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In an era when smug, triumphant conservatism is more dominant in politics than it has been for a generation, it is not surprising to find a new type of liberalism being advocated by the New Republic. The liberalism of the future, the editors insist must be of the cautious, experimental type, a state of mind based not upon identification with a specific program, but upon the study of life and social processes. Militant liberalism rarely thrives unless it is given the impetus of hard times or a favorable shift in ordinary economic conditions. And the prosperous condition of industry in general has practically extinguished any lingering sparks of Promethean vigor at present.
It is curious to see how this condition of affairs has paralyzed the efforts of all political groups which could lay claim to the badge of "liberal". That heterogeneous combination of farmers, union laborers, intellectuals, sputtering communists, and Republican malcontents, which was ranged beneath the banner of the late Senator LaFollette, a year ago, has disintegrated into its various components, though echoes of its pseudo-Marxian principles are still heard in agricultural problems. The Democratic party, its morale shattered by internal feuds, has almost succumbed to the general apathy, as it half-heartedly pursues an economic policy drawn along traditional laisser-faire lines sprinkled with an occasional dash of progressivism. Perhaps the most active opposition to the Administration comes from that ever changing group of insurgent senators from the Middle West, but their inconsistency and diversity in political creeds have rendered them annoying rather than dangerous foes of the existing order.
With the daily press almost unanimous in its adulation of the leaders of the present Golden Age, and the journals of opinion confining themselves to an occasional quip about the White House twang or Countess Karolyi, the surviving liberals have nothing to do but sit back until the national course of events brings Shadwell's castle tumbling about his ears.
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