Table of Contents by Web Address

http://www.conservative-resources.com/ .................................................................................... 1 definition-of-bias.html ........................................................................................................................ 2 principle-of-charity.html ............................................................................................................... 6 right-wing-vs-left-wing.html ............................................................................................................ 8 definition-of-fascism.html .............................................................................................................. 14 definition-of-totalitarianism.html .......................................................................................... 16 definition-of-theocracy.html .................................................................................................... 18 definition-of-anarchy.html ............................................................................................................. 20 idealist.html ..................................................................................................................................... 21 fanatic.html ...................................................................................................................................... 24 definition-of-conservative.html ................................................................................................... 25 definition-of-liberal.html ........................................................................................................... 30 liberal-vs-conservative.html..................................................................................................... 34 definition-of-libertarian.html ....................................................................................................... 35 foreign-policy.html ............................................................................................................................ 40 definition-of-economics.html........................................................................................................ 46 definition-of-capitalism.html ................................................................................................... 49 definition-of-socialism.html ..................................................................................................... 52 definition-of-communism.html ............................................................................................... 56 capitalism-vs-socialism.html .................................................................................................... 62 capitalism-vs-communism.html ............................................................................................. 63 capitalism-vs-socialism-vs-communism.html .................................................................. 65 definition-of-ideology.html ............................................................................................................ 66 edmund-burke-quotes.html .......................................................................................................... 68 endnotes-conservative-book-recommendations.html ...................................................... 72

P.S. O’Sullivan, 1

Introduction
This site was created both as an introduction to conservatism and as a reference guide to politics. My aim in writing the essays that follow is to provide a clarification of political terms as I understand them, and to critically examine the ideas that lie behind them. Ultimately, I have tried to create the sort of site I wish I had found when I first began to explore my own political identity. This site is meant to be used as either a starting point or as one perspective among many. Ultimately, your task in this world is not to blindly accept the ideas of others but to discover your own. The definitions provided here are not meant to be taken as absolute, timeless truths. When defining anything, it is wise to keep in mind a story about the ancient philosophers Plato and Diogenes. Plato, imagining himself quite clever, once defined a human being as a "featherless biped." Upon hearing Plato's definition, Diogenes the Cynic plucked the feathers off of a rooster, took it to Plato's school, and declared, "Here's Plato's human being!" (Plato later revised his definition to include broad, flat fingernails.) Democracy is hard work. To live in a democracy means we must all be philosophers, well-versed in a variety of subjects. Hopefully, this site will be of some use to you as an educational resource. But don't take my word for anything; if a mind as massive as Plato's was fallible, how much more so is my own? Check out other sites, keep informed with reputable news sources, read good books, and form your own opinions. As Kant says, "Dare to know!" If you're new to politics, I would suggest that you begin your journey by reading, What is bias? and then proceeding to the Table of Contents, which is organized as an F.A.Q. for your convenience. Whatever your goal and whatever your politics, welcome! -Patrick Sean O'Sullivan

P.S. O’Sullivan, 2

The Definition of Bias
[1] If you think you understand the definition of bias, you should ask yourself the following question: Am I biased? If you answered no, like the vast majority of people are inclined to, this section was written specifically for you. If, on the other hand, you answered yes, there is nothing to be gleaned from this essay that you don't already know, and you should proceed to the Table of Contents. [2] Bias is perhaps the most widely misunderstood word in the English language. At the root of the misunderstanding is the naive notion that there is such a thing as impartiality or objectivity. In the history of humankind, there has never lived a truly impartial soul, nor will such a person ever exist. To be biased is to be human. [3] What is the definition of bias? Bias is simply each person's unique predisposition of how to see the world. It is our own prejudice in thinking when we are confronted with new events. [4] To entirely escape these predispositions is impossible. We are born inherently biased. Much of our psychology is governed by the powerful, primal urges of the subconscious mind, such as the libido or the survival instinct. Indeed, the mere desire to continue breathing is itself a bias; there may, after all, be someone else predisposed to killing us and we certainly do not hesitate to identify that person's bias. [5] But our biases extend far beyond our most basic programming such as the will to live or the desire for sex. Our entire brain is built upon biases, derived from our experiences, and these experiences physically imprint themselves upon who we are by forming neural connections in the brain called synapses. Our entire way to think is a kind of biological bias, and our predispositions are a large part of who we are. [6] Put bluntly, the idea that anyone is beyond bias is at best intellectually fraudulent and at worst philosophically dangerous.

The Media's Definition of Bias
[7] When we hear the word bias in the media, it is charged with negative emotion. The mere pronunciation of the word by journalists is telling, for it is a word not so much spoken as seethed or spat. Opinions, ideas, and even people are routinely dismissed out of hand in the media as biased, and the charge is so powerful as to effectively stifle any and all intellectual debate. [8] At the root of such behavior is a particularly crude definition of bias, that can only be described, in Nietzsche's words, as "human, all too human." Indeed, the fundamental faith of the journalist is the faith in opposite values.1 The media's crude definition of bias is actually a perverted form ethics, which defines only the opinions one disagrees with as biased (and by extension evil, though that word is never

P.S. O’Sullivan, 3 used), whereas one's own differing opinions are necessarily the opposite, which is to say, unbiased and good. [9] This sleight of hand is perhaps the greatest magic trick ever performed, for the intellectual Houdinis of modern journalism (on both the right and left) have managed to make their own biases disappear while distracting their audience with the biases of others. Their definition of bias by necessity includes the most egregious, extreme, and obviously unjust forms of bias, such as racism, sexism, and homophobia, but also more dangerously includes the ideology and partisanship from whichever side of the political aisle happens to oppose them. [10] Fox News' slogan "fair and balanced", for example, has been widely mocked by the other news networks who dismiss Fox's bias as right wing, which of course it is. This criticism is naturally aimed at promoting their own left-leaning networks over that of Fox. But what is troubling, and typical of the media, is the strategy employed here. Their criticism is not, "Fox's bias does not reflect the beliefs of most Americans, but our bias does." Rather, their criticism is "Fox's bias does not reflect the beliefs of most Americans, so watch our networks instead which aren't biased at all." [11] This claim of being beyond all prejudice, which is completely contrary to the very definition of bias, is common to all news networks and newspapers. Fox itself makes no attempt to be honest about its bias, and was even willing to sue when its "fair and balanced" slogan was satirized. Media enterprises to the left of Fox are equally vociferous in proclaiming their own neutrality, like CNN which declares itself "the most trusted name in news." [12] But why is the notion of bias such anathema to the media? Why are they so intent on denying their biases? Why don't they employ the principle of charity? [13] The definition of bias presented here is a natural one based upon the most rudimentary common sense. And yet, everything inside the heart of the journalist viciously resists any admission of personal bias, however natural. To understand why, one must first understand the ethical view of the world peculiar to those in the media. [14] For journalists, the entire history of ethical thought can be condensed into a single idea from the Gospels: "Judge not, that ye be not judged."2 Every other ethical precept is dismissed as relative and irrelevant. Journalists devote an enormous amount of their time and energy to the pursuit of just two themes, which recur again and again in their reporting: the biases of the newsmakers they follow and those newsmakers' hypocrisies. For journalists, the act of judging and especially of prejudging is the sole sin. Their definition of bias is a definition of evil. [15] Of course, the words good and evil are never used, for in the journalist's mind evil is synonymous with bias, whereas good is a sort of detached neutrality. There are, astonishingly, no real concepts of good and evil in journalistic ethics; there is merely bias and neutrality.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 4

[16] This backward philosophy likely derives from the journalistic ideal, which for noble and obvious reasons, is neutrality in interpreting and reporting the news. And one should, of course, strive for ideals. But when one mistakes ideals for worldly truths, one's humanity is lost. As the poet William Blake put it, "Attempting to be more than Man we become less."3 [17] The journalistic definition of bias as the sole source of evil in the world is not merely absurd, but dangerous. The act of proclaiming oneself beyond bias is hubris tantamount to declaring oneself a god among men. It is, in essence, to flatly deny any fallibility and to elevate one's own opinions to the level of religious truth. [18] The fallacy in all of this, is that bias is not necessarily evil. Jesus himself was biased against the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and it is the fool indeed who dismisses the Gospels out of hand as biased bunk. Nor, for that matter, when Christ spoke those famous words about judging was he endorsing a relativistic view of the world; on the contrary, what he was protesting was the smug superiority of those who camouflage their own sins through criticism of others, much the way journalists hide their biases by exposing the predispositions of others that contradict their own. [19] Nor does bias necessarily make an opinion false. The journalistic myth that the truth is unbiased has done incalculable damage to the modern discourse and lowered the level of intellectual debate. Conservatives and liberals no longer argue matters on the merits of logic and the strength of arguments; rather, they construct sophisticated sophistries aimed at revealing their opponents' biases. The definition of bias, they believe, is simply to be wrong; to prove an enemy's bias is to prevail. [20] But the origin of an opinion neither confirms nor denies its validity; the truth is not unbiased. Slavery was not a reprehensible sin because slave-owners were biased; it was a sin because the human soul is free and any attempt to imprison or injure it is a crime against God. [21] Abraham Lincoln did not travel across Illinois to debate Stephen Douglas because his neutrality spurred him on; were he really so dispassionate and unbiased, he would not have had the motivation to continue breathing, let alone win the Civil War and free the slaves. Lincoln traveled across Illinois because he knew his own convictions and his own biases were right, and that when a man defends truth, he has both reason and God on his side. [22] Today there is no need for debate on slavery or racism; because of people like Lincoln, we are able to dismiss racist opinions as evil of the very worst sort. But while there are indeed biases which merit no debate, such as racism or sexism, we forget that the reason these need no debate is because they have been debated. Western civilization rightly rejects such biases because other, superior biases have replaced them.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 5 [23] Ultimately, the danger inherent in the current media discourse is that there will be no debate and our souls will be the poorer for it. Since the journalists and politicians of our age admit no bias, ideas are no longer considered on their merits but on their biases. Whereas Lincoln and Douglas dueled as virtuoso wordsmiths with facts as foils, the discourse of our age, which is almost exclusively limited to charges of bias, resembles a pair of chimpanzees flinging feces at one another. [24] In short, ours is an age that denies the definition of bias. If we were wiser, we would not ask about others, "Is this person biased?" but rather, "Are this person's biases logically and morally justifiable?" Exposed to such criteria, the good biases inevitably triumph over the evil.

2006

P.S. O’Sullivan, 6

The Principle of Charity
[1] A simple definition of the principle of charity is that arguments must be considered in their strongest and most persuasive formulations. [2] When we encounter new arguments, the principle dictates that we temporarily suspend our objections and focus on understanding all of the argument's complexities, nuances, and ambiguities. We attempt to repair contradictions in the argument under the assumption that our opponent is rational and that the contradictions in question may well be the fault of our own interpretation. The principle of charity is the Golden Rule of philosophical debate: We consider the arguments of others with the same care that we would have our own arguments considered. [3] In short, every argument we encounter we interpret to its own benefit. In doing so, we not only strengthen the arguments of our opponents but the veracity of our critiques. [4] The principle of charity carries an important corollary: When we put forward arguments of our own, we assume that our opponents are intellectually and morally capable of understanding our reasoning. Moreover, we do everything in our power to furnish truth in as clear and straightforward a fashion as circumstances allow. [5] Why is this so important? Ideology—by which I do not refer to conservatism or modern liberalism—frequently presumes precisely the opposite, namely that most people cannot recognize truth due to their inherent biases. The ideologue is a person who claims to be beyond all bias and therefore, infallible. Of course, the truth itself is not unbiased! [6] If, for example, a CEO argues against government interference in corporate pay structures, the principle of charity demands that we consider her argument in its strongest formulation, even if we vehemently disagree. We do not dismiss her out of hand because it may be in her personal interest to avoid governmental scrutiny of her pay. If her argument is a poor one, we bolster it as best we can under the principle of charity, and then we explain carefully and clearly why we believe her argument to be incorrect. We assume that she is intellectually and morally capable of understanding our reply; otherwise, what would be the point in replying? [7] To assume otherwise is not harmless dishonesty in pursuit of a greater good; rather, it is dangerous mischief that undermines the entire process of political debate by failing to give all opinions a fair and equal hearing, while excluding important perspectives from the debate [8] For the truth is frequently in one person's interest and against another's. The interests of the slave and the slaveholder are hopelessly at odds; but who would seriously suggest that the slave's argument for his freedom be dismissed because his bias and self-interest render his judgment untrustworthy?

P.S. O’Sullivan, 7

[9] Those who wield the biases of others as a shield by which to defend their arguments succeed only in exposing the weakness of their own judgment. As the great liberal philosopher, John Stuart Mill, declared, In the case of any person whose judgment is really deserving of confidence, how has it become so? Because he has kept his mind open to criticism of his opinions and conduct. Because it has been his practice to listen to all that could be said against him; to profit by as much of it as was just, and expound to himself, and upon occasion to others, the fallacy of what was fallacious. Because he has felt, that the only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion, and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man every acquired his wisdom in any mode but this; nor is it in the nature of human intellect to become wise in any other manner.1

2007

P.S. O’Sullivan, 8

Right Wing vs Left Wing
[1] The right wing vs left wing debate has its historical origin in the French Revolution, and many people question whether the terms right and left are relevant today. Indeed, it is nearly an impossible task to explain the right wing vs left wing division to the satisfaction of everyone involved. [2] Ultimately, we are all political paradoxes and our individual philosophies are little more than bundles of contradictory beliefs. As such, classifying any particular person on the political spectrum is always an inexact science, particularly given the idealistic demands of our souls. [3] At the heart of the right wing vs left wing debate is a very crucial concept, which many people simply refuse to accept: A society can either be free or equal, but it cannot be both. Certainly, in the center there can be some semblance of compromise, but any such bargain will tend to lean unhappily left or miserably right and human nature is such that even the most temperate, well-balanced state of affairs must inevitably provoke anxiety and discontent. [4] While it is true that certain forms of freedom and equality are connected, such as equality under law and freedom of opportunity, freedom and equality are more frequently at odds. And yet, for most people in the West, the ideas of liberty and equality are inseparable; so much so that they are frequently confused with one another and even used as synonyms. But elementary common sense suggests that where freedom is to be promoted, inequality must result and where equality is to be established, freedom must be curtailed. [5] As John C. Calhoun, the seventh vice president of the United States wrote, Now, as individuals differ greatly from each other, in intelligence, sagacity, energy, perseverance, skill, habits of industry and economy, physical power, position and opportunity,—the necessary effect of leaving all free to exert themselves to better their condition, must be a corresponding inequality between those who may possess these qualities and advantages in a high degree, and those who may be deficient in them. The only means by which this result can be prevented are, either to impose such restrictions on the exertions of those who may possess them in a high degree, as will place them on a level with those who do not; or to deprive them of the fruits of their exertions. But to impose such restrictions on them would be destructive of liberty,—while, to deprive them of the fruits of their exertions, would be to destroy the desire of bettering their condition.1 [6] In other words, if everyone is perfectly free, the gifted will rise to the top and the less fortunate will sink to the bottom; hence, everyone is unequal. Only if the gifted are impeded from rising too far and the less fortunate are elevated on their shoulders can perfect equality be established; hence, the strong are hardly perfectly free.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 9 [7] There is no end to the sophistries that deny the melancholy truth that freedom and equality are more often than not subtractive values. Chief among these is the notion that one form of freedom may be sacrificed to enhance another. Isaiah Berlin famously destroyed this claim: Nothing is to be gained by a confusion of terms. To avoid glaring inequality or widespread misery I am ready to sacrifice some, or all, of my freedom: I may do so willingly and freely; but it is freedom that I am giving up for the sake of justice or equality or the love of my fellow men. I should be guilt-stricken, and rightly so, if I were not, in some circumstances, ready to make this sacrifice. But a sacrifice is not an increase in what is being sacrificed, namely freedom, however great the moral need or the compensation for it. Everything is what it is: liberty is liberty, not equality or fairness or justice or culture, or human happiness or a quiet conscience. If the liberty of myself or my class or nation depends on the misery of a number of other human beings, the system which promotes this is unjust and immoral. But if I curtail or lose my freedom in order to lessen the shame of such inequality, and do not thereby materially increase the individual liberty of others, an absolute loss of liberty occurs. This may be compensated for by a gain in justice or in happiness or in peace, but the loss remains, and it is a confusion of values to say that although my 'liberal', individual freedom may go by the board, some other kind of freedom—'social' or 'economic'—is increased.2 [8] In short, as our freedom increases, our equality decreases; as our equality increases, our freedom decreases. [9] The difference, then, between right wing vs left wing ideology, is that the right side of the political spectrum seeks to maximize freedom, while the left seeks to maximize equality.

Elaboration of the Political Spectrum
[10] Everyone disagrees about what the political spectrum should look like. In my own view, if we were to contrast the right wing vs left wing division on a diagram, it would look roughly like this:

P.S. O’Sullivan, 10 [11] Correspondingly, if we were to include government types on a right wing vs left wing diagram, the political spectrum would resemble the following:

[12] The center of the political spectrum is occupied by liberalism, a word used very curiously in American political discourse. Properly understood, liberalism is a temperate philosophy concerned with both freedom and equality. Liberalism generally includes what Americans call "conservatism" as well as modern liberalism. Liberalism as a whole is best seen as a standing argument on 6 fundamental principles. [13] Democracy as the West understands it can exist only within the narrow liberal band at the center of the political spectrum; thus, the post-industrialized West is largely comprised of liberal democracies. The dead center of the spectrum represents the liberal ideal of perfectly balancing freedom and equality. While the realization of such an ideal is impossible given that everyone disagrees as to what such a balance entails, moderates nevertheless occupy the space on the spectrum closest to center, between the two divergent liberal philosophies. [14] On the right wing vs left wing diagrams above, socialism and libertarianism fall outside the realm of democracy. Whereas modern liberalism and American conservatism are best seen as heuristics (decision-making shortcuts), socialism and libertarianism are ideologies which invariably lead to tyranny. In the next section, we will examine why.

Virtue Assumptions
[15] Politics is inseparable from ethics. The right wing vs left wing debate is ultimately an argument over morality in which tacit assumptions about the nature of virtue are made. Those people who find it most difficult to place themselves on the political spectrum usually do not share the common moral assumptions underlying it.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 11 [16] Although we cannot delve too deeply into these assumptions here, American conservatives and modern liberals often equate virtue with the absence of suffering.3 Ideologues by contrast, who comprise the rest of the political spectrum, assume that virtue is either freedom or equality, depending whether they are on the right or the left. [17] As we walk down the right wing of the political spectrum, individual freedom increases as equality decreases and power becomes concentrated in fewer hands. The individual becomes more important than humankind. A libertarian society is an aristocracy (which I use as a synonym for oligarchy), or a tyranny of the few over the many. Such a society may retain a democratic appearance in so far as the few might conceivably vote amongst themselves on important decisions, such as in ancient Athens. But in so far as the many are prevented from empowering themselves, rights are hardly universal. [18] Similarly, as we walk down the left side of the right wing vs left wing diagram above, we find equality increasing and freedom decreasing. Society becomes more important than the individual. A socialist society may also resemble a democracy, but here the majority rules absolutely over the minority, without any respect for the latter's rights. Ironically, the majority's will frequently becomes manifest in a bureaucratic elite—the self-appointed, self-righteous rulers of the mob—and thus mirrors the privileged tyranny of libertarianism as individual rights are routinely denied. [19] Anarchy, which is the absence of a common authority, is represented by a break in the political spectrum which sweeps backward into tyranny. In contrast to its ideal of an orderly world without authority, the reality of anarchy is a chaotic struggle between competing authorities. Libertarian and socialist societies may devolve into anarchy as the privileged elite war against one another in pursuit of absolute power. [20] Anarchy often takes the form of civil war and ends with the concentration of power in the hands of a single individual. Just as libertarian and socialist societies are similar in their distribution of power, so fascist and totalitarian societies mirror each other despite the theoretical differences between them in the right wing vs left wing division. [21] Nevertheless, the theoretical difference remains important. A fascist regime is the culmination of "perfect freedom" in the hands of a single dictator. The dictator is perfectly free in the sense that he or she no longer encounters any resistance to his or her individual will and can do anything humanly possible. A totalitarian regime, by contrast, represents "perfect equality" in so far as everyone is equally enslaved beneath the rule of a revolutionary party, which actively destroys any and every flourish of individuality. [22] Although the right wing vs left wing debate seemingly branches off in two separate directions, the political spectrum is perhaps best seen as a one way street

P.S. O’Sullivan, 12 to tyranny. Freedom and equality are all too often the banners of tyrants and the engines of extremism. When assumptions are made as to the nature of virtue, murderous mischief is inevitably the result. [23] John C. Calhoun, for example, whose terrific elucidation of freedom and equality is quoted above, was an ardent defender of freedom in his time with brilliant ideas about democracy. Tragically, and perhaps unforgivably, a large part of his peculiar definition of freedom was the "freedom" to own slaves and much of his brilliance was wasted by constructing arguments in the defense of the morally indefensible. [24] The left can be equally paradoxical in its view of equality. It is not an accident that the twentieth century's least equal societies were those of the communist nations. Marx essentially believed that in order to create equality, it is necessary to first impose inequality in the form of a dictatorship of the proletariat.

The Right Wing vs Left Wing Circle
[25] Another possible representation of the right wing vs left wing division is to redraw the political spectrum as a circle:

[26] The advantage to such a depiction is the inclusion of theocracy, which is hard to place on the standard political spectrum given that the virtue assumptions of the religious often differ from those dominating the left and right. Religion does not occupy a fixed position in the right wing vs left wing debate, and must therefore be married, often awkwardly, to alien positions on the spectrum.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 13 [27] Theocracy represents the complete absence of freedom and equality. In a proper theocracy, in contrast to how the term is used in popular discourse, the ruler elevates himself or herself to a human god, diminishing his or her freedom by assuming the burdens of godhood and introducing a stark moral inequality among citizens. [28] Although theocracy would certainly seem to be more logically approached from the right side of the political spectrum, the relatively early emergence of theocracy in human history (e.g. ancient Egypt) suggests that if Marx was right to view prehistorical societies as essentially communist, then theocracy can emerge from communism in relatively few steps. [29] This circular representation of the right wing vs left wing debate highlights two important points. First, it gives an interesting glimpse into which political positions are diametrically opposed. For example, American conservatism is 180 degrees from communism, while modern liberalism is 180 degrees from fascism; perhaps it is little wonder, then, that conservatives and liberals in America seem to suffer such paranoia over Stalin and Hitler respectively, often comparing one another to those most hated of foes. [30] Second, the circle illustrates how the anarchist is essentially outside the political spectrum. Ultimately, the anarchist represents either the very best of humanity or the very worst: He or she is either a gentle idealist or a dangerous fanatic. Whichever the case, it is ultimately anarchists who spin the circle of change, moving entire societies from one point on the political circle to another.

Conclusion
[31] Ultimately, the best defense against tyranny is awareness of how the ideas of freedom and equality are manipulated in the right wing vs left wing argument by extremists who would make them a sacred cause. As Eric Hoffer wrote, "The fanatic cannot be weaned away from his cause by an appeal to his reason or moral sense. He fears compromise and cannot be persuaded to qualify the certitude and righteousness of his holy cause."4 [32] Of course, freedom and equality should never be made holy causes because the closer a society comes to achieving one, the less it has of the other. This is the unfortunate nature of the right wing vs left wing division. It is precisely the ability to compromise which is so lacking in the fanatic that allows some measure of freedom and equality to co-exist, however imperfectly.

2006, 2008, 2009

P.S. O’Sullivan, 14

The Definition of Fascism
[1] The definition of fascism is notoriously difficult to pin down. The difficulty arises from the popular propensity to use the term to describe anyone and everyone with whom one disagrees. There is hardly a politician, party, or nation in existence that has not at some point been derided as "fascist." But what does this mean? [2] This problem is not new: As early as 1944, only twenty-odd years after the word's first appearance in Italian,1 George Orwell complained that the word fascism was essentially meaningless in its popular usage. Orwell wrote that he had seen the word used in print to describe all sorts of people from conservatives and nationalists to socialists and war resisters. He added, In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.2 [3] The egregious abuse of the word fascism, then, is nothing new. But is there a proper definition of fascism, or is it simply a vague, political curse word? Here, too, we can draw on the wisdom of Orwell. In his essay, he notes that "underneath all this mess there does lie a kind of buried meaning." He explains, Even the people who recklessly fling the word "Fascist" in every direction attach at any rate an emotional significance to it. By "Fascism" they mean, roughly speaking, something cruel, unscrupulous, arrogant, obscurantist, anti-liberal and anti-working-class. Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept "bully" as a synonym for "Fascist." That is about as near to a definition as this muchabused word has come.3 [4] In his pursuit of a definition of fascism, Orwell gives us two important insights: First, that there is broad agreement about the sort of person that a fascist is, namely, a bully who forcefully imposes his or her will on others; and second, that fascism has an oddly systemic character. For instance, if a fascist is the equivalent of a bully, is fascism the same as bullying? [5] I would suggest that the comparison breaks down here because the word fascism is not quite as closely related to bullying as the word fascist is to the word bully. Fascism also implies a kind of sympathy for the bully and a system of thought rationalizing his or her behavior. Fascism is not merely bullying but an ideology of bullying. We have no word in English to apply such a concept to simple bullies; we do not speak of the bullyism of bullies in the same way we speak of the fascism of fascists.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 15 [6] Orwell's definition of fascism is perfectly correct in so far as a fascist is a person who seeks to impose his or her will on society at large; to coherently expand his definition, fascism may be said to be the sort of society it produces, the tyranny of one over all, with the understanding that tyranny is always self-justifying in a way in which mere bullying is not. [7] A monarchy, for example, inevitably elevates the king or queen to a divinity, or at the very least, invokes a "divine right" to rule. As Edmund Burke declared, "The arguments of tyranny are as contemptible as its force is dreadful."4 Like the fascist, the tyrant is inseparable from his or her arguments. The nature of tyranny, after all, is the systemic imposition of those arguments on all who disagree.

Fascism vs Totalitarianism
[8] The definition of fascism is very similar to that of totalitarianism or communism, which is the tyranny of all over one. In practice, fascist dictatorships have been remarkably similar to communist regimes and the difference is strictly theoretical. As such, the political spectrum could well be regarded as circle. [9] In theory, fascism represents "perfect freedom" on the political spectrum, just as communism represents "perfect equality." This may well seem odd given that fascist and communist societies have been characterized by the total absence of what those of us from the liberal democracies would consider freedom and equality. [10] But if one imagines what perfect freedom would be like, it would essentially be the total supremacy of one individual's will over everyone else's. The fascist is perfectly free because he or she can do anything humanly possible without opposition. Similarly, those beneath the fascist's rule are perfectly equal in so far as all are equally subservient to his or her whims.

2008

P.S. O’Sullivan, 16

The Definition of Totalitarianism
[1] Like that of fascism, the definition of totalitarianism is complicated by the widespread abuse of the term. Both words are commonly used as ad hominem (i.e., personal) attacks on whomever or whatever one dislikes. Moreover, both words appear in language around the same time, fascist in 1921 and totalitarian in 1926 in reference to Italian fascism.1 It is clear, then, that the meanings of totalitarianism and fascism are closely related. But are they the same? [2] What can scarcely be disputed is that totalitarianism and fascism refer to tyrannical ideologies. The two historical nations most commonly associated with these terms are the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Indeed, if a visitor from another galaxy were to have arrived on Earth in the mid-twentieth century and compared the two societies, he or she may well have struggled to see a difference. [3] Curiously, however, many people seem to see quite a substantial difference between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and between Hitler and Stalin. For example, at present, it is fashionable among young people to wear Soviet clothing, whereas to wear Nazi clothing is nothing less than a "hate crime." The hammer and sickle are "cool," whereas the swastika is not. In Germany, a peculiar social phenomenon dubbed ostalgie celebrates life as it was in Soviet-occupied East Germany. [4] Along this fashionable fault line seems to lie the difference between the definition of totalitarianism and that of fascism. The sort of society idealized by young Westerners is not the fascism of Hitler, Mussolini, or Franco, but the communism found in the Soviet Union, China, or Cuba. In the former cases, tyranny became personified in a single person and did not manage to survive beyond his life; in the latter cases, tyranny became institutionalized in a single party system, easily outliving Stalin and Mao Zedong at least, and possibly Fidel Castro as well. [5] The quintessential totalitarian society is that found in George Orwell's 1984, which Orwell modeled on the Soviet Union. The definition of totalitarian, then, is not only closely related to fascism but to communism as well. But here, a problem arises: The fascism of Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco was a reaction against communism. Franco famously declared that to save Spain from communism, he was prepared to shoot half the country.2 [6] If communist societies are essentially totalitarian, then fascism and totalitarianism cannot be synonyms because fascism and communism are diametrically opposed. And yet, as we have already observed, fascism and totalitarianism are often used interchangeably to refer to the same types of societies. [7] The difference would seem to be largely conceptual. If the definition of fascism is the tyranny of one over all, the definition of totalitarianism may be said to be the tyranny of all over one. Let us see how they are different and how they are similar.

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Totalitarianism vs Fascism
[8] Given that young Westerners have never been taught economics and often lack any concept of scarcity, the appeal of totalitarianism should not be surprising. For totalitarianism represents "perfect equality" on the political spectrum, which is equality in the most literal possible sense of the word: An equality in which everyone is exactly the same. This has an irresistible appeal to many affluent young Westerners who have grown up believing that resources are essentially infinite and that people are essentially identical. [9] Unfortunately, resources are not infinite and, while everyone certainly has equal rights and equal worth as a human being, people differ quite radically from one another in talents, intelligence, feelings, judgment, and opinions. For "perfect equality" to exist, these differences must be eradicated. Society as a whole must impose itself on those who dare to be different. As the ideologue Ayn Rand put it, "There is only one instrument that can create an equality of this kind: A gun."3 [10] The tyranny of all over one is not merely the definition of totalitarianism, but the definition of the dictatorship of the proletariat, a universal staple of communism. From a Marxian perspective, the dictatorship can hardly be called a tyranny at all, since average workers ("proletarians") represent the vast majority of humankind and find themselves oppressed by a tiny fraction of the populace who control the world's capital (the "bourgeoisie"). The bourgeoisie are, in other words, fascists. [11] Ironically, then, totalitarianism and fascism are tyrannies which claim to be combating tyranny through tyranny: Totalitarianism creates "perfect equality" as a reaction against fascism, whereas fascism institutes "perfect freedom" against totalitarianism. Fascists and totalitarians are ultimately people who, like Franco, are prepared to eradicate humankind in order to save it from eradication. Such logic might actually be funny if it weren't so historically successful. [12] Although the definition of totalitarianism differs from the definition of fascism, the difference is, no doubt, meaningless to anyone with the misfortune of living in so hellish a society. But the difference is nevertheless important, because if we are to avoid tyranny ourselves, we must understand the two paths that lead there. [13] Totalitarianism promises equality beneath the rule of a revolutionary party, the leader of which assumes the absolute power of the state. In so far as everyone else in the state is essentially held to be nothing, everyone is thus equal. Fascism seeks to install absolute power in a "great person," in whom perfect freedom, namely the freedom to do anything humanly possible without opposition, becomes manifest. [14] Of course, totalitarianism and fascism are merely two sides of the same coin. As such, the political spectrum is perhaps best seen as a circle.

2008

P.S. O’Sullivan, 18

The Definition of Theocracy
[1] The definition of theocracy is simply a tyranny under God. On the political spectrum, theocracy represents the complete absence of freedom and equality. Like most political terms, however, the concept of theocracy has both an ideal and an actual meaning. In contrast to its tyrannical reality, theocracy is the impossible aspiration of religious fanatics who seek to combine the will of God with the wills of both individual and society. This ideal of theocracy was first described by the Jewish historian Josephus in the first century, AD: Some peoples have entrusted the supreme political power to monarchies, some to oligarchies, yet others to the masses. Our lawgiver [Moses], however, was attracted by none of these forms of polity, but gave to his constitution the form of what—if a forced expression be permitted—may be termed a "theocracy," placing all sovereignty in the hands of God.1 [2] Within the definition of theocracy, a few problems arise: From a purely practical point of view, how can God—or to be more apt, a god—become a sovereign on earth? Moreover, if fascism represents "perfect freedom" on the political spectrum, and totalitarianism represents "perfect equality," why does theocracy, which is similar to both, represent the perfect absence of freedom and equality? [3] To answer these questions, let us begin with the most obvious historical example of an actual theocracy: ancient Egypt under the Pharaohs. Here is the inscription on the tomb of a vizier to the king during the 18th Dynasty: The king of Upper and Lower Egypt is a god by whose dealings one lives, the father and mother of all men, alone by himself, without equal.2 [4] The answer to the first question, then, as to how God can practically rule on earth is that an absolute ruler must elevate himself or herself to the status of a god. But why would the ruler's subjects accept the seemingly preposterous notion that a mere human being is a god among them? The historian Chester G. Starr explains that in ancient Egypt the ruler also had great responsibilities, which explains the willingness of his people to heap up the pyramids. He was a god on earth, who assured the rise of the Nile, the prosperity of the land, and its peace and order. The pharaoh's will was thought to become reality as soon as he had spoken. Partly for this reason Egypt never developed the written law codes of Mesopotamia; but the royal fiat was one which incarnated ma'at or justice. To unify itself, in sum, early Egypt took the intellectually simple approach of raising its ruler to the position of a superhuman symbol incarnated in human form.3 [5] In contrast to early Egypt, the societies often called "theocratic"—for example, ancient Israel or modern Iran—are not quite so "intellectually simple." Jews, Muslims, and Christians have historically been amenable to the notion that one particular human being is the closest to God on earth; but to elevate that person to

P.S. O’Sullivan, 19 God himself would undoubtedly be considered blasphemy of the very worst sort, and indeed, an invitation to murder God's usurper. [6] The definition of theocracy, then, differs from a monotheistic perspective because theocracy represents an impossible ideal, much like anarchy. The ideal of a theocracy is for the ruler to become a vessel of God, for the ruler's will to become identical to that of the Creator; for this ideal to be practically realized, however, God must become a vessel of the ruler. In other words, the individual must effectively become God since God cannot be reduced to an earthly potentate. [7] Properly understood, neither ancient Israel nor the modern Islamic Republic of Iran are theocracies in the literal sense of the term; one was approximately a monarchy, and the other, while complex, may roughly be called a totalitarian regime. [8] The mere fact that these forms of authority claim to derive legitimacy through God or to implement God's will does not prove the contrary. Few regimes do not make some appeal to the divine. Religion is not, in and of itself, a fixed political position and can thus be married, however awkwardly, to any number of positions on the political spectrum; it does, however, change the color of any given position. [9] This brings us to the second question pertaining to the definition of theocracy above: Why is theocracy the complete absence of freedom and equality? [10] On the freedom side, the liberty of a "human god" is necessarily illusory; a human being is very far from being a god, and incapable of assuming god-like responsibilities. In fact, these responsibilities are so crushing that the ruler is hardly free. On the equality side, the elevation of a leader to a god creates a moral inequality between the sovereign god and average people which does not exist so strikingly under a totalitarian regime. In early Egypt, for instance, the Pharaoh alone could hope to be unified in death with the god Osiris.4 [11] The definition of theocracy, then, in contrast to its ideal of strengthening humanity's will by replacing it with God's, weakens God's will by poisoning it with that of humanity.

2008

P.S. O’Sullivan, 20

The Definition of Anarchy
[1] In its most literal sense, the definition of anarchy is simply the absence of government or rulers. The word anarchy derives from the Greek anarchos which means "without a ruler." More commonly, the word anarchy is used in a pejorative sense to refer to a society or a situation without order. [2] Anarchists do not define anarchy in this latter sense. Generally, the aim of the anarchist is to reorganize society based upon the principle of mutual co-operation rather than upon the principle of authority. The anarchist does not so much promote disorder as order of a different sort. In the anarchist's ideal world, conflict between individuals would cease to exist and the need for a common authority capable of resolving disputes would disappear. [3] Of course, such a vision of politics is massively idealistic; and as the American academic Allan Bloom wisely warns us, "Political idealism is the most destructive of human passions."1 The reality of anarchy is the war of everyone against everyone, as competing authorities struggle against one another for absolute power. [4] To see why this is so, simply imagine that the United States government were to be dissolved tomorrow. How would disputes between citizens be resolved? How would dangerous criminals be kept in jail? How would the country's military assets be secured and what would prevent an aspiring tyrant from making use of them? How would labor, goods, and services be exchanged? How would the country protect itself from foreign invaders? These are but a fraction of the practical questions which would arise in such a situation, and each question stems from a common problem: What would be the common authority between Americans? [5] For practical purposes, then, the definition of anarchy may be said to be a devolutionary power vacuum resulting in a state of war. On the political spectrum, anarchy occurs on both the right and left as libertarianism and socialism devolve into fascism and communism, respectively, or as the twin tyrannies are overthrown. [6] Just as there are two different definitions of anarchy, there are two different types of anarchist: The idealist and the fanatic. Ultimately, the anarchist is either the very best of people or the very worst. Two portraits of the anarchist follow through the links below. 2006, 2008

P.S. O’Sullivan, 21

Portrait of an Idealist
[1] There are two distinct types of anarchists: Idealists and fanatics. The idealist rarely considers himself an anarchist and often confuses his philosophy with other ideologies. He is, in essence, an anarchist by default; his anarchism is revealed only when his arguments are followed to their logical end, although he frequently does his best to obfuscate the political implications of his ideas along the way. Those openly professing their anarchism are much more likely to be fanatics. [2] Who is the idealist? He is often an impractical genius, who projects his own inner virtue onto humanity at large. He regards all human beings as essentially the same, with the same values, goals, beliefs, and dreams. He is a master of the imagination, capable of achieving extraordinary things to which the rest of us can only aspire. [3] Pragmatism is anathema to the idealist, and he is unwilling to compromise his principles even to save himself, his loved ones, or his country. Ultimately, he is a man with one foot in this world and one foot in the ether, and it is precisely this mastery of the metaphysical that precludes him from mastering the political realm. [4] Great thinkers, artists, and spiritual teachers are all likely to flirt with anarchism, and it is rare that some element of the idealist's personality is wholly absent from their own. Examples of idealists include Mahatma Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau, and Leo Tolstoy, as well as humanity's two brightest lights, the Buddha and Jesus. In the latter two cases particularly, anarchy is never explicitly advocated. And yet, if all humanity were to live by either the teachings of the Dhamma or those of the Gospels, the end result would be a utopian form of anarchy. [5] Of course, everyone will not live by the noble principles of the idealist, and without any form of authority to protect the innocent, those who follow their consciences will always be at the mercy of those who do not. While anarchy for the idealist is nothing less than heaven on earth, the reality of anarchy is much closer to Orwell's vision of totalitarianism in 1984 when a member of the Inner Party declares, "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever."1 [6] Like socialism, the political philosophy behind the idealist's anarchism is wildly impractical, so much so that the idealist frequently proclaims himself to be a proud socialist. It is not by accident that the ideals of socialism are inevitably traded for the horrors of communism: For anarchy must inevitably devolve into tyranny, and socialists, so long on promises and short on details, share with their anarchist brethren the same fatalistic philosophies of co-operation and pacifism which offer no practical solutions for confronting evil. [7] Indeed, co-operation and pacifism are at the heart of anarchy's ideals, though these philosophies are never thought out to their logical end. This failure of logic is true even of the greatest idealists. The Canadian critic, Northrop Frye, who was an ordained minister, shrewdly observes in Fearful Symmetry that

P.S. O’Sullivan, 22

if we want wise and temperate advice on living we shall find it in Caesar sooner than in Christ; there is more of it in Marcus Aurelius than there is in the Gospels. Sensible people will tell us that it is foolish to throw everything to the winds, to give all one's goods to the poor and live entirely without caution or prudence. But they will not tell us the one thing we need most to know: that we are all born into a world of liquid chaos as a man falls into the sea, and that we must either sink or swim to land because we are not fish.2 [8] This is the Catch-22 of idealism: Although the rigid principles of the idealist are indispensable to the political discourse, those same principles must be compromised if any semblance of them is to be achieved. If, for example, we all give up our possessions to live the ascetic lives of Christ and the Buddha, no one will work and we will be left with nothing to eat and nowhere to live. To be virtuous, we first must be, but to be is not to be virtuous since living inevitably requires the exertion of evils, however small. [9] We should, every one of us, aspire to the virtue of Jesus or the Buddha. But we must also recognize our aspirations for what they are: The shadows of an impregnable cave. The idealist has seen things we cannot see, and been places we dare not go. He has become, as Nietzsche writes, "a cave bear" whose concepts are "something incommunicable and recalcitrant that blows at every passerby like a chill."3 [10] To take too literally the anarchism behind the principles of the idealist is an invitation to untold evil. [11] Consider, for example, the idealistic socialism of Albert Einstein, who, though not considered an anarchist, certainly sympathized in his pacifist ideals with much of what anarchists hope to bring about. Prior to World War II, Einstein's view of government was very much the anarchist's ideal of non-government; Einstein envisioned creating one world government to put an end to war through peaceful means, which is really just a vision of universal co-operation through a different lens. [12] The end result of Einstein's political influence was as destructive as any anarchist; just as the Gospels were twisted to produce the Dark Ages and the Inquisition, so too did the ideas and ideals of Einstein contribute to the threat of a nuclear holocaust and turmoil in the Middle East. [13] For Einstein, despite his genius, was perhaps the least qualified person to be involved in politics. At heart, what he wanted most was to be left alone to think. Ironically, he had one foot in the very ether whose existence he had disproved. It is hardly surprising then that when Einstein sought to turn his ideals into reality "he was surprised that miracles were not worked overnight and shocked that when human beings began to manage great affairs of state they still behaved like human beings."4

P.S. O’Sullivan, 23 [14] But how could such a gentle, kindly genius wreak such political havoc upon the world? The answer, surprisingly consists in nothing more than this little anecdote, recounted by Ronald W. Clark in his biography of Einstein: [Felix] Ehrenhaft recalls how on one occasion he and his wife arrived at the Habers together with Einstein and Elsa, both men properly dinner-jacketed. As they sat down in the drawing room Elsa exclaimed: "But Albert, you haven't put your socks on." "Yes, yes," he replied unblinkingly. "I have already disclosed the secret to Frau Ehrenhaft."5 [15] Clark goes on to dissect this story wonderfully: All those buttons; all those tails; all that putting on and taking off, wasting valuable minutes and hours while in the distance he could hear, with Marvell, "time's wingèd chariot hurrying near." What a waste it all was. And so with shoes, which could be replaced by sandals, and socks that could be dispensed with altogether. How he would have sympathized with his nearcontemporary J.B.S. Haldane, who rejoiced on his emigration to India that he would now be able to go foot-free, and added: "Sixty years in socks is more than enough." Einstein, for his part, was delighted that he could turn to a companion at a formal dinner where his own merits were being lauded and whisper: "But the man doesn't wear socks!"6 [16] Politics is the realm of the practical. It is the boring world of socks and shoes, formalities and details. The idealist's mastery over abstract realms prohibits him from contributing anything great to the political realm, for when he tries to apply his abstractions to the lives of ordinary people, he inevitably scorches the earth. A great politician, by contrast, is a lightning rod for ideas; he easily conducts their electricity harmlessly into the ground.

2006

P.S. O’Sullivan, 24

Portrait of a Fanatic
[1] There are two distinct types of anarchists: Fanatics and Idealists. The Fanatic may or may not consider himself an anarchist; he easily lies to himself and can change his political stripes with as little effort as a chameleon changes colors. Of course, a chameleon remains a chameleon no matter its pigmentation, and so too does the aim and end of the fanatic remain constant no matter his stripes. In contrast to the idealist who is perpetually creating, the fanatic is perpetually destroying and seeks above all else to eradicate the present. [2] Who is the fanatic? There is a chilling passage in Plato's Republic in which Socrates, having distinguished the philosophical soul from all others and having theorized on its proper education, observes, If the nature we set down for the philosopher chances on a suitable course of learning, it will necessarily grow and come to every kind of virtue; but if it isn’t sown, planted, and nourished in what’s suitable, it will come to all the opposite, unless one of the gods chances to assist it.1 [3] We see in the fanatic the terrible portrait of a potentially great soul gone awry. As Eric Hoffer tells us, The man who wants to write a great book, paint a great painting, create an architectural masterpiece, become a great scientist, and knows that never in all eternity will he be able to realize this, his innermost desire, can find no peace in a stable social order—old or new. He sees his life as irrevocably spoiled and the world perpetually out of joint. He feels at home only in a state of chaos. ... Only when engaged in change does he have a sense of freedom and the feeling that he is growing and developing. It is because he can never be reconciled with his self that he fears finality and a fixed order of things. Marat, Robespierre, Lenin, Mussolini, and Hitler are outstanding examples of fanatics.2 [4] Whereas the idealist is a person with one foot in our world and one foot in the ether, the fanatic has nothing invested in the earthly life that has so terribly let him down. He lives only for the world of abstractions where he does not belong: By destroying the present he hopes to transform the earth into the ether and to at long last claim mastery over the ethereal. [5] He is, of course, condemned to failure. The cruel curse of the fanatic is that he is just gifted enough to realize how truly mediocre he is. His only talent is to destroy. This is why the fanatic can find no peace in the present: Whatever he creates in the ashes of his anarchy is worthy only of further destruction.

2006, 2008

P.S. O’Sullivan, 25

The Definition of Conservative
[1] The definition of conservative used in college class rooms and political science textbooks often reduces conservatism to a blind adherence to the past. The root of the word conservative, i.e. to conserve, is overemphasized and the conservative world view is reduced to a stubborn opposition to progress. [2] A glance at the modern conservative movement in North America today quickly reveals that such a definition of conservative is out of date and probably more applicable to conservatism outside of the U.S. and Canada. For example, Islamic fundamentalists are sometimes referred to as "conservative" in the sense that they want to conserve a medieval view of the world, but their underlying philosophy shares nothing in common with Western conservatives. [3] So the problem with this classical definition of conservative is simply that it is far too broad to be meaningful. After all, to define conservatism as a desire to conserve the past merely inspires the questions, which past? and, whose past? Indeed, what most modern conservatives seek to conserve is actually classical liberalism, which is hardly hostile to change. [4] While it is true that tradition and history are of profound importance to conservatives, they do not oppose progress blindly. Conservatives believe that change and progress can be either good or evil, and that as a society we ought to progress in such a way as to maximize both freedom and virtue. [5] Russell Kirk, a conservative very mindful of history and suspicious of progress, concedes in The Conservative Mind that "society must alter, for prudent change is the means of social preservation."1 Barry Goldwater, the father of modern conservatism, shrewdly asks in the footnotes of The Conscience of a Conservative, "Have we forgotten that America made its greatest progress when Conservative principles were honored and preserved?"2 [6] The definition of conservative, then, is not an opposition to progress in itself. Conservatism as a mere nostalgia for the past is not a fixed position on the political spectrum; for example, just as some conservatives fetishize life in the 1950s, so some liberals wildly idealize life in the 1960s.

Defining Principles
[7] Just like the definition of liberal, the definition of conservative can be divided into 6 key principles: 1. Belief in natural law 2. Belief in established institutions 3. Preference for liberty over equality 4. Suspicion of power—and of human nature 5. Belief in exceptionalism 6. Belief in the individual

P.S. O’Sullivan, 26 [8] The first of these principles, the belief in natural law, means simply that conservatives believe in a higher order of things. Good and evil, justice and injustice, rights and responsibilities are not subjective concepts to conservatives. Human beings do not make the laws of morality, nor are rights conferred upon us by governments but rather by a higher power. [9] What conservatives agree upon is that these natural laws exist independently of human beings, and that we are subject to them even more so than written (or "positive") law. The majority of conservatives believe that these natural laws originate with God, whereas a minority believes they exist Platonically, which is to say above God and man. [10] As Russell Kirk put it, "Political problems, at bottom, are religious and moral problems."3 At the very root of the definition of conservative is a belief in the importance of virtue. [11] The second of these defining principles is a belief in established institutions. American conservatives, for example, believe passionately that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are works of profound genius, and that they provide the best system of law and government possible. More broadly, conservatives believe in the Anglo-Saxon tradition of rule of law and good government. [12] A very important part of the definition of conservative is the deep respect conservatives hold for the cultural institutions of church and family. In an age in which faith and family values are under constant assault in the media, conservatives maintain that these institutions are critically important for the spiritual well-being of humankind and disdain any attempt to disparage and destroy them. Moreover, the conservative asks, with what can we replace them? [13] "An ignorant man," observed the great Edmund Burke, who is not fool enough to meddle with his clock, is however sufficiently confident to think he can safely take to pieces, and put together at his pleasure, a moral machine of another guise, importance and complexity, composed of far other wheels, and springs, and balances, and counteracting and co-operating powers. Men little think how immorally they act in rashly meddling with what they do not understand. Their delusive good intention is no sort of excuse for their presumption. They who truly mean well must be fearful of acting ill.4 [14] Such is the conservative response to those who would dismantle society and rebuild it to their whims. While the definition of conservative is not a blind opposition to progress, neither is it an open invitation for social experimentation. [15] The preference for liberty over equality is the most difficult part of the definition of conservative for most people to understand, particularly since liberty and equality are almost used as synonyms in our times. Put simply, all societies face a fundamental choice between emphasizing freedom or emphasizing equality.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 27 [16] The unfortunate reality is that we can either be equal or free, but we cannot be both. Though both the right and left wings claim to promote both freedom and equality, the right is most concerned with freedom and the left most concerned with equality. In the words of Barry Goldwater, "the Conservative's first concern will always be: Are we maximizing freedom?"5 [17] The fourth principle that defines conservatives is their suspicion of power and their hatred of big government. In his First Inaugural Address, President Ronald Reagan declared, Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?6 [18] And yet, what separates conservatives from anarchists is their reluctant concession that government is a necessary evil, as without it the good are often at the mercy of the evil. [19] "What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?" asked James Madison. "If men were angels, no government would be necessary."7 Alas, men are not angels, and conservatives know as Madison did that we are imperfect beings and easily corrupted. For this reason, conservatives believe power must be spread out and decentralized, with adequate checks and balances to ensure that government does not devolve into tyranny. [20] The fifth and sixth beliefs of conservatives are closely related. Conservatives believe in exceptionalism because they do not believe in perfect equality. Conservatives realize that some people inevitably have superior abilities, intelligence, and talents, and they believe that those people have a fundamental right to use and profit from their natural gifts.

[21] While it has become commonplace to regard the exceptional among us as "winners in the lottery of life" who are lifted up by the tired shoulders of average citizens, conservatives believe quite the opposite. Conservatives believe that exceptional people exist to lift us up, to improve our lives, and to give us hope. As such, John Stuart Mill insisted that "it is necessary to preserve the soil in which they grow. Genius can only breathe in an atmosphere of freedom."8* [22] Finally, conservatives believe in individualism. As Barry Goldwater explains, "Every man, for his individual good and for the good of his society, is responsible for his own development. The choices that govern his life are choices he must make: they cannot be made by any other human being, or by a collectivity of human beings."9

P.S. O’Sullivan, 28 [23] Conservatives know, like Dr. Stockmann in Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, that "the strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone."10

Freedom vs Virtue
[24] Most conservatives believe in all of these principles to varying extents, but their way to see the world is inevitably dominated by just two or three. Ultimately, the conservative must choose whether to serve freedom or virtue, and this choice will inevitably determine his or her own personal definition of conservative and which of the 6 principles he or she holds most dear. [25] Social conservatives emphasize principles 1 and 2. Their definition of conservative is influenced by their faith. While they slightly prefer liberty to equality, they despair that liberty also means the freedom to make poor choices; while they believe deeply in individualism and exceptionalism, they insist that as a society we must maximize virtue, sometimes even at the expense of freedom. [26] Fiscal conservatives, or "liberal-conservatives", are sometimes described as "fiscally conservative and socially liberal." Principles 3 and 4 are of the greatest importance to them. These conservatives are classical liberals, who have become disenfranchised from liberalism, which they see as radicalism for the sake of radicalism. Their own definition of conservative emphasizes the political and economic freedom of the individual, as they believe the individual's spiritual life is outside the realm of government and vice versa. [27] Such conservatives stress the importance of free markets and free choices. They are dubious as to the effectiveness of "equalization" schemes (i.e. the radical redistribution of wealth), which they fear weaken freedom, hinder progress, and harm rather than help the poor. They worry profoundly over the growth of a bureaucratic elite in which extraordinary power is invested in unelected appointees such as activist judges.

[28] A third type of conservative is the libertarian-conservative. If libertarianconservatives have a motto, it is that government is no one's mother. Government, these conservatives insist, should not be in the business of saving people from themselves. Moreover, they believe, an enforced morality is utterly meaningless. Human beings cannot be virtuous if they are not free to choose virtue, but rather have it forced upon them. [29] What differentiates the liberal-conservative, the libertarian-conservative, and the proper libertarian is simply the extent to which individual freedom is emphasized. A liberal-conservative, for example, may or may not support abortion, although he or she certainly disapproves of judges deciding the issue. A libertarian-

P.S. O’Sullivan, 29 conservative may regard abortion and limited judicial activism as necessary evils, whereas a full-fledged libertarian regards abortion as an inviolable "right." [30] A liberal-conservative might be sympathetic toward civil unions for gay couples but oppose the creation of such an institution by a creative judge, whereas a libertarian-conservative might approve of activism in this instance given that freedom is being extended. By contrast, a libertarian would likely regard gay marriage as a pre-existing right already in the "spirit" of the Constitution. [31] Finally, European conservatives are strongly attached to principles 2 and 5, which essentially amounts to a single belief in exceptionalism by established convention (i.e. a belief in nobility). These conservatives believe in the importance of an aristocracy, such as a monarch and a nobility, and are often skeptical of anything they see as a threat to those ancient titles, including rampant individualism and capitalism. [32] It is admittedly questionable whether European conservatives fit within the definition of conservative provided here and whether they occupy the same place on the political spectrum as North American conservatives. Nevertheless, they are included here for the sake of comparison. [33] At any rate, while it may seem that the definition of conservative is inherently contradictory, behind modern North American conservatism lies a coherent set of principles that most conservatives believe. Ultimately, the definition of conservative is a fittingly individual one, as every conservative must define himself or herself within the principles of conservatism. 2006, 2008

P.S. O’Sullivan, 30

The Definition of Liberal
[1] Given that liberalism represents the center of the political spectrum, the definition of liberal is often wildly abused by ideologues who seek to discredit liberal democracy by appropriating the word liberal for themselves. [2] Liberalism is not an ideology. Liberalism is best thought of as a standing argument based on a shared set of assumptions. This liberal argument is fought between two distinct kinds of liberals, classical liberals and modern liberals, whom Americans simply call "conservatives" and "liberals," respectively. [3] (Note that a Republican is not necessarily the same thing as a "conservative" and a Democrat is not necessarily the same thing as a "liberal," as party affiliations are often wrongly used by journalists and pundits as synonyms for political outlooks. Also note that the mere fact that someone calls oneself a conservative or a liberal does not make that someone so.) [4] Properly understood, then, the definition of liberal is either an American-style conservative or a modern liberal. Generally speaking, liberals (i.e. both "conservatives" and "liberals") believe in the rule of law, individual rights, democracy, the division of powers, the relative freedom and equality of individuals and free markets. What liberals bitterly disagree upon, however, is the interpretation of these beliefs. [5] For example, many conservatives argue that terrorists do not have rights while embryos do; many liberals, by contrast, argue precisely the opposite because they believe that terrorists are human beings whereas embryos are not. What is mutually agreed upon, however, is that there is such a thing as a human right; a philosopher would not accept that assumption without argument. (Hence the reason why philosophers tend to be so widely disliked!) [6] Given that the definition of liberal has come to refer mostly to modern liberals, this essay will concentrate on the left side of the liberal argument. For the sake of clarity among American readers, I will use the word liberal here to refer exclusively to modern liberals.

Modern Liberalism
[7] The definition of liberal can be divided into 6 key principles: 1. Belief in positive law 2. Faith in progress 3. Preference for equality over liberty 4. Belief in the benevolence of government and individuals 5. Belief in the perfectibility of human beings 6. Belief in the community

P.S. O’Sullivan, 31 [8] The first of these principles, the belief in positive law, simply refers to the belief that rights derive largely from written law. While it is true that liberalism was founded upon the idea that "life, liberty, and property" are natural rights, liberals do not believe in natural rights either as fervently or as literally as conservatives. The separation of church and state is fundamental to the definition of liberal. [9] For the liberal what is certain is not that rights and laws exist divinely or Platonically, but that we must govern ourselves as though they do. Whereas conservatives regard written law merely as a formality and an attempt to express the divine, liberals do not trust any right that is not expressly written in law, as they know that abstract rights are those most easily infringed. [10] Liberals stress that it is ultimately government that grants and guarantees rights, and in this the definition of liberal is essentially that of a spiritual pragmatist. While many, if not most, liberals are spiritual people, their spirituality is rarely conventional or orthodox, and they often distrust organized religion. [11] The second principle within the definition of liberal is a belief in progress. Unlike ideologues, modern liberals are not utopians and they do not believe that progress has a utopian end. Rather, they believe that every tomorrow can be made better than the last and that the world can be substantially improved from its present state. [12] "We have it in our power to change the world," John Kerry declared in his speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president, echoing the optimism of Thomas Paine some 200 years earlier.1 [13] At the root of the definition of liberal is a desire to change the world, and to use government as a tool to enhance freedom. Frequently, what the conservative would preserve, the liberal would replace with economic and social experimentation, aimed at improving society in a scientific fashion. [14] "Let us resolve to make our government a place for what Franklin Roosevelt called 'bold, persistent experimentation,' a government for our tomorrows, not our yesterdays," President Clinton said in his First Inaugural Address.2 [15] The third principle of modern liberalism is the preference for equality over liberty. While it is true that some forms of equality such as equality of rights and opportunity serve to enhance liberty, most modern liberals are willing to trade certain freedoms, such as greater personal choice, in favor of greater equality and social stability. [16] "All men are created equal," Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, and it is a maxim that the liberal takes quite literally, rejecting any and all claims to aristocracy or nobility whether based on birth, wealth, or merit. "The souls of emperors and cobblers are cast in the same mould," wrote Michel de Montaigne, and liberals hold emperors in no greater esteem than cobblers.3*

P.S. O’Sullivan, 32 [17] The fourth principle in the definition of liberal is a belief in the benevolence of government and of human beings. Modern liberals believe that human nature is essentially good, and that if an individual is corrupted it is usually the fault of some social or economic injustice. [18] Moreover, the modern liberal believes that government can and should play a positive role in the lives of its citizens, particularly in the lives of the disadvantaged. Government, for the progressive, is a champion of the downtrodden and an instrument for the improvement of humankind. [19] "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have little," declared Franklin D. Roosevelt in his Second Inaugural Address.4 [20] This belief in the inherent virtue of humanity leads to the fifth principle of the definition of liberal, the belief in the perfectibility of individuals. Modern liberals believe that with the proper education, everyone can become virtuous and live a happy, meaningful life. [21] Modern liberals define education quite broadly so as to refer to an individual's entire upbringing, as opposed to merely schooling. What Marx remarked of communists is far more true of modern liberals: Progressives do not want society to give them something; rather, they want to give themselves a society.5 [22] Much of the liberal's antagonism toward custom derives from a fear of stagnation and a feeling that conservatism serves to stifle individual development. John Stuart Mill declared that the despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement, being in unceasing antagonism to that disposition to aim at something better than customary, which is called, according to circumstances, the spirit of liberty, or that of progress or improvement.6 [23] Finally, modern liberalism rests upon a belief in the community, and a feeling that "we're all in this together." Modern liberals believe that individuals are stronger working together than they are working alone. At the root of modern liberalism is not merely the desire for equality, but for the social progress that the progressive believes only an egalitarian society can achieve. [24] "In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up, or else we all go down, as one people," Franklin Roosevelt told the nation in his Second Inaugural Address, and his words define the liberal dream as much today as they did when he first uttered them.7

P.S. O’Sullivan, 33 [25] Modern liberalism is, at bottom, a desire for the kind of community that only equality and progress can achieve. For the modern liberal, to be part of something greater than oneself is to be truly free. 2006, 2008

P.S. O’Sullivan, 34

Liberal vs Conservative
[1] Liberalism is a standing argument between classical liberals and modern liberals, who are usually called conservatives and liberals, respectively. [2] All liberals share a common set of values; liberals believe in the rule of law, individual rights, democracy, the division of powers, the relative freedom and equality of individuals and free markets. What liberals bitterly disagree upon, however, is the interpretation of these beliefs. [3] Liberalism represents the center of the political spectrum. Unlike libertarianism, socialism, fascism, and communism, liberalism is not an ideology. [4] The differences between liberals (i.e. conservatives and modern liberals) may be summarized as follows: Conservative 1. Natural law 2. Established institutions 3. Liberty over equality 4. Suspicion of power 5. Exceptionalism 6. Individualism Liberal 1. Positive law 2. Progress 3. Equality over liberty 4. Benevolent government 5. Human Perfectibility 6. Community

[5] Moderate liberals ("centrists") tend to either agree with different principles from each of the two strains of liberalism, or to remain flexible in their preferences to accommodate changing circumstances.

2006, 2008

P.S. O’Sullivan, 35

The Definition of Libertarian
[1] Libertarianism, like socialism, is a vague ideology. The most common definition of libertarian is someone who believes that individuals should have the freedom to do whatever they wish so long as they do not hurt anyone in the process. Libertarians often trace this simple principle back to the great liberal, John Stuart Mill: The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is selfprotection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.1 [2] The problem with this definition of libertarian is that it is exceedingly vague; Mill's famous harm principle can be defined in countless different ways. A Marxist, for example, might broadly agree with this statement by interpreting harm to include basic economic freedoms, such as the ownership of property. Although I understand Mill to be a modern liberal, Mill considered himself a socialist by the end of his life. [3] There is a tension within libertarianism over whether or not economic freedom constitutes harm, and more to the point, between those who accept basic economic principles and those who reject them out of loathing for what Albert Jay Nock termed "economism." [4] Presently, libertarianism is defined chiefly by the former group of libertarians, although the latter often refer to themselves as "libertarian socialists," insisting that basic economic freedoms like starting a business constitute acts of aggression against humankind. Here we will examine the libertarianism of Nock, who represents a unique case in that he both championed economic freedom and railed against economism. [5] Libertarians like Nock take Mill's principle to entail "a philosophy of intelligent selfishness, intelligent egoism, intelligent hedonism."2 A typical libertarian sentiment is as follows: "Was life given us for any purpose but that we should get a good time out of it? Surely I think not."3 [6] This vision of the good life precludes any notion of good governance; the only good government is one severely limited in size and scope. Recalling to mind J.S. Mill, Ayn Rand offers what might be considered a more precise definition of libertarian: The only purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man's self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper

P.S. O’Sullivan, 36 functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law.4 [7] At present, libertarianism markets itself as "classical liberalism." Libertarians see themselves as occupying roughly the same place on the political spectrum as conservatives, except without the excessive moralizing and evangelizing. Nock complains of the America he knew, One of the most offensive things about the society in which I later found myself was its monstrous itch for changing people. It seemed to me a society made up of congenital missionaries, natural-born evangelists and propagandists, bent on re-shaping, re-forming and standardizing people according to a pattern of their own devising—and what a pattern it was, good heavens! when one came to examine it. It seemed to me, in short, a society fundamentally and profoundly ill-bred.5 [8] On the surface of the matter, a plausible definition of libertarian might be conservatism without religiosity, and no doubt, such a philosophy has broad appeal. But is libertarianism really a philosophy of freedom?

Libertarianism vs Conservatism
[9] William F. Buckley once said that "a conservative seeks to be grounded in reality."6 Part of the conservative's grounding in reality is a keen awareness that ideas carry consequences and that very often the consequences are antithetical to the original intent of the idea. For example, pacifism is a very noble ideal that may entail great evil if genuine oppression is not confronted; communism may be a very beautiful idea in theory, but it has turned out to be something truly horrific in practice. [10] With regard to the definition of libertarian considered above, conservatives must ask, as they do with all ideas, "If this, then what?" Recall Goldwater's famous test: "The Conservative's first concern will always be: Are we maximizing freedom?"7 If we accept this definition of libertarian, are its practical consequences genuinely the enhancement of freedom? [11] In a nut shell, the conservative critique of libertarianism is that libertarians, like socialists, do not understand the consequences of their ideas. For example, if Rand's credo were to be put into practice, public education would cease to exist. For libertarians like Nock, this is of no particular concern because the vast majority of people are simply ineducable, "with the average of intelligence standing immovable at the thirteen-year-old level."8 Nock concedes that people, like monkeys, are trainable, but that the cultivation of wisdom is possible only for a select few.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 37 [12] For Nock, the value of public education is essentially determined by the very worst students. He complains that universal education enables mediocrity and sub-mediocrity to run rampant, to the detriment of both intelligence and taste. In a word, it puts into a people's hands an instrument which very few can use, but which everyone supposes himself fully able to use; and the mischief wrought is very great.9 [13] Nock's hatred of public education stems from his antipathy toward economism and his conviction that the former produces the latter. Economism "interprets the whole sum of human life in terms of the production, acquisition, and distribution of wealth."10 Nock's own economic philosophy, however, does not seem to offer any obvious anecdote. Nock declares, If a regime of complete economic freedom be established, social and political freedom will follow automatically; and until it is established neither social nor political freedom can exist.11 [14] There is obviously a profound contradiction here. The most charitable reading toward resolving it would seem to be that Nock believed that by abolishing public education, the state would no longer be able to indoctrinate society with a materialistic economism that serves to consolidate its power. Nevertheless, Nock's libertarian "philosophy" of life, if one may call it that, is a jumbled mess of asinine observations, ill-considered maxims, and contradictory half-thoughts. [15] Within this mess, however, there is an alternative definition of libertarian to be found, which is someone who prefers the tyranny of the few over the many to democracy. In the next section, we shall see why this is so. But first, a caveat is necessary to understand the differences between libertarians and conservatives. [16] When I am asked why I am a conservative, my characteristic reply is simply, "Because I am liberal." Russell Kirk rightly notes that "[Edmund] Burke was liberal because he was conservative."12 What does this mean? Namely, that the freedom conservatives seek to conserve is a liberal one, whereas the "freedom" promoted by libertarians, like the "equality" of socialists, is essentially an abstract and meaningless absurdity. [17] In the twenty-first century, just as one cannot oppose a free market economy and remain a liberal, one cannot oppose public education and be a conservative. No one is more concerned with the present state of public education than I am, but the fact remains that the taxes we pay to support public schools are the single best investment most of us will ever make in our lives. [18] The value of public schools is not their least successful students, as libertarians imagine, but their most successful students. The doctors, scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs produced by public schools not only save and enrichen lives, but enhance the freedom and prosperity of everyone. 80% of the English-speaking

P.S. O’Sullivan, 38 peoples' wealth is intangible, such as the skills and knowledge possessed by average people13; destroy the public school system and you destroy our civilization. [19] Whereas libertarianism entails placing differing values on individual lives, conservatism does not. It is true that conservatives do not believe in a literal equality; I will never be able to compose music like Mozart's even if I were given all of eternity to do so. Nevertheless, conservatives believe that every life is equally precious, and that if God put a person on Earth, it is because that person has something meaningful to contribute to humankind. They decidedly do not believe, as libertarians like Nock do, that "the masses" are "merely the sub-human raw material out of which the occasional human being is produced."14 Nock even goes so far as to make the Hitlerian suggestion that evolution may render the "sub-humans" among us extinct.15 [20] In such statements, we see both the essential illiberality of libertarian "freedom" and the necessary consequence of demarcating freedom from virtue. This is what conservative Governor Mitt Romney meant when he declared that "freedom requires religion,"16 a statement widely mocked in the media: When you divorce freedom from virtue, you endanger the existence of both. Perhaps religion is not exactly the correct word choice, but the sentiment remains a valid one. [21] Whereas libertarians think that average people exist only as "sub-human raw material" out of which greatness is produced, conservatives believe that the test of greatness lies not in talent alone, but in how that talent is employed. "To whom much is given, much will be asked"17: The test of greatness consists in whether we use our talents to lift others up; our neighbors are not mere stepping rungs on the ladder to achievement. Libertarians, by contrast, deny that it is even possible to help people. Nock declares that "no one can do anything for anybody," much less society, which Nock absurdly believes does not even exist.18

The Tyranny of the Few Over the Many
[22] Let us explore why the definition of libertarian amounts to an advocacy of aristocracy, or a tyranny of the few over the many. The libertarian dream of "complete economic freedom"—which mistakes the hypothetical economic model of "perfect competition" for political reality—tacitly assumes that markets adequately compensate all producers for their efforts and produce socially desirable outcomes. That is obviously not the case, as Nock, "the superfluous man," should have known better than anyone. [23] Generally speaking, markets are the best solution to provide for the needs of humankind; they are not a perfect solution of how to allocate scarce resources with alternative uses, but they are by far the best choice in a set of ugly options. Liberal economies are mixed economies, with the government regulating market

P.S. O’Sullivan, 39 deficiencies such as monopolies and modestly redistributing wealth to ensure freedom of opportunity. [24] If the definition of libertarian is one who believes in such "complete economic freedom" as to deny any role for government in the economy, then the definition is effectively one who believes that the few should rule over the many. Without government involvement in the economy, how will disadvantaged interests have access to vital, freedom-enhancing resources like education? What will prevent the abuse of power by monopolists? What will stop markets from self-destructing when self-interest conflicts with market maintenance? In each of these situations, power must necessarily accrue in the hands of a select few. [25] Just as the definition of socialism necessarily leads to the tyranny of central planning, so must the definition of libertarian lead to aristocracy. These are the necessary consequences of the ideas in question. If you are against the allocation of scarce resources via price signals in a free market, you are, by default, for some form of coercion in the direction of production. Similarly, if you are against all forms of wealth redistribution in a market economy, you are, by default, for aristocracy and the entrenchment of particular interests. In practical politics, what you oppose very often defines what you support.

2008

P.S. O’Sullivan, 40

A Foreign Policy Primer
[1] Any definition of foreign policy must begin with a description of the two most fundamental and inescapable human biases: Ingroup-outgroup bias and the amalgamation fallacy. [2] Ingroup-outgroup bias is the tendency of human beings to divide all of humanity into two groups: Those to which we belong and those to which we do not.1 Group classification is almost arbitrary; in the case of foreign policy, our group is our country, but the division of groups also occurs along racial, religious, political, and familial lines, to name but a few. In short, there is no end to this behavior and group division commonly occurs over the most silly, inane trifles, such as the sporting team one supports or the brand of beer one drinks. [3] The fundamental problem that foreign policy seeks to address, then, is the question, "What should we do about them?" This is, to be sure, a horrific way of looking at the world, but it is the optimist indeed who can contemplate the endless bloodbath that is human history and argue that humanity sees itself as a unitary whole. An unpleasant truth is no less true for its unpleasantness. [4] The other fundamental bias crucial to the definition of foreign policy is the amalgamation fallacy. Curiously, we have great difficulty judging where individuals end and groups begin. This leads to what psychologists call the outgroup homogeneity effect in which "people tend to view outgroup members as less varied than ingroup members."2 For example, a white person, defining his or her ingroup by skin color, might tend to view black people as essentially all the same, or vice versa. [5] But the amalgamation fallacy runs even deeper than this. People often speak of governments, corporations, and institutions as though they were actually people. When demonizing government, for instance, the libertarian tends to speak of the government as though it were an actual person, as if the libertarian had lunch with the government last Tuesday and the government ordered a tuna fish sandwich. [6] It is really quite remarkable to listen to the socialist rant and rave about corporations as if a corporation was not comprised of individual people. A socialist rarely says, "Mr. X did this," or "Ms. Y. did that." Rather, one hears statements like, "Oil companies are ruining the environment" as if the corporate entity in itself were not merely a collection of documents in a filing cabinet somewhere, but an animate, evil super-villain with a will entirely independent of its owners, managers, employees, and customers. [7] The amalgamation fallacy is thus the desire to combine individual and group into a single entity. This is a bias just as powerful as the ingroup-outgroup bias, and it is invariably exploited during elections by politicians who earnestly pledge to unite their country into a single ingroup.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 41 [8] If the "us vs. them" bias is the beginning of foreign policy, the amalgamation fallacy is its end. Human beings are at best quietly contemptuous and at worst unabashedly intolerant of differences among themselves. Disagreement between groups generates enormous anxiety. The question, "What should we do about them?" is most commonly answered in one of two ways: To make "those people" like us or to impose our will upon them. [9] Within this ugly, brutish context, foreign policy is the philosophy, ideology, or strategy which defines a nation's behavior toward other nations.

Foreign Policy Strategies
[10] To engage, or not to engage: That is the question of foreign policy. In deciding what strategy to take toward an outgroup, an ingroup—in this case, a nation—has only two options: To engage the outgroup or to withdraw into itself. The strategies which stem from these choices are delineated below:

[11] If a nation decides to withdraw into itself, it is pursuing a strategy of isolationism. Such a strategy is quintessentially conservative, in the old sense of that

P.S. O’Sullivan, 42 word. Both Chinese and Japanese foreign policies in various periods could be thought of as at least quasi-isolationist. Isolationism represents the unattainable ideal of a peaceful, self-sufficient, homogeneous society, free from the conflict of the external world. [12] As a practical matter, of course, humanity is a diverse species occupying a small planet with limited resources that must somehow be shared. The notion that an ingroup can fence off its own little piece of land and live happily ever after without any objection from the rest of humanity is not just wishful thinking but delusional madness. [13] Given that engagement is essentially a foregone conclusion, two broad strategies are possible: The liberal strategy and the imperialist strategy. Of course, the two strategies are not entirely disparate as the former tends to devolve into the latter. Theodore Roosevelt famously summed up his foreign policy as, "Speak softly and carry a big stick." Liberalism is speaking softly; imperialism is carrying a big stick. [14] The liberal strategy—which generally encompasses modern conservatism and modern liberalism—can be subdivided into two approaches: The soft liberal strategy and the hard liberal strategy, each of which involves a different set of tools. [15] The soft approach is generally characterized by "appeasement" and compromise. If one thinks about the desired end of foreign policy, which is the unification of humankind into a single ingroup, appeasement seeks to further this goal by agreeing to the concessions demanded by an outgroup. Neville Chamberlain's signing of the Munich Agreement is the most infamous act of appeasement. [16] Appeasement is sometimes a useful tactic, depending on the circumstances. Appeasement can be effective in preventing minor disagreements from becoming major conflicts, assuming that an outgroup's leaders are rational actors. At times, our own nation is in the wrong and another in the right, and by quickly, transparently, and graciously rectifying our misdeeds, needless conflict can be avoided. [17] Appeasement is also useful as a stalling tactic. By ostensibly agreeing to an outgroup's demands in the short term, we may buy ourselves time in the long term to strengthen our position. [18] Baron Salter, in his personality profile of Neville Chamberlain, explains appeasement as follows: 'Appeasement' is often now used in an opprobrious sense which seems to imply that concession is always mere weakness and folly. It is well to remember that if a willingness to concede is under certain conditions a political crime, it is under other and more usual conditions a political virtue. To concede from strength (where there is known to be the power of refuse)

P.S. O’Sullivan, 43 is often the rarest and most rewarding political wisdom. Concession and compromise, when the power to enforce is uncertain or shifting, is the normal method of political progress and settlement in both domestic and international affairs. Even to yield to a stronger more than justice would prescribe is sometimes, in absence of a superior tribunal or settlement, the course of prudence. Only if what is demanded with a show of force goes beyond not only what is just but what is tolerable; if it is the inevitable first step to other demands; if the concession will whet rather thanassuage the appetite; if the effect of yielding once will be to weaken the power to resist when resistance becomes imperative, is 'appeasement' no longer a virtue but the worst of vices.3 [19] By contrast, the strong liberal strategy is to build, maintain, and sometimes even manipulate a set of institutions that govern the relationships between nations. Liberals—again, conservatives and modern liberals—usually view human beings as essentially the same (i.e. American) and therefore frame the means of conflict resolution in liberal terms. [20] The United Nations, for instance, with its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is a liberal institution charged with governing the international relations of an illiberal world. Free trade agreements reflect a liberal economic theory but are often signed with nations lacking liberal economic institutions (e.g. China) in hopes of Westernizing them to avoid future conflict. President G.H.W. Bush and President Clinton both provide examples of the strong liberal approach to foreign policy. [21] Whereas isolationism views human beings as too infinitely diverse to ever meaningfully understand one another, liberalism's concern with equality leads to the sincere belief that everyone is basically similar. Soft liberalism seeks to incentivize sameness through compromise and appeasement; hard liberalism tries to manipulate outgroups by imposing the cultural norms of ingroups upon them during the conflict resolution process. The aim and end of the liberal strategy is ultimately to Westernize the world and to make everyone "like us." [22] In fairness, much of this process would seem to be unconscious. But when the liberal strategy is stripped of its dreamy ideals and feel-good platitudes, one cannot help but feel it carries a Machiavellian, and almost imperialist tinge. [23] Like the liberal strategy, the imperialist strategy has two forms: soft imperialism and hard imperialism. Unlike liberalism, imperialism has the virtue of at least being honest in its ambitions. That is, unfortunately, the only virtue the strategy possesses. To return to President's Roosevelt's metaphor, the honest man who beats his neighbor with a stick may have the virtue of honesty, but no one would call him virtuous. [24] Soft imperialism shares the liberal worldview that everyone is essentially the same and diagnoses all human difference as a function of oppression. Soft

P.S. O’Sullivan, 44 imperialism is thus inherently ideological. Neoconservatism and Marxism are excellent examples of ideologies with imperialist aims. [25] Neoconservatism in particular is noteworthy because it demonstrates the fluidity of thought in international relations. Neoconservatism is the logical extension of the idea that everyone in the world is similar. Were that true, it would mean that inside every human being, an inner American is waiting to be freed. Soft imperialism is inevitably the policy of "liberation"; the soft imperial strategy seeks to forcibly convert outgroups to ingroup norms under the guise of freeing their innermost nature. The foreign policy of President G.W. Bush is an example of soft imperialism. [26] Hard imperialism, by contrast, does not regard people as essentially the same, nor does it typically believe in the equality of human beings. Hard imperialism views justice as largely relative: Justice is the "advantage of the stronger," or what the strong deem to be just.4 This approach to foreign policy is probably best exemplified by the Roman Empire. Hard imperialism resolves conflict through brute force, through the sheer imposition of will. Whereas the soft imperialist wants to be loved as a liberator, the hard imperialist wants to be feared as a conqueror.

What Is The "Best" Strategy?
[27] Foreign policy is usually discussed from an optimistic perspective, presupposing that there is some magical, "one size fits all" strategy that will make everyone happy, free, and equal. There is not. Western politicians will tend to look at foreign policy as a checklist of ugly choices, beginning with "defend" and ending with "liberate." A summary of these choices follows:

[28] Like so much in life, the "right" choice very much depends upon the circumstances. Much is made of the fact that liberal democracies enjoy hospitable

P.S. O’Sullivan, 45 relations with one another. Such a fact is hardly surprising given that these nations do not radically differ and are therefore more likely to view one another as extended ingroups. Hence, the concept of "the West." [29] In resolving a dispute between Canada and the United States, appeasement or compromise will almost always suffice to solve the problem because Canadians and Americans are fairly similar. In resolving a dispute between the United States and an eastern power, the proper approach is by no means clear. [30] The strategy employed will inevitably depend upon the circumstances surrounding the conflict, such as the extent of the differences, the absence or presence of rational actors, and the resources at the president's disposal. [31] Inevitably, however, the process will begin with the question, "What should we do about them?" and will end with one of four answers.

2009

P.S. O’Sullivan, 46

The Definition of Economics
[1] The definition of economics is founded upon the concept of scarcity. What do economists mean by scarcity? Simply put, economists use the term scarcity to refer to the limited resources humanity has at its disposal. We live in a world of finite resources and infinite wants. Somehow, we must decide how, for what, and for whom these resources will be used. This is the economic problem, without which the field of economics would not exist. Indeed, when economists begin philosophizing about a world without scarcity, they cease to be economists and become philosophers. [2] Modern economic theory began with Adam Smith and gradually became disentangled from ethics. Economic theory is chiefly concerned with positive questions, as opposed to normative questions. Positive questions are those that can be addressed with empirical data, such as, "What is the unemployment rate?" Positive questions are concerned with facts. Normative questions, by contrast, deal with values and beliefs and cannot be answered by economic theory alone. These are questions like, "Isn't the unemployment rate too high?" [3] When we make decisions as a society about the allocation of scarce resources or "who gets what," economic theory in itself is not concerned with social justice. There is no single concept of "fairness" within the definition of economics. Economic theory is merely an attempt to find relationships between positive statements.1 [4] This is not to say that economists are not concerned with social justice. They are. Economists are perceived to be a quarrelsome lot precisely because they care so much that they often bicker with one another over the nature of a just society. [5] Economic theory becomes useful once a society determines what its values are. At times, the theory may even serve to refine those values by distinguishing fact from fiction. Nevertheless, economic theory cannot make normative judgments such as whether the present rates of unemployment and inflation represent a desirable state of affairs; it can, however, help us to understand the present and offer us insight into where we are headed. Most importantly, it can offer us practical suggestions of how to get where we want to be. [6] A simple, yet elegant definition of economics is that of economist and Nobel laureate Robert A. Mundell, who begins a book with the phrase, "Economics is the science of choice."2 Economics teaches us that nothing in life is free. Economists measure costs not by price tags and payments, but by the value of the next best alternative that is given up when a particular choice is made. The value of the next best alternative foregone is called the opportunity cost. [7] Why do economists measure costs this way? They do so to keep us honest about costs. Scarce resources have alternative uses, which means that once they are allocated for one purpose, they cannot be allocated for another simultaneously. When costs are measured in terms of money, the full weight of what a decision truly

P.S. O’Sullivan, 47 means is lost in abstraction, creating the pleasant illusion of a "free lunch" that can be eaten again and again. [8] In their brief introduction to economics, economists James Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup, and Dwight R. Lee dispel any such illusion: Politicians often speak of "free education," "free medical care," or "free housing." This terminology is deceptive. These things are not free. Scarce resources are required to produce each of them. The buildings, labor, and other resources used to produce schooling could, instead, produce more food or recreation or environmental protection or medical care. The cost of the schooling is the value of those goods that must now be given up.3 [9] Thus, the best definition of economics remains that of British economist Lionel Robbins: "Economics is the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses."4 Put another way, "Economics is the study of how society manages its scarce resources."5 [10] This website offers a basic introduction to each of the three most important economic systems of our times. Generally speaking, socialism and communism are ideologies, whereas capitalism is not. Further Reading and Resources [11] If you find economics a frightening subject and the thought of taking an introductory class scares you, don't despair! There are some excellent books, written in simple language, which explain the basics. Two books of particular interest are Dr. Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics, and the aforementioned Common Sense Economics by economists James Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup, and Dwight R. Lee. [12] There are a variety of syndicated columns published each week by wellrespected economists. On the right, Dr. Sowell and Dr. Walter Williams routinely provide shrewd insight into politics from an economic perspective. On the left, Nobel laureate Dr. Paul Krugman offers a very different, though equally economic perspective. [13] Note that right wing and left wing economists agree about more than they disagree: They do not disagree that markets, in most circumstances, are preferable to planning or authoritarian control. They do not deny that scarcity exists. Their differences are not about basic economic principles, but about complex positive problems and normative issues. Dr. Greg Mankiw, an economist at Harvard, neatly summarizes some of these differences on his blog. [14] Many additional resources can be found online. Dr. Williams has written Economics for the Citizen, a series of short lessons about the definition of economics and the applications of economics in the real world. The short story, I, Pencil, provides valuable insight into how markets work. The Encyclopedia of Economics

P.S. O’Sullivan, 48 provides a valuable reference guide and an introduction to specific topics. A summary of ten economic principles from Dr. Mankiw's introductory economics text is available in a rap version. Finally, the blog, Marginal Revolution, offers an excellent round-up of what economists are currently discussing.

2007, 2009

P.S. O’Sullivan, 49

The Definition of Capitalism
[1] When people ask about the definition of capitalism, they are often looking for an answer that explains the "capitalist system." The definition they expect to receive is one which explains Adam Smith's "trickle down theory of economics" and promotes the "unequal distribution of wealth." These preconceptions represent some of the most common myths and misconceptions about capitalism which must first be dispelled before any definition of capitalism can be properly understood. [2] There is, for example, no such thing as the "capitalist system," in the sense that it is commonly referred to in the media. Interestingly, when capitalism is discussed, it is frequently discussed in the language of Marx. Thus, we hear much of systems, surpluses, distributions, means and modes of production, and all manner of precise, scientific-sounding classifications, but we hear precious little about what the definition of capitalism actually is. [3] In fact, the term capitalism was never used by Adam Smith and its first recorded usage was not until 1854,1 although Marx would frequently dance around the term in references to "capitalistic production" or the "capitalist system."2 Smith, on the other hand, referred to what is now called capitalism as a "system of natural liberty."3 [4] If we are to insist upon precision in our language of economy, as the social scientists no doubt do, we have to distinguish between systems that occur naturally and systems that are devised by human beings. This distinction is not trivial, because those who refer to the "capitalist system" do so in order to portray the free market as little more than a man-made parasite, while elevating their own preposterous political projects to an equal level of economic science. [5] As political scientist, Kenneth Minogue, points out, the thing called an "economy" is essentially capitalist. ... The economy is preeminently what ideology seeks to abolish. Instead, a society is proposed in which the relationship of exchange will be replaced by deliberate planning in accordance with some such formula as the famous "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." It would be inaccurate to describe this as a socialist economy, because it isn't strictly an economy at all.4 [6] As with all systems, an economic system may be either natural or artificial, the former being defined by freedom and the latter defined by coercion. The natural system, capitalism, I will refer to as an informal system; the artificial systems, I will call formal systems. [7] Why is capitalism an informal system? A crucial part of the definition of capitalism is the idea of laissez-faire, a French term which roughly translates into "allow to do" or "leave alone." Capitalism is an informal system in the sense that it does not seek to impose answers upon society to the three fundamental questions

P.S. O’Sullivan, 50 facing all economies: What should we produce? How should we produce? And, for whom should we produce?5 [8] Capitalism suggests that rather than these questions being answered by kings, governments, or even well-intentioned central planners on society's behalf, these questions should be answered by you and I and every other individual in a free market. In other words, capitalism is simply what occurs when we are all left to our own economic devices; as a system, capitalism is characterized by the absence of formal systems. As Adam Smith explained, "All systems either of preference or of restraint, therefore, being thus completely taken away, the obvious and simple system of natural liberty establishes itself of its own accord."6 [9] Milton Friedman put it another way: "Fundamentally, there are only two ways of co-ordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion ... The other is voluntary co-operation of individuals."7 Formal economic systems (communism, feudalism, etc.) are defined by some form of coercion in order to direct production and to impose answers upon society; the definition of capitalism, the informal system, is the absence of coercion. [10] A more encyclopedic definition of capitalism would be of an informal economic system in which property is largely privately owned, and in which profit provides incentive for capital investment and the employment of labor. Capitalism is also the philosophy that the government's role in the economy should be strictly limited and that the forces of supply and demand in a free market, while imperfect, are the most efficient means of providing for the general well-being of humankind. [11] It is commonly thought that average citizens in a market economy benefit only when profits "trickle down" to them, like pennies spilling from the overstuffed pockets of the rich. The economist Thomas Sowell calls this bizarre definition of capitalism the most politically prominent economic theory to never exist.8 He explains, When an investment is made, whether to build a railroad or to open a new restaurant, the first money is spent hiring the people to do the work. Without that, nothing happens. Even when one person decides to operate a store or hamburger stand without employees, that person must first pay somebody to deliver the goods that are going to be sold. Money goes out first to pay expenses and then comes back as profits later—if at all. The high rate of failure of new businesses makes painfully clear that there is nothing inevitable about the money coming back. ... In short, the sequence of payments is directly the opposite of what is assumed by those who talk about a "trickle-down" theory.9 [12] While profit is a word routinely pronounced with the negative emotion of a swear word in the modern political discourse, it is profit alone that provides incentive to undertake financial risk, such as the risk involved in starting a business.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 51 [13] Incentive is the key word. Incentives matter so much that economists James Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup, and Dwight R. Lee begin a marvelous little book with the declaration, "All of economics rests on one simple principle: that incentives matter. Altering incentives, the costs and benefits of making specific decisions, alters people's behaviour."10 Where profits are denied, entrepreneurship and innovation are stifled and all our lives are the worse for it. Beneath the definition of capitalism is the realization that we are never so efficient and effective as when we pursue our own reward. [14] And yet, profit is often portrayed in the media as the "unequal distribution of wealth" as though the invisible hand of Adam Smith were reaching down from the clouds to drop billions of dollars on the evil and the undeserving, while robbing the righteous poor of what is owed to them. As Dr. Sowell notes, Most income is of course not distributed at all, in the sense in which newspapers or Social Security checks are distributed from some central place. Most income is distributed only in the figurative statistical sense in which there is a distribution of heights in a population ... but none of these heights was sent out from some central location. Yet it is all too common to read journalists and others discussing how 'society' distributes its income, rather than saying in plain English that some people make more money than others.11 [15] Why do some people make more than others under capitalism? There can be any number of reasons from the differing skills of workers to their differing age and experience to the supply and demand relationship between employers and employees. Moreover, those who assume more risk inevitably earn dramatically more or dramatically less than those who assume less risk. Whatever the case may be, however, income in a capitalist economy is earned not through "selfishness" but by helping others. Gwartney, Stroup, and Lee explain, People who earn large incomes do so because they provide others with lots of things that they value. If these individuals did not provide valuable goods or services, consumers would not pay them so generously. There is a moral here: if you want to earn a large income, you had better figure out how to help others a great deal.12 [16] Economist Walter Williams offers similar insight into the definition of capitalism: "Capitalism is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. Capitalism made it possible to become wealthy by serving your fellow man."13 [17] While those who equate the definition of capitalism with the unequal distribution of wealth revile the inequalities that inevitably result in market economies, Milton Friedman puts these inequalities in their proper perspective as compared with the formal economic systems:

P.S. O’Sullivan, 52 Consider two societies that have the same distribution of annual income. In one there is great mobility and change so that the position of particular families in the income hierarchy varies widely from year to year. In the other, there is great rigidity so that each family stays in the same position year after year. Clearly, in any meaningful sense, the second would be the more unequal society. ... Non-capitalist societies tend to have wider inequality than capitalist, even as measured by annual income; in addition, inequality in them tends to be permanent, whereas capitalism undermines status and introduces social mobility.14 [18] This concept of social mobility is a routinely overlooked aspect of the definition of capitalism. In a capitalist society, individuals are not condemned to their lot in life. Capitalism not only encourages individuals to better themselves, but provides market incentives for them to do so.

All The World's A Market
[19] What is a market? It is not the mystical, impersonal force that is so deeply reviled on the left and so strangely worshiped as an omniscient deity on the right. A market is simply an environment of exchange that brings buyers and sellers of products, services, labor, and ideas together and facilitates trade between them. Far from being impersonal, a market, just like a society, is the sum of the individuals involved in it and therefore contains all the information presently known. In a broader sense, a market is merely a mirror of ourselves. [20] As part of the definition of capitalism, it was noted that capitalism is an informal system in so far as it does not require implementation by some higher authority. The reason for this is that capitalism is fueled by the power of markets, which are as natural and as necessary to human beings as water to a fish. As long as there are human beings, there will always be markets. [21] While this aspect of the definition of capitalism is commonly denied, we see evidence of the inevitability of markets wherever trade is forbidden or restricted. In modern capitalist societies, black markets flourish for vices the government has attempted to outlaw, such as drugs, weapons, and prostitution. In communist societies, black markets thrive in response to frequent consumer shortages. In developing nations where laws and bureaucracy impede rather than facilitate legal exchange, black markets are the primary source of economic growth, often replacing legal markets entirely. [22] In short, if one doubts the definition of capitalism as a natural system and markets as essential to human life, one needs look no further than the indestructibility of markets throughout human history as evidence to the contrary.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 53 [23] The most common critique of market-driven economies is that they are "unfair." The market, we are told, "exploits people." The fallacy here is two-fold. First, the market in and of itself is neither fair nor unfair; it is merely a reflection of ourselves. If we perceive the market to be unfair, such as in the difference in wages between teachers and professional athletes, then that injustice is a reflection on who we are as a people not on the market system in the abstract. [24] "Fairness," like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Beneath the definition of capitalism is a belief in the supremacy of economic freedom, and freedom entails protecting individuals from outside interference, even in the name of "fairness." Dr. Friedman wisely observes that one of the biggest objections to a market economy is that "it gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself."15 [25] Second, a free market cannot, by definition, exploit anyone, given the elementary economic principle that a voluntary and informed trade always benefits both parties; why would either party make the trade otherwise? [26] Ultimately, what a market accomplishes is to collect all the information presently available between buyers and sellers, and then to determine the relative value of what is being exchanged. We live in a world of scarce resources, and those resources must somehow be divided; the market accomplishes this through fluctuating prices. High prices ration goods and signal producers to produce more where possible and for consumers to conserve; low prices encourage consumption and signal producers to allocate scarce resources elsewhere. [27] As Friedrich von Hayek explains, in this kind of price system only the most essential information is passed on and passed on only to those concerned. It is more than a metaphor to describe the price system as a kind of machinery for registering change, or a system of telecommunications which enables individual producers to watch merely the movement of a few pointers, as an engineer might watch the hands of a few dials, in order to adjust their activities to changes of which they may never know more than is reflected in the price movement.16 [28] In other words, there is a little bit of magic in every price tag, as every price contains an astonishing amount of information about the choices made by consumers and producers condensed into a few numbers.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 54

Criticism of Capitalism
[29] If there is a valid criticism of capitalism to be made, it is essentially the same argument against anarchism of the right, which is that freedom feeds upon itself. [30] Thomas Sowell writes that when he taught economics, he used to offer an A to any student who could find a kind word that Adam Smith had to say about businessmen in The Wealth of Nations. No one ever did.17 Perhaps the skepticism of Smith and many other free market economists over the benevolence of business people stems from the melancholy truth that those whom the market most rewards seldom have any qualm with subverting it; all too often, those who should be the capitalism's most ardent defenders are quick to bite the hand that feeds them. [31] Monopolies are by no means precluded by the definition of capitalism, and with such power comes the power to stifle innovation, crush competition, and harm the average consumer with higher prices. Moreover, where individuals or corporations violate the principles of fair trade, such as by concealing or falsifying information, their own personal freedom and wealth may be enhanced at the expense of both society and the free market they betray. [32] Ironically, the same concept of laissez-faire that is so essential to the definition of capitalism can devolve into tyranny if interpreted too literally. The incentive for profit is unfortunately also incentive to cheat. It is easy to see how a pure market economy in absence of all rules and regulation is little more than survival of the fittest. Coupled with prudent governance, capitalism produces democracy; without it, a capitalist society is little more than an oligarchy. [33] Very few people, much less conservatives, desire a society built on economic Darwinism where gross inequalities of opportunity are the norm and where only the affluent have access to basic social services. Moreover, few would want to conduct business in an environment where no set of standards was enforced in the market and where no rules governed the behavior of businesses and individuals. [34] It is for this reason that modern capitalist economies are often called "mixed economies" in that they combine free markets with the oversight of government. Though they adhere to the definition of capitalism, they are not enslaved to it. For capitalism to avoid self-destruction, even the most pro-business conservatives usually agree that government is crucial as a regulator and a referee.

Why Are Most Conservatives Capitalists?
[35] While Adam Smith is usually credited as the father of the free market, the basic idea beneath the definition of capitalism was aptly expressed thousands of years before his birth by the Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, who advocated the almost paradoxical concept of wei wu wei, or action without action, an idea which speaks to the essence of laissez-faire.

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[36] While conservatives differ with one another on many individual economic issues, most modern conservatives agree that a free market is the sole path to prosperity for humankind. The idea of action without action appeals to the average conservative who deeply believes that government should not meddle in the fiscal affairs of the individual beyond its function as regulator and referee. But conservatives are not utopians, and they hold little hope for a world in which everyone is perfectly happy and everyone's wants are perfectly met; rather, conservatives view our economic options as a set of imperfect choices and regard capitalism as the least evil among them. [37] Conservatives are routinely accused of being obsessed with money and of reducing human beings to economic creatures. The definition of capitalism established here clearly refutes that claim. If conservatives are passionate about capitalism, it is not because they are passionate about money; rather, it is because they are passionate about freedom. [38] In an age in which the definition of capitalism is routinely distorted to bolster the arguments of ideological interests, it is rarely mentioned that capitalism is a liberal economic idea; the liberal argument, between conservatives and modern liberals, is not an argument about whether to abolish the free market, but a conflict between two differing visions of capitalism.

2006, 2008

P.S. O’Sullivan, 56

The Definition of Socialism
[1] Socialism, like libertarianism, is an exceedingly vague ideology. The definition of socialism is founded on two fundamental maxims: Thomas Jefferson's, "All men are created equal," and Karl Marx's "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."1 Problematically, socialists offer few practical details about how these two principles are to be realized. [2] Just as libertarians see the world through the lens of the individual, socialists see the world through the lens of society. Whereas for the libertarian, the genius of Mozart can be explained in terms of individual talent and hard work, for the socialist, Mozart must be considered within a social context, such as the environment in which he was raised and the historical and social forces surrounding him. [3] This societal lens will already be familiar to students in the humanities and social sciences; socialism is the ideology of the intellectual class, which takes Jefferson's maxim quite literally and has resolved to scientifically explain any and every instance of inequality. A "liberal education" is now largely a sociological education, and sociology, as Isaiah Berlin points out, is the invention of Marx.2 [4] This brings us to the Marxian maxim at the heart of the definition of socialism, the famous, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." Both capitalism and communism, despite the latter's claims to the contrary, address only half of this problem. [5] Capitalism grants the individual the freedom to achieve the first part of Marx's dream, that is, the "from each according to his ability." It does not fully address the problem of "to each according to his needs," however, because it presumes the individual is capable of using his abilities to fulfill his needs. A liberal economy is a mixed economy which marries the efficiencies of free markets with a modest redistribution of wealth to provide for those who cannot provide for themselves. [6] Communism, on the other hand, is far more concerned with unmet needs than realized abilities, for the communist is well aware that the freedom to make the most of one's abilities inevitably produces unequal results. By using state coercion to fulfill unmet needs, communism severely restricts individual freedoms, thereby diminishing both the means and incentive to make the most of one's talents. [7] The definition of socialism, while seemingly a compromise between the twin extremes of capitalism and communism, is far closer to communism than it is to capitalism. Socialism is perhaps best described as Marxism in the conceptual phase. While socialists recoil from the totalitarian reality of communism, they are nevertheless convinced that everyone's needs can be met and everyone's potential fulfilled without the restriction of freedom.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 57 [8] Marx considered this kind of thinking "utopian." In the Manifesto, Marx complains of socialists who "want all the advantages of modern social conditions without the struggles and dangers necessarily resulting therefrom."3 Essentially, socialists want to live in a Marxian society without a dictatorship of the proletariat. [9] The definition of socialism, then, may be said to be a formal economic system in which society exerts considerable control over the nation's wealth and property in the pursuit of social justice. "Considerable control" may or may not entail public ownership, while "social justice" usually depends upon the whims of a bureaucratic elite. Generally speaking, a market-based economy is antithetical to socialist principles, and some form of benevolent planning is advocated. [10] Of course, such a definition of socialism is exceedingly vague, but the pursuit of "fairness"—the ultimate goal of socialism—is necessarily vague, given that each of humanity's several billion individuals has a unique view of what "fairness" entails. [11] And it is precisely in this lack of specificity that the danger of socialism consists.

The Tyranny of the Many Over the Few
[12] Although socialism is often defined by socialists as "real democracy," it is in fact mobocracy, or the tyranny of the many over the few. To see why, let us consider an example. [13] Imagine that you are factory owner manufacturing cars. Under communism, your factory would be confiscated by the dictatorship of the proletariat and its production managed by a centralized bureaucracy. The difference between a communist and a socialist, however, is that the socialist does everything in halfmeasures. Under socialism, you may well be allowed to keep your factory on the conditions that you do not earn an "excessive" profit and that you provide wellpaying, spiritually-fulfilling jobs to your employees, allowing each of them a vote in all of your decisions. [14] Recall that "fairness" is crucial to the definition of socialism and note that this term is defined through a societal lens. From a socialist perspective, it is unfair that you own the factory in the first place and your authority over your employees is seen as "exploitation," regardless of how well you pay them or how kindly you treat them. Socialists are only willing to allow you to maintain ownership because they balk at the prospects of workers mortgaging their homes for working capital or a dictatorship of the proletariat assuming direct control of the factory. [15] Imagine that you decide to manufacture a new type of car. To do so, you will have to get the approval of your employees, who have little incentive to give you their permission without receiving anything in return. Additionally, you will have to get the approval of "societal stakeholders," such as the people who live in the same city as your factory who feel that more car production may increase air pollution

P.S. O’Sullivan, 58 and decrease their quality of life. Finally, you will have to incorporate into your designs the "helpful suggestions" of government bureaucrats, who exist to promote the social good. [16] Of course, if the car is manufactured and no one buys it, you will personally absorb all losses. Nor will you reap any substantial reward from its success. You are essentially expected to produce wealth for everyone's benefit except your own, and far from receiving any thanks, to endure abuse and scorn in return. Would you manufacture cars under these conditions? [17] Not many people would, and therein lies the problem with the definition of socialism; it provides no incentive for production, and it sacrifices individual economic freedoms for a vaguely defined "social good." Economic freedom is little loved by most people when corporate interests are concerned, but the same restrictions imposed on wealthy factory owners affect the single mother running a small catering business out of her kitchen.

Socialism and Bureaucracy
[18] The definition of socialism necessarily implies a large government bureaucracy because it is simply impractical to hold a national referendum every time a business decision must be made. As such, government bureaucrats must be appointed to represent the "social good" by approving or disapproving business initiatives. [19] Ironically, a tyranny of the many over the few is virtually identical to a tyranny of the few over the many, in so far as power becomes concentrated in the hands of an elite group of unelected officials. [20] Like libertarianism, socialism produces a transitory tyranny. Eventually, a tyranny of the many over the few ends when the few either buckle under the weight of the burden they are asked to bear for society, or simply give up. Given the similarities between the definition of socialism and the definition of communism, it is hardly surprising that what takes the place of the tyranny of the many over the few is the dictatorship of the proletariat, or the tyranny of all over one.

2008

P.S. O’Sullivan, 59

The Definition of Communism
[1] In its simplest form, the definition of communism is a formal economic system in which property, particularly capital property (e.g. factories, machines, tools, etc.), is commonly owned and scarce resources are allocated through planning as opposed to price signals in a free market. [2] Communism is not a modern idea. Over 2000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Plato perfectly described its ideal: You'll find the ideal society and state, and the best code of laws, where the old saying "friends' property is genuinely shared" is put into practice as widely as possible throughout the entire state. Now I don't know whether in fact this situation—community of wives, children and all property—exists anywhere today, or will ever exist, but at any rate in such a state the notion of "private property" will have been by hook or by crook completely eliminated from life. Everything possible will have been done to throw into a sort of common pool even what is by nature "my own," like eyes and ears and hands, in the sense that to judge by appearances they all see and hear and act in concert. Everybody feels pleasure and pain at the same things, so that they all praise and blame with complete unanimity. To sum up, the laws in force impose the greatest possible unity on the state.1 [3] Communism, then, is not merely an economic theory; in fact, it hardly has anything to do with economics given that resource scarcity is not meaningfully addressed. Communism is the tyranny of all over one, of society over the individual. Communism does not merely seek to abolish property; it seeks to abolish the family, nationality, culture, religion, and every flourish of individuality. Its aim and end is to make the individual and society one and the same. [4] In the modern age, communism is often equated with Marxism. Strictly speaking, Marxism is a theory of communism and the two terms are not necessarily synonymous. This brief introduction to communism will cover communism from the Marxist perspective. [5] A discussion of relativism is crucial to any definition of communism, for Marx ingeniously used his relativistic theory of historical materialism to escape from the constraints of scarcity. [6] Put simply, Marx was a "technological determinist": He believed that technology shapes the form of society that we live in and that society in turn conditions our consciousness. Thus, he declares that "the hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist."2 In The German Ideology, he notes that "my relation to my surroundings is my consciousness."3

P.S. O’Sullivan, 60 [7] For Marx, technology and the property forms it produces constitute a "mode of production." For the purposes of simplification, the mode of production can be thought of as the way in which a society is organized around its production. Hence, the mode of production is a "mode of life."4 [8] The mode of production forms the economic base of society. On top of this base rests a political and philosophical superstructure, which is a conditioned form of consciousness: The mode of production of material life determines the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their character.5 [9] But what does any of this have to do with scarcity? Well, if our political and economic ideas are not our own, if they are merely societal biases that have been imposed upon us, then scarcity is not a fundamental truth like the law of gravity, but a transitory illusion. Resource scarcity may seem like a significant problem, but that is only because our consciousness has been conditioned by the capitalistic mode of production and we cannot see things as they really are.

The Dictatorship of the Proletariat
[10] Marx believed that history is a succession of necessary modes of production, beginning with hunter-gatherer societies and ending with capitalistic production. He thought that with the end of capitalism, history would begin anew and a communist paradise, unconstrained by scarcity, would emerge. The new society would be one founded on the principle, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."6 [11] An alternative definition of communism might be "a quest for perfect equality." In a communist society, inequality would cease to exist because labor would no longer be specialized. Everyone would practice many tasks and everyone would live a fulfilled and self-realized life. For example, there would no longer be doctors, merely people who, among other things, practiced medicine. [12] But given the pervasive nature of the bias that Marx describes, how is a communist society to be realized? For Marx, the answer lay in tyranny. He thought that a temporary, transitional stage of tyranny was necessary in order to move from a capitalistic mode of production to a communist utopia. He called this tyranny the "dictatorship of the proletariat": Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.7

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[13] The purpose of the dictatorship is to centrally plan the economy until such time as a new, communist consciousness emerges and the state spontaneously "falls away."8 Che Guevara said that "society as a whole must become a gigantic school."9 The dictatorship, then, exists as a ruthless headmaster to ensure that society's students unlearn the distinction between society's interest and their own.

Communism and Totalitarianism
[14] Communism necessarily takes the form of totalitarianism, or the tyranny of all over one. In practice, a totalitarian society looks much the same as a fascist society, which is the tyranny of one over all. [15] The dictatorship of the proletariat is sometimes euphemized by Marxists as a "workers' democracy." To call the dictatorship a tyranny, they argue, is to misunderstand the definition of communism entirely. But the dictatorship is decidedly not a democracy in the sense that minority views are protected or personal freedoms guaranteed. If a new communist consciousness is to emerge, the rights and freedoms which spread "false consciousness" throughout society must be restricted. [16] Historically, communist societies have been characterized by the absolute rule of a revolutionary party leader, beneath whom everyone is equally subservient. Just as perfect freedom culminates in the unchallenged will of a single despot, so perfect equality is manifest in the shared slavery of a society subservient to a single will.

2008

P.S. O’Sullivan, 62

Capitalism vs Socialism
[1] What is the difference between capitalism vs socialism? The two economic systems can be defined as follows: Capitalism is an informal economic system in which property is largely privately owned, and in which profit provides incentive for capital investment and the employment of labor. Socialism is a formal economic system in which society exerts considerable control over the nation's wealth and property in the pursuit of social justice. [2] Capitalism and socialism are distinguished by the following characteristics: System Type Ownership Organization Social Objectives Economic Objectives Political System 2008 Capitalism Informal Mostly private Decentralized Freedom Efficiency Democracy/oligarchy Socialism Formal Either/Both Mixed Equality “Fairness” Bureaucratic oligarchy

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Capitalism vs Communism
[1] What is the difference between capitalism vs communism? If indeed "a picture is worth a thousand words," the difference may best be explained by this Pentagon photo of the Korean Peninsula at night, showing capitalist South Korea glowing with prosperity and communist North Korea mired in darkness:

[2] The definitions of capitalism and communism are as follows: Capitalism is an informal economic system in which property is largely privately owned, and in which profit provides incentive for capital investment and the employment of labor. Communism is a formal economic system in which property, particularly capital property (e.g. factories, machines, tools, etc.), is commonly owned and

P.S. O’Sullivan, 64 scarce resources are allocated through planning as opposed to price signals in a free market. [3] The differences between capitalism and communism can be summarized as follows: System Type Ownership Organization Social Objectives Economic Objectives Political System 2008 Capitalism Informal Mostly private Decentralized Freedom Efficiency Democracy/oligarchy Communism Formal Public Centralized Equality “Fairness” Dictatorship

P.S. O’Sullivan, 65

Capitalism vs Socialism vs Communism
[1] The differences between capitalism vs socialism vs communism may be summarized as follows: Capitalism is an informal economic system in which property is largely privately owned, and in which profit provides incentive for capital investment and the employment of labor. Socialism is a formal economic system in which society exerts considerable control over the nation's wealth and property in the pursuit of social justice. Communism is a formal economic system in which property, particularly capital property (e.g. factories, machines, tools, etc.), is commonly owned and scarce resources are allocated through planning as opposed to price signals in a free market. [2] The three economic systems have the following characteristics: System Type Ownership Organization Social Objectives Economic Objectives Political System Capitalism Informal Mostly private Decentralized Freedom Efficiency Democracy/ oligarchy Communism Formal Public Centralized Equality “Fairness” Dictatorship Socialism Formal Either/both Mixed Equality “Fairness” Bureaucratic oligarchy

2008

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The Definition of Ideology
[1] Ideology is most typically defined as a set of political ideas. The word often carries a negative connotation, implying pedantry and a slavish adherence to a collection of illusions. Expanding on this definition, I argue in my book, An Introduction to Ideology, that ideology is the mechanism through which liberal society devolves into tyranny. [2] The thesis I offer is as follows: Ideology is an essentially ironic narrative about the death and rebirth of the human identity. The ideologue, like the religious fanatic, is a person who purports to have discovered a single, golden truth capable of explaining everything. Those who disagree, even slightly, with the ideologue's worldview are held to be suffering from false consciousness. [3] Typically, ideologues fetishize highly specific historical time periods (which they have grossly misunderstood) and seek to return humanity to a fictional Golden Age in the past. Taking social contract theory quite literally, ideologues routinely confuse the distinct concepts of individual and society, seeking to fuse the two into one. The ideological terminus is inevitably tyranny, which is ironically described as "real democracy," self-realization, and freedom. [4] Libertarianism, socialism, communism, and fascism are typically ideologies. American conservatism and modern liberalism are not, although it is sometimes difficult to distinguish conservatives from libertarians and liberals from socialists.

FAQ: Book Details
1. Why did you write this book? I wrote An Introduction to Ideology because I am increasingly concerned about the health of liberal democracy, which is routinely disparaged and derided within universities and among young people as the most evil form of society ever to exist. To be frank, I have grave doubts as to whether liberalism can survive the next century, and I tremble to contemplate the horror of what would inevitably replace it. In short, this book is my own attempt to understand why liberalism is so deeply despised and how a liberal society might devolve into tyranny. 2. Wait a minute, aren't you a conservative? Why are you defending liberalism? This site is written from an American perspective because American is the lingua franca (common language) of the age. For instance, if I were to write narrowly from my own perspective as a Canadian and I quoted John A. Macdonald and John Diefenbaker extensively, few people (even in my own country, sadly) would have any clue what I was talking about and the site might seem less relevant to people's lives.

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That being said, Americans use the term liberal very strangely (and perhaps, dangerously); roughly, Americans call socialism "liberalism." In the book, and to a lesser extent on this site, I argue that actually, what Americans call conservatism is a form of liberalism. For example, I believe in the importance of a free market, the right to life, free speech, democratic government, equality of opportunity (not outcomes), and the strict limitation and division of power. Apparently, these are such radical positions as to make me a conservative. But when one considers the relative novelty of these ideas in human history, this is a highly unusual use of the word conservative. My defense of liberalism, then, is a defense of the liberal argument, in which I obviously gravitate toward one position over the other. 3. How much of this book is already on the site? The book is slightly over 40,000 words; I would guess about 6,000 words from the site are in the book, which is 15%. The essays on American conservatism and modern liberalism are both in the book, with a different introduction, a different conclusion, and an extremely brief discussion of the political hedonism of each. Like the site, the book is divided into definitions, but the definitions of libertarianism, socialism, communism, and fascism are completely different in both language and color because they are considered in light of their ideological and ironic nature, two important ideas which are simply too difficult to explore within the confines of this site. 4. Who were your influences in writing this book? An Introduction to Ideology uses three books as a template: Kenneth Minogue's Alien Powers: The Pure Theory of Ideology, which is a philosophically robust view of ideology that has heavily influenced my own; Northrop Frye's wonderful lecture, The Educated Imagination, which is a marvelously accessible introduction to literature by the greatest of my countrymen; and Eric Hoffer's crisp and concise masterpiece, The True Believer, which remains the quintessential work on revolutions. 5. Where can I buy your book? Through Amazon.com or through my online store. If you live in Canada or the UK, check back in a few months for availability through domestic online retailers. 6. I can't decide whether to buy your book or not. What else can you tell me? You can find a collection of notes and drafts I made while writing the book here. Additionally, you can view some of the book for free via Google Books. Other than that, it's up to you!

2008, 2009

P.S. O’Sullivan, 68

Edmund Burke Quotes
What follows is a selection of Edmund Burke quotes to give the general reader a taste of Burke's writing and philosophy. There is, of course, no substitute for reading his work in its proper context. Hopefully, the Edmund Burke quotes which follow will give the reader a gentle nudge in that direction. (For an excellent collection of Burke, try the following: The Best of Burke: Selected Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke; alternatively, a free, public domain version of Burke's complete works is available through Google Books.) "Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion." —Speech to the Electors of Bristol (1774). "The bulk of mankind, on their part, are not excessively curious concerning any theories whilst they are really happy; and one sure symptom of an illconducted state is the propensity of the people to resort to them." —Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol (1777). "Believe me, it is a great truth, that there never was, for any long time, a corrupt representative of a virtuous people; or a mean, sluggish, careless people that ever had a good government of any form. If it be true in any degree, that the governors form the people, I am certain it is as true that the people in their turn impart their characters to their rulers. Such as you are, sooner or later, must parliament be." —Letter to a Member of the Bell-Club, Bristol (1777). "I feel an insuperable reluctance in giving my hand to destroy any established institution of government, upon a theory, however plausible it may be." —Speech on Mr. Fox's East India Bill (1783). "Moderation (which times and situations will clearly distinguish from the counterfeits of pusillanimity and indecision) is the virtue only of superior

P.S. O’Sullivan, 69 minds. It requires a deep courage, and full of reflection, to be temperate when the voice of multitudes (the specious mimic of fame and reputation) passes judgment against you. The impetuous desire of an unthinking public will endure no course, but what conducts to splendid and perilous extremes. Then to dare to be fearful, when all about you are full of presumption and confidence, and when those who are bold at the hazard of others would push your caution and disaffection, is to show a mind prepared for its trial; it discovers, in the midst of general levity, a self-possessing and collected character, which, sooner or later, bids to attract every thing to it, as to a centre." —Letter to Mons. Dupont (1789). "Nothing universal can be rationally affirmed on any moral or any political subject. Pure metaphysical abstraction does not belong to these matters. The lines of morality are not like the ideal lines of mathematics. They are broad and deep as well as long. They admit of exceptions; they demand modifications. These exceptions and modifications are not made by the process of logic, but by the rules of prudence. Prudence is not only the first in rank of the virtues political and moral, but she is the director, the regulator, the standard of them all. Metaphysics cannot live without definition; but Prudence is cautious how she defines." —Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs (1791). "A statesman differs from a professor in an university: the latter has only the general view of society; the former, the statesman, has a number of circumstances to combine with those general ideas, and to take into his consideration. Circumstances are infinite, are infinitely combined, are variable and transient: he who does not take them into consideration is not erroneous, but stark mad; ... he is metaphysically mad. A statesman, never losing sight of principles, is to be guided by circumstances; and judging contrary to the exigencies of the moment, he may ruin his country forever." —Speech on the Petition of the Unitarians (1792). "We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of Nature, and the means perhaps of its conservation. All we can do, and that human wisdom can do, is to provide that the change shall proceed by insensible degrees. This has all the benefits which may be in change, without any of the inconveniences of mutation. Everything is provided for as it arrives. This mode will, on the one hand, prevent the unfixing old interests at once: a thing which is apt to breed a black and sullen discontent in those who are at once dispossessed of all their influence and consideration. This gradual course, on the other side, will prevent men long under depression from being intoxicated with a large draught of new power, which they always abuse with a licentious insolence. But, wishing, as I do, the change to be gradual and

P.S. O’Sullivan, 70 cautious, I would, in my first steps, lean rather to the side of enlargement than restriction." —Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe (1792).

"I knew that there is a manifest, marked distinction, which ill men with ill designs, or weak men incapable of any design, will constantly be confounding,—that is, a marked distinction between change and reformation. The former alters the substance of the objects themselves, and gets rid of all their essential good as well as of all the accidental evil annexed to them. Change is novelty; and whether it is to operate any one of the effects of reformation at all, or whether it may not contradict the very principle upon which reformation is desired, cannot be certainly known beforehand. Reform is not a change in the substance or in the primary modification of the object, but a direct application of a remedy to the grievance complained of. So far as that is removed, all is sure. It stops there; and if it fails, the substance which underwent the operation, at the very worst, is but where it was." —Letter to a Noble Lord (1796). The following Edmund Burke quotes all derive from Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), Burke's most famous work and recommended reading for all conservatives. "It is better to cherish virtue and humanity, by leaving much to free will, even with some loss to the object, than to attempt to make men mere machines and instruments of a political benevolence. The world on the whole will gain by a liberty, without which virtue cannot exist." "Whenever our neighbour's house is on fire, it cannot be amiss for the engines to play a little on our own. Better to be despised for too anxious apprehensions, than ruined by too confident a security." "Respecting your forefathers, you would have been taught to respect yourselves." "To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind. The interest of that portion of social arrangement is a trust in the hands of all those who compose it; and as none but bad men would justify it in abuse, none but traitors would barter it away for their own personal advantage." "All men have equal rights; but not to equal things."

P.S. O’Sullivan, 71 "When ancient opinions and rules of life are taken away, the loss cannot possibly be estimated. From that moment we have no compass to govern us; nor can we know distinctly to what port we steer." "We hear these new teachers continually boasting of their spirit of toleration. That those persons should tolerate all opinions, who think none to be of estimation, is a matter of small merit. Equal neglect is not impartial kindness. The species of benevolence, which arises from contempt, is no true charity." "The true lawgiver ought to have a heart full of sensibility. He ought to love and respect his kind, and to fear himself. " "Men have no right to what is not reasonable, and to what is not for their benefit."

What Burke Did Not Say!
To the best of my knowledge, the following Edmund Burke quote does not exist: "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." The Columbia World of Quotations speculates that this widely-cited quote derives from Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents, perhaps from the following passage: "We may assure ourselves, that if Parliament will tamely see evil men take possession of all the strong-holds of their country, and allow them time and means to fortify themselves, under a pretense of giving them a fair trial, and upon a hope of discovering, whether they will not be reformed by power, and whether their measures will not be better than their morals; such a Parliament will give countenance to their measures also, whatever that Parliament may pretend, and whatever those measures may be. "Every good political institution must have a preventive operation as well as a remedial. It ought to have a natural tendency to exclude bad men from Government, and not to trust for the safety of the State to subsequent punishment alone: punishment, which has ever been tardy and uncertain; and which, when power is suffered in bad hands, may chance to fall rather on the injured than the criminal."

P.S. O’Sullivan, 72

Endnotes
The portrait in the logo at the top of this page is of Edmund Burke. The quote is from his classic work, Reflections on the Revolution in France.

1.1: What Is Bias? 1. Friedrich Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil," Basic Writings of Nietzsche, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Random House, 2000) 200. [NB: Human, All Too Human is the title of a work by Nietzsche. The sentence, "The fundamental faith of the journalist ..." is a play on the sentence, "The fundamental faith of the metaphysicians is the faith in opposite values."] 2. The Gospel According To St. Matthew, 7:1 (King James Version) 3. William Blake, The Four Zoas, The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake (online). See also: The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake (Book).

1.3: What Is The Principle Of Charity? 1. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, The Basic Writings of John Stuart Mill (New York: Modern Library, 2002) 22.

2.1: What Is The Difference Between Right And Left? 1. Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot (New York: Regnery Publishing, 2001) 179. 2. Isaiah Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty," The Proper Study of Mankind: An Anthology of Essays (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998) 197-198. 3. Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971) 169. 4. Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, (New York: Harper Collins, 1989) 85.

3.1: What Is Fascism? 1. Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 73 2. George Orwell, The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, Vol. 3, ed. Ian Angus and Sonia Orwell (Boston: Nonpareil Books, 2000) 113. 3. Ibid., 113-114. 4. Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France.

3.2: What Is Totalitarianism? 1. Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary. 2. Helen Graham, The Spanish Civil War: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005) 33. 3. Ayn Rand, "Egalitarianism and Inflation," Philosophy: Who Needs It (New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1982) 147.

3.3: What Is Theocracy? 1. Josephus, Against Apion, Complete Works, Vol. I, tr. H. St. J. Thackeray (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966) 359. [II.164-165] 2. Chester G. Starr, A History of the Ancient World, 4th Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991) 59. [Quoted from E.O. James, The Ancient Gods.] 3. Starr, 60. 4. Josephus, 62.

4.1: What Is Anarchy? 1. Allan Bloom, Commentary, The Republic of Plato (New York: Basic Books, 1968) 410.

4.2: Who Is The Idealist? 1. George Orwell, 1984 (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977) 271. 2. Northrop Frye, Fearful Symmetry (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) 80. 3. Friedrich Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil," Basic Writings of Nietzsche, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Random House, 2000) 419.

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4. Ronald W. Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times (New York: World Publishing Company, 1971) 352. 5. Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times 318. 6. Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times 319.

4.3: Who Is The Fanatic? 1. Plato, The Republic of Plato, tr. Allan Bloom (New York: Basic Books, 1968) 492a. 2. Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, (New York: Harper Collins, 1989) 85.

5.1: What Is A Conservative? 1. Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot (New York: Regnery Publishing, 2001) 9. 2. Barry Goldwater, The Conscience of a Conservative, (Washington: Regnery Gateway, 1990) 3. 3. Kirk, Mind, 8. 4. Edmund Burke, An Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs. [NB: For an excellent collection of Burke, try the following: The Best of Burke: Selected Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke] 5. Goldwater, Conscience, 8. 6. Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address, 20 January 1981. 7. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers, No. 51. 8. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, The Basic Writings of John Stuart Mill (New York: Modern Library, 2002) 67. [NB: Mill is a modern liberal.] 9. Goldwater, Conscience, 6. 10. Henrik Ibsen, "An Enemy of the People," Four Great Plays, trans. R. Farquharson Sharp (New York: Bantam Dell, 2005) 252.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 75 5.2: What Is A Liberal? 1. John Kerry, Acceptance Speech at the Democratic National Convention, 29 July 2004. [NB: Compare this with the appendix to the third edition of Thomas Paine's Common Sense in which Paine declares, "We have it in our power to begin the world over again."] 2. Bill Clinton, First Inaugural Address, 21 January 1993. 3. Michel de Montaigne, "An Apology for Raymond Sebond," The Complete Essays, trans. M.A. Screech (London: Penguin Books, 1991) 531. [NB: Montaigne is conservative.] 4. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Second Inaugural Address, 20 January 1937. 5. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology, tr. Clemens Dutt (Amherst: Prometheus Books, 1998) 229. 6. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, The Basic Writings of John Stuart Mill (New York: Modern Library, 2002) 14-15. 7. Roosevelt, Second Inaugural.

5.4: What Is A Libertarian? 1. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, The Basic Writings of John Stuart Mill (New York: The Modern Library, 2002) 11. 2. Albert Jay Nock, Memoirs of a Superfluous Man (Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007) 304. 3. Superfluous, 182. 4. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (New York: Signet, 1996) 973. 5. Superfluous, 25-26. 6. Richard Heffner, "On Legalizing Drugs—With William F. Buckley," The Open Mind, 8/6/96. 7. Barry Goldwater, The Conscience of a Conservative, (Washington: Regnery Gateway, 1990) 8. 8. Superfluous, 25-26. 9. Superfluous, 49. 10. Superfluous, 117-118.

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11. Superfluous, 211. 12. Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot (New York: Regnery Publishing, 2001) 18. 13. Ronald Bailey, “Our Intangible Riches: World Bank Economist Kirk Hamilton on the Planet's Real Wealth,” Reason Magazine, August/September 2007. 14. Superfluous, 137. 15. Superfluous, 320-321. 16. Mitt Romney, Faith in America Speech at the George Bush Presidential Library, 6 December 2007. 17. Luke 12:48. 18. Superfluous, 305.

6.1: What Is Foreign Policy? 1. Michael S. Gazzaniga and Todd F. Heatherton, Psychological Science, Second Edition (New York: Norton, 2006) 631. 2. Ibid., 632. 3. Arthur Salter, Personality in Politics (London: Faber & Faber, ?) 72-73. 4. Plato, The Republic, 338c, Plato: Complete Works, tr. G.M.A. Grube, rev. C.D.C. Reeve, ed. John M. Cooper (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1997) 983.

7.1: What Is Economics? 1. John E. Sayre and Alan J. Morris, Principles of Macroeconomics, 5th Ed. (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2006) 19. 2. Robert A. Mundell, Man and Economics: The Science of Choice, 1968. 3. James Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup, and Dwight R. Lee, Common Sense Economics (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005) 9. 4. Lionel Robbins, An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science (London: Macmillan & Co., 1945) 16.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 77 5. N. Gregory Mankiw, Ronald D. Kneebone, Kenneth J. McKenzie, Nicholas Rowe, Principle of Microeconomics, Second Canadian Edition (Toronto: Thomson Nelson, 2002) 4.

7.2: What Is Capitalism? 1. Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary. 2. Karl Marx, Capital (New York: International Publishers, 1987). 3. Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (New York: The Modern Library, 1994). 4. Kenneth Minogue, Alien Powers: The Pure Theory of Ideology (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2007) 291. 5. John E. Sayre and Alan J. Morris, Principles of Microeconomics, 5th Ed. (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2006) 5. 6. Smith, Nations 745. 7. Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002) 13. 8. Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy (New York: Basic Books, 2004) 388. 9. Sowell, Basic, 389. 10. James Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup, and Dwight R. Lee, Common Sense Economics (New York: st. Martin's Press, 2005) 6. 11. Sowell, Basic, 146. 12. Gwartney et al, Common Sense, 19. 13. Walter E. Williams, "Capitalism and the Common Man," 25 August 1997. 14. Friedman, Capitalism, 171-172. 15. Friedman, Capitalism, 15. 16. Friedrich A. Hayek, "The Use of Knowledge in Society," American Economic Review, XXXV No. 4, September 1945, 519-530. 17. Sowell, Basic, 382.

P.S. O’Sullivan, 78 7.3: What Is Socialism? 1. Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme, The Portable Marx, tr. Eugene Kamenka (New York: Penguin Books, 1983) 541. 2. Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx, 4 ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996) 144. 3. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, The Portable Marx, tr. Eugene Kamenka (New York: Penguin Books, 1983) 235.

7.4: What Is Communism? 1. Plato, Laws, 739c-d, Plato: Complete Works, tr. Trevor J. Saunders, ed. John M. Cooper (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1997) 1420. 2. Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, Marx and Engels: Collected Works, Vol. 6 (New York: International Publishers, 1976) 166. 3. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology, tr. W. Lough (Amherst: Prometheus Books, 1998) 49. 4. Ibid., 37. 5. Karl Marx, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, The Portable Marx, tr. Eugene Kamenka (New York: Penguin Books, 1983) 160. 6. Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme, The Portable Marx, tr. Eugene Kamenka (New York: Penguin Books, 1983) 541. 7. Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme, The Portable Marx, tr. Eugene Kamenka (New York: Penguin Books, 1983) 541. 8. Selected Correspondence of Marx and Engels 1846-1895, Letter 157 (Engels to Cuno, London, 24 January 1872), tr. Dona Torr (New York: International Publishers, 1934) 319-320. 9. Ernesto “Che” Guevara, El Socialismo y el Hombre en Cuba (Colombia: Ocean Sur, 2007) 11.