by Steven Teles on May 1, 2009

Chapter One of The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement opens with a quote from Stephen Skowronek, which I think sums up much of what I was trying to argue in the book: “Whether a given state changes or fails to change, the form and timing of the change, and the governing potential in the change—of these turn on a struggle for political power and institutional position, a struggle defined and mediated by the organization of the preestablished state.” In writing this book, Skowronek’s words haunted my own attempt to make sense of what was going on so many decades later. As Skowronek so powerfully argued, politics never starts from zero—it always starts somewhere . In order to make sense of what conservatives did, therefore, I needed to start with “the organization of the preestablished state.” [click to continue…]

Political Entrepreneurs and Lunatics with Money

by Aaron Swartz on May 1, 2009

One of the interesting things about capitalism is that, if you have money, people seem to just magically appear to meet your needs. When it rains in New York City, vendors materialize to sell me an umbrella. When I was walking to the inauguration, the streets were lined with people selling hats and handwarmers. I certainly didn’t ask anyone to bring me a hat; I didn’t even realize I would want one, or I would have brought it myself — but people predicted that I would and brought it for me.

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