Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

April 2, 2014

CECIL BOHANON: 'Downton Abbey' and a brief history of political labels

There are 3 strains of U.S. economic philosophy

(Continued)

Although the economic interests in the United States were quite different — the philosophy of free trade was long associated with a liberal position. But starting around 1880, liberals began to split into two philosophical camps. One group maintained the classical “hands-off” position on state-directed income redistribution. The second group — the progressives — embraced an active role for government-directed income redistribution — but putatively for the interests of the lower-income classes.

David Starr Jordan (1851-1931), one-time Indiana University president and the founding president of Stanford University, argued the classical position as late as 1908. On a protective tariff justified on the grounds that certain interest deserved “a reasonable profit,” Jordan stated, “... in the theory of our republic it is no part of the state to guarantee to any one ‘a reasonable profit’ nor to protect any one from a reasonable loss. Its function is to see fair play and freedom of operation. It is a breach of the principle of equality before the law that the state should do anything more.”

He went on to claim the greatest harm of a protective tariff was “moral, not economic. It lies in the perversion of our theories of government, the introduction of the idea of class enrichment through legislation.”

Despite rumors to the contrary, the classical liberal position did not die out with Jordan’s generation. Although contemporary conservatives more-or-less embrace the free market principles of classical liberals, conservatives and classical liberals are not always or even usually in sync on issues of immigration, national defense, drug decriminalization or the hot-button social issues of abortion and gay rights. Fighting among the Republicans quite often is a conflict between classical liberals (Paul, Rubio) and conservatives (Santorum, Huckabee).

On the other hand, that second strain of 19th-century liberals have increasingly preferred to self-identify as progressives. So I say, hooray. Let us recognize now there are three major strains of American political-economic philosophy: conservatism, classical liberalism and progressivism.

Cecil Bohanon, Ph.D., is an adjunct scholar with the Indiana Policy Review Foundation and professor of economics at Ball State University. Contact him at cbohanon@bsu.edu.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • DAVE BANGERT: Indiana's new chief justice and court's 'mom question' Two years ago, as Loretta Rush ascended from Tippecanoe Superior Court 3 judge to the state’s Supreme Court, I dropped this line in a column celebrating someone who had earned her place.“Across the state, the headline will be: ‘[Mitch] Daniels Choose

    August 14, 2014

  • JEFFREY McCALL: POTUS promises of transparency fail to materialize The United States system of government relies on citizens having full access to information that can be used in self-governance. Journalists and other First Amendment advocates were enthused when the Obama administration came into office with convinc

    August 14, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: RIP Robin Williams

    I was re-watching the 2006 movie “Little Miss Sunshine” Monday when I heard my phone buzz. After the credits had rolled, I looked at the screen and found myself shocked.It was a news alert that Robin Williams had died that morning at the age of 63 of an apparent suicide.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • ANDREA NEAL: 'Paddle Your Own Canoe' is a Hoosier inspiration

    Editor’s note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. James Whitcomb Riley was the most acclaimed, but he wasn’t the first Hoosier poet to gain national fame. Sarah T. Bolton dese

    August 13, 2014

  • DAVE BANGERT: Rokita, illegal immigration, Ebola outbreak and context At first listen last Monday, there was something so unsavory about our congressman, Todd Rokita, whipping up two full-fledged crises — Central American children at the U.S. southern border and the African scourge of Ebola — into one pungent sound bit

    August 12, 2014

  • DAN COATS: Let's give nonprofits relief from IRS delays A flurry of scandal has recently surrounded the Internal Revenue Service.Over the past few months, we have learned about missing emails from IRS employees and revelations of clear bias and hostility by a top IRS official towards organizations with ce

    August 12, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Pitchforks and pikes in our summer of discontent Congress is ... embarrassing. Our political system is failing us. On an individual basis, many of us have respect for members of our delegation. We can have a common sense conversation with a senator, congressman or congresswoman, and then they go ba

    August 11, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: Enough reminders to forget It began with a simple phone call to my friend, Auri, a computer geek I asked to help me with my very successful website, which right now is attracting up to three visitors a month. To have a strong online presence, you have to spend several hours a

    August 11, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Outsourced jobs, health crises in foreign lands The other week, my Internet was giving me trouble. I called the support number, and — to my surprise — I spoke to a representative who sounded as American as apple pie. It turned out the technical problem was an oversight on my end and fixed quickly.

    August 10, 2014

  • MICHAEL HICKS: Dodging corporate taxes Corporations are among our oldest institutions. Something like a joint stock company probably triggered the earliest formal written communication — the accounting ledger. It should be unsurprising that the early traders of Mesopotamia used a corporat

    August 10, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Raw: Egypt Bus Crash Kills at Least 33 Two Bodies Found in Adjacent Yards Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Rescue Efforts Suspended at Japan Landslide Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Raw: Smaller Marches in Ferguson Marathon Suspect's Friend Pleads Guilty Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer Ky. Firefighters Hurt in Ice Bucket Challenge Federal Investigation Will Look at Use of Force Community Deals With Michael Brown Aftermath US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists Ferguson Teachers Training to Deal With Trauma Jon Hamm on the Unrest in Ferguson Tit for Tat? McDonald's Shuttered in Moscow Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller