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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Monday, February 05, 2007


Delegitimizing government

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 05, 2007 permalink View blog reactions
As a liberal, I believe that the collective power of government, when harnessed and directed properly and restrained by transparency and Constitutional safeguards, is not a positive force for change and uplift. In fact I believe that use of that force is a moral imperative. This of course places me squarely at odds with Reagan-Goldwater conservatism, as I understand it.

This is why this article at RedState has me rather bemused. Titled, "the brain drain", it bemoans the tainted perception that the American public has of government service:

Bright, ambitious people always leave college looking for the best way to make a big splash in the world. And dreams of making the world a better place are a staple of idealistic youth. It's always interesting and illustrative to observe the ways these folks choose to go about it.

And the pattern reported in the FT article linked above is telling you that government is no longer the place to make a difference.

That FT article quotes an administrator at Princeton as saying,

“The common perception is that if you go into the private sector, you’re an economic entrepreneur, if you go into the non-profit sector you’re a social entrepreneur, but if you go into government, you’re a bureaucrat.”

Here we see the fruits of the conservative doctrine. The alternative is supposed to be the private sector, but since when did profit have a moral component? The route to maximum profit usually lies in the opposite direction from the common good. Settling for, perhaps, 75% of maximum profit and achieving some real, lasting change, is for some reason considered unthinkable and a betrayal of some core value.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.