Friday, November 5, 2010

My Political Philosophy

My political philosophy is rooted in two, seemingly conflicting ideologies - progressive liberalism and constitutional conservatism. Born in the Soviet Union, I have a deep respect and appreciation for the simple power and potential of human freedom, paired with an enduring suspicion of attempts to direct the lives of human beings through vast, poetic schemes at coercive social engineering. Endowed with a fine sensitivity to nascent illiberal thought, I have little patience for the desires of closet Marxists and aspiring Baathists to destroy more human lives.

The best of Soviet children's propaganda instilled in me a sense of fundamental equality among peoples, irrespective of skin color, faith or origin (except Germans, whose blood we all knew, growing up, to be green, or blue, depending on who I asked at the playground). I therefore feel innate revulsion at the racial identity politics practiced by American Democrats, and the shallow vanity of feel-good, do-little systems of government directed compassion they have created, which refuse results-based accountability even after decades of heaping failure upon failure - chief among them institutionalizing generational poverty among minorities while multiplying the ranks of costly, stifling bureaucracy. This unfortunate record is balanced on the progressive liberal side by an inspired general openness to new ideas, intellectual curiosity, honesty and rigor, along with a basic tolerance of non-conformist eccentricity, be it religious, cultural or personal.

The US Constitution is a document of immense wisdom and courage, as fine a balance of pragmatism and passion as anything ever written. America's Founding Fathers drafted this wonder of ingenuity by drawing on ancient and contemporary models of government, their faith in G-d, pragmatic life experience and also, being highly learned men, by skillfully employing the finest humanist ideas of the Enlightenment. It is with intense discomfort, then, that I approach a resilient vein of populist anti-intellectualism emanating from within the ranks of American Republicans. Disdainful of the European political class system, I find value in the potential for simple citizens to reach for and invigorate the heights of American political power. Yet, nothing is less conducive to good governance as self-justified dogma, starved of critical reason and impermeable to experience. Short these defects, constitutional conservatism, grounded in human liberty, limited government and free market capitalism, remains a mainstay of my political identity.

On My Bookshelf