Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'


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A very, very odd debate on the comments of this article can be summed up as shock over a statement one conservative made that, in essence, because liberals are moral relativists and statists, they are at the polar opposite, ideologically, from the concepts of universal human rights and individual liberty, for they could not fathom something being morally right all the time.

Ergo, said conservative continued, it was the conservatives that have always stood at the forefront of civil rights and pacifism, not the liberals. This sounds a lot like the sort of arguments that have been trotted about the conservative echo machine since Jonah Goldberg wrote his book.

Names like Woodrow Wilson and Leo Strauss are trotted out as proof, supposedly, that the liberal message hasn’t changed since then, which is something like trotting out Charles Darwin’s first book as proof that the theory of evolution is flawed, forgetting of course the body of scientific progress since then (or similarly, that all collectivist thought is bunk, using only Karl Marx’ work as example).

We supposedly live in a world where Lincoln freed the Blacks for purely altruistic reasons (saving Thomas Jefferson’s reputation in the meanwhile) and the Democratic party is still primarily Dixiecrats and educated elit(ist)s who dream up eugenics clauses. LBJ’s abandonment of the South in favor of a more inclusive party and Barry Goldwater’s subsequent entreaties to the same in the name of exclusion means nothing, and nor does FDR’s about-face on Wilson’s racist xenophobia with his statement, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Strom Thurmond, of course, died in 1964.

Not that it matters, because the other half of this argument is that, because liberals have enacted collectivist policies through the state, they must be totalitarian – no matter if the state is representative or not. So Hitler’s destruction of the trade unions and Stalin’s purging of the party mean nothing, nor does theirs’ or Mussolini’s purging of intellectuals, radical dissidents or, y’know, gays, Jews, Blacks, or foreigners (most if not all of whom vote overwhelmingly Democrat here.) Wilson’s “world police” interventionist Internationalism was certainly not the central motive of Nixon’s or Reagan’s or Bush’s militarism, no sirree.

Of course, the argument’s just an anti-Democrat troll meant as the latest in a long line of fear-mongering disinformation poorly hiding the fact that it’s all a massive case of projection. The question, I suppose, is: Is this unbelievable twisted revisionism’s utter incredulity symptomatic of a sick electorate or the death of the party that espouses it? Ayn Rand’s faux-intellectual Objectivist screed has certainly found a certain brand of follower, sure, but rarely is it taken seriously…

Willful Ignorance

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Why are liberals so condescending?” asks Gerard Alexander of the Washington Post.

Because they’re right,” answers Dan Kennedy of the Guardian.


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A number of decent articles to ponder. Krugman in specific appears to be easing into a new assumed role of political analyst since his tirades about how Obama isn’t radical enough economically earned him a drubbing by Emanuel.

But then, I read liberal rags.

A couple of very interesting older articles abound, especially about the fallacy of the “productive rich.” Indeed, the whole point about high finance and economic bubbles is that there is no actual production involved.

What It Means To Be Liberal

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When I was in the fine arts residential college at Cornell, enterprising students discovered that if you pulled the washing machine out from the wall, cracked open the back panel of the coin slot, stripped the wires and shorted them at intervals, you could dupe the machine into thinking coins were being dropped. flick flick flick flick a dollar. flick flick flick flick two dollars.

This was all well and good – after all, who doesn’t want free laundry in a school that costs $45k a year? – until some overeager freshmen inadvertently brought it to the residence hall director’s attention, whereupon he promptly threatened the whole dorm with the cost of replacing the washing machine with the most obvious manhandling. Never mind that we’d just do the same thing with a new machine, mind you, or that a $500 machine split between 150 residents is a little over $3 per resident but people being innumerate as they are, they heard the number he gave, which was five hundred dollars, and that was enough to galvanize the dorm – chock full of radical liberals as it was – to rally against him for the unfair burden brought down upon, if not the poorest of the poor, then the brokest of the broke.

They couldn’t stop the school from eating reservation land or exploiting its own staff or passing on capital construction costs to the undergraduates or suppressing hate crime statistics, but damnit, free laundry is free laundry and you have to put your foot down somewhere.

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