic implications.

The bizarro drift of this thread away from my OP is demonstrative of (please excuse my exasperation) a simple fact:

Most folks seem to NOT know ANYTHING about classic liberalism and too quickly get caught in the poisonous weeds of idiot social web and decadent journalistic misuse of language in the pursuit of the bucks to be found from provoking shallow outrage over, uhm, nonsense.

“Liberals” as meaning “make nice with the doggy” people who don’t want anybody anywhere to be hurt or misunderstood or held responsible for anything", well, that’s part of our modern USAian political nonsense. There are a few such idiots, but not many. Show me one!

The Ur-LIBERAL, the guy who launched modernity, is the brilliant, hated, feared, abused Nicolo Machiavelli. His greatest admirer and follower, widely acknowledged as the “founder” of liberalism, is Thomas Hobbes, the author of Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil. Both these guys were utterly appalled and disgusted by any pretense of politics being about being nice or superstitious or pious instead of simply paying thorough-going attention to REALITY.

Theirs is the hidden foundation of Liberalism. Please chew, and then go back and reconsider my post and its (extremely modern and updated) explication of the same theme from the POV not of Tytrants, Plutocrats, and Kings, but of people from the Republic’s founders down to our time who, despite ferociously profound and emotional differences and opposed allegiances, wanted to somehow get along with one another so as to be able to live good LIBERATED lives.

As an addendum, this phrase from the Declaration of Independence:

The pursuit of happiness

is rooted in the conversations of the philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment, the geniuses stretching from Francis Hutcheson to Adam Smith (Oh I know him!!!), and the pursuit it refers to is that of figuring out how sovereign-unto-themselves individuals with different desires and POVs might somehow find (pursue) a way of living in harmony and prosperity (happiness) with one another. When Jefferson used the phrase he was (snotty as ever)(maybe even worse tham me!) writing primarily for people who understood political philosophy and would know the peculiar reference he was making, while the hoipolloi would not be offended but endorse the idea of being free to strive for being happy…

And yes, I am all too often a miserably snotty snot. I have read and still read a lot. The foundation of any chance for modern liberal republics requires a bit more literacy from a lot more people.

Apologies to any I have illegitmately offended. Leap, I did mean to offend you. I find you are too often too smart but blind for your arrogance. You might even be worse than me!


david fb
p.s. the profoundly stupid prudish TMF word censor prohibits the word pronounced WeKnee! as in teenie w…e


I am more to the point with fewer words.

There is a reason for my arrogance. It is nothing personal. But those here who have had a different point of view for decades have been shouted down by those who loved supply-side economics. I push the stupidity aside instead of waiting it out. Getting up in the morning to buy XOM is a lame excuse for being a human being.

It is worth a headline for those who would use it.

The move has been 77-11 to 66-19.

It is an 81% move. Overwhelming for any newspaper to report. Sarcasm.

The reason for my posting Hayek’s explanation of the new meaning the word has acquired. Politics is often the destroyer of meaning for partisan gain. Eric Blair coined it “Newspeak.”

In the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), by George Orwell, Newspeak is the fictional language of Oceania, a totalitarian superstate. To meet the ideological requirements of Ingsoc (English Socialism) in Oceania, the Party created Newspeak, which is a controlled language of simplified grammar and limited vocabulary designed to limit a person’s ability for critical thinking. The Newspeak language thus limits the person’s ability to articulate and communicate abstract concepts, such as personal identity, self-expression, and free will, which are thoughtcrimes, acts of personal independence that contradict the ideological orthodoxy of Ingsoc collectivism.

The Captain

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

Banning the “N” word is Newspeak


Supply-side economics is expensive.

The UK and US ride together in the economic cycle. The UK having MORE socialism than the US saw a greater cost.

Germany and Central Europe saw the opposite with demand-side industrial policies. This meant in real terms the cost of socialism was low.

This is now changing for Central Europe as they are stuck with supply-side economics. Not only will the public be paid less but the wealthy will lose a lot. Yes taxes will come down but to no one’s benefit.

The rich coming off of WW II saw 90% and then 70% tax rates in the West. The rich revolted and owned the press to do so.

That is the extreme.

Instead we have counter cyclical economics to stop much of the devaluation of the USD and EUR. To stabilize interest rates higher than they were historically in the 1950s and to keep taxes in a reasonable ballpark.

The extreme of tax cuts in the US is over. The public no long believes the rich work. They do not. They manage capital. The capital is there so the crying needs to stop. The tears are waste of our bleeding time.

The irony is the middle-class guy who thinks he will be rich crying about taxes. He has been a sucker.

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