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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: June 2014

Some Second Thoughts on Progressivism and Rights

Summary

The overriding reason that Progressives were so often dismissive of rights claims and arguments is that they wanted to create a national democracy and they saw a rigid adherence to the prevailing norms of the U.S. The liberal establishment increasingly justified its rule in non-ideological terms by appealing to purportedly objective and value-free procedures and practices. The democratic left charged that the liberal establishment excluded many important groups and interests in policy-making. Beginning in the 1970s, deregulation was pursued by both Democratic and Republican administrations. Originalism as a constitutional hermeneutic serves better as a critique of an entrenched judicial and congressional liberalism than as a guide to conservative governance. The constitutional originalism provides a source for a public philosophy of sufficient prestige and power to become a basis for a reconstituted public and the restoration of popular sovereignty.

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