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The Shame of Old Ideas

Today the focus is on "political economy".  Today's Chicago Tribune has a commentary by Jonah Goldberg entitled "Not much 'new' about Obama".  Goldberg makes the point, with which I agree, that Obama's proposals for "change" if he is elected are not new, but are based on ideas that go back to the beginning of the twentieth century.  Politically the proposals hark back to Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom Obama hails in his book, The Audacity of Hope.  But even for Roosevelt the ideas were not new having there germ in the administration of Woodrow Wilson, in which Roosevelt participated.  More importantly, Goldberg identifies the philosophical basis for these "old" ideas in the writings of John Dewey, who rejected the notion of "natural rights and natural liberties" as "mythological".  Goldberg makes Dewey's approach even more explicit when he says:
"Dewey proposed that statism be taught as a kind of civic religion in our schools so that Americans could be raised to see the government as the solution to all of our problems."
While Obama is not alone in championing this message, the whole Washington crowd - Republicans and Democrats alike - has been practicing this statist religion for many years.  That the ideas are being touted as something "new" and accepted as such is just a shame.

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November 2017


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