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The Emptiness of Adam Gopnik’s Liberalism | The New Republic
Scathing takedown, with details, of the aging baby boomer's take on liberalism: no radical moves, take it easy, the founding fathers though racist, were OK. Cautionary about whitewashing history and not making sudden moves.

Gopnik judges political positions not by the substance of their arguments, but on a scale from childish and dangerous (radicalism of all types) to grown-up and responsible (moderate reformism). Gopnik’s liberalism is first of all a sensibility based on the “psychological principle” that people are many-sided, internally conflicted, and usually wrong, thus “incremental cautious reform is likely to get more things right than any other kind.”

Gopnik: “Whenever we look at how the big problems get solved, it was rarely a big idea that solved them,” he writes. “It was the intercession of a thousand small sanities.”

“The primacy of the public sphere isn’t just an abstraction of a German philosopher dreaming of a French café. It’s what stopped crime in the South Bronx.”

Like this one, Gopnik’s efforts to give his argument empirical flourishes are random, sloppy, and unpersuasive. But even in the philosophical clouds, where he would clearly prefer to stay, his claims are riddled with tensions.

he seems unable to shake the Berlin consensus, preoccupied with irrationality of the human heart that politics can only contain, never satisfy.

Gopnik summarizes the arguments of various types of “authoritarians” that liberalism is not good at providing clear order and symbolic identity. Though he ultimately rejects such claims, he empathizes with their presentation of liberalism as narrowly rationalistic and procedural, ultimately unable to address real questions of social meaning. “The realm of affairs in which questions of government, good and bad, can speak to us is extremely limited.”

He concludes that “tragic authoritarians”—generally right-wing, anti-modernist philosophers—are a bit too pessimistic, but that they have correctly described the human condition, doomed to a certain amount of defeat and disappointment. “Even the most compassionate program of egalitarian reform inevitably ends up against the limits of being human.” While Gopnik intends such concessions as a kind of eclectic absorption of every position’s strongest insights, he doesn’t seem to realize he is taking on board deeply pessimistic premises that cut against the sunny moral teleology of his liberal reformism.

Liberalism trumpets universal human rights, but class hierarchy at home and an imperial hierarchy of nations abroad prevent a great number of people from exercising those rights; it’s hypocritical to argue for equal rights without attempting to remove the political and economic inequality that undermine the whole project. “Liberal reform is pious,” Gopnik writes, “until it runs up against the limits of what it won’t, or can’t, reform, which is the governing system of exploitation and oppression. It sends that out freely to everyone too weak to resist.” Left-wing propagandists might even borrow a few of his pithy formulations of their views: Liberalism “doesn’t just export its atrocities; it exports its exploitations and then brings back the profits to support the supposedly liberal arts.”

rather than seek meaningful explanations, he falls back on ahistorical platitudes: “Strongman politics and boss-man rule, in simplest form, is the story of mankind,” he sighs. “So rather than search for the special circumstances that make it rise … we should accept the truth that it can always rise, that the lure of a closed authoritarian society is one permanently present in human affairs.”

The climate crisis, more than anything, has highlighted the inadequacy of the liberal orthodoxy’s self-congratulatory moderation and celebration of glacial incrementalism. It poses, in stark terms, the need for dramatic action and the inescapability of confronting the powerful interests behind the deadly carbon economy.

“There is a tragic rule of twenty-first century life, a rule of double amnesia,” he writes, gearing up for one of his dubious historical declarations. “The right tends to act as though the nineteenth century never happened, while the left tends to act as though the twentieth century never took place.” No century is Gopnik’s strong suit, but like most defenders of the status quo he has a particular difficulty seeing the twenty-first.
politics  liberals  liberalism  democrats  babyboomers  history 
6 weeks ago by emmacarlson
California’s housing bills failed—and so did California’s lawmakers - Curbed LA
"Democrats hold a supermajority—but failed to exercise any of their power to fix the housing crisis"

[See also:

"“I Got Mine”" Like college debt and climate change, the housing affordability crisis is generational warfare."

"California Democrats “Dropped the Ball” on Housing Package"

"America’s Cities Are Unlivable. Blame Wealthy Liberals.: The demise of a California housing measure shows how progressives abandon progressive values in their own backyards."

"The revenge of the suburbs: Why California’s effort to build more in single-family-home neighborhoods failed" ]
alissawalker  2019  california  losangeles  sanfrancisco  housing  democrats  politics  economics  fauxgressives  inequality  realestate  propoition13  gavinnewsom  farhadmanjoo  henrygrabar  nimbyism  anthonyportantino  diegoaguilar-canabal  liamdillon  sb50  nimbys  generations  boomers  babyboomers 
6 weeks ago by robertogreco
To Boldly Go Where No Startup Has Gone Before: The American Dream of Home Ownership
Shared equity products from Unison, Hometap and Point are changing that by providing consumers with a way to monetize their home equity with no cost until they choose to sell their home.[3] Here too they take the risk of the home value increasing and decreasing. It’s hard to overstate how helpful this product can be to millions of Americans who face the poor choice of selling their home to free up equity or taking on more debt to pay for large expenses. For asset-rich-cash-poor retirees, shared equity will become a critical, consumer friendly way to address their retirement gap.
6 weeks ago by samhuleatt
Javad Hekmat-panah:“Elderly”—an outdated and potentially harmful term - The BMJ
These technologies improved quality of life and increased life expectancy from 47.3 years in 1900 to 78.7 years in 2010.[5] They have benefited every age group, yet it is the “elderly” alone who have been made the targets of calls for healthcare rationing in order to curb these costs.

My suggestion that we avoid the term elderly in medicine goes beyond the word itself to encompass all that it connotes: stereotypes, unwarranted impressions, and bias. This is essentially a human rights issue.
9 weeks ago by samhuleatt
Miami ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for best city for home buyers and is No. 3 for , according t…
GenerationX  BabyBoomers  from twitter_favs
10 weeks ago by MIAwaterfront

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