Left and Right

The last gasp of an ideology

TAC Editor’s Weekly
The latest in Main Street conservative news
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Dear Reader,It was point and counterpoint on our homepage this past Tuesday.

Taking point was an excerpt of Sam Gregg’s new book The Next American Economy: Nation, State, and Markets in an Uncertain World, included in the latest print issue. Gregg points out the parallels between contemporary advocates of industrial policy and historical practitioners of mercantilism, suggesting that these new mercantilists remain vulnerable to the same arguments that prompted the U.S. to abandon the approach and liberalize our economy and trade in the first place. In this excerpt, Gregg goes back to the father of modern economics, Adam Smith.

Offering counterpoint was Julius Krein. “Gregg pays lip service to concerns around national sovereignty, geopolitical competition, and so on, but offers no serious proposals for navigating situations in which market incentives conflict with national interests.” Krein’s review is a primer in what is sometimes called “New Right” or “realignment” political economy, which points out that no matter how elegant an economic theory might be in theory, its assumptions will breakdown in practice in a world where markets signal not only the preferences of individuals but also the interventions of foreign governments. Industrial policy is inevitable, set either by our representatives or our geopolitical rivals.

And Adam Ellwanger takes the general public to task for failing to think critically about the educational mantra that is “critical thinking.” Who could be against rigorous and rational thought? If only that were what teachers’ unions and professors meant when they extol critical thinking. Instead, fully learned, it is an intellectual shock collar that conditions students to ruthlessly interrogate all that the Western tradition has given them and to recoil when liberal platitudes are questioned.


Micah Meadowcroft
Web Editor

Protectionism Doesn’t Pay

Contemporary American trade restrictionists are essentially expressing a modern version of mercantilism.

The Last Gasp of an Ideology

Samuel Gregg’s utopian ideal of perfectly self-regulating markets, totally insulated from politics, offers little to inform practical policy.

‘Critical Thinking’: An Educational Shock Collar

Rather than teaching students to interrogate all premises, “critical thinking” demands they adopt a position of unwavering faith in liberal conventions.

The Best of Rod’s Blog:

  1. Hershey Highway: The Road to Ruin
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  3. El Salvador’s Welcome Prison Industrial Complex
In argument about moral problems, relativism is the first refuge of the scoundrel.
―Roger Scuton
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