Here’s something I’d like to know. Why do people keep calling Galbraith an ‘unapologetic’ liberal? Why is being a liberal something one is expected to apologize for?
Yes, careless language. I think they are referring to the fact that G held to his beliefs when most others had abandoned them.
An example is price control: he worked on it during WW2 and forever after belived it was a way of controlling inflation. It failed miserably – everywhere it was tried – during the 1970s but G clung to it.
Similarly, his prescriptions for India were always the state planning/heavy industry policies adopted by Nehru after what he thought of as the success of the Soviet Union.
I wish liberal had the meaning in the US it has most other places: a belief in individual freedoms. A belief in the panaceac (is there such a word?) powers of government is something else.
I’d love to be able to say, whoever I am speaking to, that I am an unapologetic liberal.
He was supposed to apologize for not following the Zeitgeist as it shifted to the right, an almost traitorous act in some eyes.
Also, the hack press (such as the N.Y. Times and W. Post) is addicted to set phrases, like Homer’s “wine-dark sea.” “Unapologetic” goes with “liberal” just as “sinful” goes with “chocolate.”
Chocolate is “sinful”? Hmmm. I thought the proper epithet was “decadent.” (“The Little Professor devoured a decadent slice of Death by Chocolate, and then, in a better frame of mind, went back to grading essays.”)
Hmm. I don’t know, I think “The Little Professor devoured a sinful slice of Death by Chocolate” sounds even more – how shall I say – enviable; therefore if it’s not the proper epithet it ought to be.
Why is being a liberal something one is expected to apologize for?
It’s not that it’s expected; rather, it’s that so many liberals are apologetic about their liberalism, and try to mask or deny it.
Galbraith didn’t play that game. Hence, for unapologitic read: not spineless.
It still depends on your definition of liberalism.
Does no-body disagree with my (brief) assessment of JKG?
Johnson said that when one is writing an obituary one is not upon oath, and IMHO ‘unapologetic’ is obituary-speak for ‘wrong’.
Galbraith was a fascinating man and a wonderful writer. But all too often he was just plain wrong and was always uninclined to ever accept the fact.
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