Saturday, April 4, 2009
Little Miss Attila was thinking the other day that it would be awesome if some central authority controlled the shinytubes. She notes
they are handling the economic situation and international diplomacy so well. What, as the boys would say, could go wrong?but this misses the fullness of the point: having conquered such relatively pesky problems as the economy and diplomacy, the ragged glory of the webbynets can no longer be tolerated, lest someone doubt the efficacy of the Temples:
We've taken care of everything
The words you hear, the songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes
Its one for all, all for one
We work together, common sons
Never need to wonder how or why
We are the priests
Of the temples of syrinx
Our great computers
Fill the hollowed halls
We are the priests
Of the temples of syrinx
All the gifts of life
Are held within our walls
Look around this world we made
Equality our stock in trade
Come and join the brotherhood of man
Oh what a wide contented world
Let the banners be unfurled
Hold the red star proudly high in hand
- Electric cars;
- How to tune your bicycle;
- Robots vs. terrorists;
- Chris Dodd update LXVII;
- Hypoallergenic dogs;
- Astronomy; and
- Oh, boy, more electric cars!
So if you're a blogger sitting around depressed because you've blog-whored Insty with your six latest vicious rants and still no linky-love, join the crowd. Meanwhile, if you happen to find a news story involving space, robots, terrorism, Chris Dodd and electric cars, let me know.
Maybe if I linked Attila more often . . .
UPDATE: Headline on major news story:
I feel lower than a hypoallergenic dog that's been run over by an electric car . . . driven by
UPDATE II: "I’ve designed in a randomness component just to foil the reverse-engineering efforts." As the man said, "Heh." Welcome, Instapundit, readers! This is what's known as a PityLanche, but . . . well, here are some of the things I've been flogging lately:
- Gay marriage? "Give 'em an inch . . ."
- "True conservatives" vs. Limbaugh?
- Attention, police: Arrest Will Wilkinson!
- Blame Malkin for shootings?
- For once, Kathleen Parker has a clue
- Anybody want to fisk David Brooks?
- Hottest Final 4 cheerleaders? Carolina!
UPDATE III: A commenter notes the Professor's "timely" link to an article about narcissism. Actually, I don't believe the world revolves around me. But that doesn't mean the world wouldn't be a better place if it did revolve around me.
For starters, I'm the guy who explained the principles of advanced blogwhoring (Rule 1) and reciprocal linkage (Rule 2) to the conservative blogosphere. In a single post, "How to Get a Million Hits On Your Blog," I thus jocularly* solved a mystery that had baffled all the conservative "Internet gurus": Why is the Left side of the 'sphere bigger and more effective than the Right? Two basic reasons are these:
- We don't cooperate. People on the Right side of the 'sphere tend to place a high value on personal independence and integrity. Very good. But the flip side of this is that it's very hard to get everybody on the same page, pulling together as a team.
- Everybody wants to be a "pundit." One reason that small bloggers don't become big bloggers is that they can't resist the temptation to pontificate, to analyze and comment. But the real value of the blogosphere (and Insty demonstrates this every day) is in aggregation: Collecting together a distinctive mix of links to news, research, information and entertainment, and then contributing the "value added" of your own knowledge, you own experience, your own personality.
If you're going to tell me what I should think about Afghanistan or the federal budget, please demonstrate why I should care about your opinion. What special knowledge or experience do you have about these subjects? American Spectator managing editor J.P. Freire says that the Right needs fewer Bill Buckleys and more Robert Novaks: More reporting, less commentary. He's absolutely right. But too many conservatives seem to have turned their disdain for the news media into a contempt for reporting.
Yet there's something else even uglier at work on the Right: Envy. Why do so many conservative wannabe pundits routinely bash Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter? If it ain't envy, I'd sure as hell like to know what it is. Success should be admired, praised and emulated. It doesn't matter whether you agree or disagree with Limbaugh or Coulter. They must be doing something right or else they wouldn't be successful. But some people always envy rather than emulate, and the negative attitudes of losers like that will inevitably destroy morale and make teamwork impossible.
People have sometimes called me a suck-up because of my enthusiastic praise for successful people, including successful conservative bloggers like Insty, Michelle Malkin, Allahpundit and Ace of Spades. In an atmosphere poisoned by the negative spirit of selfishness and envy, sincere praise is a rarity, and backstabbing criticism becomes the norm.
"For want of a nail, the shoe was lost," and for want of blunt talk about the problems of the Right, we have President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid. Some small bloggers -- including blogs that didn't even exist two months ago, as well as a certain pathetic Wisconsinite -- are now operating according to The Rules, especially the reciprocal-linkage Full Metal Jacket principle of Rule 2.
The spirit of teamwork has resulted in growth for these little bloggers, as Instapundit and others (including blog-fu master Moe Lane) have rewarded them with linkage. So as always, we express our gratitude to the man who inspired it all, Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, who now has a few words of cheerful encouragement for you:
UPDATE IV: KURU Lounge:
Well, at least I'm not the only one. . . . Maybe I go about it the wrong way.Tell me about it. Smitty rocked a 'Lanche with his second post. Talk about humiliation. And then there is this clever fellow:
"But you are erroneously assuming the flux capacitator is calibrated for this type of environment. I would re-think the whole matter."Heh.
UPDATE V: She Who Must Be Linked:
Of course, Insty kept my traffic at its normal bad weekend level, rather than letting it sink into the realm of "abysmal," by linking R. Stacy McCain, who essentially badgered him into doing it. Fortunately, there are "good karma" links to me all over McCain's page. We likes that.See, here's my theory of why you don't get 'Lanched, Attila: Dr. Helen is insanely jealous of you. So Insty can't link you, or his wife would get suspicious. (She's got a kitchen drawer full of knives, and he's got to sleep sometimes.) This is why you're the Kharma Queen of the Blogosphere. Bloggers who link you regularly get more traffic, because 'Lanching them is Professor Reynolds' way of satisfying his unrequited bloglust for you.
Here's the dilemma, though: if Insty keeps giving in like this, that dis-incentivizes the showing of restraint; Professor Reynolds is essentially subsidizing bad behavior, no?
Ah, but it works both ways, you see. Maybe you haven't noticed that Dr. Helen hasn't linked me in forever, but . . . Heh. (Shhhh! Don't say a word, Chris Muir!)*"Jocularity" -- I prefer to explain these things by joking, because I don't want to help the Left figure out what I've figured out. If there's one thing we know about the Left, it's that they can't take a joke. I just flew in from Cleveland, and boy, are my arms tired!
[E]ven Brooks' facial expressions annoy me. As he sits there listening to the caller's question, his plump face congealed into a half-somnolent complacency, he puts me in mind of a fellow who's just settled down with his opium pipe and is waiting for the pleasant dreams to kick in.Since Insty's not linking anything lately except electric cars and Chris Dodd, everybody else who links here today will be celebrated with the 'Lanche suffix.
[T]he casual pleasure marijuana has delivered is orders of magnitude greater than the pain it has assuaged, and pleasure matters too. . . . That's why tens of millions of Americans regularly take a puff, despite the misconceived laws meant to save us from our own wickedness. . . .
We'll make real progress when solid, upstanding folk come out of the cannabis closet, heads held high.
So here we go. My name is Will Wilkinson. I smoke marijuana, and I like it.
This explains why, despite my extensive personal history with the doobage, I support strict enforcement of our nation's anti-marijuana laws. There's a sort of Darwinian factor involved. Anybody stupid enough to get busted for dope is too stupid to be out on the streets, a category that obviously includes Will "Weedhead" Wilkinson.
His idiotic stunt -- declaring himself a lawbreaker and urging others to do the same -- reminds me of one of those stupid dopehead hypotheticals you hear in your college dorm room in the second semester of freshman year.
Whatever make-believe scenario comes next is guaranteed to be a loser idea of spectacular stupidity. And that's what Wilkinson's idiocy reminds me of:
"Hey, man, wouldn't it be cool if all the weedheads just came out and said, 'I'm a weedhead'? Like, a massive kind of civil disobedience thing, y'know. Because, like, they couldn't arrest us all, right?"
America's law-enforcement officials now have probable cause to ransack Wilkinson's car and home, to frisk him and do a thorough body-cavity search, and I hope that the TSA will put his name on their list of known criminals, so that his rectum is rigorously inspected every time he goes through airport security. Frankly, I won't be happy until Wilkinson is a fugitive from justice profiled on "America's Most Wanted":
Our next case involves a real scumbag, "Weedhead" Wilkinson. . . . He's known to frequent locations where dope fiends play a board game they call "Risk." So, if you know anything about where this vicious thug is hiding, make that call!Why do I want Wilkinson put behind bars? Because he claims that it's "libertarian" to legalize weed. This is so atavistically retarded I don't even know where to begin explaining how wrong it is, but before I conquer Kamchatka, let me give you the capsule summary:
- Marijuana becomes legal.
- Marijuana merchants will be required to become licensed, inspected and regulated.
- Marijuana will be taxed, to pay the salaries of the regulatory bureaucrats.
- Major international corporations will get into the marijuana business.
- Lobbyists for these corporations ("Big Weed") will then seek legislation that disadvantages small-time dope dealers.
- Small-time dope dealers who continue to pursue black-market profits will be busted for regulatory infractions or tax violations.
Legalizing marijuana will not “empower the state,” except financially, which is fine: it’s legit to tax marijuana, just as it is to tax vodka or angel-food cake. What it will do is stop the rationale we are using to put a rather obscene number of nonviolent people in prison.
You idiots! Show of hands -- how many people here have ever possessed so much as a quarter-pound of weed, huh? OK, now how many of you have ever sold a full pound of weed? How many of you people have ever been charged with a felony? Since nobody's raised their hand, please tell me what the hell makes you "experts" about any of this?
Note that the post title refers to Jacobitism in the loosest of ways, and is not to be mistaken as a reference to the Jacobin Club at all. The Full Metal Jacket Reach Around, brought to you as a public
- In offering a roundup of the Supreme Court of Iowa, APB noted RSM's deconstruction of Andrew Sullivan's notions. A thrashing of Steve Benen earned a link to the Andrew Breitbart post as a note on astroturfing. There was also a Rule 5 mention on an Angie Harmon post. We may need to have the rules committee address the issue of shameless Rule 5 embedding as a means of jacking up the scores. This is serious business. American Power offered an excellent Frum-drubbing, and refrenced this blog's analysis of along the way. The review of Andrew Breitbart on the Left's Internet Hooligans was updated to note this blog's Breitbart admiration.
- Paco the Enterprising One offered a medium-flame rant on the POTUS, and managed to mention another blog
perpetratedvaguely connected to RSM with an 'indelicate' title. Sarah the Mail Order Gag Gift earned a hat tip. Again the astroturfing linkage. But what if this post is the Great Wall of Astroturf? The Waldorf Astroturfia? The World's Biggest Jackastroturfing? Does this make it OK? Paco noted how the POTUS is acting as the nation's CEO, and linked the Tea Party post. It's just short of a civic duty to plan to attend one. A Brooks pummeling was linked amidst a post concerning that 'scrofulous' crapweasel Harry Reid. Also deemed linkworthy was a pointer to silver spoon snobs
- Obi's Sister wants to know if there is a lemon law covering the POTUS. Grits links this blog's pointer over to Protein Wisdom and a woman who nearly had a When Harry Met Sally moment when meeting said POTUS. In 'A Dip That Doesn't Drip', Obi liked the Penn Gillet quote about the Community Organizer in Chief. In picking up the Useful Idiot Day tradition, Obi found last Tuesday's faint praise of Brooks halfhearted. The Breitbart post got more in apposition to Stuff that Makes Pelosi Worry. She expressed mild shock at the inclusion in this humble blog. I gave away some secrets, for those interested.
- Gahrie (do you pronounce that like 'Fahv-ruh' at the end of There's Something About Mary?) wonders if Paul Krugman has studied David Brooks. Great video at the link. Props to The Rock Cookie Bottom.
- Lead and Gold noted the Team Spirit post. They also figure RSM has a little Jimi up his sleeve. I can personally attest to his Mack the Knife, even if I sucked trying to film it. They also reviewed the last one of these and offer:
More fun than reading footnotes and less dangerous than smoking in bed.
- Monique rogered up for the Tea Party. Hope to see you there! She also demonstrated contrarian flair, finding an allusion to this post in the whole affair. Lastly, she approved of the ransom note method, at least the post on the topic.
- Dad29 offers up a "good stuff" for the post on the Obama troll army. He joins the chorus of those denouncing the crapweasel takeover attempt of the Tea Party movement, going so far as to link RSM's Spectator work. As should we all. He refers to the ransom note method in a thrashing of the Greater Wisconsin Committee.
- No Sheeples Here, besides a very thuggable graphic, mentioned The Telegraph's long list of societal accomplishments before the one hour dark age last week. They also honored the ransom note post, replete with cool graphic, and a post I did on classical liberal values, springing from the last of these itty-bitty roundups.
- Cynthia Yockey proposes that RSM be given something like a grant by the conservative poo-bahs, to further enhance his blogging fu. I can't see why she would consider this suggestion 'vindictive' (hilarious Stark Trek still at the link).
She picked up a site of the day award from Conservative Grapevine (kudos)! Her ear boxing of Faux conservative/twerp vérité Ross Douthat was very nicely done, and she hat-tipped RSM's Lenten vow. I too caught heat, on Wednesday, for failure to link Obama confesses to treason..., opting instead to link something hinting about a Very Special Relationship between BHO and Gordon Brown. While neither Jewish nor Roman Catholic, I will temporarily suspend my say-no-to-guilt principle and point you to this link. In my defense, I did land the first comment. Sorry, Cynthia!
- Kathy Shaidle linked the ransom note method. In response to (I think) the shaky status of the Tampa Tea Party protest, she linked the Speedo post. The blog troll army drew notice, as well as the diamond pattern bit. What is it about diamonds?
- Leading off with some Ann Margaret video, Pundit and Pundette followed by noting the Tea Party protest post. They finish off with a quote from RSM's Breitbart review.
- Seymour Nuts may make some time for a Tea Party. Had some fun with his trackback: see update VI. Hopefully he can make an event, as is schedule sounds loaded
- The Criminally Under-rated Post of the Week award goes to Political Castaway, for having Wen Jiabao call for BHO's ouster. Brilliant! Combing these links is a lot of fun, but you really turn it up to 11.
- Ennui Pundit goes for the vanity play:
Stacy McCain is fond of noting that many movement conservatives neither understand the nature of the battle nor possess the requisite skill to fight the battle.
- Ed Driscoll asks: What, and give up the ransom note method of selective misquotation?
- "In this time of darkness, Stacy reminds us of the immortal words of Otter", said Dan Collins in a great post on Designated Victim Groups. The Ransom Note post also showed up in a delightfully scathing roundup of Gordon Brown abuse.
- S.Logan has been deemed a heathen. A glance at her blogroll, where she has The Daily Dish "above" (let us choose our words carefully) this blog is but one indication of a rather sorry state of affairs. She's a trying-very-hard sort of heathen, though, affording this undemanding blog four URLs in the cleverly done Who's Line... roundup.
- Moe Lane picked up the laugh track on Harry Reid's most recent buffoonery. This blog also scored a hat tip for the Breitbart lead.
- 36chambers (a street address?) linked to the now-mildly-famous ransom note post amidst an interesting link dump.
- Below the Beltway celebrates its millionth visitor with a hat tip to RSM and some Charlize Theron Rule 5 Bob's Bar and Grill has the eloquently titled drunk-blog post Blah Blah Blah. I don't know. It made a good palate cleanser. I had to leave this blog promptly, due to PTSD brought on by that arm tattoo from last week. *shudder*
- Conservative Infidel, apparently, added this blog to the roll. Thanks!
- Fear and Loathing in Georgetown liked the 'classical libertarian values' post, and offered an interesting exposition of the points at hand. Those points were summarized nicely by Raphael.
Returning to uncultured barbarian mode.
- Gateway Pundit picked up some classic RSM from the Old Days (January) in a Breitbart roundup.
- Fisherville Mike picks up on some 'foreign' RSM action that you may have missed. Thank you, sir.
- Earned a "Quote of the Day" on The Everlasting Phelps for "Here’s a clue for the youngsters: If the New York Times ever offers to publish you, you’re doing something wrong."
- Politics and Critical Thinking (PACT) offers a Rule #2 lesson that stands as a fine example of the form. They even linked the Nude Eel post, which I thought a fine pun and oblique innuendo, but went over like BHO without a teleprompter. Responding to
McCain's co-writer, or lackey (We still haven't figured it out yet.)my official title is "Porch Manqué" ;)
- Daniel Larison calls RSM out regarding the a foreign policy point made in this post. We'll have to let these fellas duke it out. I'm only here to catch javelins, not throw. Much.
- Capital Research Center picked up the brief post on the GIVE Act.
- Poligazette pooh-poohs the idea in the Breitbard post that there is any sort of organized anti-conservative effort "established and funded by the Obama administration’s political wing". All I can tell you is that our favorite lefty commenter, Young 4 Eyes, laughed when I referred to him as our zampolit.
- Riehl World View comes out stridently neutral on the conspiracy notion:
Is there anyone out here worth a damn who hasn't realized this has been going on? And I believe it's impact is vastly over-rated by AB.+5 Insightful
- Armed Liberal "thought Robert Stacy McCain's reprise of Jeff Goldstein's full-throated whine about how unfair liberals are was as lame as the original" in this post. AL concludes
Someone needs to stand up for liberty, and do it in the context of real societies, not Heinlein's loonies. It'd be nice to see conservatives take up that mantle.But will AL be at a Tea Party in a week and a half?
- Jeff Barnard also offers some blowback on The Ransom Note Method.
He had me nodding my head in agreement until he came out with, "...a prominent conservative fighter like Limbaugh or Ann Coulter."Hmmm. They're certainly both capitalists, and given to saying/writing things to make a buck. I might not always appreciate their style, but I'm not sure what substantial argument exists showing either one has demagogic tendencies.
Demagogues like Limbaugh and Coulter are not "conservatives". Not unlike the one person McCain spends the bulk of that post demonizing, David Brooks, these media figures have no real ideology or agenda beyond their wallets.
...and then there were those who merely linked us once...
- This roundup was compiled by Frequent Commenter Smitty using his army of high-tech clone robots. If you've linked us in the past week and are not linked back here, all complaints/requests/death threats should be e-mailed to Smitty, who will either (a) update this post to include you, (b) make sure to give you extra linkage in next week's FMJ Saturday roundup, or (c) hunt you down and beat you into a coma.
- To be linked in Rule 5 Sunday, please follow the Official Guidelines, post your cheesecake/beefcake before 9 p.m. Saturday, and e-mail the URL to Smitty.
- The Other McCain is not responsible for items lost or stolen while reading this blog, and disclaims responsibility for computer damage caused by spontaneous coffee spew.
Demagogues like Limbaugh and Coulter are not "conservatives." . . . [T]hese media figures have no real ideology or agenda beyond their wallets. It's the tragedy of the century that true conservatives have had their party hijacked by such loudmouthed jackals.Well, who are "true conservatives"? And who are the "true conservative" spokesmen who are not "demagogues"? What is it about the "loudmouthed jackals" that makes them offensive to "true conservatives" like yourself?
Whatever their faults, Limbaugh and Coulter are successful and popular. Rush is the No. 1 radio personality in America and Coulter is the author of six bestselling books (which are, BTW, much more informative and readable than you'd suspect if all you know is her reputation as a Fox News flamethrower). In a free-market society, successful and popular communicators tend to be rewarded with wealth and fame.
Successful, popular, wealthy, famous -- well, one can either admire or resent such phenomena. If you have some specific criticism of the form or content of their discourse, Limbaugh and Coulter are fair game. But to assert that neither has a "real ideology beyond their wallets" is . . . peculiar.
As I have often said, I Write For Money. I am a capitalist writer, and proudly so. Some writers actually get paid to bash capitalism, but that's a dollar I'll gladly do without. Capitalism rocks. Washington is full of phonies who collect fat incomes by carefully maintaining their public image as earnest humanitarians devoted to some great cause. Screw that pretentious bullshit. I'm trying to make a buck, pal.
While my shameless pursuit of income-maximization hasn't (yet) been successful on a Limbaughesque scale, my professional trajectory has tended generally upward, despite my many personal shortcomings and career blunders. Does "talent" explain this? No.
Talented writers are a dime a dozen, and I'm certainly less "talented" than other writers who don't even write as full-time professionals, but who instead pursue trades more lucrative and secure than freelance journalism. (The blogosphere has gone a long way toward disabusing professional journalists of the delusion that they are the only people who know how to write English prose. Drunkards, morons and lesbians can write, too. Even law school professors have shown a knack for it.)
Yet at a time when New Media competition has driven major newspapers into meltdown mode, when journalists are being laid off by the scores and hundreds, I walked away from a secure newspaper job, staked out a place in the blogosphere, and generated a million hits in my first year of full-time blogging (and a quarter-million more hits since Feb. 13). How does a middle-aged Old Media dinosaur become a promising New Media mammal? Two basic points:
- Strive for continual improvement -- Some guys graduate college as good writers and never get any better. When I started out in journalism, I sucked, and spent the next 22 years trying to get better every day. The same principle applies in blogging.
- Don't envy success, emulate success -- Failure is easy, and the only thing easier than failure is the comforting rationalization that successful people succeed because they've got some unfair advantage. There are pitiful wretches shuffling around downtown D.C. panhandling spare change because of that attitude. And over the past 20 years there have been a thousand Rush Limbaugh wannabes who've failed in the talk-radio business, who tell themselves that their failure is somehow unfair and who resent Limbaugh's success.
And for you, Jeff Bernard, to say that they're only in it for the money -- WTF? Limbaugh does 15 hours a week of the top-rated radio show in America. You want him to do that as a charity, to become the Mother Teresa of Talk Radio? You want Coulter to give away her books like government cheese?
If "demagogues" and "loudmouthed jackals" like Limbaugh and Coulter are offensive to "true conservatives" like you, what's stopping you from supporting some other broadcast personality or writer whom you like better? For that matter, what's stopping you from launching your own broadcasting or journalism venture and tapping into untapped market for "true conservative" discourse? The world eagerly awaits the "Jeff Bernard Radio Hour" and the Jeff Bernard weekly column.
Hey, I've got it: Why not start a blog?
Oh, wait. You did that already. Let me know when you crack a million hits. And don't forget where you got the inspiration. We call it Rule 4.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Alan Colmes remains unintentionally funny:
In full wingnuterry, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann had some crazy things to say to the Bachmann-friendly site Atlas Shrugs.He then goes on to attempt a take-down. Atlas Shrugs, on the other hand, is spot-on. I'm not a betting man. Were I, I'm, confident Pamela would be drinking Alan's milkshake, if things got down to brass tacks. Just saying.
Particularly at the later stages of pregnancy, the right to abortion does not protect an interest in killing a fetus as such. What it protects instead is the woman's interest in not being physically, internally occupied by another creature against her will, the same interest that explains the right to use deadly force, if necessary, to stop a rapist. Though the fetus is innocent of any intentional wrongdoing and the rapist is not, the woman's interest in repelling an unwanted physical intrusion is quite similar.Right. Merely by not wanting the baby, a woman empowers herself to use deadly force. Her will alone is sovereign, and all other considerations must yield. Professor Colb, how do you sleep?
UPDATE: Linked at Sundries Shack.
UPDATE II: Linked by Pundette (a mother of 7).
UPDATE III: Linked by Daily Gator.
When you need a palate cleanser, check John Grace's demolition of BHO unplugged, i.e. sans TOTUS. The climactic sentence of the transcript should win BHO a Great Moments in Nebulousness award:
I'm a great believer in looking forwards than looking backwards.While I don't think anyone will ever succeed in making George W. Bush look a genius as a public speaker, Barak Obama's efforts in this regard are certainly worthy of respect.
Ross Douthat is sniffing in a self-congratulatory way about 'A Coming Tax Revolt'. He responds to a Jonah Goldberg tidbit saying that the death knell on tax cuts as a winning issue for Republicans may have been premature:
Speaking as one of those conservative reformers, I'd make two points. First, nobody was saying that tax cuts couldn't potentially become politically salient again if the Republicans got clobbered repeatedly at the polls and a sizable Democratic majority enacted large tax increases. The point - which Reihan and I started making in 2005, back when the GOP's hold on government still seemed reasonably strong - was that it would be nice to prevent that sort of thing from happening, and that an anti-tax message alone was insufficient to the task of forestalling a Republican collapse. In this regard, I don't feel like our obituary was premature; I think it's been largely vindicated by events.Amidst this self congratulatory talk, what were you and Reihan peddling in '05? (emphasis mine)
The third possibility--and the best, both for the party and the country as a whole--would be to take the "big-government conservatism" vision that George W. Bush and Karl Rove have hinted at but failed to develop, and give it coherence and sustainability. This wouldn't mean an abandonment of small-government objectives, but it would mean recognizing that these objectives--individual initiative, social mobility, economic freedom--seem to be slipping away from many less-well-off Americans, and that serving the interests of these voters means talking about economic insecurity as well as about self-reliance. It would mean recognizing that you can't have an "ownership society" in a nation where too many Americans owe far more than they own. It would mean matching the culture war rhetoric of family values with an economic policy that places the two-parent family--the institution best capable of providing cultural stability and economic security--at the heart of the GOP agenda.Ross, are you one of those Conservatives Unusally Neighborly Towards Socialism? A RINO, as it were? If you have Conservative hair #1 where it matters, tell me how you interpret the 10th Amendment, and whether any of the CBO charts so conveniently hosted by Mr. Perot mean anything to you. If the citizens of a state want their government 'serving the[ir] interests', that may be fine. But the Freddie/Fannie nonsense cannot be seen as something the Framers would support.
Surely an Ivy League graduate must realize that getting serviced in one chamber by Barney Frank, with Chris Dodd in the other is not the kind of servicing many find acceptable. How do you refer to yourself as conservative without denouncing this kind of crap, and the federal taxation you seem to welcome, with every breath, sir?
Are you going to be at a Tea Party on the 15th? We need you to set down the tea cup and to avoid being an I-told-you-so sycophant if there is going to be any "conservative reform".
The Iowa Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling Friday finding that the state's same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples, making Iowa the third state where gay marriage is legal.The court's ruling begins, bizarrely, by praising the character of the plaintiffs:
In its decision, the court upheld a 2007 district court judge's ruling that the law violates the state constitution. It strikes the language from Iowa code limiting marriage to only between a man a woman.
Like most Iowans, they are responsible, caring, and productive individuals. They maintain important jobs, or are retired, and are contributing, benevolent members of their communities.Can you say "non sequitur," boys and girls? Whether they were drug addicts or unemployed truck drivers, this is no measure of their rights. Will update with more.
UPDATE: This goes back to something I blogged about yesterday, when Debra Dickerson wrote:
Enjoy the last few years left of discriminating against gays 'cuz them days is almost gone. . . . Homophobia is on a short list of acceptable bigotries. But it's fading fast.This is the attitude of an elite that is about to impose its will on the reluctant masses. Debra Dickerson sees that her opinion -- that pathological "homophobia" is the only reason why gay marriage is not legal -- is shared by her fellow members of the elite, including the legal establishment. They have the power to make their opinion law, and Dickerson's scoffing at the masses is the elite exulting in its own power: "Hahaha, you ignorant rubes can't stop us!"
Notice how the rainbow armband accentuates their brown shirts. Splendid!
UPDATE II: More elitism from the Iowa court's ruling:
Many leading organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the Child Welfare League of America, weighed the available research and supported the conclusion that gay and lesbian parents are as effective as heterosexual parents in raising children.Argumentum ad verecundiam -- the appeal to authority, in this case the authority of "many leading organizations" in the social sciences. One of the dirty little secrets of social science is that it is possible to "prove" anything, if you're willing to accept shoddy methodology.
We need only ask what "many leading organizations" said about homosexuality circa 1920 or 1950 to see that there is no fixed and permanent truth in social science. And again this returns us to the fallacy of "progress": Because elite opinion has changed in recent decades, this change becomes synonymous with progress, and skeptics find themselves excluded from the argument because their opposition to "progress" represents an attack on the prestige of the elite.
UPDATE III: To judge by the Memeorandum thread, as of 11:55 a.m., only liberal bloggers are commenting on the Iowa court decision.
UPDATE IV: Allow me now to put on my "top Hayekian public intellectual" hat, and explain a bit of why my Austrian-influenced views don't send me trotting into the camp of the left-libertarians on this issue. To be as concise as possibly, the gay marriage issue is not about liberty. It's about equality, as Andrew Sullivan makes explicit:
As always, there is a backlash against civil equality. But the process of removing basic constitutional rights by amending the constitution to strip a specified minority of such rights is, understandably, an onerous process."Civil equality" -- what a heavy freight Sully wishes those two little words to carry! He refers to proposals by conservatives to pass a state constitutional amendment to prevent the court from imposing its will on Iowans.
No one can plausibly argue that the authors of the Iowa state constitution, or the people who ratified that constitution, intended to make sodomy -- which the same people and their representatives proscribed as a crime, in accordance with venerable Anglo-American common law tradition -- a "right" of the citizen. And yet, because the state constitution also speaks of "equality," the trick of the litigious sophists is to argue that the equality clause negates the right of the people to define marriage.
"Equality" is not a libertarian maxim, and yet many people who have wandered into the libertarian camp have brought with them this smuggled cargo of egalitarianism. The principle of liberty dos not require that we treat different things as if they were equal, or to pretend that differences do not exist.
The crusade for same-sex marriage is a consequence of a prior crusade to convince us that there are no meaningful differences between men and women. As a certain Hayekian public intellectual wrote in January:
Are men and women equal in the fullest sense of the word? If so, then equality implies fungibility -- the two things are interchangeable and one may be substituted for the other in any circumstance whatsoever. (La mort à la différence!) Therefore, it is of no consequence whether I marry a woman or a man. . . .Andrew Sullivan is as free to marry a woman as I am, and I am prohibited (at least by the laws of my state) from marrying a man just as Sullivan is. We are, therefore, fully equal under the law, the only difference being that he desires to be married to a man and I do not. His desire for legal endorsement of his preference is thwarted, although his civil liberty is uninfringed.
This is why so many of those who would defend traditional marriage find themselves unable to form a coherent argument, because traditional marriage is based on the assumption that men and women are fundamentally different, and hence, unequal. Traditional marriage assumes a complementarity of the sexes that becomes absurd if you deny that "man" and "woman" define intrinsic traits, functions, roles.
Sullivan may own property, execute contracts, serve on juries, vote, drive, own firearms, etc., the same as anyone. Yet he makes a great show of his martyrdom to homophobia, so as to elicit pity, to qualify for the victim status that is so coveted in contemporary culture. And if you call bullshit on his histrionic display, you are a bigoted homophobe (since Sully arrogates to himself the power to decide who is or is not a homophobe).
This entire way of thinking is contrary to the Anglo-American tradition that Hayek praised. Hayek understood that knowledge is diffuse, scattered widely throughout society, and that the traditions of a successful society represent the collection of useful knowledge that the society has gained through experienced. The arrogance of the elite, desirous to impose their own modernist experiments upon the society, is based on the fallacy that the elite's modernism is more "scientific" than the traditions of the society.
This is why the elite always advocate centralization of authority, so that their projects will be universal in scope, allowing no alternatives, no diversity whereby ordinary people may evaluate by comparison to the two regimes. The Soviets wanted to abolish free societies, because the prosperity of free societies stood as a rebuke to the misery of the victims of socialism. But within the sphere of their own influence, the Bolshevik commissars insisted upon a centralized regime of universal scope: Everything was subject to the rule of the commissars, and the fact that their authority was total is where we get the word "totalitarian."
Sully speaks the language of "civil equality," but it has a meaning quite opposite of what such terms meant to Hayek. Sully's "equality" is one imposed with authority of an elite, a regime that is fundamentally hostile to the rights secured by the victors at Runnymede.
Excuse me if I've offended any of my fellow Hayekians. There is a huge chasm between Sully's totalitarian "must" and Hayek's libertarian "may." We ought not encourage Christians and other traditionalists to believe that "libertarians" would require them to endorse policies that their conscience requires them to oppose. The denizens of Castro Street and Provincetown are at liberty to do as they wish, but the friend of liberty should be skeptical of the proposition that every street must be Castro Street or that every town must be Provincetown.
UPDATE V: In the comments we hear from Professor Donald Douglas -- who yesterday elaborated on my examination of nihilism in the gay rights movement -- and who today congratulates me on "getting over to the social conservative side of things."
Well, Professor, I've never been anywhere else, really. The crisis of the moment has required me to focus on promoting opposition to the Obamanomics agenda (IT WON'T WORK), and in that cause we'll take every ally we can get. There are plenty of gay men and lesbians (including Cynthia and Tammy) who share my respect for sturdy economic truth, however much we disagree as to their "rights."
Without economic freedom, there is no freedom. The captives in the gulag did not spend their time arguing about gay rights, eh? (Solzhenitsyn was a devout, conservative Christian who condemned the decadence of the West with as much vehemence as he denounced Soviet tyrrany.) Let me remind my Christian conservative friends of a passage of Revelation that gets too little scrutiny:
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.The infamous anti-Christ, whose name is the mystery number "666," is exercises religious, political and economic authority. Either you worship and obey the Beast, or you will be denied even the right to buy and sell. Therefore I conceive it the duty of every faithful Christian to oppose every expansion of governmental economic power.
-- Rev. 13:16-17
The Book of Revelation has often been twisted into pretzels by self-appointed prophets who claim to know the identity of the Beast. I am sufficiently modest in my theology that I would not dare claim any such knowledge. However, we have seen many times in history tyrannies that resembled this final apocalyptic tyrant: The Jacobins of revolutionary France, Stalin in Russia, Hitler in Germany, Mao in China, Pol Pot in Cambodia, Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
We know how these bestial tyrannies operate, and we know that centralization of economic authority is fundamental to their power. As the passage says, the anti-Christ wields power over "small and great, rich and poor, free and bond," and we might as well add "gay and straight," for centralized tyranny is ironically equal in its evil. Study how Stalin sent his own henchmen to their deaths and you see that it is often more dangerous to be a supporter of evil than to be an outspoken opponent of evil. Read the Koestler quote I use as the blog motto:
"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up."Now, what I believe to be the truth about gay rights may be offensive to some of those who agree with me about economics, but I would forfeit my self-respect if I didn't write about social issues as ruthlessly as I write everything else. If you are a gay person who thinks that I "hate" or "fear" you because I disagree with you on such issues, you must ask yourself, "Who told me this? Who told me that anyone who disagrees with the gay-rights agenda is a hateful bigot? And if I see evidence to the contrary, should I trust my own experience or should I continue to trust what I have been told?"
As to Christians who endorse economic interventionism, I need merely reference the observation of Ludwig von Mises that a "Christian socialist" is . . . a socialist.
UPDATE VI: Finally, Memeorandum lists comments by NRO's Ed Whelan (who calls the ruling "gobbledygook") and the Weekly Standard's John McCormack (who calls the decision "preposterous").
UPDATE VII: Professor Douglas now generously gives me the FMJRA. (NTTAWWT.) Isn't it kind of ironic, BTW, that one of the most important rules of "How to Get a Million Hits on Your Blog" involves this decidely non-"family values" joke?
UPDATE VIII: Dale Carpenter at Volokh Conspiracy analyzes the Iowa decision in a lawyerly context.
UPDATE IX: Tom Maguire:
C'mon - what kind of a country are we if liberals can't launch another grand social experiment on the backs of the black community?Meanwhile, a clever variation on the "progress" fallacy in the comments:
As someone said, gay marriage is less a moral issue than a generational one. And you're on the wrong end of the generational divide.All the cool kids are for same-sex marriage! This combines the "progress" fallacy with the "bandwagon" fallacy, neither of which is persuasive to sober minds. Even if the syllogism were valid (it's not), the premise is flawed.
"A majority of voters 18-24 favor progressive Proposition X, which is opposed by a majority of voters over 50." Ergo, the fool believes, once the old fogeys die off, the progressive views of today's youth will prevail. Yet youth is fickle and especially subject to trendy suasion, otherwise the death of Archie Bunker and the triumph of the Woodstock Nation would mean, in 2009, we'd all be wallowing naked in the mud to the sound of Canned Heat.
Most of the Baby Boomers sobered up, got jobs, acquired kids, mortgages, minivans and paunchy bellies, and if today's 60-year-olds are not as staunchly traditional as their parents were in 1969, they nonetheless are more traditional than they themselves were at 20. At 35, I was still a staunch Democrat; sometimes a stubborn fool remains fooled longer than others, but even a stubborn fool need not remain a fool forever.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I have every intention of paying it off, with interest. Actually, I'm overpaying it, and get an occasional note from the creditor saying "you do realize you're paid ahead", with the unstated "there is no reason to over-perform on perfectly good loan, you know".
Now, here is this Walletpop posting about a Facebook group trying to agitate for economic stimulus through student loan forgiveness. This is great:
Founder Robert Applebaum told BusinessWeek that after graduating from law school and earning a salary too low to make payments, his student debt load has grown to $100,000. "Despite having a law degree, I'm middle class and I don't have any money at all,"If there's a real feature in all this economic mess, it's that we can get past this class warfare by amputating the cash from all wallets. Materialism is a lousy life extender, anyway.
So why should I turn down the opportunity to obtain forgiveness for the student loan debt? I don't know, something about the moral authority of having paid my own freight remains attractive.
Once upon a time, your humble blogger veered into academia. He saw the surreal interior of the ivory leviathan. For a purely random glance into the belly of the whale, see this. One hopes that the author of "Understanding Information Systems Continuance: An Expectation-Confirmation Model" is doing well. It didn't seem like such a party. Instead, the blogger punted and now feels that, just as living through the hangover is a component of the tequila drunk, the student loan debt piled up while flaking off on campus must also be paid.
Put another way, I don't care if your name is Harry Angel or Johnny Favorite: when a guy named Lou Cyphre (i.e. the government) offers to hook you up, the only appropriate response is to flee.
I don't think it's possible to believe [the gay rights agenda threatens traditional families] without, at some level, engaging in homophobia - literally an irrational and exaggerated fear that the gay somehow always obliterates the straight, or that 2 percent somehow always controls the fate of 98 percent.Sullivan's finger-pointing j'accuse is enthusiastically endorsed by Coates, of course. Amazing how these "intellectuals" -- including Sullivan, who pretends to the humlity of Oakeshott -- just know these things, eh? To oppose their politics is to be guilty of bigotry, per se, with them acting as judge, jury and executioner.
This is where paranoia and panic take over. It is where homophobia most feels like anti-Semitism.
Myself, I profess to be a man of "untaught feelings," as described by Edmund Burke:
You see, that in this enlightened age I am bold enough to confess, that [the English] are generally men of untaught feelings; that instead of casting away all our old prejudices, we cherish them to a very considerable degree, and to take more shame to ourselves, we cherish them because they are prejudices; and the longer they have lasted, and the more generally they have prevailed, the more we cherish them. . . . Prejudice is of ready application in the emergency; it previously engages the mind in a steady course of wisdom and virtue, and does not leave the man hesitating in the moment of decision, skeptical, puzzled and unresolved. Prejudice renders a man's virtue his habit; and not a series of unconnected acts. Through just prejudice, his duty becomes a part of his nature.The accustomed habits of a society are not to be cast away willy-nilly merely because some radicals conspire to convince us that innocent people are victimized by our traditions. As to the 2% versue the 98% of which Sullivan speaks, should the tail wag the dog? Ought one of our most fundamental institutions be redefined on behalf of the minority of gays who seek legal recognition for their couplings?
Sully and his friends insult conservatives by supposing us to be cowards. If we disagree on what is, at heart, a question of policy, we are accused of vicious hatefulness. Indeed, we are said to be suffering from a psychological disorder, homophobia. To this insult -- and their arrogant supposition that we are too stupid to know when we are being insulted -- I quote one of the great heroes of cinema.
"Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining."The discourse Sully means to have with us:
-- The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
Sully: You're stupid.He does not argue in good faith. We have on our side ancient tradition and religious orthodoxy. He has on his side the prestige of the intellectual elite. Ergo, we are ignorant rabble, and he is so infinitely superior to us that he can insult us with impunity, and we dare not even take notice of the insult.
Us: Excuse me?
Sully: You're mentally ill, too.
Us: What the . . .?
Us: Boy, I'm about to whup you.
UPDATE: Re-reading this, I realize I failed to explain why I said Sully and those like him (who pretend to an expertise at diagnosing the mental malady homophobia) "insult conservatives by supposing us to be cowards."
What I mean is that they seem to assume that we are so afraid of this pejorative label that, merely by accusing us of being "homophobes," they'll cause us to cede the premise of their argument. They make the same assumption when they throw around epithets like "racist," "nativist," "McCarthyite," etc.
These negative labels are intended to pre-empt argument, to throw one's antagonist onto the defensive so that he wastes time defending himself against this label, rather than discussing the subject at hand. And there is good reason why Sullivan supposes conservatives to be cowards in this regard: Because many conservatives are.
They are easily intimidated by liberal name-calling and will bend over backward to protect their precious "respectability" by trying to dodge the accusation. And in doing so, they end up abandoning the high ground, tacitly granting the premise of the liberal argument.
This is why I so admire Kathy Shaidle. When the leftoids shout, "Racist!" she responds, "OK, fine, I'm a racist. Do you have an actual argument, or are you just here to call me names?" Real courage like that utterly confounds the Left, because they're so used to getting their way by intimidating their opposition into surrender.
Getting a bit more specific, there is a reason why the accusation of "homophobia" does not intimidate me: I refuse to accept that "homophobia" accounts for most of the problems experienced by gays. Define "homophobia" however you wish, if you are gay, ask yourself this question: What percentage of the daily problems and hassles in your life are the result of this supposedly pervasive phenomenon?
This is what is so absurd about Sully likening "homophobia" to anti-Semitism. It is he who has succumbed to the paranoid tendency, suspecting that "homophobes," like the Jews of anti-Semitic imagination, are conspiring to deprive him of happiness. Here he is, a successful and famous journalist, with lucrative book contracts and nearly carte blanche to publish in prestigious publications, yet he sits around fretting and fuming over the pathological suspicion that other people don't like him because he's gay.
Who is it that really has the mental problem here? And who takes seriously the charge of "homophobia" from someone like that?
De l’audace, encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace!
UPDATE II: Speaking of fallacies, Debra Dickerson engages in the "progress" fallacy:
But this is an issue, like race, whose time has come. Enjoy the last few years left of discriminating against gays 'cuz them days is almost gone.To quote Burke again:
It's hard out there for a bigot. Homophobia is on a short list of acceptable bigotries. But it's fading fast.
We know that we have made no discoveries, and we think that no discoveries are to be made, in morality; nor many in the great principles of government.Or, to quote G.K. Chesterton:
My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.Truth is a durable commodity. Of course, Burke and Chesterton were intractable homophobes, which is why they are so morally and intellectually inferior to Andrew Sullivan.
However, having recently been dubbed a "public intellectual," I now feel the obligation to provide insightful news commentary in every post, even the gratuitous babe-blogging posts. So, courtesy of Memeorandum (Rule 3!), Technorati (Rule 2!), NetRightNation, Hot Air Headlines and our blogroll, here's your daily roundup of insightful commentary:
- S.F. Schools adding Jimi Hendrix to the curriculum? (And unfortunately, Craig, I don't have a lot of '70s memories with a Hendrix soundtrack. I was mostly into Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, and my memories of the '70s are few and fragmentary. A lot of fun, but not too many clear memories. Just Say No, kids.)
- Karl Rove: Chicago Politics at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (Is it just me, or does Karl seem much smarter now that Republicans are out of power?)
- Steve Benen: Economic Illiterate, Moral Degenerate. (Don't mince words, Professor Douglas.)
- Obama's Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 is unconstitutional. (Greg knows how to rock a FMJRA for all it's worth.)
- What Obama Meant by "Change." (Hmmm. I thought he meant we'd be looking behind our sofa cushions for change. Or rattling the tip jar.)
- Harry Reid, April Fool of the Year. (New depths of Rule 2 shamelessness.)
- Is Harold Koh being Borked? (I knew Professor Jacobson had been 'Lanched because I started getting traffic off his blogroll link to me.)
- Genetic influence in age of virginity loss. (Via Instapundit & Future Pundit. I'm thinking the key factor is the sexiness gene, which determines whether you can rock a Speedo -- this being a very elite category of public intellectuals. Would you want to see Ross Douthat in a Speedo?)
- Michelle Obama touched the Queen! (Well, if she can touch Barney Frank . . .)
- Suzanna Logan ponders "Orgasmic Meditation." (Putting the "O" in OMG.)
- It's Not Volunteering If You're Getting Paid! (Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.)
- Yes, ACORN does get federal tax money. (A little more vodka, Steve, or else you might turn into a "public intellectual" like me.)
- Miss Universe CENSORED! (But they can't take away her sexiness gene.)
- "If you're going to take Vienna, take Vienna." (Any blogger who quotes Napoleon is a public intellectual in my book.)
- Mark Krikorian goes to Alabama. (Seeking mediation advice from Suzanna Logan, perhaps?)
- "Whoever liberals attack the most is who they fear the most." (Carve it in stone, Dan.)
- UMd. to show hard-core porn film. (Unfortunately, it's not the classic Naughty Nurses IV.)
- "Abortion is a blessing." (To quote Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, "Who, Whom?")
- "I know a lot of journalists these days who are wishing they'd gone into something steady, like moving to Detroit and becoming autoworkers." (Or community organizers.)
- 19-year-old scores hat trick for U.S. soccer team in World Cup. (OK, it was against Trinidad & Tobago, but still . . .)
- "Palin sells. Publish photos of the governor, and you’ll see your hits increase significantly." (To quote a well-known public intellectual: "Well, duh.")
- Simon Buckner's family recipe for mint juleps. (I believe the appropriate toast is: "Deo Vindice!")
- A quick blog methodology note for Dad 29: You would get more traffic if you took the quotes out of your banner and put them on your sidebar instead. Why? Because if your banner is too deep, then when people click over with a smaller window (and I use smaller windows for browsing) all they see initially is that deep banner full of quotes. It's important that the new arrival to your blog be able to see the new content as soon as he clicks.
- Pundette wants to move into Al Gore's mansion? (She's the only blogger I know who has contributed more than me to global overpopulation. It's probably that sexiness gene.)
- Time to grow your own? (Tobacco, that is.)
- Carl Cameron to be played by . . . Christopher Walken? (No snark necessary.)
- Chris Matthews, Mail-Order Douchebag.
- Light Bulbs & Quickie Marriages, Oh, My!
- A certain LBJ-esque quality to Obama's Afghan "strategery"?
- I'm sure there's a legitimate reason why Richard Spencer's Picasa album includes a photo of Betty Page being spanked with a hairbrush.