More “ness” monster sightings
    and a note on the commonality among the conservatisms

Adam Wolfson, editor of The Public Interest, contributes new two “ness” monsters in a single essay (“Conservatives and Neoconservatives,” Winter 2004): “rapaciousness” for “rapacity” (p. 35) and “solictousness” for “solicitude” (p.44). (He does, however, use “acuity” correctly, sparing us “acuitousness.”)

The essay is otherwise well-written and well-argued (from the neocon viewpoint), making many useful distinctions and connections. Wolfson raises, without answering, the question what it is that ties traditionalists, paleocons, libertarians, and neocons together as “conservative.”

Naturally, Wolfson nowhere mentions that all flavors of “conservative” wind up voting for politicians whose programs will, as a practical matter, increase the share of the national income going to the top 1% of the distribution and decrease the shares going to the bottom tenth, bottom quartile, and (in most cases) bottom half.

I would never claim that everything progressives support in the name of decreased income inequality is good policy; much of it (e.g., the corporate income tax, public-sector unionization) doesn’t even decrease income inequality. I’d even be willing to listen — admittedly, without much patience — to arguments that decreasing inequality from its current level would not be a good, or would not be worth its costs.

But the pretense on the right that the left-right split is fundamentally about anything except what virtually everyone on the progressive side regards as its central issue gets old fast.

Or perhaps that’s just my irritableness speaking.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

One thought on “More “ness” monster sightings
    and a note on the commonality among the conservatisms”

  1. Frustrating Terminology

    I like reading Mark A.R. Kleiman because he is a smart voice on the left. But sometimes he can be frustrating. Here is a substantive quote from this article : Naturally, Wolfson nowhere mentions that all flavors of "conservative" wind…

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