The Politics of Competence

December 10, 2021

An Interview with Joshua Mitchell


In the book I suggest two alternatives for America going forward. To state the case in its strongest form, we can either continue to be transfixed by what I call “the politics of innocence and transgression” or we can re-adopt what I call “the liberal politics of competence.” These are two different regimes types. They will produce two different kinds of America. The so-called “transformation of America,” begun during the Obama administration and now proceeding with lightning speed in the Biden administration, is transfixed on turning America into a nation attentive only to innocent victims and to disenfranchising—or cancelling, really—the transgressors. The former are the so-called voiceless ones, who now alone have the right to speak; the latter have been heard from enough and must now be silent. No decent liberal nation can be built on the politics of innocence and transgression. Nor can we build a nation that works on that sort of politics. If we want a nation that is both decent and that works, we must develop a nation of competent citizens, capable of building a world together, in their neighborhoods, local communities, schools, churches, and jobs.

Joshua Mitchell is a senior fellow at Common Sense Society.

Read the full article in City Journal.

Stay Informed

Join our mailing list and be the first to receive exclusive news.

Thank you for signing up!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.