Max Boot is now a free man

Meant to post earlier this week about Max Boot’s column headlined: “I left the Republican ideological bubble. I don’t want to join another.” An excerpt:

Max BootNow that I’ve left the Republican Party, I am often asked why I simply haven’t become a Democrat. In part it’s because I don’t agree with the progressive wing of the party: Some of them are as protectionist, isolationist and fiscally irresponsible as President Trump. But it’s also because, after having spent my entire adult life in one ideological bubble, I don’t want to join another. I refuse to make excuses for Trump — and I don’t want to be tempted to make excuses for a future Democratic president, either, as so many did for Bill Clinton after his sexual misconduct…

Of course, one doesn’t have to succumb to such foolishness to identify with a party, but there is that danger.

That arises from the intellectual dishonesty that party identification fosters. One falls into the habit of supporting (or at least failing to oppose) the stupidest things advocated by members of one’s own party, and opposing the wisest notions that arise from the other. Boot uses similar words to describe the problem:

One gets the sense, as my Post colleague Jennifer Rubin wrote, that if progressives championed the theory of gravity, conservatives would denounce it. In fact, public-opinion research suggests that many Republicans would be likely to support climate-change solutions if they were proposed by Republican leaders — and conversely many Democrats would be likely to oppose them even if they would have backed the very same policies when put forward by Democrats. We’ve already seen the parties flip positions on Russia because of Trump. That is the danger of ideology, and why I strive for an empirical, non-ideological approach instead, even if that leaves me in a political no-man’s land where I am sniped at by both sides.

Frankly, I didn’t think of Boot as being stuck in GOP thought ruts to begin with. He has seemed independent-minded for some time. But I’m glad that he feels he’s been freed of such habits.

Anyway, welcome to the UnParty, Max…

9 thoughts on “Max Boot is now a free man

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    I like his “I’m losing my hair but I’m still a young man!” hat.

    Gives him a sort of rakish Clark Kent air.

    When trouble threatens, he can run to a phone booth (if he can find one), and become Neo-Con Man!

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      What are you seeing?

      Bud has expressed concern about the “Not secure” message that’s been showing up in the URL field.

      Near as I can tell, that’s not because of anything wrong with the blog. It appears to be a Chrome thing. I’ve Googled, and apparently I have to buy something to make that go away.

      I’m sort of waiting until my bank account is a bit more flush before doing so…

  2. Norm Ivey

    why I strive for an empirical, non-ideological approach instead

    I propose that all government officials must have a scientific background.

    1. Mr. Smith

      Sounds sorta like the old H.G. Wells’ vision of rule by scientists and engineers.
      I disagree. A background in science does not provide any unique insight into the public good.

      As George Orwell wrote, “scientists themselves would benefit by a little education.” By that he meant that a scientific background was insufficient to determine what makes good public policy. “Is it really true,” Orwell asked, “that a ‘scientist’ is any likelier than other people to approach non-scientific problems in an objective way? There is not much reason for thinking so. Take one simple test — the ability to withstand nationalism. It is often loosely said that ‘Science is international’, but in practice the scientific workers of all countries line up behind their own governments with fewer scruples than are felt by the writers and the artists.” In other words, a background in science does not make people immune to irrationality. Just look at Rand Paul.

      We don’t need to be scientists to know how to apply reason and think with precision.

      1. Bart

        Mr. Smith,

        There is hope after all. You and I are in agreement on this topic. Don’t have enough time to delve into the topic at this time but suffice it to say, your point is well stated and your last sentence is succinct and accurate.


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