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« Fact for the Day | Main | Movie Linkage »

August 18, 2008

Political Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* It's almost enough to rekindle my faith in humanity: The percentage of people who think Congress is doing a good job recently dipped into the single digits.

* Meet the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate, Bob Barr. Link thanks to the smart and interesting Nathancontramundi, who also reprints a great passage from one of my faves, Wilhelm Ropke: "The welfare state itself takes care of a sort of comfortable stall-feeding of the domesticated masses. Is this not bound to work to the benefit precisely of existing large firms?"

* Dave Lull wonders if Peggy Noonan has taken to channeling Bill Kauffman. Hey, team: Politics in America isn't just a matter of Dems vs. Repubs, it also has to do with our rootless, centralizing elites vs. the rest of us. Nice passage from Peggy:

OK, quick, close your eyes. Where is Barack Obama from?

He's from Young. He's from the town of Smooth in the state of Well Educated. He's from TV.

John McCain? He's from Military. He's from Vietnam Township in the Sunbelt state.

Chicago? That's where Mr. Obama wound up.

* Lester Hunt examines what sounds like a kooky new idea: the tragedy of the anticommons.

* Agnostic wonders if porn really has gone mainstream. Don't skip the comments. Postmodern Conservative responds.

* Randall Parker isn't thrilled by the way honor killings have begun showing up in American crime stats.

* Orthodox Agrarian feels inspired by the folk culture of the Scandinavian peasantry.

* Is what really drives many liberals a crusading, even zealous desire to achieve one world?

* Thomas Fleming explains some of the cultural differences between the U.S. and Mexico.



posted by Michael at August 18, 2008


i'm gonna have to hold my nose when i vote for bob barr this november which sucks cause you vote for 3rd party candidates cause you DON'T want to comprimise. he's better then mccain or obama but that's hardly saying much. maybe if the ron paul phenom hadn't happened i'd be in a better/worse place to just vote for him regardless of what i don't like about him:voting for the patriot act, authoring the defense of marriage act, trying to impeach bill clinton for something i don't care about, asking americans to thank god for the life and work of jesse helms...aughh!! the constitution party guy chuck baldwin is even worse and there's no way i'm voting for cynthia mckinney or ralph nader so i'm stuck with barr. i'm a ron paul guy but i'm not as big a dork about it as some of his supporters (some of which i know personally) who are going to write in paul in the general election. i gave him my vote in the primary and that should be enough. i wanna vote for someone who's running and the field is pretty shitty.

Posted by: t. j. on August 18, 2008 1:13 PM

What the hell does Noonan's quote mean? I'm seriously baffled. Oh yeah, we're supposed to mistrust smart, well-educated people because they aren't folks. Whatever.

Posted by: JV on August 18, 2008 1:28 PM

Each time one of these threads starts up, before it turns into a partisan flame fest, I think about my own pet political peeve, the use of a ballot system and electoral process that favors the two party status quo at the expense of all alternative candidates and by extension at the expense of reflecting the will of the electorate. I want to see the wide adoption of the "automatic run off" ballot system. I want t.j. to be able to vote by ranking his support for Barr, McCain, Obama, Nadar, Baldwin, McKinney or any other Presidential contenders I've forgotten knowing that he is not throwing a vote away.

Posted by: Chris White on August 18, 2008 2:17 PM

Oh yeah, we're supposed to mistrust smart, well-educated people because they aren't folks. Whatever.

I think that what he was trying to communicate that we should not trust people that are "slick". That is, that they are smart enough to be "slick" by our current standards.

Posted by: Usually Lurking on August 18, 2008 2:54 PM

Why are people placing their trust in any of these clowns? Change starts with you and the immediate area where you live. You can't take control of anything unless you control your own backyard. Anything else is an illusion.

I've come to realize that the USA political system is rigged and that the country is heading toward a corporate-governmental social fascist state. It doesn't matter who you vote for--that's the direction. We are almost there. Maybe just 5-10 years left.

The left loves the government, loves to give it control, loves socialism and gigantic taxes, loves PC and thought crime, and the "right" simply advances the militarism and domestic police state as responses to trumped up threats that the government really controls.

Good luck wrangling it out this election season. My voting in elections (with rigged electronic voting machines now) has come to an end.

Posted by: BIOH on August 18, 2008 2:58 PM

t.j. -- That's a lot of funny and smart points. Politics in the U.S., eh?

JV -- For a smart and cynical guy you have a touching faith in the well-meaningness and general benevolence of our elites!

Chris -- Sign me up for that plan.

U.L. -- I think so too.

BIOH -- I've *never* been able to imagine why anyone would ever put much trust (let alone faith or hope) in a politician. Necessary evils at best. And if one or two of them are decent and can be rooted-for ... Well, how would we ever be able to find out? Minus personal experience. But then I've never been a political person ... Huge mystery to me: Why is *anyone* enthusiastic about politics and / or politicians? Power-lust aside? But that probably indicates what a limited imagination I have.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 18, 2008 4:30 PM


I think that people are enthused about politics because they have the chance to impose their worldview on others. And to steal other people's money and appropriate it for themselves and their buddies. Everybody wants to make a buck while doing nothing. And that means stealing somehow from the truly productive.

My interset in politics is mainly of trying to find a way to get out from under its tyranny. Hence my "conservatism". I no longer think that's possible.

Posted by: BIOH on August 18, 2008 4:55 PM

"JV -- For a smart and cynical guy you have a touching faith in the well-meaningness and general benevolence of our elites!"

I don't, but I also mistrust the prideful denigration of smart, well-educated people that is rampant in the US. It's class warfare at its finest. And as a smart, well-educated person yourself, Michael, I'm constantly surprised at your willingness to participate in it all. Not that I hold up people like Obama on a pedestal.

Posted by: JV on August 18, 2008 4:58 PM

BIOH -- You write "My interest in politics is mainly of trying to find a way to get out from under its tyranny." Nice one!

JV -- I agree that we're stuck with the smart and the well-educated, but my experience suggests that 95% of them don't have any interest in serving the rest of us, despite their rhetoric and often despite their self-images. So why not mock 'em? Anyway, I rather like the U.S.'s tradition of anti-intellectualism ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 19, 2008 12:31 AM

I haven't voted for about a decade and for pretty much the reasons BIOH gives.

The tragedy is that we were founded by men who were deeply deeply suspicious of the power instinct in their fellow men and in themselves and they gifted us with a system that almost, almost, checked that instinct. Well, kept it in check for the first 150 years of our history, more or less. But since power mad professor Wilson and manifestly since FDR our period of freedom has been over.

Will the power mad succeed in utterly destroying the American idea? which, as I see it, simply means the right to be left alone. Could be. Stand by.

Posted by: ricpic on August 19, 2008 3:48 PM

Does anyone ever understand anything written on the Postmodern Conservative website? I'm no dummy (if I do say so myself -- advanced degrees, yadayadayada), but his syntax and metaphorical style are so opaque that I come away empty-handed pretty much every time. Is it just me?

Posted by: Rover on August 19, 2008 5:14 PM

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