A coherent political philosophy implies a certain understanding of human nature, of the proper ends of human life. Progressive politics across the world - from Britain's Labour to Germany's SDP to America's Democrats -- has no vision of a better world because these deeply philosophical foundations of left-wing politics have eroded over the last thirty years. Events like stagflation and the fall of the Soviet Union played a role in this, but, so, too, did a line of brilliant thinkers like Hayek, Friedman, Buchanan, Stigler, Lucas, Kydler, Prescott, Merton, Miller, Becker, Simon, and Coase, all of whom received Nobel Prizes for their now-accepted apostasies from left-wing orthodoxy. [...]
The need for progressive politics is greater than ever. Democrats can find solace in knowing that their problems are not self-inflicted and are present in similar form wherever the Left is to be found. But hope requires Democrats to acknowledge that the solutions will not be found in merely better rhetoric, but in slow-boring through the hard wood of philosophical retrenchment.
Well, the country certainly does need a strong two-party system. It's like an old Bill Mauldin cartoon from the 1940s had it: A couple of guys representing the Left And Right are standing in a rowboat, brandishing hand drills. "Yer a menace to society! It's me duty to sink your end of the boat!" So it's strongly to be hoped that the Democrats can find their way back, not to power, but to their senses. So long as their candidates continue getting brought up short by their Inner Peacenik in national defense matters, so long as they act like my money is really the government's money on extended loan, and so long as the party is spear-headed by the likes of Michael Moore, International A.N.S.W.E.R., and those who accept their presence without protest, they will do so minus my support.
But the Congressman is right: the Democrats are sifting through the detritus of a generation's worth of stale leftisms, looking for snappy focus-group slogans when they should be trying to find something of value. For all our sakes, let's hope they succeed.
Your First Things tie-in? Not this time. They tend to hammer on the abortion issue more than I care to, when the topic is "what's the matter with the Dems?"