Sunday, April 28, 2013

I think I’m turning liberal… I really think so

I was watching a remembrance of the Watergate affair on the Discovery Channel the other night.  It was a great show incorporating newsreels, interviews and film clips from “All the President’s Men”.  Among the commentators was Rachel Maddow who speculates that Richard Nixon would be considered a conservative Democrat by today’s standards.  It was Nixon, after all, who signed the EPA into existence.  Imagine a Republican doing that today. I think it may be fair to say that the country has become more conservative since Tricky Dick exited the national stage.

But, the reelection of Barack Obama suggests a counter trend.  Republicans and pundits offered lots of explanations (read excuses) of why Democrats held their ground in the last election, ranging from the Hispanic vote to women’s issues to gay marriage.  If you’re into statistics, you could use any of these examples to make that case.

However, I think a better explanation can be found in a demographic trend.  As of 2011, more than250 million Americans (nearly 80%) live in or near a major city. And, nearly all major cities, including four in Texas, voted Democratic in the last election.

So, do liberals move to the city or do cities make people liberal?  I am inclined to believe the latter.  As Josh Kron wrote in Atlantic magazine,The difference is [not where but] how people live: in spread-out, open, low-density privacy -- or … in-your-face population density and diverse communities …”.  In simple terms, if you live and work in a diverse environment you learn that we all have the same basic needs, the same joys and sorrows and the same desire to connect with our community.  It doesn’t really matter what color our skin is, where we come from or who we sleep with.

The urban environment tends to open you up.  So, the hard right dialog (about immigration, gay rights, birth control) that dominates today’s conservative politics drives urbanites and suburbanites into the arms of the Democrat Party. 

Liberal vs. liberal

There is a difference between the definition of the word liberal -- which can simplistically be defined as open to new ideas and willing to set aside traditional values – and Liberal as it describes a contemporary political philosophy. 

The model of Liberal government embraced by today’s Washington Democrats still reflects the 1930s New Deal and the 1960s Great Society.  Liberals are supposed to be progressive – forward looking.  So, why do they continue to embrace an 8-decade-old political philosophy?

Today’s urban young professionals are joining small, entrepreneurial companies.  The organizations are unstructured; the jobs require creative energy; and, success is based on either first mover advantage or superior execution. 

Contrast that with the early experiences of the Baby Boom generation.  We found job opportunities in large companies whose organizations were modeled on a military hierarchy that was embedded in our elders’ experience in WWII. 

Graduate schools of business reflect this transition as well.  If you went to the top B schools in the 60s, 70s and 80s, you were well prepared to work in the marketing department of Proctor & Gamble, the product planning group in one of Detroit’s Big 3 or the finance group of a big bank.

Today, nearly every top B school has a program that fosters entrepreneurship. 

What’s that got to do with liberalism?   Liberalism morphed into its 20th Century form driven by the abuses of large companies.  The movement gave rise to trade unions, a social safety net and government regulation.  Today’s hip, urban, liberal Millennial generation scoffs at the idea that the safety net will be there for them in their senior years and small entrepreneurial companies are unaffected by trade unions… and, they certainly don’t want to be regulated.

The 21st Century economy will drive changes to how we are governed.  Today’s urban youth will continue to be socially liberal.  But, they are unlikely to tolerate the downsides of an unsustainable model that has its roots in the experience of their great grandparents.  A generation of Americans that grew up with the Internet isn’t going to tolerate public institutions that operate on a 19th Century bureaucratic model. Nor will they tolerate a healthcare system that absorbs more and more of our national income without improving outcomes, a social safety net that will collapse of its own weight or an education system that doesn’t match graduates with jobs and careers.

Going forward, the national debate won’t be about spendthrift compassion vs. cold-hearted austerity.  It will be about developing a healthcare system that can care for our poor and elderly without bankrupting the country, restructuring education to deliver globally competitive graduates and ordered liberty that provides equal opportunity to all.

When that happens, I’ll be a liberal.



  1. What a pleasant way to start my Tuesday, John! That conversation has been going for a while, you just need to wade through the muck to find it.
    Hal Brody

  2. great article thanks !
    best regards,

  3. You're gonna catch some shit for this one.

    Great job!

  4. Bill Beckett • Fight it...

  5. Bernardette Enochian • NO..say it ain't so!!!
    Any more programs and there will be nobody left to pay for them!

  6. Ray Wach • Valuable thoughts, John, well written, as always. But I am not sure that I agree.

    "It will be about developing a healthcare system that can care for our poor and elderly without bankrupting the country, restructuring education to deliver globally competitive graduates and ordered liberty that provides equal opportunity to all."

    I don't think political debate is a discussion of issues as much as it is a chance to show off in front of the voters. A high school debate team is prepared to argue either side of whatever issue is presented to it; a successful politician is able to promote himself and his party on any issue. But of course, some issues are easier to work with than others -- one reason immigration reform has been so difficult is that there are no easy solutions, no "low hanging fruit" that politicians can use to build popularity.

    I agree completely that our demographic shift from a rural population to an urban population is fundamentally important, and I agree that the issues you mention are important to the country, but I think the political debate will always be primarily about the economy, with foreign policy as the first "target of opportunity"; complex issues like Heath Care and Education will come up when the community forces the politicians to take positions, but won't be primary for long. Politicians will always look for positions that gain them votes, not for positions that address problems.

  7. Ben Aton • OK, John ... I read your article, and it would take awhile to discuss each point ... but, one thing did strike a note:

    Let me ask this ... what exactly is this "cold-hearted austerity" that you refer to ? For example, if I don't know you and you don't know me, and we both go to Ruth's Chris ... is it cold-hearted austerity for me to expect you to pay for your own filet and scotch ? I don't think most people have a problem with wanting to help the poor and the elderly....where the debate lies is that many, myself included, are sick and tired of paying for the lazy...the lazy who have shown that their vote can be bought via free stuff; the lazy who have shown that they are willing to work a system that allows itself to be worked and spits out money like a popcorn machine.

    As for big "urban" centers ... you can have them. Nice places to visit ... but no way I am living there.

    Who will lead? Heck ... who's leading now ???

  8. Carrie Smith • John.....please say it isn't so!!!! : O

    "Going forward, the national debate won't be about spendthrift compassion vs. cold-hearted austerity. It will be about developing a healthcare system that can care for our poor and elderly without bankrupting the country, restructuring education to deliver globally competitive graduates and ordered liberty that provides equal opportunity to all."

    I say...."Going forward.....the only viable healthcare system comes from people taking responsibility for their own health, (as no 3rd party can ever keep you healthy), restructuring education to make parents/schools more accountable for their children's education and ordered liberty that can only present equal opportunity to all."

    If that happens (and you agree), you'll be a conservative!!!!! ; - )

  9. Phillip Parker • Insightful post on your blog, John. Having grown up in a small Montana town, but lived most of my adult life in an urban environment, it still amazes me how little rural and small town people understand that their concerns are often not the concerns of city dwellers, who comprise a larger and larger part of the electorate.

    Ben, I'd like to live in a small town, too, but I would have a hard time finding the same professional opportunities I found in an urban center. No matter what, the country will continue to urbanize and cities will carry more political weight.

  10. Ben Aton • I don't disagree, Phillip. I don't live where I want to live, either. I live where I do simply because it's where my job is, so I can support my family. I never really considered moving back to the country, not working, and getting all sorts of government freebies.

    I seem to recall awhile back reading that there was a targeted effort by some to instigate this move towards massive urban population and decrease rural population.

  11. Ray Wach • We live in the suburbs, both for work and schools for the kids, but as they finish college we've been looking more and more at the countryside, and I notice many people who are retired living in the places we admire. I suspect that there is a trend towards retiring to the country; people who no longer need to work, put the kids on the school bus, are looking for a lower cost of living, appreciate the quiet life and the outdoors more, are finding comfortable houses in rural areas.

    And: Congrats to John for sparking a discussion!

  12. Wow! It was just a breakfast meeting. But, look what happened while I was gone. Great comments, all.

    Let me respond in part to Ben and Carrie.

    The concept of the social safety net was originally advanced by Friedrich Hayek, the father of the Austrian school of economic thought, in his book The Road to Serfdom. It may be that using the term "cold-hearted austerity" is something of a lightening rod. However, that is the way the political debate sounds to many in this country.

    The idea that we can continue on the current course of spending and deficits is anathema to me and, I think, to most Americans. It may be that you think we should not have entitlement programs. If you fall into that category then we will have to agree to disagree.

    I believe that we must find a way to reform the healthcare system like it or not. Or to put it another way, we have to decide how much healthcare we can afford and how we're going to pay for it.

    If we can solve that problem, the rest of it will seem easy.

  13. Blake Huguenin • From my observations, liberals tend to be all about kittens, puppies, kiddies and unicorns. Their lives are difficult (mostly they live in cities) and they don't want to face reality and deal with the ugly details that make life work. Think about Obama's campaign slogans/buzz words - "Hope," Change," and "Forward." No substance, but they sound good. Liberal tend to focus on feel good social issues. It's rare to find a liberal that can articulate the details that make their liberalism work, and then it usually contains major financial flaws.

  14. John W. Stevens, Jr. • Good article John. Amazingly, I actually agree with a lot of what you said although I will take exception to some of the finer details as soon as I get the chance. I am on a project with little time at the moment. Perhaps tonight.

  15. Phillip Parker • Reforming health care is not just a matter of altruism, it's a matter of economic competitiveness. Nowhere else in the developed world do they spend as much money as we do for such mediocre results or does sickness or injury put one at risk for bankruptcy.

    If we can ever figure out why an MRI costs $1800 here and $180 in Japan, maybe we can start to solve that problem.

  16. Ben Aton • "Entitlement" ... that is another word that needs to go away ... or be called what it really is. Why is anyone "entitled" to food stamps?

    It's one thing to have a "safety" net for bona fide Down's Syndrome folks and elderly with no one to take care of them.

    It's perfectly fine to take 100% care of legitimately wounded and disabled vets.

    Why should a 18-60 year old person with nothing wrong with them other than laziness be "entitled" to anything?

    But ... I offer this ... and be honest ... how many people do you know on some form of VA disability ... and there is not a damn thing wrong with them directly related to military service? And of these people, I bet you see many of them in the gym on a regular basis.

    How many people do you personally know of that are flat-out milking SS Disability ... and there is not a damn thing wrong with them?

    If calling a spade a spade makes me "austere" ... then so be it.

    And good question on the MRI costs.

  17. @Ben. I agree with you on the semantic point as well as your perspective on reform. I have been trying to think of a better word than "entitlement". Got one?

    I might also point out that those of us who have been working and paying into SS and Medicare for all of our adult lives should think of those programs as something which we have earned.

  18. Ray Wach • I don't think that's correct, Philip. There are many places where MRI's just plain aren't available, or are only available for a much higher cost.

    My family has unfortunately learned quite a bit about medical costs in the last few years, and it's very easy to get a prescription for thousands of dollars' worth of medicine that may not be covered by medical insurance. Often these same medicines are available in other countries for a tenth of the price. But simply looking at the price tag on the bottle or the procedure doesn't tell you the true price.
    --When insurance covers part of the cost, that only means that the cost is spread out over more people or more monthly payments (and the insurance company takes their own profit, too).
    --When the medicine or procedure is modern, then the cost is more than just the materials and production, but also the development -- if no one will recover the huge investment in research, then no new medicines will be developed, and there are several areas (such as multiple sclerosis) where we need medical advances.
    --Many people receive care they can't afford; they have trouble paying their medical bills and the cost of this non-payment has to be balanced by higher charges to those who can pay. This means that there is an automatic "needs based" adjustment built into the system; those who can afford it pay more for their care than those who can't. Of course, it's far from perfect.

    Our system may not be great, but it works as well as it does because we have made it profitable for investors to provide care and to develop new medicines and procedures. Naturally, there are many small examples of things that are better in other countries, but overall I do not know another country where the citizens get the same quality of care at a lower cost, and I can think of many countries where there simply is no medical care comparable to ours. I have no idea how much of the medical technology world wide was developed here in the US, but I expect it is a large proportion -- meaning that without our profit-based system, medical care worldwide wouldn't be nearly as advanced as it is.

    I don't want to claim that our system doesn't need improvement, but I want to be very careful that we don't go changing things because some single part of someone else's system is more appealing than ours. Sure, I'd love to have nationalized health care for my family right now because we can't afford the care that we need, but I am not simple enough to think that would be a good solution for the country, or even that we could have the care we are getting today if we had nationalized our health care twenty years ago.

  19. Ben Aton • Sir, I'm not talking about seniors on SS and Medicare, and I'm pretty sure you know that.

    I'm talking the abundance of freeloaders, moochers, and fraudulent collectors that we have in this country.

    It can be amusing actually... this "entitlement" stuff ... one can pick up a newspaper and read how it's bad that a 20 year old has a "sense of entitlement" at job interviews and such.

    Turn a few pages....and there might be another article about a 30 year old demanding his/her entitlements....and this is a good thing that we must nurture and preserve.

  20. Ray Wach • John, I don't see why we couldn't replace "entitlement" with "the dole." There are certainly times when it is appropriate to help people, but there are far fewer times when it is appropriate for any of us to feel like we are entitled to that help; and changing the term would help all of us be better citizens.

    I agree, we should be able to think of medicare and social security as something we have earned, but they aren't defined that way. The definition is more important than our feelings.

  21. A few weeks ago, the NY Times published an article about a trucker who had lost his job and had applied for disability for his bad back. He said that he had become aware of job opportunities for which he was physically qualified. However, he didn't want to apply for fear of losing his disability payments.

    I think we can all agree that guy is taking advantage of a broken system. I also think we can all agree that SS and Medicare should be made financially sound and continue to support seniors who need them.

    The question, as in most of these matters, is where to draw the line.

    My blog post simply asserts that is one of the conditions on which conservatives and liberals might some day agree.

  22. When I go and visit my parents ... show up without my ice chest for a BBQ or fish fry or something ... and drink some of Daddy's cold Bud Light ... I am no longer going to say as I leave, "Thanks for letting me mooch off of you, Daddy." I should just say ... "Thanks for the entitlements, Pop ... keep'em cold for me!"

    @Ray ... something tells me that the Dole Corporation may not like the new suggested terminology. I think we should change it to "enTEATlements" ... with an emphasis on teat, of course, and just hope that nursing babies and mothers are not offended.
    By Ben Aton

  23. How can it be solved so long as those taking advantage of a broken system ... produce a significant number of votes for those politicians who allow that broken system to continue and grow...and so on and on....? No one on the dole is ever going to vote for someone who wants to get people off the dole and back to work. Case in point: the 2012 POTUS election.
    By Ben Aton

  24. Jason Jackson • Interesting thoughts. I would challenge a few of the claims:

    Re: do cities make people liberal or do liberals move to the city? Answer: Neither. Conservatives leave the city. Nor is the voting trends of urban v. rural & suburban voters a reflection of some utopian vision of diversity. These constituencies just have different interests. Urban voters tend to have greater need for government services. We don't need to disparage any groups motivations to legitimize of deligimize their voting behaviors.

    Re: Is Nixon's ideology evidence of the country becoming more conservative? Answer: No. The party's themselves are becoming more ideologically homogeneous. With the realignment of southern democrats into the Republican party and socially liberal northeast republicans into the democratic party, its increasingly unlikely that national candidates of either party will have ideologically mixed platforms.

  25. French Caldwell • John, I really like your commentary. It's really difficult to be both provocative and balanced, but you've got that ability.

  26. @French. Thanks for your kind remarks.

  27. @Jason. Great perspective. Although I am inclined to disagree with your first point, I find the second to be an interesting and likely POV.

  28. I am educated, I am financially successful, I own a home, and I don’t believe in throwing money at problems.

    I am also a Liberal.

    Most of my friends are also educated, financially secure, own homes, and don’t believe in wasteful spending. And they too, for the most part, are Liberals. To those who maintain that Liberals are all about kittens and the meaningless slogans of “Hope,” and “Change,” I say it’s time to turn off Fox News, leave your gated communiites, and open your eyes. That, or continue to slide, with your party, into irrelevancy.

    Nobody favors money being doled out to lazy, shiftless, slobs, anymore than they favor money being doled out to crafty, ethically-challenged bankers, lawyers, or CEOs. We’ve had plenty of both and yet, on reading many of the comments above, you’d think that bank bailouts, outrageous bonus programs, and unethical legal settlements have never occurred and that all our hard-earned money is being sucked out by lazy, foodstamp recipients, and welfare and healthcare abusers.

    If you’d like to examine a few prime examples of money being thrown down holes, shift your focus from the foodstamp line and take a look at our healthcare chasm or our “War on Drugs” crater. Both are failures. Healthcare today is run by for-profit insurance companies in the pockets of big pharma. On a per-capita basis, our overall costs are at least twice those of virtually every other first world nation – with results more in line with many third world nations. So what do we (especially Republicans) do? We bitch about high healthcare costs and we fight against the Affordable Health Care Act. We start unecessary wars and then we fight to reduce VA coverage for those who’ve served. If tomorrow, we replaced our current system with that of say, Denmark’s (or Germany’s, or Japan’s, or France’s, or Sweden’s, or Canada’s) we’d be instantly better off than we are.

    We’ve been fighting our War on Drugs for generations and by most every measure, we’ve lost (with the exception of the owners of private-sector prisons who gain with increasing incareration rates). We (again, especially Republicans) point fingers at drug-producing and drug-trafficing nations. And we fight any attempts to legalize and regulate drugs, forcing the continued escalation of drug prices and the resultant rises in crime and crime-fighting, and yet we cut back on drug treatment and drug education programs here at home where the demand for those drugs originates.

    Thanks John, we need more Liberals. Heck, we could use more Conservatives the likes of Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford!

    Bruce Scottow

  29. Towards the end of the blog, it states that the national debate will not be about spendthrift compassion vs. cold-hearted austerity.

    Well ... I cannot say to what extent ... but, I think it will eventually either be part of a serious debate ... or the cause of a major crisis of some sort when the teat completely runs dry.

    Go ahead and sign me up with Team Cold-Hearted Austerity....if I have to pick one side or the other. There does not appear to be any middle ground if Team Spendthrift Compassion's position is ... "hey, what's the big deal?... fraud happens....shhhh ... and P.S. pay even more fair share now....see you at the polls, suckers."
    By Ben Aton

  30. Phillip, I've wondered about that too; I can't really believe that there is a very large group of people who "vote their pocketbooks" so simply, who believe that the government is screwed up but they can get a hand-out so they are going to take what they can get while they can. I believe most voters decide how to vote based on what they sincerely believe is good for the country.

    However, that doesn't mean that their judgement is fair-minded. It seems clear to me that our welfare state is at least partly self-sustaining; when people have become used to government support, when they see their neighbors surviving on the dole, it is very difficult to convince them that government support isn't necessary or justified. And when bureaucratic government support is commonplace, then gaming the system becomes a minor crime, something to laugh at rather than an attempt to defraud the rest of us.

    In other words, I agree with you in detail that there aren't many deliberate scammers voting to abuse the system, but I disagree with your conclusion that voters are fair-minded about this; Ben is right: it will be very difficult to solve our wide-spread dependency on government support, and the broader that support is the more difficult it will be.
    By Ray Wach

  31. Arden Tom McClure • If you examine the US constitution, and the basic attitude of the founding fathers and whole direction of the US in history, it is both liberal and conservative at the same time. It is a conservative implementation of liberal ideas and ideals. So, the ideal American is a person oriented toward liberal ideas, who implements them conservatively. It is one of the ironies of being an American. And the basic reason why there is so much agreement between the two sides and willingness to accept the occasional changes in direction, which are only tacking back and forth (to sail into the wind).

  32. @Arden. Great comment. I must confess that I hadn't thought about it that way but I agree with your analysis.

  33. Stephen Padilla • Before writing yourself off as a liberal, check this out:

  34. @Stephen. That's very cool. I came out as a Centrist. I would have been surprised if I hadn't.

  35. Stratton Hicky - John, great thought provoking article, and like many others have said, crafted in a non-confrontational manner (tough to do with topics like this).

    There are so many flaws in our system that aren't (or shouldn’t be) linked to politics or labels, but are linked to how programs wind up being incentivized. Looking at Medicare is a prime example. We want health care for those that can't afford it and have paid into the system. But in attempting to do that we wound up incentivizing insurance companies, the drug industry, health care providers (in our capitalistic society), and sometimes even beneficiaries to find ways to maximize their own income/comfort, rather than really managing the program to provide what is proactive to minimize future health issues and then reasonable and responsive when health issues arise. The tendency toward greed is a hurdle that is embedded in both our society and human nature. Obviously I’m aware that not everyone or every company falls into these broad indictments, but our society certainly encourages both. Sadly, in retrospect, I remember a phrase uttered (although certainly not sanctioned by the staff) at my alma matter on occasion that may be the label for this broken incentive system… “You rate what you get away with.”
    If I had the silver bullet idea or new paradigm on how to correct this broken incentive process, and the foibles of human nature, I'd offer it/them up. Sadly, I do not.

  36. Bit long for a blog ... maybe a short-story or novelette.

    I'm very conservative and believe we're pretty much done. Doesn't the Watergate Scandal seem really tame ... almost quaint by comparison with the Clinton's selling our defense secrets to the Red Chinese for campaign contributions or the outrages coming from the Oh!Bama White House? How many died at Watergate? Nobody? Other than the fact it was a liberal newspaper and Nixon was a Republican (he'd be very close to a Democrat today with his economic ukases and Enemy's Lists), it probably wouldn't be front-page today. Obamacare is the final blow; it's a cuckoo's egg that is swelling. It will soon eat all the food the 'adopted parents' can bring and push the other, legitimate hatchlings out of the nest to die on the ground.

    The crash will come when concerned children realize that elderly parents cannot get dialysis (for example) because they are too old (economically unviable) ... even IF they want to (and can) pay for it out-of-pocket. Services will be rationed - too bad Republicans didn't warn us back in 2008 before Oh!Bama got elected on hot air and unfulfillable promises. By then, there won't be anything anyone can do except ... have a pre-death funeral party.

    They'll probably be rationing parties, too.

  37. In essence, urbanization fosters co-dependency, which in turn, causes people to look to others to meet their basic needs, whether food production, health care, security or income. "Turning Liberal" is natural when you have not the means or the desire to meet your own needs.
    By Ryan Toole, CRE

  38. An interesting conversation... It's hard not to presume liberal guilt facing off against conservative indifference. The truth lies somewhere outside the debate. As Americans, we fail to take care of our own, to extend compassion regardless of circumstance. The liberal policy agenda is as equally bankrupt as the conservative. Government can provide, but it can never show compassionate regard. Those who suggest the nature of social problems are assuaged by government provision abrogate their personal responsibility (and their guilt) to care for others, to appreciate the "otherness" of someone of different circumstances. The contrasting conservative viewpoint equally rejects government provision and compassion in assessing blame. Strange that we should invest so much energy in debating which ideology is the least ineffective. Kindest Regards-
    By Patrick Grage

  39. Mr. Calia, there is one thing regarding your choice of words, and Mr. Manning's correct assessment. Considering that the song is about masturbation, are you saying that liberals are wankers? ;-)
    By Stephen Padilla

  40. @Stephen. No, actually I was thinking of bloggers when I wrote it. And, now that I have read the responses, I am thinking it might apply to this group. :-D

  41. "Interdependency" fosters individuals' working together and development of an economic system past individual survival. I would rather have a trained doctor caring for my emergency surgical needs than being off-grid in a bunker w/local hunter/gatherer types. Co-dependency is a term of manipulation within a relationship involving unhealthy behaviors. There are many economic systems involving interdependency that may or may not be supportive of an individual's well-being in a community. Check out the "communitarian" approach which has been evolving for many years informally and is the well-recognized system of people developing relationships and caring for each other within an economic and social system. It has been formalized and implemented in various locations within USA to serve as an alternative to dependence on a paper currency for services/benefits.
    Poverty with its dearth of options/benefits is an accident of birth. Providing the framework for healthy development and opportunity to receive rewards for investment of time and energy(work) pays off. It has nothing to do with liberal or conservative.
    The LDS religious system is communitarian because members(ONLY) have access to basic requirements of food, clothing, et al and support to become productive members of the society. And, in political terms I can't think of a more "conservative" group.
    By Ida Duplechin, MBA, MEd

  42. @Ida. I love your observation as well as your deconstruction of the common language we apply to this debate.

    I wrote about communitarianism in a blog titled "Adam Smith: Communitarian" a couple of years ago. Here's a link:

  43. Ryan Toole, CRE • As I said, "Co-Dependency". Urbanization (and its attendant barriers to self-reliance) encourages a social dynamic that goes beyond viable economic interdependency. Millions of "liberals" now seem to expect that someone else is going to take care of them, no matter the cost.

  44. @Ryan. You could call communitarianism "co-dependency". However, the concept of community has always relied upon government, commerce and community standards to create the common good. Again, I have written about this in a post titled "How Would Jesus Vote? Collectivist or Objectivist?"

  45. Julia Shozen • This is an interesting discussion.
    Basically most people eat and survive thanks to a network of many workers to get food to the table in urban homes and apartments. Very few people can own a farm and grow their own food anymore. "Little House on the Prairie" was a romantic historically based story useful for teaching young children the self sufficient values of frontier life. I appreciate the current farmer's market movement that connects urban dwellers to their local food sources, opening up a wider community awareness of their local farmers, fishers, artisan bakers, cheese makers, and so on who grow, catch or process their food.

  46. Michael Khoury • John, I don't think that that people are changing dramatically, but I do believe that the specturm is changing. When I talk about politics with my kids, I sometimes describe it not as a right-left specturm, but more as a circle. (After all, when you look at the extremes, there is very little difference between facism and totalitarian communism.) My politics had always been classified moderate Republican, at least through the 1980's. In Michigan, we call it being a Milliken Republican, after the moderate approach by a former governor. While my views on policy have stayed fairly consistent, the circle of policy has turned dramatically so that people with my views are now classified as solidly Democrat. It is disconcerting to me that policies that have been standards within the moderate wing (fiscal conservatism and social pragmatism) are now classified as our of the mainstream and not welcome in the Republican Party. If the talking heads were honest, they would even say that Ronald Regan would be too liberal for them today. I am not sure where we go from here as a society, although I can always hope.

  47. Fascinating read, and all true. And also not all true. Which is the point to some extent? You know.. the beauty in the eyes of the beholder and all that. One post that struck was 'no way' would the person live in an urban setting. And there are thee no-ways would others live out-there. Thank goodness for both. As for my personal placement on the scale.... I am bi-polar. Conservative and Liberal (in the political realm) depending on the issue, and conservative and liberal (in the learning realm) depending on the issue. A real shades-of-greyer. As for who is leading? We are. By our involvement or by our apathy.

  48. As a pre-Millennial Baby Boomer entrepreneur who watched the Democrats during Watergate era, I offer a different opinion to your question; "do liberals move to the city or do cities make people liberal?"

    I believe cities make liberals much more than cities attract liberals, as you do.

    However you stated the reason was "if you live and work in a diverse environment you learn that we all have the same basic needs, the same joys and sorrows and the same desire to connect with our community. It doesn’t really matter what color our skin is, where we come from or who we sleep with."

    This behavior you attributed to liberalism creation. Again I can agree.

    However on the question of growth of liberalism in larger city centers, I believe you made a cause-effect link, where there may be a simplier reason why city centers make liberals in the USA.

    I could be that if you are in a large densely occupied area you are the more you would like to externalize daily services connections. In the case the government and with the limited choices liberalism. 2013 Relevant questions become:

    1. why do city centers grow, if the world is flat?

    2. what the true social cost of commuting?

    3. What is really sustainable as social services continue to break down?

    4. why do city centers need to exist anymore?

    5. how has this question been documented in the past?

    6. How can you show personal leadership today?