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Thursday, April 9, 2009
Taking Communism away from the Communists: The Origins of Modern American Liberalism
By Selected News Articles @ 11:20 AM :: 10764 Views :: National News, Ethics, World News, Family

Modern liberalism has been compared favorably and unfavorably and even conflated with its competitors, communism, socialism, Fabianism, social democracy, anarchism, and fascism. What it has in common with its rivals is that it was a fully fledged ideology that effloresced at the turn of the twentieth century in opposition to the newly emergent worlds of mass production, mass politics, and mass culture.....

Liberalism was far more intellectually permeable, and far more politically adaptable, than most of its competitors and more willing than all but the trade-union-tied social democrats to work through the existing government structures. These qualities brought it to the forefront of American life. But it nonetheless represents a distinct ethos often at odds with America's democratic and capitalist traditions. The best short credo of liberalism came from the pen of the literary historian Vernon Parrington in the late 1920s. "Rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class," Parrington insisted, referring to both democracy and capitalism, "and the artist and the scientist will erect in America a civilization that may become, what civilization was in earlier days, a thing to be respected." Alienated from middle-class American life, liberalism drew on an idealized image of both organic pre-modern folkways and the harmony to come when it would re-establish the proper hierarchy of virtue in a post-bourgeois, post-democratic world....

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