Over to The New Yorker, Jill Lepore has another essay on the roots of American Conservatism. Last time it was national health care and the lies they told to defeat it. This time (sub req) it is on taxation and the role of slaveholders and plutocrats in delaying or undermining progressive taxation.
One reason to read Lepore is that she is a great writer and another reason is because she is the quintessence of professional historical writing.
I take minor issue with her claim that no one defends taxation. No one who anyone in positions of power or influence is willing to listen to defends taxation but lots of us have been beating the drum for more taxes and their necessity for a decent society for an awfully long time. Indeed, the fact of the matter is that the critics of neoliberalism get no respect just as the critics of the neocon part of war get no respect. The fact that both sets of critics, and they overlap, have been consistently right only makes the deafening official silence on these criticism more galling.
Ideally these two essays are going to be part of a longer-term and longer-form investigation of the roots and methods of American Conservatism.