S-USIH roundtable on A Commercial Republic: final entry

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The last entry in the Society for U.S. Intellectual History's online roundtable about my book, A Commercial Republic: America's Enduring Debate over Democratic Capitalism, went up today. After Tuesday's entry from Tim Lacy, Lawrence Glickman's Wednesday post, and the beatdown I got yesterday from Stewart Winger, today's contribution is from me. I was glad to have the opportunity to address the insights of all of these historians.

My post is a bit long, but hopefully worth the time. It is fairly subjective, written in first person, and covers my own motivations in writing the book. In it I address Winger's substantive criticisms by primarily agreeing with him, but I also found his tone less than collegial. I tried to engage in the spirit of Glickman's review, in which he used the book as a point of departure for meditations on various subjects. I used his post in a similar fashion, to muse about two meanings of liberalism, the nature of evidence in intellectual history, and the definitions of democracy and capitalism. Read my post here.

S-USIH roundtable on A Commercial Republic: third entry

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The third entry in the Society for U.S. Intellectual History's online roundtable about my book, A Commercial Republic: America's Enduring Debate over Democratic Capitalism, posted this morning. After Tuesday's entry from Tim Lacy, and Lawrence Glickman's post yesterday, the latest review breaks with the trend a bit. That is to say, its writer, Stewart Winger, finds little of value in the book. In his view, its thesis is fairly obvious and not even advanced consistently. He has other concerns too: it's not short. You can read it here.

S-USIH roundtable on A Commercial Republic: second entry

book cover.jpg

This week the Society for U.S. Intellectual History will be hosting an online roundtable about my book, A Commercial Republic: America's Enduring Debate over Democratic Capitalism, on its blog. A review from Tim Lacy went up yesterday, and today's entry, from Lawrence Glickman, is available here. Glickman's reading of the book finds him discussing three major themes: the role of Liberalism in the book's narrative; the use of historical precedents in explaining later developments; and the reliance of elite sources as evidence, both in my book and in intellectual history more broadly.

S-USIH roundtable on A Commercial Republic: first entry

book cover.jpg

This week the Society for U.S. Intellectual History will be hosting an online roundtable about my book, A Commercial Republic: America's Enduring Debate over Democratic Capitalism, on its blog. The first entry, by Tim Lacy, is up now. Like me, Tim was an original founder of the blog and, later, the society itself. Unlike me, he is still there, fighting the good fight on behalf of U.S. intellectual history. Tim's contribution offers a great summary of the book's major points, along with a few friendly criticisms. He also places it in a contemporary context, since it is now four years old. A lot happened in that time! Read the first entry in the roundtable here.

great book review on political rhetoric of "free market"

Law professor James Kwak just published a fantastic review in the Washington Monthly of Steven K. Vogel's new book Marketcraft: How Governments Make Markets Work. I mean "fantastic review" in both senses of the phrase: Kwak has nothing but praise for Vogel's book, and his essay itself is an insightful piece of writing that touches on two of my favorite subjects—the inanity of conservative paeans to the "free market" and the frustratingly tepid nature of Democratic economic policy—at the same time.

[more after the jump]

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long read: predictions regarding future of GOP

In my "Politics and Policy" course last semester we were assigned to write a scenario analysis. This technique requires that, for any given phenomenon, one isolate the factors that are unlikely to change from those that could shift. Having ascertained the potential source of any new developments, the analyst then determines both the content and the likelihood of those changes. Scenario analysis is not really about predicting the future as much as it is preparing for it by way of gleaning a better understanding of the present. It is a common tool in diplomatic, military and corporate environments, but can be applied to just about anything.

I wrote about the potential dissolution of the Republican Party. Even before the election of President Trump, I had long been fascinated with the ability of the GOP to hold its "big tent" together. Its factions, I thought, had been making nice for far too long. In my view, tensions seemed to be mounting and the compromises that they had to make in order to maintain intellectual and emotional consistency were getting to be to great. And Trump's election seemed to bring all of these tensions to a head. And as an historian I was well aware that parties have come and gone in US politics.

My professor really liked the paper and thought that I should try to publish it. I made some halfhearted attempts in that regard, but nothing panned out. The paper was written in December and now it's March. It's probably a little dated and my time is increasingly occupied these days with the professional report I have to write in order to graduate (more on that in future posts). So I've put the scenario analysis up here. I think that some might find it interesting, for whatever wisdom might lie in its analysis as well as what I would imagine would be for most readers an introduction to scenario analysis.

It's a bit long. Originally it was fourteen double-spaced pages, so you might want to budget your time accordingly.

[more after the jump]

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