I keep getting emails from something called the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies. They are written by Amitai Etzioni. Communitarianism is supposed to represent a radical break from the current political spectrum.
Here are a few communitarian precepts, as I understand them:
(1) Rights do not exist in the absence of government. Therefore, when government expropriates you and transfers your property to someone else, you have no grounds for complaint. Had there been no government, you would have no rights at all. Be happy with what you are permitted to keep.
(2) In many areas of life, public-private partnerships are desirable.
(3) Communitarians believe in “community,” but by this they do not mean your town, your local civic group, or any of the local, flesh-and-blood institutions people associate with community. At least as articulated by Etzioni, the only “community” to which communitarianism makes reference in practice is the nonexistent “national community,” a soulless abstraction. In the name of this “community,” we ought to treat individuals’ property as if it is entirely at the disposal of the political class, so that we may promote the “common good.”
What brave pioneers these communitarians are! Take a moment to catch your breath, now that you’ve seen just how radical a departure this all is from conventional thought.
Although Etzioni flatters himself as being beyond the left-right spectrum, he is not quite correct: he is exactly in the middle. He is a “vital center” liberal of the Truman/Schlesinger variety. That means he is wrong on everything, both domestic and foreign.
Thus his most recent piece is on why impeachment of the president should be more difficult. More difficult! We’ve had a grand total of two impeachments in over 220 years, and this is just too darn many!