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programs that only serve entrenched
Despite Mondale's silly "Where's the
interest groups such as farm price sup- beef?" jibe, Gary Hart really has done
ports. They respect and understand the some zero-based thinking about liberal
power of free-market capitalism (so goals and come up with "new ideas,"
they oppose trade protectionism), but many of them good ones. Perhaps more
they also understand where this magic impressive are the old-style ideas he opcan't work or doesn't exist (so they sup- poses, such as the "domestic content"
FROM WASHINGTON port strong safety and health regula- bill that would more or less ban importtion). Unlike paleos, neos believe that ed automobiles. This is a classic exameconomic growth is the best answer to ple of a policy that would protect a
poverty. Unlike conservatives, though, small, politically organized group to the
they're not complacent about those detriment of long-term economic
whom prosperity passes by and others growth and of society as a whole. Hart
who get crushed by the gears of deserves points for saying in Detroit
progress. Furthermore, neoliberals see that "things will never be what they
some kinds of government spending— were in the auto industry" and that "all
for education, research, infrastructure interests across the spectrum" must
—as valuable capital investment, not share the pain of readjustment. When
money down the drain.
Mondale emotes about his concern for
As you can tell, I find the neoliberal the poor, the elderly, the unemployed.
vision pretty seductive. Nevertheless, Hart is right to respond, "Compassion
this stuff has its fatuous potential. As is not just getting red in the face and
applied to or by some blow-dried pretty waving the arms. Compassion is solvNEOLIBERALS, PALEOLIBERALS
boy of a politician, "neoliberal" can ing problems."
To everyone's surprise, the Democratic simply mean "not very liberal." "ReOn the other hand, there's something
Presidential race is turning into exactly thinking" can be a code word for "re- bloodless about Hart's problem-solving
the right debate about the meaning of neging." Technocratic razzle-dazzle can approach. A lot of his "new ideas" are a
the Democratic Party: the debate be- disguise a lack of vision or even under- bit too cute and over-designed, like the
tween neoliberals and paleoliberals. standing. "Special interests" can mean candidate himself. Tax-free "individual
The old debate between Scoop Jackson the other guy's supporters, not your retraining accounts" may be a good
Democrats and McGovem Democrats own.
continut'd on page 41
was mainly about foreign policy, but
this debate is mostly about the Democratic Party's central concern: the role of
government in society. And unlike that
other debate, this one doesn't easily
break down into right and left because
it's about means, not ends.
Walter Mondale, of course, is the paleo and Gary Hart is the neo. Neither
"ilioroLighly researched and clearly written, it fills an imporUnt gap
one may care for his label. But the labels
in the published histories <if the Party."
are fair enough (as labels go), because
—DAVID A. SH.ANN(H Ihiirersity ofVinrinia
the two men and their campaigns really
do represent what is best and worst
"A tightly woven and neatly organized narrative."
about these two tendencies within the
—GVS nXER, Neiv York Times Book Reiriew
Democratic Party.
of the American Communist Party diirinj^
Put simply, neoliberalism (unlike
paleoliberalism) shares the widespread
SEYMOUR MARTIN UPSET, Staiiford Unh^ersiiy
skepticism about many aspects of big
government as it has developed over
the past fifty years, but (unlike
neoconservatism) continues to believe
that the government should play a major role in providing for the poor, creatThe Depression Decade
ing jobs, guaranteeing health care,
protecting consumers and the environment, and so on. Neoliberalism wants
$:^fi.5nat hookstorcs.
to rewrite the liberal agenda, not to emor din-il irom tho publistier.
balm it (like the paleos) or to discard it
(like the Reaganites).
Miyor credit cards ac
Neoliberals try to distinguish beBASIC BOOKS, Inc.
tween truly progressive government
11) Kasi r>:(nt Sln-.M. New York lOOlJl^
programs such as food stamps, and

"One of the few truly excellent,
major studies of a still troubling aspect
of American politics and societyJ'

Harvey Klehr




from page 4

TRB, from page 6

idea, but can you reaily build a solid liberal platform out of gimmicks like this?
How serious can a man be whose political views were profoundly affected by
Paleoliberals are not trendy. Their
"ideas" don't derive from arid cogitation. Positions on particular issues grow
from roots in the causes and communities long associated with the Democratic
Party. These are mostly worthy causes
and deserving communities. But paleoliberalism came to a genuine impasse in
1980, not just politically but intellectually. In the hands of the paleos,
the Democratic Party seemed to have
become a reactionary force, more committed to preserving all current governCULTURE OF THE LEFT
ment agencies, programs, and regulations than to the ideal of social justice.
To the editors:
paleoliberal vision of goverment by
One wonders, judging from Irving
Howe's "Toward An Open Culture" interest group had produced a society
{TNR, March 5), whether the usually as- resembling gridlock in Manhattan on a
tute Mr. Howe fully appreciates the re- matinee afternoon, where everyone asquirements of openness—as they apply serts an absolute right to proceed and
to the contemporary left as well as to nobody gets anywhere as a result.
the supposedly dominant conservative
Mondale has roots. Though his camoutlook he attacks.
paign has "Made in Washington"
The "ideological narrowness" Mr. stamped all over it, it is made of timeHowe decries surely characterizes, for tested Democratic parts. However, the
example, the feminist left as much as it notion that Mondale is the man of
does some segments of the evangelical substance while Hart is the man of "tinmovement or the Moral Majority. Thus, sel and public relations" (Mondale's
"rhetorical intimidation" and "institu- phrase) does not bear scrutiny. Over
tional pressure"—deplored by Howe— the past few years, while Hart was ponhave been exerted by feminists in the dering policy, albeit in a selfform of textbook censorship {through consciously high-minded way, Monthe National Council of Teachers of dale was putting together his machine.
English), and the attempted muzzling Now he's trying to save his campaign
of broadcasters (by the National Orga- by analyzing Hart's proposals one by
one and running like a tattletale to
nization of Women).
The truth is that the liberal and radi- every interest group whose toes might
cal left exhibit a consistent uneasiness, get stepped on.
The true leader is the one who neiand often a distaste, for other genuine
subcultures—and for traditional reli- ther embraces "special interests" nor
gious values generally. Mr. Howe's denounces them like Satan, but tries to
model of the internal cultural tensions make people understand that the spein democratic societies is an intriguing cial-interest conspiracy against the genone—but cultural pluralism, if it is to be eral interest is one we've all joined, and
authentically invoked, must work both we'll all be better off generally if we relent a bit in our specific demands on the
ROBERT L. COHEN system. Mondale can't do it. Asked speBrooklyn, New York cifically what sacrifice he would ask of
the average family, he couldn't bring
The editors welcome correspondence from himself to name a single one. "I would
readers. Letters should include the writer's like to lighten the burden on them a litfull name, address, and telephone number; tle bit," he said. Hart's been Askbe typed double-spaced; and be held to un- Notting around the country in a Kender 200 words. Letters may be edited for
space. Please address letters to: Correspon- nedyesque way that is a bit unnerving.
dence, TNR, 1220 19th Street, N.W., Wash- But guess what? Maybe it's something
people are ready to hear.
ington, D.C. 20036.

good and nonculpable victims of the
structure. Hence, the lucky rich and unlucky poor. How good and nonculpable
people make an unjust structure is never explained.
Money redistribution schemes have
made the possibility for work improbable in a large sector of our society. It is
correct to say that wealth has no moral
imperatives. But individual work and
productivity do have moral claims. As a
conservative, I say that in 1988 the top
item on the liberal agenda should be the
redistribution of the work ethic.
Birmingham, Michigan

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