Phyllis Schlafly speaking at CPAC in Washington DC, 2011 © Gage Skidmore | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

Phyllis Schlafly and Donald Trump: not-so-strange bedfellows

Phyllis Schlafly’s conservative manifesto, A Choice, Not an Echo, has a quote on the cover that is as fresh today as when it was first published in May 1964. Under a picture of the author (in perfectly styled hair and two strings of pearls) a caption promises to tell “the inside story of how American Presidents are chosen.” Comparing GOP leaders to Paris couturiers who “brainwash” unthinking female consumers, she revealed in the introduction that the presidential nominating process had been stolen from the people. Between 1936 and 1960, she wrote, “a few secret kingmakers based in New York selected Republican presidential nominees…and successfully forced their choice on a free country where there are more than 34 million voters.”

As Donald Trump’s unexpected electoral strength potentially leads  …

READ MORE →
Hungary vs. Refugees © Michael Gubi | Flickr
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Orbán’s Politics of Fear and Hatred in Hungary

On a European nation's far-right response to the refugee crisis

Although the position on the migrant issue put forward by the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, is morally hard to digest, many people think it is nevertheless the only way to save Europe from the flood of masses that threatens to destabilize the continent. I dispute this opinion. In addition to the moral issues it presents, Orbán’s plan for Europe is doomed to end in disaster. …

READ MORE →
Bush on campaign in 1988 © David Amsler | Flickr
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

The “Moderate” Contribution to Campaign Extremism

Going back in conservative history

Not content to run John Boehner out of office, the most extreme members of the Republican caucus tried to scuttle plans to elect Randian conservative Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House because they found Ryan too “left wing” for their tastes. “Do you know how crazy this election is?” …

READ MORE →
Edmund Burke, bastion of authority © Mike Rawlins | Flickr
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionTheory & Practice

You Say You Don’t Want a Revolution

Conservatism, radicalism, and democracy in 2015

The New York Times’ David Brooks has long been the conservative that liberals hate to love (or at least like). It is easy to see why. Brooks accepts the possibility of reasonable disagreement with the likes of liberals such as Mark Shields or E.J. Dionne, is rarely shrill, and seems to acknowledge the idea that argument and civil discourse are important aspects of a pundit’s professional life on any point of the spectrum. He is, if nothing else, “genteel” …

READ MORE →
...or does it? © Elvert Barnes | Flickr
CapitalismEssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & GenderThe Left

Another New Kind of Marriage

Has fiscal conservatism found a partner in gay rights?

On Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision guaranteeing the right of same-sex couples to marry in every state in the nation. This landmark case concludes just as another marriage is crumbling: the marriage between anti-gay politics and fiscal conservatism.

Since the 1980s, Americans have grown accustomed to a national-level political discourse juxtaposing the buzzwords free marketssmall government, and family values ...

READ MORE →
Police guarding the entrance to the Supreme Court on the date of the marriage equality rally © Elvert Barnes | Flickr
Liberal Democracy in QuestionSex & Gender

Is marriage equality a conservative victory?

Obergefell and the Enduring Legacy of Family Values

Like many gay people, I found out about the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right through text messages from friends and family members. People from all across the country wrote or called to congratulate my husband and me, expressing optimism for what the court’s decision revealed about American acceptance. Having been legally married in both New York State and the United Kingdom for over two years, my husband and I both felt the gravity of the decision and the impact it would have on many people’s lives …

READ MORE →