Thursday , August 13 2020
Home / Scott Sumner /Progressivism goes off the rails

Progressivism goes off the rails

Summary:
Here’s Tyler Cowen: But what struck me most of all was how much the “Old New Left” — whatever you think of it — had more metaphysical and ethical and aesthetic imagination — than the New New Left variants running around today. Bob Dylan wrote My Back Pages at age 23.  Here are a few stanzas: Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth“Rip down all hate,” I screamedLies that life is black and whiteSpoke from my skull. I dreamedRomantic facts of musketeersFoundationed deep, somehowAh, but I was so much older thenI’m younger than that now . . . A self-ordained professor’s tongueToo serious to foolSpouted out that libertyIs just equality in school“Equality,” I spoke the wordAs if a wedding vowAh, but I was so much older thenI’m younger than that now In a soldier’s stance, I

Topics:
Scott Sumner considers the following as important: ,

This could be interesting, too:

Scott Sumner writes Is utilitarianism WEIRD?

David Henderson writes Walter Block Defends His Academic Freedom

Pierre Lemieux writes Some Reflections on Reparations for Slavery

David Henderson writes The Mob Lost and the System Won

Here’s Tyler Cowen:

But what struck me most of all was how much the “Old New Left” — whatever you think of it — had more metaphysical and ethical and aesthetic imagination — than the New New Left variants running around today.

Bob Dylan wrote My Back Pages at age 23.  Here are a few stanzas:

Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
“Rip down all hate,” I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull. I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

. . .

A self-ordained professor’s tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
“Equality,” I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

In a soldier’s stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I’d become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now . . .

This seems to speak to the current moment—read the whole set of lyrics.  (And how does someone get that wise at age 23?)

It occurs to me that you could put together a 10-page essay composed of almost nothing but quotes from Dylan, Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, etc., and in the end get accused of being the worst kind of reactionary.  That’s an indication that one segment of the left may have lost its compass.

Over at Law and Liberty, Henry Edmondson has a nice essay on this and a few other Dylan songs. Highly recommended.

PS.  No need for commenters pointing out that the conservative movement has also lost its bearings, drifting into nationalism.  I’ve discussed that in other posts.

Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment". In May 2012, Chicago Fed President Charles L. Evans became the first sitting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to endorse the idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *