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  • Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism

    Barack Obama calls himself a “progressive” or “liberal,” and we should take him at his word. He had the distinction of being the most liberal member of the United States Senate when he ran for President in 2008. The title had been conferred by National Journal, an inside-the-Beltway watchdog that annually assigns Senators (and Congressmen) an ideological rank based on their votes on economic, social, and foreign policy issues.

    But what does it mean anymore to be a liberal?

    Charles R. Kesler reveals the answer in his latest First Principles Essay, “Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism.”

    Modern liberalism, he argues, spread across the country in three powerful waves, interrupted by wars and by rather haphazard reactions to its excesses. Each wave of liberalism featured a different aspect of it—call them, for short, political liberalism, economic liberalism, and cultural liberalism—and each deposited on our shores a distinctive type of politics—the politics of progress, the politics of entitlements, and the poli­tics of meaning.

    These waves were so powerful that the 20th century can be described as the liberal century. But there’s another complicating factor: Liberalism is in crisis.

    This kind of crisis is probably not their favor­ite kind—an emergency that presents an opportunity to enlarge govern­ment—but one that will find liberal­ism at a crossroads, a turning point. Liberalism can’t go on as it is, not for very long. According to Kesler, it faces difficulties both philosophical and fiscal that will compel it either to go out of business or to become something quite differ­ent from what it has been.

    What will it mean to be a liberal then?

    To find out more, read Charles R. Kesler’s latest First Principles essay, adapted from I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism.

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism

    1. Shane says:

      The crisis of Liberalism was stated by Margaret Thatcher about Socialism – "Sooner or later you run out of other people's money." In the USA and in Europe there is just not enough money to pay for the entitlements which liberals have promised the people. This is especially true in American cities where the Democrats have promised such generous entitlements to union employees that they are bankrupting the cities.

    2. steve h says:

      Liberty and Progress is a good thing. Progress means moving forward. Slow and steady progress. That is ideal. Instead, conservatives want to keep things the way they always have been, without learning and building upon what has been learned. We can't stay stagnant, we must progress to get better.

      • Stirling says:

        Liberty is a good thing, but progress to "progressives" does not include the constitution (as written), but more an ever evolving one (European Style) which has no such freedoms.. (only government central planners deciding you life.)

        The truth is that our "founders" constitution is timeless because it provides personal freedoms for everyone to do as they wish (not limited by government.) thus not "Stagnant." Only an opressive government becomes "Stagnant" due to the lack of freedom for it's people.

    3. Stirling says:

      The next step one can say would be "one world government," without individual soverignty of nations.. This is what the "Open Society" which George Soros pushes (and funds most of the organizations targeting America). Consider the Administrations UN push to tax americans directly.. (in Dick Moris book – Black helicopters.) They have already put the groundwork/framework in to move to it., Agenda 21, and many other UN centered programs are the Utopia of the Liberal progressives, and should be seen as a threat to everyones freedom worldwide. Undoing the damage will mean unplugging and breaking treaties, which I hope our country has the strength to do (if it comes to pass.)

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