Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Book Review: THe Conscience of a Liberal

Thanks Adam! 4.5/5.0

http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/krugmanbook.jpghttp://static.crooksandliars.com/files/uploads/2008/11/krugmanbig1012_08409.jpg

It's awfully refreshing to read a book by a liberal who doesn't seem deeply ashamed of the things he or she believes in, and who does not find it necessary to moderate or qualify his criticisms of the conservative opposition.

Krugman's book is a large scale economic history of the American 20th century. He compares the increasing economic disparity of the past 30 years to what he terms the "long gilded age"- a period stretching from the end of the Civil War to the New Deal. Periods defined by oligarchical monied interests, ethically bankrupt, exploiting popular fears of artificial social and ethnic divisions in order to maintain their position. In both periods the conservative ruling classes exploited these fears to such a degree that any liberals seeking power were forced to run on modified or watered down tickets (Cleveland in the 19th century, Kerry today).

He maintains that In essence, the liberal parties of the twentieth and twenty-first century are the true conservatives, in that they seek to maintain long-standing institutions that protect and support the individual. While conservatives are radicals, seeking to roll back these institutions and return the United States to the pre-New Deal (and even pre-Teddy Roosevelt) period of no oversight and total business rule.

He supports a social welfare state along the European model, and expertly defends these positions to the typical right-wing attacks.

He's definitely to my right, but its still nice to see a Democrat who genuinely believes in things.

5 comments:

RLBO said...

I'm curious,
what specifically does he argue that is to the right of your views?

alfa foxtrot said...

I'm curious,
what's with his beard/hair. i disagree wholeheartedly.

ben said...

I think he has a little more faith in the potential of the free market than I do. Given current reality, his positions are the ones that pragmatically I would support, but I think that philosophically I agree with him but just sort of...a little more so...a little more regulation, even higher taxes on top wages, that sort of thing.

kevtron said...

i really like all of his hair.

the liberal/conservative labels are generalized, and, usually inaccurate. i'd agree with Krugman in that those on the left are the true conservatives. those "Conservatives" (old white males, usually) are the ones insisting that the Old Ways are best. I can't wait until they're all dead.

what's more, now that Obama's in office, the term Progressive has been co-opted by the Democratic party.

are we radicals yet?

Candypants said...

did u really read that book? it sounds BORING