Sunday, January 01, 2012

THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD. I got into a little beef with Glenn Greenwald about his column comparing Ron Paul's civil libertarianism with that of President Obama. I think I was a little unfair about it. There are after all plenty of good reasons to be pissed about Obama, the latest being that horrible bill that he just signed, despite his alleged "reservations." From the bill:
(c) Disposition Under Law of War- The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
As the "War on Terror" is basically a war without end, the ACLU is right to call it "indefinite detention." You'd think that would be good grounds for a veto. But we didn't get one.

So once again our MOR Democratic President disappoints. I must say that, while I've been expecting less than what was advertised since the campaigning Senator Obama went for the bailouts in 2008, he's gone even further than I expected.

Greenwald, though, chooses to use Ron Paul as a cudgel to beat Obama. This is the sort of dreamy, libertarian-with-an-explanation thing that makes me especially cynical and Realpolitiky.

Greenwald carefully stresses that he doesn't support Paul, but when you read his description of Obama --
He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations with drones, cluster bombs and other forms of attack. He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. He has institutionalized the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield. He has waged an unprecedented war against whistleblowers, the protection of which was once a liberal shibboleth...
And then read him on Paul --
The parallel reality — the undeniable fact — is that all of these listed heinous views and actions from Barack Obama have been vehemently opposed and condemned by Ron Paul: and among the major GOP candidates, only by Ron Paul.
Then you have to ask: If he feels that way, how can he not support Ron Paul? Obama as described by Greenwald is a tyrannical monster, and Paul's the only guy with any meaningful support willing to oppose his tyranny. From this perspective it would seem practically a war crime not to start up a government in exile and oppose Generalissimo Obama by any means necessary.

Greenwald says there are "all sorts of legitimate reasons for progressives to oppose Ron Paul’s candidacy on the whole." But he doesn't lay them out in the column, though he does mention the newsletters we've all heard so much about -- which issue has become the go-to knock on Paul, so much so that it's practically a diversion now; it makes it look like Paul is a serious candidate sadly undone by the unfortunate revelation of a peccadillo, rather than the avatar of a disastrous idea of government.

Paul, as he is advertised, wouldn't just put an end to the national security state. He'd put an end to the welfare state.  No Social Security, no Medicare, no minimum wage, no FDA, etc. Even successful Big-Gummint projects like the Clean Air Act would be subject to new, corporation-friendly amendments.

Tyranny-wise, we'd be cutting out the middleman: Instead of having a government that sometimes enables and sometimes blocks the wishes of special interests, we'd let the special interests rumble for domination over all of us, with nothing but free-market pixie dust for protection.

Maybe you think it'd be worth it, because then the military-industrial complex would also be dismantled, and though we'd be fucked, at least the foreign babies would be spared. After all, in the enlightened, proto-libertarian Gilded Age, we didn't have any such foreign adventures -- well, okay, the Spanish-American War, and the Philippine Insurrection, and a bunch of little invasions that inexplicably took place without socialist inspiration. And yeah, okay, there were massacres. But at least it was fairer then, because sometimes U.S. troops opened fire on Americans too. Freedom!

Fuck that shit. I'm voting for Black Hitler in 2012.

UPDATE. In comments, Greenwald says -- very graciously, I would add -- that he did lay out the  problems with Paul in his italicized "honest line of reasoning" that a hypothetical pro-Obama liberal would take. I am tempted to say that I didn't credit this because Greenwald had put it in the mouth of a fictional character with whom he doesn't agree, and so I did not consider it his own point of view; but to be honest, my eyes were too filled with blood to read carefully after I saw my own point of view characterized thus: "Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs, and America’s minorities imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands for no good reason..." Jesus, Glenn, why not add "Mwah hah hah" and "Pathetic humans! Who can save you now?" while you're at it?

Friday, December 30, 2011

BIG-TENT REVIVAL MEETING. I see that David Brooks has caught up with Rod Dreher. His column focuses on Dreher's rather sweet accounts of his sister's last days, the generosity of the people in his Louisiana hometown, and his decision to move back there from the Big City.

Even people who've read Dreher's nonsense over the years might find that story moving, and those regular readers of Brooks who are unacquainted with Dreher may take Brooks at his word that Dreher
is part of a communitarian conservative tradition that goes back to thinkers like Russell Kirk and Robert Nisbet. Forty years ago, Kirk led one of the two great poles of conservatism. It existed in creative tension with the other great pole, Milton Friedman’s free-market philosophy.

In recent decades, the communitarian conservatism has become less popular while the market conservatism dominates. But that doesn’t make Kirk’s insights into small towns, traditions and community any less true, as Rod Dreher so powerfully rediscovered.
And this may lead them to follow Dreher, expecting a warm, back-to-the-land, Wendell Berry sort of vibe which will restore conservatism to its rightful place in the public imagination.

Eventually they'll get to know the real Dreher -- the one who thinks a bride who shows a tattoo on her wedding day is a slut; who thinks gays, once given marriage rights, will mob and storm the churches and attack Christians (which, he explains, is why he keeps a gun in the house); who reacts to the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandals with articles like "How the cultural Left paved way for pedophilia"; who thinks Islamic extremists really have a point about how Godless we Westerners are ("I probably have, re: fundamental morals, more in common with the first 500 people I'd meet in Cairo, Damascus or Tehran than the first 500 people I'd meet in Park City, UT, during festival time"); who fills his idle moments yelling about dirty things he found on the internet; etc.

In other words, they'll find out that Dreher is a garden-variety Jesus freak with a mean streak. Some of them will be disappointed, because they wanted to believe that there really was someone out there who conformed to their homey vision of artisanal conservatism (though they wouldn't actually go out there and cultivate it themselves -- picture David Brooks sauntering into the general store in Bumfuck, asking where a man could get a manicure 'round these here parts).

But some, I imagine, will be pleased, because Jesus freaks with mean streaks are really what they think "communitarian conservatives" are. And, you know, I think they're right.  Talk all you want about Russell Kirk, but what really filled the communitarian-conservative slot Brooks is talking about was R.J. Rushdoony and Jerry Falwell. I'm not surprised that Brooks finds it necessary to push Mr. Crunchy Con as the new face of that movement. He's mild-mannered, and he likes to grow tomatoes and play with his internet toys -- he'll pour you a nice glass of Bordeaux while his wife christens your kids in the bathtub.  Who knows, it might work. People long ago learned to laugh at the ole-time string-tie preacher; only a few of us yet know how comical the new Dreher edition is.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

THE JON SWIFT MEMORIAL ROUNDUP IS POSTED -- Battochio did his usual bangup job, and the contributors are all stellar. It's a good way to remind oneself that not everything written for the internet is purposefully designed to sap your will to live.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

YOUR LIBERTARIAN IDEAS ARE INTRIGUING TO ME AND I WOULD LIKE TO SUBSCRIBE TO YOUR RACIST NEWSLETTER. Dave Weigel has a few posts up wondering aloud why gays and/or liberals aren't mad at Ron Paul for the homo-hate in his crazy newsletters. I doubt that Weigel has actually missed Digby, who sees Paul with penetrating clarity for what he really is, and others like her. But Weigel's not talking about people who have actual views on libertarianism. He means sentimental sorts like Dan Savage, with his live-and-let-die attitude toward Paul ("Ron may not like gay people, and may not want to hang out with us or use our toilets, but he's content to leave us the fuck alone"), and the self-identified liberals who tell pollsters they feel kindly toward Paul. He means the folks who might be down for a little rEVOLution, if only on weekends. The guy seems loose, and says he didn't mean it; why get into all that old stuff?

Paul has benefited from his novelty factor. Everyone else in the 2012 Republican Presidential field is selling schmaltz that seemed tasty enough in earlier iterations but has since attained a reek. Perry is George W. Bush minus 20 IQ points. Romney is the Nixonian organization man who, like Tricky Dick, has added a little nastiness to his affect to become a more electable New Romney. Gingrich is Gingrich, a straight-up nostalgia act. Santorum and Bachmann are tussling for the Christian Coalition dead-enders like it was 1988.

Paul seems fresh in this context because he's an overt libertarian. Republicans often dabble in libertarianism -- whenever they feel like they're coming over too hidebound, they flash it to relax the crowd -- but at the Presidential level, they usually have to confine themselves to the economic, Milton Friedman, trickle-down variant of libertarianism, because to get into social issues would piss off the Christians. But that worked very well for a long time, especially after Reagan linked the idea of rapacious capitalism with maximum freedom, and the huge trade imbalances he engendered meant everyone got cheap foreign goods.

(And libertarians were okay with that. Go to sometime, put "crony capitalism" in the search field, and see how few of the references come from before the Obama Administration.)

This variant isn't so useful since their crackpot ideas collapsed the economy; now Gingrich's feed-the-corporations economic plan has the same sad mothball smell his candidacy does. But they still can't get too deep into the libertarian social agenda, due to all those senior citizens whose prejudices are all that bind them to the party. And forget the other libertarian tropes. No one would believe them talking gold bug nonsense; Herman Cain, the conservative black hope till he imploded, was a Federal Reserve Bank chairman.  And without their support for endless wars, what would be left to make them look butch?

Then there's Ron Paul. Not only does he go the whole nine yards on free minds-free markets -- he also denounces our foreign adventures economic and martial. He hates the Fed. He'll let you have raw milk. Freedom!

And he has a kinda-sorta gay rights record that both bigots and Dan Savage can be comfortable with -- he'd leave it to the states, just like abortion and racial integration. This is where his libertarianism really comes in handy -- you can believe that he personally endorsed at the vile things published under his name in those newsletters, and still believe, if motivated to do so, that his hatred of the State (but not the states) is so strong that it would actually protect gays, blacks, women, and everyone else even from his own ill will.

This is easier to believe if you forget that Paul is a Republican, operating comfortably within that party's framework for decades, and if you forget, or never knew, that libertarians are comfortable in that party for a reason. The right-wing fringe groups that attached to the GOP after World War II had their disagreements -- as with the National Review people and Ayn Rand -- but they also found plenty of common ground. It is almost charming to read Walter Olson on R.J. Rushdoony and his Reconstructionist loons, and how they -- unaccountably, to Olson -- "gained prominence in libertarian causes, ranging from hard-money economics to the defense of home schooling." Read Max Blumenthal on the subject and you'll see that the relationship of libertarians, Christian fundamentalists, Birchers, and other radicals was less contentious than synthetic. Think of Steve Forbes and Richard Viguerie -- for that matter, think of Rudy Giuliani and Pat Robertson.

These guys can always work together, because they all came out of the same Big Bang of hatred for the New Deal and its legacy: Big Government and the coalition that sustains it -- blacks, gays, unionized workers, women, et alia. Each conservative tribe has its own relationship to that legacy -- some of them (the more intelligent ones, generally) are deeply cynical, and some are as sincere as any schizophrenic street preacher. But all of them deeply hate that a bunch of minorities have coalesced to get something that they think belongs by right to them and people like them, and many of them have learned that it would be more effective (and, these days, more popular) to strike at the state that enables that coalition than at the minorities themselves.

What mania, particularly, animated Paul's newsletter stories of criminal-natured blacks and AIDS-drama-queen gays doesn't matter to me. I know that he's a Republican Libertarian and, having been born earlier than yesterday, that is enough for me.

Monday, December 26, 2011

DISAPPOINTED. Oh please oh please oh please let it be true:
All along, the Tea Party voters have yet to unite behind a single candidate. They still aren’t united, but in Iowa, there is evidence that Rick Santorum may be surging ahead.
It would be fun, wouldn't it? Alas, there are a few things wrong with this assessment, not the least being that it was made by Dick Morris.
Most likely now, Romney will win Iowa and go on to win New Hampshire. But then, a kind of buyer’s remorse may set in as Republicans contemplate a nominee who backs Romneycare and once supported abortion choice. His past apostasies, combined with his religion, may give Newt an opportunity to come back in South Carolina. Then the two of them will slug it out down the road. But they may have company in the person of Rick Santorum.
The titans Romney and Gingrich battle to a draw and, with a leg-up from Jesus, little Rick Santorum takes the convention! Sadly, the battle is a trifle one-sided; the Gingrich campaign seems to be devoting energies better spent on, say, getting the candidate onto actual ballots to the development of weapons-grade bad analogies -- first they compared Gingrich's failure to qualify for the Virginia primary to Pearl Harbor, and now this:

Surely, in the most successful country in history, we can do what is necessary, we can be in the spirit of General Washington and the Americans who fought for freedom, we can go out, get the vote out, make the argument, stand up for freedom, and I believe we can have as big an impact in helping America remain free in our generation as they did in theirs.
Yes, Newt Gingrich is comparing the limping last leg of his comeback tour to Washington crossing the Delaware. When his defeat is inescapable,  I hope he's man enough to come out in a Confederate uniform and compare the failed Gingrich Campaign to the Lost Cause, and wave his fans off to a rousing rendition of "Dixie"; failing that, he could come out in shades and a corncob pipe like Douglas MacArthur and promise "I shall return," or topple to the floor crying "Et tu, Brute? Then fall Gingrich!" or "Mother of Mercy! Is this the end of Gingrich?" or "OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW."

When the dust settles I'm afraid it'll be Romney with a briefcase and a fountain pen, trying gosh-darned hard to get America to switch insurance companies. Tsk. I knew this election would be bad for America, but I didn't think it'd run out of entertainment value before 2012 even began.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SHORTER MARK KRIKORIAN: What good are wetbacks if we can't use them against faggots?

UPDATE: You think I'm kidding?
That’s part of the reason why California, the state with the largest share of immigrants in its population, has “the first state law mandating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history and social science curricula.” It’s not that immigrants demanded this nonsense; they probably don’t even like it very much. But their large-scale presence solidifies the position of the Left, making this kind of thing possible, and they aren’t turned off by it enough to rebel against it.
What you or I might see as a welcome trend toward greater liberty for all people, Krikorian sees as a fifth column of objectively pro-gay Messicans. You wonder why we can't have a serious discussion of illegal immigration? It's because for years the podium has been hogged by clowns.

UPDATE 2: "Don't tell me you haven't heard of Reconquistadora de la Rosa," Jay B. tells Krikorian in comments. "Gays in the WeHo/Castro set have been working for years with their maids, gardeners and central valley migrant workers to cement a Pink-Brown alliance. The deal goes, or so I've heard, that in exchange for the barest of benefits, illegal Chicanos will vote straight queer ticket. Eventually, the theory says, gay leadership will cede a 90% gay state back to Mexico in exchange for a permanent free state in Puerto Vallarta."

Several other commenters take Krikorian's post as further evidence that conservatives don't believe in democracy. Sure they do, the way Arnold Rothstein believed in the 1919 Cincinnati Reds.

UPDATE 3: Those who get out of the boat will also be treated to Krikorian's reminder that many Democrats were on the wrong side in the Civil War, which prompts this comment from the Good Roger Ailes: "Ultimately, the Democratic coalition of slaveholders and blacks proved to be unsustainable."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

THE CONSERVATIVE COMEBACK PART 4,789. Well, Gingrich is falling like a rock and none of them can tolerate Ron Paul. Time for a RedState brain trust including Moe Lane, Lori Ziganto, and Aaron Gardner to burst into the room with Plan 17. Whattaya got for us, Einsteins?
If this website has a purpose – if any conservative website or publication has a purpose – it must begin with electing conservatives to significant public offices. We have the chance to nominate a conservative for president and win the White House in 2012. We can fumble that chance away by settling for a nominee we can’t trust to pursue conservative policies in office, or we can make a stand for the best, most conservative potential president in the field.
I knew it! The Santorum moment has arrived! Or maybe a Bachmann revival...
That’s Rick Perry, and we enthusiastically endorse him to be the 45th President of the United States.

They have to be kidding. Rick Perry, whom America perceives as a mentally challenged rodeo clown? The guy prominent conservatives pretend not to recognize on the street? That Rick Perry?
Perry is the most reliable conservative in the race. He has made his share of missteps over 25 years in public life, as have all the candidates, but when you think seriously about which of the major candidates would govern in the most consistently conservative fashion, the answer is obvious.
Fellas, there's probably a robot somewhere that would govern in the most consistently conservative fashion -- it wouldn't be hard to program; just get it to yell "More tax breaks for the wealthy!" and "I hates me a faggot!" at intervals, and to fart loudly when France or higher education is mentioned -- but it doesn't mean anything unless you can get people to vote for it.
The one knock on Perry is that his poor debate performances and periodic campaign trail gaffes will open him to the same vulnerabilities in office as President Bush: an inability to respond to criticism or explain his own policies.
The same vulnerabilities? Perry makes George W. Bush look like Pericles. Nobody, but nobody, is praying, "Oh Lord, send us someone just like George W. Bush, only stupider." Just the other day -- at a stage in the campaign when you'd expect him to work extra hard not to make any more dumb mistakes -- Perry misread Kim Jong Il as Kim Jong the Second. That's like something out of a Cheech and Chong movie. Most observers, having seen how much of an understatement "inability to respond to criticism or explain his own policies" is, have moved on to wondering if Perry can tie a shoelace without coaching.
Second, debating skill takes on outsize importance in the primaries, when candidates have to stand out on a stage crowded with 7 or 8 people who all agree with each other 80-90% of the time. All Rick Perry needs to do is step onstage and everyone will know how he’s different from Barack Obama.
Oh, it's no use. They think life is like an Adam Sandler movie, where everyone winds up preferring the moron-with-a-heart-of-gold to the stuffed shirt.
Third, the main job of the president is making decisions, not talking, and Alex Kaufmann makes a great point regarding how guys like Perry get things done:
Stick around, you have to see what they brought in the pinch-hitter to do:
Until yesterday, I wasn’t completely sure why I liked Rick Perry so much. I have a list of reasons, but none of them really got to the root of why I like him.

Yesterday the reason finally dawned on me. I watched this wonderful 11-minute video from Ben Howe entitled “The Rick Perry I Know”…

… and I had a revelation: Rick Perry is just like my Dad...
When it all gets too much for me, and I expect it often will, I'll just try to recall the image this gave me of Rick Perry in the deep woods, addressing a group of Boy Scouts around a campfire: "Guys, I know you haven't had anything to eat for a couple of days, but we're gonna make it out of these woods because I got me an idea. Now you remember when I asked y'all what direction the sun comes up in, and I got an equal amount of votes for 'West,' 'South,' and 'Mommy'? Well, I didn't know what to do with that, so I prayed on it and the Lord tole me that when we wake up in the morning hallucinating from hunger, we're gonna see Ronald Reagan big as life, and he's gonna lead us on outta here, and we shouldn't get scared if they place he leads us to looks like a ravine or a mess o' barb wire. Now try and get some sleep, and remember, bears ain't like dogs, when they sniff at you it don't mean they wanna play."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the Ron Paul surge and the rightblogger rush to stop it. For years Paul has been their little rock-and-roll, their token free thinker -- but whenever he gets close to winning some high-profile contest, they suddenly remember he's crazy, i.e., likely when in office to cut military appropriations.

Well, we knew all that Tea Party stuff was bullshit months ago. On to Mittmentum!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

DON'T TAKE THAT TONE WITH ME. Ohdear, The Anchoress again:
Just ran out for a Chai Tea Latte (and to get away from the noise of the non-stop leaf-blowers, around here) and heard this on the radio:
“Mitt Romney is in New York (blah blah) to attend three fund-raisers where he’ll get to meet some supporters (blah blah) paying $2,500 a plate (blah blah) and others on Park Avenue.”
On paper, it looks like the most innocent news report ever generated, doesn’t it?

Over the airways, with the newsreader’s emphasis, what came through was
“Mitt Romney is in New York (blah blah) to attend three fund-raisers! Where he’ll get to meet some supporters (blah blah) paying $2,500 a plate! (Blah blah) and others on Park Avenue!
Message: Moneygrubbing! The One Percenters! The Evil Rich on Park Avenue!

Somehow this same news station manages not to overemphasize or breath exclamation points when the President comes into town to do a number of fundraisers costing thousands of dollars a plate, in ritzy neighborhoods...
Even assuming that this cheapjack mystic actually heard what she says she heard, those of us who actually live in this world will assume that the harried newsreader was probably just trying to make the copy sound like something other than blah blah.

But more to the point: Imagine thinking like this. Imagine hearing 1010-WINS or some damn thing and being offended by the political implications of somebody's tone of voice. It's one thing to be bothered enough to write about something stupid somebody said, but why would you report to your readers on the ideological bias of someone's "breath exclamation points"?

I write a lot here about the spectacular self-pity and eagerness to take offense of modern conservatives, but at this moment in their history I think they're verging into something new. There's always been in their discourse a kind of petulance that seemed to me beyond politics, and in a post like this it asserts itself and overtakes politics almost completely. You see revealed the habit of mind that prefigures all their crackpot ideas about justice, governance, and everything else -- that of the perpetually aggrieved fusspot, the one who thinks everyone's trying to put something over on her -- which is why, whenever she takes an absurd number of helpings from the food sample table, or brings 20 items to the 10-items-or-less line, or stiffs the waiter at the coffee shop, or occupies two spaces at the parking lot, she feels not only justified but righteous. She thinks she's anti-socialist, but she's really just anti-social. And the pinched, miserable blaming blather that pours off the stage of the Republican Presidential debates is not oratory nor statesmanship nor even politics, but the echo of her voice.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SHORTER MEGAN McARDLE: I know this person who actually became poor and I don't feel a bit sorry for her, because then I would be dehumanizing her by denying her agency -- just as you would be doing if you felt sorry for other poor people and tried to give them advantages they wouldn't know what to do with, like jobs at a living wage.

UPDATE. Some commenters get out of the boat ("I almost left behind Lance and that puppy," shudders dex) and have the same awestruck, silent-upon-a-peak-in-Darien reaction I had to McArdle's show-stopper, "It's all too common for well-meaning middle-class people to think that if the poor just had the same stuff we do, they wouldn't be poor any more..." Not wishing to imply racism, which of course would be the worst crime one could commit against a conservative, I will suppose her insight is based on the continued uncouth behavior after their ascension to great wealth of the Beverly Hillbillies.

UPDATE 2. "The weird feeling that I get from the post is that Megan seems to think that she's being genuinely empathetic there," says Halloween Jack. "It's like an alien who is trying to explain to a mob of panicked and furious humans that the title of How To Serve Man works both ways." Well, I wouldn't go that far; McArdle probably thinks the sort of empathy normal humans feel is bathetic and gross, like the totally over-the-top wailing of mothers over their dead children that she saw in a movie once. Still, I guess even libertarians need something in their lives to take the place of empathy, and contorted rationalizations like I'm not condescending, you're condescending are it. Call them shoulder pads for the soul.

Are there no think tanks? Are there no Koch Brothers?

Well, I'm sure the guys at Reason would never -- oh wait.

This Yuletide I'm giving my charitable donations to bums hanging around liquor stores. At least I don't have to pay attention to what they emit.

Monday, December 12, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, on Newt Gingrich's rise and the anxieties it's producing on the right. I don't mean to be optimistic, but it says something that a disgraced former Republican Speaker of the House is doing so well at this stage of the game. I don't recall the Democrats seriously considering Dan Rostenkowski for President in 2008.

I didn't mention Gingrich's obscene comments about turning children into janitors because Susan of Texas covered that once and for all herself.

My only regret is that I didn't catch up with Cynthia Yockey's "Why Newt’s lesbian sister is a good reason for gays to vote for him as the Republican presidential nominee" in time to include it:
Newt’s stance on gay equality and marriage equality is toxic, anti-gay, anti-American and anti-Constitution...

It is bizarre, however, that she pledges to vote instead for Obama, who also opposes gay equality and empowers his Department of Justice to use scorched earth tactics to fight lawsuits filed by Republicans and conservatives in favor of gay equality. After all, she could choose Fred Karger.
Oh, sorry, you were wondering why this makes Gingrich the logical choice for LGBT voters?
If Newt is the nominee, or, gulp, is elected president, the dialog between him and his lesbian sister will shine a very bright and cleansing light on the falsehood that opposition to gay equality supports family values in any way and will reveal that the true goal of this fraud is to gain control of the reproductive lives of as many followers as possible for purely selfish reasons.
Of course, with the United States in flaming ruins, there won't be much opportunity to act on this insight.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

GREAT CONSERVATIVE MINDS OF OUR TIME. Remember Steve Sailer? He's that straight-up racist (and not subtle about it either) who more paper-trained conservatives sometimes cite as if he were Orwell (by which I mean, they do so knowing that readers will have heard his name and have some idea they're supposed to admire him, though few of them have any idea what he actually believes).

He's got a new one about how Pasadena, Texas is full of Messicans and it's a dirty shame. At the end he gets ironical:
In contrast, those free enterprise-hating Vermont Democrats with their Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders don't enjoy Texas's economic dynamism. What a bunch of idiots those Vermonters are! Of course, they still get to live in their hometowns near their relatives and old friends, but that just shows how liberal they are. True conservatives know that the essence of conservatism is shattering communities and crushing ties between people and places that have grown up over the years.
I imagine it is heartbreaking when you think like Sailer does and then one day you suddenly discover Texas is full of Mexicans and you can't blame Al Sharpton.

Guess who thinks Sailer's post is great?
I don’t know that I’ve seen in ages the clash between two visions of American conservatism more acutely presented than in this passage from Steve Sailer’s short reflection on the transformation of Pasadena, Texas, from a blue-collar white and black town to one that’s 80 percent Hispanic, thanks to mass immigration. Sailer cites a press report saying how Houston is inevitably going to become a Latino city, because of the unstoppable force of demographic change.
Some of Dreher's commenters are queasy about this, and Dreher comes back in comments:
[Sailer's] pointing out that if your conservatism values the free market and associated liberties above all things, you cannot complain about what’s happened to Houston.
Yeah, ask Rick Perry about that one!

I tell ya, Obama's fucked up pretty bad, but all he has to do to win is get these guys to say out loud what they really think.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

ESPRIT D'ESTOPPEL. She's no Alan Bromley, whose stories about silly liberals whom he easily minced with his rapier wit remain models of the genre, but Pajamas Media's Belladonna Rogers is at least making a great effort. Here she's giving advice to some possibly real person who doesn't know what to say to liberals with whom she is, unaccountably and distastefully, forced to attend parties:
Before you attend another party, practice saying calmly, “I don’t accept the premises underlying your assumption.” Say it as many times as necessary to feel comfortable uttering that sentence whenever you encounter a liberal.

In the context of your dinner conversation, here’s how it would go:

“What do you mean?” the shocked liberal will ask.

“First, I wouldn’t assume that anyone to whom you put that question would vote for Obama under any circumstances.

“A second premise of your question is that I vote as a woman. That’s a classic Democrat assumption.”

Again, you’ll be facing a flummoxed liberal.

A word of warning: the more you say, the more the liberal’s response will turn to enraged apoplexy. By the time you’ve finished lucidly expressing your views, the liberal will react like a shrieking, psychopathic hyena being laced into a straitjacket.
Remarkably, this goes on for hundreds of words, with phrases inserted about the similarly ridiculous reactions to be expected when you talk to liberals as she advises: "Let the liberal experience the panic attack," "expect a temper tantrum," "The liberal will become irate, perspire profusely, then shout," etc.

I used to marvel at the longevity of this genre, but no longer. It's getting clearer all the time that what these guys want more than anything is to humiliate their opponents in public. But these chances don't come often in real life even when you're not champing at the bit for them, and thus might have the sangfroid to pull it off; for someone who's so invested in such scenarios that she must indulge fictional encounters that inevitably prove her superiority in argument, it must be nearly impossible. (Also, why are they always partying with liberals if they dislike them so much? Must need them to score drugs.) So the stories live on about how if you say the right words to a liberal he'll vomit with fear and you will be Queen of the May.

This explains more than anything else I can think of the vogue for Newt Gingrich.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the end of Herman Cain and the rightbloggers' rush to work his victim status. I wish I had room for this astute analysis from Freedom Eden:
Why was Ted Kennedy allowed to stay in office?

Why was Robert Byrd's KKK past excused?

Why was the path cleared for Obama to be elected without any thorough vetting?

Double standard.
All my subjects are daffy on this subject, but Freedom Eden actually seems to think Cain was preemptively removed from office by the same tribunal of lesbian environmentalists that installed Byrd, Kennedy, and Obama.

UPDATE. At the Daily Caller, David Meyers tries to cover the traces:
Throughout this campaign, the media has played up fringe, erratic candidates like Cain, calling them “frontrunners” and “faces of the Republican Party.” MSNBC’s comments about Cain were just another example of the attempt by some in the media to define and skew the American people’s perception of the Republican Party.
As I documented time and again, conservatives were all on Cain's jock in good times, but now that he's a liability he must be made an unperson: Meyers even says of Cain's recent front-runner status, "polls are often misleading." Somewhere Michael Steele is shaking his head and muttering, "I feel ya, bro."

Thursday, December 01, 2011

NO SALE. Look, guy, if you want to believe black people are your intellectual inferiors because Charles Murray told you so, okay, go live that way. But just fucking quit whining about it.

UPDATE. Comments are already hot. Some readers fault Ta-Nehisi Coates for his gentle treatment of Sullivan; DocAmazing finds his responses "perfect examples of the snug environment of the opinion writing community." Coates and Sullivan probably think they're Shaw and Chesterton or something, and very literary and historical. But the joke is that their conversation is at bottom more like Alex Haley's and George Lincoln Rockwell's ("You're an intelligent person; I enjoy talking to you. But, you're not pure black like your ancestors in the Congo"). Haley, of course, was drawing the neo-Nazi out; I don't know what Coates is up to. Maybe he's being wickedly ironical when, trying to explain his continuing respect for Sullivan, he compares him to V.S. Naipaul. I certainly hope so. The Atlantic has too many dunderheads writing as it is.

I take whetstone's point:
I'm actually happy about Sullivan being in reruns. Recently he'd been doing an okay impersonation of a person with some marginal amount of empathy, and had plenty of people suckered with his stance against torture (and I give him all the credit he's due for being more house-trained than Marc Thiessen). Made it hell to explain why I don't read or trust him. ("The Bell Curve? What's that, granddad?")
The guy called us all traitors. I don't care that he's not always totally nuts. Andrew Sullivan can go fuck himself.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

THE ETERNAL VICTIM/BULLY. Timothy Dalrymple is concerned that you can't get young wingnuts to attack gay marriage as easily as you can get them to attack abortion. His concern is puzzling for a couple of reasons.

First, he thinks the abortion thing is all but won. In defense of this proposition he shows a stirring video (starring David French!) "touting the growing momentum in the pro-life movement amongst the young." Other than that, he's got nothing except the closeness of the national split on the issue, and his own unwillingness to imagine what might happen in this country if abortion were made illegal tomorrow. (He probably imagines a Great Awakening, but I assure him the folks who would be Awakened, and what they would be Awakening to, would not be quite what he imagines.)

If he thinks he can get the female majority of Americans to give up their rights so easily, why should he worry about getting the straight majority to persecute homosexuals again? Should be a piece of cake.

Second, he's got the same built-in excuse for the failure of the fag-hating movement as all conservatives have on all subjects where public compliance is not total. He does have to pretend to cogitate a bit before he gets to it, which exercise has it own delights:
It’s tough to construct an argument against gay marriage without appealing for justification to scripture. It’s not impossible. One can appeal to natural law...
Stop, yer killing me (and my unborn child). But after this flailing, he gets down to it:
There are other factors as well. (a) There have been, in movies and television in particular, relentless efforts to stigmatize anyone who disapproves of homosexual relationships... (c) the gay rights lobby has very successfully made the argument that equal treatment in matters of marriage is a matter of basic human rights, in line with the Civil Rights struggle...
We come to it at last, and inevitably: the anti-gay-marriage movement is being oppressed! By Hollyweird, and by the liberal conspiracy to convince ordinary Americans that the guys who, fifty years earlier, they all beat up for fun are actually some sort of victims. But wait, Dalrymple hasn't waded up to his nostrils yet:
Consider this little bit of anecdotal information. As an editor and director for a large religion website now, I can tell you: It’s substantially easier to find Christians and evangelicals to write on the abortion issue than it is to find ones who will write on same-sex marriage. Academics in particular are terrified that anything critical of homosexuality or same-sex marriage will come up before hiring or tenure committees. One of the first subjects we addressed in our “Public Square” at Patheos was the same-sex marriage debate, and nearly every person I approached to write on the topic had to ask himself or herself: “Am I willing to give up the next job, the next promotion, the next award, because of my views on this topic?”
Stop and think a minute. First, these are "Christians and evangelicals" we're talking about -- in other words, Jesus freaks. They live, indeed thrive, in a land of megachurches, child-raping priests, and wealthy preachers whose primary occupation is the exploitation of ancient prejudices and superstitions for financial and social gain.

And for them hard times are good times. They're recession-proof. The same sordid rackets that sustained them in the time of Mencken are still in operation and more profitable than ever. There's no need for these guys to worry about the next job, the next promotion, the next award. The Jesus industry churns them out by the buttload. Hell, Dalrymple's got an intellectual-type job; the standards obviously aren't high.

So it is hard to imagine why Dalrymple or anyone would cry and complain that the academy is prejudiced against them. Haven't they got their own Bible colleges and such like? In fact, more than once I've said that conservatives in general, who are always belly-aching about the pernicious influence of Harvard and Yale and what not, should turn from the Satanic influence of such book-l'arnin' institutions, and get after happily and busily building their new City of God at Liberty College and Bob Jones.

Sigh -- they ain't making Christians like they used to. The early ones suffered all kinds of martyrdoms; the current crop are martyrs only in the comically pejorative sense. As filled with the Holy Spirit, as convicted of salvation and the rightness of their causes as they claim to be, they still bitch and moan that some snobby school won't give them tenure, and that they have to run to some fundamentalist funder to keep up their lifestyle which, from what I've seen, doesn't include a vow of poverty.

Jesus was a forgiving sort, but if he laid eyes on this lot I suspect he'd at least be tempted to go money-changers-at-the-temple on their sorry asses.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

YOU THINK YOU'VE GOT PROBLEMS? You may have heard already, but one of the geniuses at Rumproast, a fellow who blogs under the name StrangeAppar8us, has had a real and terrible misfortune. Now, we all have hard times, and those of us who are lucky in our friends have help getting past them. But StrangeAppar8us, I have been told, has suffered a traumatic brain injury and been left blind, apparently permanently. And I don't think he has doormat daughters like Milton's to whom he can dictate his excellent material. So he's gonna need a lot of help to get through, and to pay the gargantuan medical bills our best-in-the-world health care system has bequeathed to him.

Here's the link. Do what you can; I did.

Monday, November 28, 2011

R.I.P. KEN RUSSELL. I can't leave his death unmentioned. A lot of people couldn't stand him -- John Simon, perhaps most prominently; on the subject of Russell, Simon was like an evangelist on Satan; after viewing a stage production Russell mounted of Madame Butterfly, which apparently ended with a sea of neon American corporate logos blotting out the Japanese landscape, Simon ended his review, "Russell should be forcibly restrained."

Well, it's been years since Russell's heyday, and we've had since then many lurid spectacles, but nothing like his. Compare Baz Luhrmann 's Moulin Rouge with, oh, I don't know, Lisztomania. While Jim Broadbent singing "Like a Virgin" is, I grant you, in admirably bad taste, it's nothing compared to Richard Wagner as Frankenstein Hitler, Rick Wakeman as Thor, or Roger Daltrey as someone who could possibly compose a symphony.

I think the difference is that Russell was a more serious filmmaker, in the way we used to understand filmmakers to be serious. Luhrmann's film, for all its frenzy, is a depressingly calculated gesture -- sure, Belle Epoque, American Pop, that's like chocolate-covered caviar, they'll eat it up. When Russell tickled the crowd, it wasn't because he was pandering -- he actually seemed to think Ann Margret straddling a phallic pillow while covered in baked beans made a great statement, and if it was only the stoners who swooned, well, so much the better for the stoners. It just happened that Russell's rise coincided with a baroque period in popular film, and so there was nothing to stop him -- certainly he wasn't going to stop himself. I can see how the idea occurred to John Simon.

If you want to see him in a slightly lower gear, try the early biographies he made for British television of Dante Rossetti, Isadora Duncan, et alia. I understand some of his late films are interesting, but I'm not familiar with those; maybe some of my readers can speak up for them.
THANKS, TIM. Long hard day, but what the hell, I can spare a few minutes to do a post -- but no more than that, so I better go where the ducks are. Ah, here's a copy of the Washington Examiner. Let's find Timothy Carney's column...
Secular Left's intolerance of religious freedom
Dreamland, here I come.
Social liberals claim they promote tolerance, preventing oppressive Christian conservatives from "imposing their morality" on everyone. But the state of the culture war in America today is almost exactly the opposite: The secular Left is using the might of government to make it harder for religious people to live their own lives according to their faith.
They're going to make health insurers cover birth control, which Carney interprets as "The Obama administration is deliberately making it illegal for Catholics to live as Catholics. This is standard fare from today's Left."

Only 10 o'clock. Not bad! But I need a button, Tim; what other social liberal attacks on freedom have you got?
In many states, a homeowner breaks the law if he refuses to rent his basement one-bedroom apartment to unmarried couples.
And in some places, he even has to rent to black people.

Thank you, good night!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rightblogger defense of Black Friday. They forgot about Thanksgiving pretty quick; they don't seem to relate to it as well as they do to the mass-consumerism of the day after. Also Black Friday boosterism is alleged to piss off the hippies though, as often happens with these things, they're the ones who seem pissed.

Friday, November 25, 2011

DEFINING REALITY DOWN. Matthew Continetti, one of whose previous adventures in Great Thought was considered here in 2009, has done a little essay on Occupy. He thinks the Occupy protests are all about anarchism; he also thinks the utopian socialists of the 19th Century were anarchists, as is Noam Chomsky, because he wrote an introduction to a book about anarchism. Not content to mangle history, Continetti portrays the Occupy movement, as his fellow propagandists have been doing since the beginning, as one grand festival of sexual assault and protestor violence. Thus when he wants to connect the two, he just says, well, bad things happened at the communes, and bad things have happened at the Occupations; I rest my case. The thesis might be shortered Hippies Smell Because Socialism.

But his essay has one usefulness -- Continetti shows us at one point how logic works in his brave new world:
Apologists for Occupy Wall Street may say that these “black bloc” tactics are deployed solely by fringe elements. But the apologists miss the point. The young men in black wearing keffiyehs and causing mayhem are simply following the logic of revolutionary anarchism to its violent conclusion. The fringe isn’t the exception, it’s the rule.
"The fringe isn't the exception, it's the rule." Once upon a time even rightwing propagandists wouldn't be caught dead using a blatantly ridiculous paradigm like that. Ours is truly an age of wonders.

UPDATE. Commenters point out that Chomsky is an anarchist, though if this is indicative of his anarchism it seems unlikely to lead to the black-flag revolution Continetti seems to envision. Some also assert that the Occupy movement is at least functionally anarchist; if that's true, then so are outdoor rock concerts and pot-luck suppers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


WHY ARE YOU MURDERING YOURSELF? James Fallows is appropriately outraged at the police violence at some Occupy sites. Here's how James Taranto plays it at the Wall Street Journal:
Fallows sees the Davis incident as a political boon for Obamaville...
This Occupy moment is not going to end any time soon. That is not just because of the underlying 99%-1% tensions but also because of police response of this sort--and because there have been so many similar videos coming from cities across the country.
Read the Fallows piece, or even Taranto's quote from it, and you'll see immediately how tendentious this interpretation is. But it doesn't stop there:
What Fallows is predicting--perhaps hoping for--
Oh Jesus Christ. what blogger "Zombie" calls a "Kent State moment." Kent State is the Ohio university where, in 1970, National Guardsmen fired their rifles at a mob of rioting student-protesters, killing four. "Why would these left-leaning pundits and activists hope for fatalities amongst the protesters?" Zombie asks rhetorically:
But that's not what they're hoping for. . . . When a leftist hears the words "Kent State," the immediate association is that fateful day when the media published an iconic photograph of an anti-war martyr that was the final tipping point that convinced the majority of Americans to oppose the war.
But wait. Let's say, heaven forbid, that the Obamavillians get their "Kent State moment"...
So, building from a bogus premise, Taranto gets another wingnut to say that "leftists" want a "Kent State moment," and then attributes the sentiment to the "Obamavillains."

And then he just keeps running with it: "if Fallows and other bien-pensant pundits think the Obamavillians will advance politically by seeking confrontation with the police..." and "If the American public has any sympathy at all for the Obamavillians, there is no surer way of squandering it than to follow Fallows's advice and pursue a strategy of confronting the police."

I know they try to fool their readers, but it's something to see one of them doing it in a major newspaper so badly, so transparently, and with so little hope of success. Do they even believe they have normal readers anymore, or is Taranto just hoping Jonah Goldberg will send him a nice note? And does Murdoch -- oh, hell, we all know what he thinks.

The blogging thing really has been a net loss for journalism; the race to the bottom has run so deep that we now have Wall Street Journal writers publishing stuff that would make Jeff Goldstein think of trying a second draft.

Monday, November 21, 2011

KEEP THE CRAP COMING. I'm way late on everything these days, gentle reader. I got me a job with a long commute, and between that and domestic bliss I hardly have time to run over here, yell JONAH GOLDBERG FARRRT, and take my bows. But I must get this one done. You all know World O' Crap? It's one of the few reliably funny current-events blogs, and its Smiler With a Knife, Scott Clevenger, is having a spot of bother, cash-flow-wise. And it's not just he that's got trouble, but also some poor woman who I assume is his mistress, and someone called "Moondoggie" who I assume is his mentally deficient adult son. It's a dark picture which you can limn a healthy green via his Pay Pal button. Please do, it'll make me feel good about myself, not to mention you.
IT'S THE NEW STYLE. Every once in a while I come across some young rightnik and wonder what he's been up to. James Poulos we last considered here in his role as interlocutor for a Jonah Goldberg video fart-fest, from which no one could come out smelling good. Well, Poulos has been spreading his seed, lately with this article in Foreign Policy. I found it so unobjectionable that I had to wonder whether I'd misjudged him and everything else. So I went to his First Things blog:
With the recent death of Steve Jobs we should applaud the expansion of the use of technological i-devices he provided, in that we are more and more connected. But out of wedlock births seem to be on the rise nonetheless.
Okay, I feel centered now. (Update: Poulos didn't write this one, apparently; someone named John Presnall did. So hereafter I'm changing the proper names. Poulos actually quit PMC over a year ago. Maybe he's gone legit! I'll look into it.) Presnall isn't like those total internet madmen you shy your kids away from when they come stumbling down the bandwidth -- he's more like parfait crazy; there'll be a sweet, foamy layer of stuff about the problems of constant, empty connectedness in the internet world, and then suddenly BAM, flash mobs, technocrats and JOE PATERNO:
Meanwhile, people die. These dying people still care about sports—even college sports. They may be stupid in their concern, but the immense amounts of money that college sports generate for the apparatus of colleges and universities gives prestige to such important things that the tenured genii of the future provide for humanity. Or at least that is what I saw on the commercial advertising the greatness of any given particular school during the typical televised football game. The TV ads showed multicultural pictures of scientists dressed in lab coats and safety glasses.

All this reminds me of Pascal’s observation regarding the dress that the nobility must don in order to maintain their authority—their nobility is secure in their purple and ermine, i.e., sterile white lab coats with beakers in the laboratory background. ...
You know -- oh wait, gotta get this in:
But I am a product of all his “higher education” nonsense, and as a teacher I am pressured to perpetuate it.
Yeah, thanks, Professor. Postmodern conservatism, like postmodern anything else, is a great racket -- while Jonah Goldberg is attempting things that resemble arguments, however superficially, and embarrassing himself in front of anyone who can grasp their inferiority to other actual arguments, including those held by Ralph and Alice Kramden, Presnall doesn't have to bother -- he can just throw up signifiers of discontent with our lousy liberal society, where an accused child rapist enabler proceeds naturally from scientism-multiculturalism. Or is it vice-versa? Whatever.

Or maybe they're all doing that. Come to think of it, Victor Davis Hanson may be the granddaddy of the postmodern conservative mash-up. Curse these tenured radicals!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, following up on the continued rise of Newt Gingrich. A rightblogger consensus seems to be forming that Gingrich's lack of popularity is proof of his seriousness as a candidate. Also, he hates the Lame Stream Media so hard that he's bound to win, just as Sarah Palin was bound to win before she decided not to even run, for reasons none of them have figured out yet.

Among the outtakes, Doug MacKinnon:
Gingrich understands that Americans have to work harder and harder to not only take care of themselves and their families, but support the various freeloaders the Democrats enable in search of easy votes.

As such, they simply don't have the time to go to their favorite websites, blogs or conservative talk shows to always get honest reporting or facts.
I return again and again to this image of Mr. and Mrs. America crawling home after an 18-hour day at the collective solar energy farm and plopping down on their pallets, too exhausted to turn on the computer and read Mark Steyn, and I weep with laughter for my country.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT, AND YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU LIE. So Steven Hayward is doing one of those New Conservative things, sort of like Ross Douthat's Sam's Club conservatism, only newer and fresher so the suckers might not catch on.

For starters, Hayward swallows hard and admits that when Ronald Reagan cut taxes but didn't cut spending on anything except bums and black people, fun as it was, it wasn't really doing much for America. Well, except for this:
And yet, conservatives resist facing up squarely to this grim reality for a variety of reasons, some of them having to do with their undeniable successes of the last two generations. The first and most significant triumph was the creation of the conservative movement itself, which arose from the far fringes to the center of American political life in little more than a generation.
So all us College Republicans got jobs. Sweet. Look out, here comes another success:
The reduction in income and investment tax rates is of a piece with a broader reinvigoration of market processes...
Damn right it reinvigorated the market, which became so robust that a few years ago it ate all our money and jobs. The hits keep on coming:
Despite these cases of incomplete or counterproductive results, the conservative reinvigoration of markets and the discrediting of central planning was a positive correction to liberalism worldwide...
Because liberals suck.

That really could be the end of it, but like all bullshit visionaries Hayward has to do the reaching-out thing where both the enlightened conservatives and the liberals-who-suck have to come together to realize Steven Hayward's revolutionary plan:
Requiring the American people to actually pay for all of the government they receive is, as Niskanen and others have convincingly argued, the most effective way to limit its growth. Right now the anti-tax bias of the Right results in shifting costs onto future generations who do not vote in today's elections, and enables liberals to defend against spending restraints very cheaply. Instead of starving the beast, conservatives should serve the check.
Sane people who've been around the block can easily see right down to the marrow of this thing, which is: After years of conservatives looting the treasury, everyone's out of money, and you the punters will pay the bill. You liberals should like it, though, because we're going to "expand the current $1,500 per child tax credit to something closer to $5,000, which would wipe out a large portion of payroll tax liability and raise household after-tax income considerably." And that's whatchacall progressive. Oh, but you have to spot us the Paul Ryan Welfare-into-Coupons-for-Codgers plan. Fair's fair.

Hayward's very good at this -- he can even say stuff like "the experience of welfare reform suggests that there has been no 'race to the bottom' among the states to eliminate basic assistance programs" with a straight face despite its obvious absurdity. So he may get a book tour and a few C-SPAN appearances out of it. After all, he's already got one sucker. They can't all be as stupid as Dreher, of course, but in political writing, unlike politics, you don't need anything like a majority.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE ETC. Veronique de Rugy is always solicitous of the rich, and at National Review today she again attempts to wring tears from their lot, this time in the matter of income mobility:
After the first year year, roughly half of those who were millionaires (reporting over a million dollars in adjusted gross income) at some point between 1999 and 2007 were still millionaires. After two years, 15 percent — roughly 102,000 millionaires — retained that status. This decreasing rate of remaining millionaires persists, and only about 6 percent — roughly 38,000 millionaires — were millionaires for all nine years.
At her companion piece she tells us the former millionaires "face substantial downward income mobility over time." Perhaps they're all sleeping under bridges; I wish I knew where; what stories they must have to tell!

Then de Rugy refers to Stephen Kaplan, who says that "when you only look at data that stops in 2007, it obscures the fact that the wealthiest 1 percent took a sizeable hit after the financial crisis — their share of income went down to 17 percent in the last two years." Neither he nor de Rugy tells us how much that is in actual dollars, but it must be awful; in fact it may be that the former millionaires who are sleeping under bridges look down on them. Want a Kleenex?

It's an interesting thing to talk about while people are being thrown out of parks nationwide. Or does she even notice things like that?

UPDATE. Several commenters smell a rat. "According to her train of thought," says Nylund, "someone who made 10 million a year for 10 years, then retired, ceased to be a millionaire." Shhh, you're spoiling the magic of millionairism! Once you get into that club, you are not like other people, and so must be separated from them, your traces kicked over, and your finances disguised with bullshit statistics.

Monday, November 14, 2011

MORAL DEGENERATE. Just last week Daniel Foster was pissed because some mean liberal implied that the Penn State pedophilia scandal had something to do with white male hegemony. I knew right then and there that Foster was not expressing moral outrage but jealousy, and that the only reason real rightwing craziness hadn't ensued on the subject was that the central committee had been caught off-guard and had yet to work out an angle.

And so it turned out. Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog has already torn up the idiotic Walter Russell Mead column about how the liberal 60s caused Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky, but there are other examples floating around, though none so ripe, to my mind, as the one at Bookworm Room:
Agrarian and frontier societies are, of necessity, self-reliant. (Yes, even Europeans once knew how to make do.) Right up until the 1960s, what separated America from other nations was that, until very recently in historic terms, it managed to be an amalgam of Western intellectualism and frontier self-reliance... And, by gosh, if self-reliance is the standard, those pioneers were virtuous.
You see where he's going: back in colonial times there weren't any child molesters! The usual villains are trotted out: Roosevelt, who "jump-started the notion of a comprehensive welfare system," and Obama, who because he disdained the Republican philosophy that "if you get sick, you’re on your own" shows "hostility to the classic American dream, one that believed it was a virtue for people to make it on their own."

But then it gets deep, brothers and sisters. Bookworm brings us "headlines in both England, where the dependency rot runs deep, and America," showing that in ObamaRoosevelt's America/England, "people abjure individual action," and that's how you get raped kids. These stories are about people failing to rescue distressed citizens, and this line from the peroration gives you a clear picture of Bookworm's reasoning:
That’s just two stories, right? What if I add a third, again from England?
Three! Holy shit, you're right, we're all moral degenerates! Eventually there's nothing for it but the Reich card:
Looking at these few examples, I can’t help but think of another culture that allowed itself to lapse into such a bureaucratic mindset that citizens either passively watched or actively engaged in the most heinous acts. I’m thinking, of course, of the Nazis.
By now Bookworm has worked himself into such a lather that he has to tell us how he'd have beat up Jerry Sandusky with judo or something ("I do martial arts because I really like it — but I also do it so that I can act").

Eventually he's all seethed out, and his mood swings skyward:
Fortunately, despite socialist government’s best efforts to mandate inaction (or, at least, to give people an excuse for failing to get involved), all is not lost. There will always be decent people who do get involved.
And then he starts telling us another kind of story -- tales of derring-do, heroism, moxie! You hope then that he'll realize that the ugly stories he repeated a few grafs back aren't an indictment of his fellow countrymen -- that ours is a big country with lots of different kinds of people in it, good and bad. We have no idea whether the heroes and villains were liberals or conservatives, only that all were tested and some found wanting -- surely that will remind him that not everything in this life is about his crappy little politics.

Recently, a motorcyclist trapped under a car was lucky enough to find himself in the presence of proactive people, unconstrained by analysis paralysis, government regulations, or career worries.
For him, that's the significant thing -- not that men were brave, but that in being brave they rose above the welfare state. Oh, and also:
Barack Obama has stated clearly that his goal is to create precisely the bureaucratic, dependency culture that makes Penn State’s (and Nazi Germany) possible.
A million 60s-vintage Jerry Rubins gibbering in unison couldn't beat that.
UPDATE. Commenters sure had fun with this. "It's like No True Scotsmen," says Spaghetti Lee, "but the Scotsmen in question are the cast of Trainspotting." DKF notes that "Republicans have created their own culture of dependency on strawmen." Some of the commenters talk about what things were really like back in the early days of the Republic -- hint: it wasn't all virtuous self-reliance and knitting -- but this is overkill; the past, present, future, and any conceivable fantasy/parallel universes are bound by no rules of logical consistency when rightbloggers are in this sort of dudgeon -- so long as they get in two buzzwords per paragraph and at least one affirmation of moral superiority before the close, the means of conveyance is practically irrelevant.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the next President of the United States, Newt Gingrich. Gingrich doesn't seem like a fit candidate for rehabilitation to me, but what do I know -- look at Nixon.

Here's one that didn't make the cut, from NewsBusters:
Newt Gingrich Accused of Hating Mankind by 'Conservative' Kathleen Parker

Moments after being introduced by Face the Nation host Bob Schiiffer as a "conservative" columnist, the Washington Post's Kathleen Parker on Sunday referred to Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich as a "misanthrope" - aka a mankind hater...
Reminds me of the Gore Vidal joke about the candidate who circulated a rumor that his opponent's sister was a thespian. And Gingrich, we are told, is the intellectual candidate.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I DON'T SEE ANY METHOD AT ALL, SIR. Regarding last night's GOP Presidential debate, I have not much to add to Charles P. Pierce's righteous commentary, except to marvel aloud at the hallucinatory quality that these events (what was this, the 32nd of them?) have achieved. My simple human interest in observing these cornpone con artists at work on their national profiles has not only waned, but evaporated; I could only spare about 20 minutes for this one; it was as mentally fatiguing as a bank of televisions simultaneously playing sermons by different evangelical preachers.

I will say that while Pierce is on the money regarding the principals' expressions of childlike faith in The Market, I do not see evidence that the magic of capitalism rises for any of them to the level of a theme that might define and animate a campaign, let alone the current Republican Party, as it did for Reagan. The idea, if we can call it such, that the market will fix everything is pretty comical in the midst of a worldwide depression, and I doubt even the candidates (with the possible exception of Paul) believe in it; they're only trotting it out because it's one of the concepts market-testing has shown will excite the GOP dead-enders from whom they are trying to cadge primary votes.

If the Free Market con was prominent in their stew of non-sequiturs last night, it's only because their other paternosters are almost exclusively negative -- hatred of Mexicans, hatred of hippies, hatred of the poor, hatred of sex, hatred of themselves -- and somewhere in their playbook it says Reagan had a sunny disposition because it's always morning in America. So every once in a while each these wretched, miserable people, sensing he or she was missing something important, would testify to the healing power of economic freedom, receive approving seal-barks, and then get back to the resentment-stirring that comprises the rest of his or her schtick.

Given all this, neither the latest confirmation of the magnitude of Rick Perry's ignorance, nor the parlor game of wondering when Herman Cain will just get it over with,  put his hand up Michele Bachmann's skirt, and offer her the Vice-Presidency, can make these debates interesting to me anymore. I'll just wait for the general, when one of these poor schmoes will have to talk to a human being.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

WHY ARE YOU HITTING YOURSELF? The Washington Examiner crime section:
Occupy DC becoming increasingly violent, police say...

Citing injuries to five people outside the Washington Convention Center on Friday night, the mayor urged the demonstators to show restraint so that their protests are not discredited by violence. [italics mine]
If you're one of the few people who read several grafs further down, you'll see this:
Four of the injured people appear to be protesters themselves.
That's how the pros do, and by "pro" I mean propagandist.
SHORTER JOE SCARBOROUGH: Barack Obama has taken a lot of Wall Street money, and his policies have made Wall Street very rich. So it's an outrage that he called Wall Street bankers or somebody like that "fat cats." Now, you know me, I'm a free-market guy, so you'll understand that I'm not asking for a genuinely anti-bankster President -- I just want one who'll take their money and kiss their ass... What, I'm still short? I'll just make my description of that scene from Casablanca longer and harder to follow. I mean it's not like they haven't all seen it.

Monday, November 07, 2011

ALL THE GOOD THINGS HAVE BEEN TAKEN. Kia showed me this Megan McArdle column about the Occupy arrestees who spent a lot of money on rent and mortgages, and at first I couldn't see what was so awful about it, besides the usual awful McArdlisms, like compulsive goalpost moving -- you know, from some people having expensive homes to "a $795,000 one-bedroom apartment" to "the people at those protests-- [throatclearing]at least the ones who get arrested[/throatclearing]--really are, on average, unusually affluent." Like they moved to a park because the Hamptons were overcrowded.

But then I focused on this stuff:
Many New Yorkers believe that they should be given some sort of income tax abatement because of the expense of living there (with the lost revenue being made up from "really rich" people, natch). Slightly less affluent New Yorkers frequently believe that landlords should be forced to offer them "reasonably sized" apartments at a modest fraction of their income, because after all, otherwise they couldn't afford to live in New York...

...In fact, perhaps society should get busy making it up to you for all the hardships...

... After all, to state the obvious, that apartment costs so much because many, many people want to live in New York...

... Living in a blue state is a choice.
And then it hit me. She's not limiting herself to the simple point that some things are expensive and if you don't have the money you can't have it. She's talking about the desire to live in New York -- not just to move there, but to keep living there if you'd been there a while without getting rich -- as if it were the desire to live on Park Avenue -- no, better, to live in a fairy palace on a cloud, in fact, a palace and a cloud you wished to steal from your betters. It's not just that you can't afford New York -- it's that you're insolent to even think you should be tolerated there. You just don't deserve it.

If you've seen more than a few movies and heard more than a few songs and read more than a little history, you know New York's place in American culture. All kinds of people have lived there, cheek by jowl; not always comfortably, but enduringly. The poor haven't always had the best time of it, but they persist -- indeed, they still come by the boatloads to live there -- as do the middle-class and the rich. It's part of what even outlanders know and admire about it.

But over the past few decades, despite the legacies of an era when some more enlightened people ran the place, the city's been pushing the poor further out and giving them a harder time. And in recent years the middle class has been getting it, too -- by 2009, the Center for an Urban Future found, it took $123,322 to sustain a traditional "middle-class" life in the city. As the idea of raising a family in the city on a working-class job (with some comfort and occasional vacations, to boot) receded from living memory, those who would and should have been the backbone of the city learned to do with less, or to leave. And the rich, who had always had plenty, scooped up what they had to surrender.

To McArdle this isn't a tragic or even a negative development. It's the natural order of things, or maybe a course correction -- after years of everyone having at least a little something to live on, the Invisible Hand woke one day and realized that freeloaders and ne'er-do-wells were breathing some of the air He, in His wisdom, had reserved for the wealthy, and is righteously putting an end to it. After that He'll do something about their crazy idea that they're entitled to water -- once it's all been privatized, maybe they'll finally take the hint and just lay down and die, perhaps consoling themselves in their last hours with the Freedom of Religion, which the Invisible Hand is pleased to allow them, as it has no market value.

As someone who lived in New York for decades on the (relatively) cheap, I had a box seat for this turn of events. I knew what was happening was worse than unfortunate, but being in the middle of it, and very busy most of the time, and not wishing to be completely consumed by bitterness, I couldn't devote much time to thinking about the injustice of it. But some people have taken the time. Young as they are, they can see what's happening, because it's been accelerating so absurdly that you'd have to be blind -- or bought off -- to miss it. And that's why the worst people on earth are so mad to break them.

UPDATE. Amanda Marcotte rips it up.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rightblogger escalation of the Occupy movement from a bunch of stupid hippies to the Manson Family.

BTW sorry for the paucity of posting here lately. Been busy working, which is good because it pays and bad because it's work. More later.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

BOO! In the midst of the Cain meltdown, what are the big rightbloggers thinking? Ole Perfesser Instapundit:
A JOURNOLIST REMINDER: There was this email group, called Journolist, where journalists got together and talked about how to bury stories that hurt Democrats and push stories that hurt Republicans. Here’s a list of the members.

UPDATE: Who, exactly, is the Cain story hurting?...
Good Christ. Journolist, run by that noted Bolshevik David Weigel* back in 'ought-ten! (I haven't bothered to check the current list, as these guys have made some hilarious misattributions to it in the past.)

Ann Althouse:
Who they were, where they worked.

(Via Instapundit.)

(If you don't remember what JournoList was, click the tag below for all my old posts on the subject.)
Flopping Aces:
Journolist Redux?….The Herman Cain Witchhunt
So, to recap: A joke candidate whom I have come to think of as Black Donald Trump has, after a string of buffooneries, had a previous buffoonery come back to haunt him. Because members of the press had the temerity to ask Black Trump questions about it, the brethren are darkly muttering about a defunct e-mail list which they had portrayed as the nexus of a liberal media conspiracy to protect Obama.

If Journolist still existed, of course, and its members really wanted to protect Obama, they'd be moving heaven and earth to elevate Black Trump to the Republican Presidential nomination. Obama might then get enough electoral votes in 2012 to save up for a third term.

The brethren haven't thought it through. But it's not about thinking. Journolist is a talisman to them, or more properly a trophy, because their squawking did manage to get it shut down and its libertarian founder fired from the Washington Post, which really showed those liberals. And yet the victory seems not to have brought them comfort; now that the night is dark and wolves howl outside the glow of the fire, they act as if the dead Journolist, or some progeny of it, yet lurks the woods, baying for their blood.

*UPDATE. Some of you have written to tell me that Ezra Klein ran Journolist, not Weigel. Sure, that's the cover story the big men tell saps like you. I can't say too much, but there's a reason Klein still sits pretty at the Post while Weigel is forced to forage at some content farm called Skate or something. (If you don't buy that, make it this: Klein, Weigel, what's the diff -- we collectivists don't acknowledge individual achievement.)

UPDATE 2. Commenters get into the retroactive-conspiracy frame of mind. "THE TIDES FOUNDATION IS BEHIND THIS!" (zuzu); "The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was responsible for credit default swaps" (gocart mozart); etc. I liked this from DocAmazing: "You can't win, Darth Wingnut. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine." Maybe you have to be a follower of the Ole Perfesser to appreciate it.

UPDATE 3. Oh, Jesus, Dave:
[Ole Perfesser] Glenn's written another post about this, and he's pretty representative of the emergent defense of Cain: We can't trust the media, because they didn't cover or try to break other stories of sexual harassment when they reflected poorly on Democrats. How about this: The media should be tougher on all of these people?
Tougher on all these people -- yeah, look at the free pass the media gave Anthony Weiner! Why, if he were a Republican, he'd have been hounded from office.

Maybe they should get Weigel fired from Slake or whatever that thing is called. Then maybe he'll see how dangerous the liberal media really is!

UPDATE 4. At Balloon Juice, Tim F looks at the increasingly insane scandal spin and declares, "This is conspiracy building in the same way that making a 'house' with four Lego bricks counts as engineering."

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

COFFEE BREAK OVER, EVERYBODY BACK ON YOUR HEADS. A few weeks back we looked in on The Anchoress and Rod Dreher, two rightwing God-botherers who nonetheless seemed to have been slightly intoxicated by a whiff of American Autumn -- The Anchoress declaring "those who support capitalism and free markets have a responsibility to demand that manufacturers and suppliers do the right thing," like Jesse Jackson or something, and Dreher siding with Occupy Wall Street against Rand Paul.

Could it last? Are they distributing hand warmers at the encampments, or at least boycotting grapes for old times' sake? Let's see what they're up to now:

The Anchoress:
A lot of people on Twitter are swooning over [Herman Cain singing at the National Press Club]. Some are declaring that “Cain just won the election!”

Which is silly nonsense. He hasn’t even won the nomination, yet.

Having said that, though, Cain has just struck a note that will resonate for many in the country, particularly African Americans in the churches. Don’t minimize the effect his lovely basso profundo will have on people who are looking for something a little human, a little authentic and a little consoling. Do not underestimate the impact this stirring little ditty will have on some.
Fifty years from now, there'll be a giant statue in Washington of Cain emerging from a rock with "Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan" chiseled on the side.

Later The Anchoress takes on liberal media bias. You'll find it in the most surprising places!
Former First Lady Laura Bush, and former first daughters Jenna and Barbara have been included in Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year issue.

That’s nice. Surprising. I can’t help wondering, though, why the magazine known for its photos has chosen such a cramped, graceless and uncomfortable-looking one to illustrate their story.

I mean, these are all-three beautiful, poised women. Glamour has them looking like they need to find a loo. Ah, well, what else would we expect, I guess? The other “Women of the Year” fare much better — their pictures are uniformly excellent, spacious, graceful and complimentary — but I guess Glamour couldn’t bring themselves to praise these three women without punishing them, as well, so they served up this unflattering pic.
Wait for it...
Small potatoes? Sure. But still, how petty.
In The Anchoress' world, self-awareness is a mortal sin. Now on to Dreher, who unsurprisingly has fallen hard for that David Brooks "Blue Inequality-Red Inequality" column with which Charles Pierce mopped the deck earlier. Brother Rod feels the spirit, especially the bit about the poor Red chillen suffering from their special Inequality because they have been prevented from getting married and Christening their babies by something or other:
It’s easy to scapegoat the one percent, in part because they really do deserve a lot more critical attention, but also because nobody loves them. It’s far, far more difficult to talk about the other things, because that involves making hard judgments about moral and cultural values, which, generally speaking, liberals don’t like to do (unless it’s against the white working class), and about facing how economic conditions can work against a building a culture of strong families and moral stability — something that most conservatives would prefer not to face. You could confiscate all the money of the top one percent and distribute among the bottom 99 percent, and that would do little to nothing to address this deeper culture of inequality Brooks identifies.
Well, if you also told them, "Get a marriage certificate and this 100 grand is yours," I think that might move the needle. Also, Dreher tells us that bastard Corzine is a Democrat. Fight the real enemy!

As an add-on, let us briefly treat (not successfully, I'm not a clinical psychologist) Megan McArdle, whose Occupy Wall Street post is more or less David Brooks', but stuffed with extra self-regarding prattle, and with a decent respect for your betters (I'm not being colloquial, she means your betters) standing in for God. Excerpt:
Similarly, in the 1990s, when I worked with a lot of mostly blue-collar and first-generation college grads (with a fair sprinkling of Ivy Leaguers, to be sure)...
Can't you just see them at the Blarney Stone, knocking back boilermakers and talking derivatives?
...I didn't hear nearly so much about the rich and how greedy they were--even though in the late 1990s, income inequality was almost certainly worse than it is right now.
Things were rough in the days of the Clinton boom, I tell ya. We didn't have iPods! But wait for it...
As IT consultants...
One is tempted to flip all the cards and call it a night, but let's upshoot this with a parting Shorter: All the OWS kids are just jealous, not like me, and my friend George Orwell agrees.