My main blog is the Tipsy Teetotaler, http://intellectualoid.com.
If there is one thing that the prophets of egalitarian ideology cannot abide, it is the true and sincere believer in normativity—the person who judges that we are, each and every one of us, beholden to exercise our freedom in keeping with a higher law.
R.J. Snell Excellent column.
Perhaps that’s obvious, but to be an intellectual means nothing is obvious.
David Gelertner, The Real Reason They Hate Trump. Apart from a snippet or two, this sadly aped the “hateful haters with their hateful hate” style of argument more typical of the Left.
As I seek to understand the Trump phenomenon, specifically his support by a lot of my more or less sane countrymen, I encounter helpful things occasionally:
[Donald] Trump, writes [F.H.] Buckley, is “unlike anything we’ve seen before, for the simple reason that he’s up against something that we’ve never seen before: a liberalism that has given up on the American Dream of a mobile and classless society.” Those who today style
themselves as progressives are nothing of the sort-they are not revolutionaries but the new aristocrats: “They are Bourbons who seek to pass themselves off as jacobins. They have bought into a radical leftism, while resisting the call to unseat a patrician class that leftists
in the past would have opposed.”
Daniel McCarthy, reviewing F.H. Buckley, The Republican Workers Party: How the Trump Victory Drove Everyone Crazy, and Why It Was just What We Needed in the November-December American Conservative.
This characterization is consistent with the much-remarked “Hidden Tribes” report a few news cycles ago and with Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” remark during the campaign.
What I learned today: The Left no less than the Right becomes shrill, almost hysterical, “science deniers” when science cannot pronounce “Shibboleth”.
It is wrong to long for the recent past — to wish we could go back to the ’nineties, the ’seventies, the ’fifties. We are enduring today the consequences of just such rotten decades. We must go back to Christ; or forward to Him, which is the same thing. The only alternative is to go to Hell.
A modest way of being Christian.
The first step in normalizing political discourse is to stop using Netflix as the source of your political vocabulary. From there on, things will improve drastically.
Patrick Henningsen, United States of Netflix: Lib-Con Detachment in Political Fantasyland
In the popular imagination and conventional wisdom, the debate between nationalists and their globalist opponents mirrors the ideological clashes of the past, with the former falling on the right and the latter leaning to the left. While that’s sometimes the case, it isn’t always. The real distinction is between political analysts and actors who recognize and respect the importance of fostering social cohesion at the national level as a precondition of pursuing other social goods and those who deny the importance of such cohesion and even reject its legitimacy on moral grounds. Those who affirm the need to foster cohesion can be found on either the right or the left, and their critics can as well.
If this is a valid distinction, then I’m a nationalist and long have been.
Triggers and cycles. A reminder why Seth Godin remains in my RSS aggregator.
For all my criticism of our current President, I really do relish analyses that sort of make some sense of him and what he’s doing to/for my country.
The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition has some such analysis, and I think I can endorse all these helpful points:
Mr. Trump is what an outsider, in that much abused political term, really looks like.
As president, he is constantly “censured for failing to say expected things.” The words are those of political scientist Stanley Renshon, of the City University of New York. He’s got a point. Every presidency deserves criticism, but so much of Mr. Trump’s is just rote Anderson Cooper tut-tutting over his nonconformity.
[T]rue voter preferences can stay unrevealed in a democracy and then emerge spontaneously. Mr. Trump made new things sayable. The U.S. relies on a military alliance with countries that no longer spend money on having militaries. Our China trade openness has been rewarded by the rise of a neo-Maoist totalitarianism in China …
Mr. Renshon rightly describes him as a president who does “much better in keeping his promises than in speaking accurately about them.”
America has yet to take stock of what happened in 2016 and the strange circumstances that made the frequently loutish Mr. Trump an instrument for refreshening our political culture. A place to start is recognizing his singular contribution: making new things sayable.
Holman Jenkins, America Has Yet to Make Sense of Trump.
That certainly is not the whole story, and many of the things he has “made sayable” are toxic, but I made some gains in understanding today.
Maybe at night, with just one application open.
Otherwise, I don’t think I like Mojave’s dark mode.
Remember the ads where a guy got slapped in the face with Mennen Skin Bracer and jerked to alertness?
[E]mploying charm and flaunting success to woo a young lady is the oldest trick in the book. That [Bill Clinton] was married at the time made his behavior despicable. That he conducted his affair in the White House made it unseemly. That he lied about it under oath constituted a crime. But none of this amounts to exploitation, and it is only because we have so much discomfort articulating moral judgment that we to turn to the law to remedy what are essentially lapses of character.
So what does all this matter? Why defend Bill Clinton? Because in the years since his affair with Ms. Lewinsky became public knowledge we’ve created a monster. The harassment-industrial complex—lawyers, human-resources professionals, activists—has installed itself as our collective chaperone, the high priest of courtship, vested with power to decide which advances are kosher. Minions are regularly dispatched to assail those with too much wealth or prominence or unfavorable political opinions.
Abigail Shrier, Hillary Clinton Is Right—Her Husband’s Affair Was No ‘Abuse’
Thanks. I needed that.
“The joke was that anyone in Vienna who wasn’t carrying a musical instrument was either a pianist, a harpist, or a foreign spy.”
from People of the Book: A Nove by Geraldine Brooks
Lament about the plagiarism problem in “Christian” publishing, rooted in worship of prolific “rock star” celebrity pastors.
I protest! Christian ≠ Evangelical!
Plagiarism and celebrity worship are not epidemic in mainstream Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christianity.
Killing one man is very, very far from the top of the list of the most horrific things Saudi Arabia has done; criticizing them for that is like criticizing Henry Kissinger for not tipping well at restaurants.
Nones on Sunday
Add this one to the list of “I can’t believe we commissioned that” artworks. (H/T New York Times)
Finally “finished” Antifragile by Nassim Taleb only to find that the Glossary is worth reading, too.
I’ve read 30+ books so far this first year of virtual retirement. I think that’s a few more than I’ve bought. Less time on the internet would improve the ratio.
Anything one needs to market heavily is necessarily either an inferior product or an evil one.
from Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto Book 3) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
An argument can be strong or weak, civil or ill-mannered, calm or heated, edifying or misleading. Even the most frustrating arguments, though, offer readers more than the tropes pervading this frustrating review, and other journalistic work of the same genre: Let us call them Idioms of Non-Argument.
Never mind the merits of the book’s thesis—what’s important here, fellow leftists, is where the authors fall on a left-right ideological spectrum and what psychological factors may be motivating them. What’s a truth proposition when there’s an ongoing culture war to fight?
Conor Friedersdorf, dismantling Moira Weigel’s shoddy review of The Coddling of the American Mind.
But having read Heather McDonald’s take on The Coddling of the American Mind, I too question the book’s thesis.
My big blog for the day, a mélange.
Pleasant surprise. When Gregory Wolfe left Image journal, I figured its days were numbered. But its board, which led it through an earlier financial crisis, announces that James K.A. Smith is the new editor in chief. He’s no @ayjay, but well played, Image!
It is a central property of suckers that they will never know they were the suckers because that’s how our minds work.
from Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto Book 3) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
I marvel, too, that the press won’t mention the Bible passages the fired Atlanta fire chief was writing about, leaving the impression that he was just making up a list of groups to hate. I overlooked that facet of the mess Atlanta caused.
I marvel that a big, sophisticated city like Atlanta, with presumably sophisticated legal counsel, ignores religious liberty groups’ warning “don’t go there or you’ll get hammered,” goes there anyway, and gets hammered.
But I’m glad for the hammer-wielders.