Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Welcome the hopeful John McGowan

What a nice surprise to find John McGowan, one of my favorite professors, up for a stint of guest-blogging for Michael Bérubé. Michael said John would start the 17th, but he jumped the gun. I think John must have a lot to say! (Actually, I know he does.)

His first post challenges left academics to articulate positions of hope in a dark time.

The left has two basic pillars on which to rest its hopes: democracy and liberalism. The two are not the same and can, in fact, be in conflict with one another at times. Neither can be abandoned, even when their marriage is rocky. Liberalism is the bulwark against tyranny. Liberal institutions and liberal civil rights are, to a certain extent, shielded from the decisions of the demos. The left has to affirm—even if it is sometimes against our own instincts—that liberal safeguards against the abuse of power act as a check on pure democracy.

These are good words to hear, if hard to put into practice. Give John a listen.

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