In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff


We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.







Try Advanced Search


  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...


CultureBlogs
Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
PhilosoBlog
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Gregdotorg
BookSlut
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Cronaca
Plep
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Seablogger
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette


Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Samizdata
Junius
Joanne Jacobs
CalPundit
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Public Interest.co.uk
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
Spleenville
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
CinderellaBloggerfella
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
InstaPundit
MindFloss
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes


Miscellaneous
Redwood Dragon
IMAO
The Invisible Hand
ScrappleFace
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz

Links


Our Last 50 Referrers







« Payouts | Main | Please Explain: Cezanne »

October 30, 2008

Steve on Barack

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Steve Sailer has been writing wonderfully informative and convincing articles and blog-postings about Barack Obama's story and character for many months now. Whatever you think about Obama politically, he's a fascinating creature, and Steve's musings about him have often reminded me of the kind of deep character explorations that great novels sometimes provide. It has been some of the most daring and stimulating writing that I've run across on the web in the last year. So I'm excited to see that Steve has pulled together his research and thoughts into a book. Download a pre-publication copy of it here.

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at October 30, 2008




Comments

Jekyll of Hyde (Park)

Wonkity Donkity,
Illinois's Senator
got nominated by
Faustian plot;

characteristically
won't tell us anything:
"Take me on faith, brother."
Well... Dewey, or not?


For Steve On His New Blog Photo
(which we waited nine years for)

Saurian Dorian,
Steven of Studio
(City) has taken a
break from his crime

of rudely exposing our
biodiversity
to show us how he has e-
volved over time.

Posted by: Reg Cæsar on October 30, 2008 2:37 AM



The "Half-Blood Prince?" I've got kids so I know that's a Harry Potter reference, but it's so fucking distasteful. Sailer is a really smart guy with some interesting things to say, but he's also a race-baiter of the worst kind.

I don't know, reading 2Blowhards has been really disheartening lately. I used to love it for its interesting mix of arts talk and fluid politics. Maybe it's the election, but I've found the tone around here lately to be unproductive. Oh well.

Posted by: JV on October 30, 2008 3:00 AM



I've read the first two chapters of Sailer's book. Most of the ideas I'd already encountered in his blog.

Obama's mother is priceless... a true Woodstock piece of trash hippie woman... even though she never lived in Woodstock. It's a hilarious story.

I haven't read the entire book, so I don't know the answer to this. Does Obama's fucked up family background disqualify him from being president? Most of us come from some sort of fucked up family background.

Obama's followers may well be delusional in their belief that the candidate somehow transcends race. Sailer argues pretty convincingly that they are. One again, does this really matter?

I don't know. This presidential race is pure entertainment, and pure madness. The half-breed son of a white hippie woman who hates America marries an African bigamist... versus the dutiful son of a Navy family.

Who could write a better script?

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on October 30, 2008 7:19 AM



Is it really racist to question EVERYTHING about a candidate for the highest elected office in the land? JV practices George Bush's "soft bigotry of low expectations." If he can't stand up to scrutiny, what kind of administration can we expect from a President Obama?

Posted by: QuikHit on October 30, 2008 11:26 AM



The half-breed son of a white hippie woman who hates America marries an African bigamist... versus the dutiful son of a Navy family.

Well, I don't really like Obama either, but McCain is a crazy old coot who crashed a whole bunch of airplanes and dumped his first wife in the crassest way possible. They are both terrible candidates.

Posted by: Thursday on October 30, 2008 11:37 AM



"I've read the first two chapters of Sailer's book. Most of the ideas I'd already encountered in his blog."

Right, but the rest of the book continues quite a bit of new stuff.

It's really good.

Posted by: as on October 30, 2008 12:52 PM



" JV practices George Bush's "soft bigotry of low expectations." If he can't stand up to scrutiny, what kind of administration can we expect from a President Obama?"

I think Obama should be subject to as much scrutiny as anybody, I'm just put off by Sailor's book title. I mean come on, "half-blood?" And are we still really saying that the only reason Obama is where he is is because of racial quotas? The guy is as driven, talented, shrewd and ambitious as anyone else who's run for President. I think it's fine to talk about his race, but to make it the central point of the discussion is misguided, I think.

Posted by: JV on October 30, 2008 2:13 PM



Obama made race the central point of his campaign. Sailer didn't do this.

I agree that he is "driven, talented, shrewd and ambitious," but his attraction and his campaign has been all about race.

Obama's entire political life has been race obsessed. Why are liberals constantly telling us that we're racists if we don't vote for him? Because race is, in fact, his trump card.

I wouldn't say that Obama is a creature of the quota system, but he certainly intends to employ the quota system with a vengeance. I have no doubt who will be at the top and bottom of the quota pecking order if Obama is elected.

Blacks seem to be almost unanimous in supporting Obama because he is black. Whites would be (and are) called racists for supporting a white candidate because he is white.

Obama has tried to shoo everybody away from discussing his radical friends. Rev. Wright is a wacky black racist. Bill Ayers and the Weathermen... do you have any idea what their plan was for fomenting revolution? That old standby of the radical left... inciting racial warfare.

Race is central to everything for Obama. It is what he stands for. At bottom, several generations of kids have been indoctrinated by the school systems in the belief that the U.S. is a racist hell, and that salvation is to be gained only by... the election of a black man like Obama.

The "Change We Need," make no mistake about it, is to elect Obama precisely because he is black. We are supposed to redeem ourselves for centuries of racism by electing Obama. (Recently a number of black race hustlers have realized what a mistake this might be, so they've upped the ante. Electing Obama, who is a half-breed, doesn't provide us with atonement for our sins. We must elect 100% black people.)

Having said this, I think he's got a lot going for him and he might well succeed as president.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on October 30, 2008 3:10 PM



" Why are liberals constantly telling us that we're racists if we don't vote for him?"

I certainly don't think that. But why do you, ST, think that if I vote for Obama, I'm doing so to atone for slavery or something? I'm voting for him because I think he's a vastly better candidate than McCain. And btw, I was OK with the old McCain, and I'd even prefer the new McCain to the other Republican candidates. But once he picked Palin as his running mate, my opposition to the Republican ticket became almost zealous. That's OK, though, because if McCain loses, it's due to Palin. I think he'd win if Romney or even Bloomberg was his running mate.

Posted by: JV on October 30, 2008 3:34 PM



I'm a racist, but I'd vote Obama if I could. JV's not a racist, and he'd vote Obama for probably much the same reason as me: Obama's simply the better prospect as President. The atonement for slavery is at best icing on the cake of a more authentic reason: Obama as President will allow white people to tell the J Jacksons and A Sharptons to STFU with a clear conscience. After all, America will have elected a black man EMPEROR OF THE WORLD. Why would a racist nation do that?

Gotta count for something, don't it?

Posted by: PatrickH on October 30, 2008 4:06 PM



JV, that's pretty funny, because I didn't care much for McCain until he chose Palin as his VP. I will probably vote for McCain because of Palin.

I like her. Personally, I just plain like her. I think that it's great that she gave birth to her kid instead of aborting him. She's proud to be a beauty queen. She was a star athlete and a hometown girl made good. I've listened to her speak on numerous ocassions, and I just like her more every time I listen to her. She's got a great future in the Republican Party. In fact, I think that she is the future of the Republican Party. It's become a cliche by now, but it is true that she has more experience as an administrator and executive than Obama. Obama has really never done anything except campaign for office. He has had very little interest in governing once he wins.

I can't see anywhere in my statement the assertion that you are voting for Obama for atonement.

I think, quite the contrary, that Palin is what has brought McCain back into the race. McCain was a bad candidate for the Republicans because he really isn't a Republican. Republicans do better when they nominate a real Republican, instead of a fake Republican who is presumed to be acceptable to Democrats and independents. Without Palin, the Republican Party regulars would have been quite content to watch McCain lose by 20 points. Me included.

McCain killed his own candidacy by refusing to go after Obama like crazy over Obama's radical past... particularly the association with the loony, execreble Rev. Wright. Out of fear over being called a racist (which has happened anyway), McCain conceded the election. And, McCain's great tactical error was to go along with the bailouts. That was game over.

Palin is a true Republican and a true conservative. She's got a great future. I'm looking forward to her next national campaign. She has a vision, and I think that she will triumph with that vision in the future. She'll be president one day. Probably, the first woman president. (This could happen sooner than you think, as an Obama presidency has the potential to collapse into a disastrous one-term failure.)

Of course, my prediction one year ago was that the presidential race would feature Rudi Guiliani versus Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on October 30, 2008 4:08 PM



Reg, those were both superb and very funny.

I nominate you and Derek Lowe for a 2 Blowhards slam throwdown. Which of you is the better poet (and therefore the better man)?

Posted by: PatrickH on October 30, 2008 4:09 PM



I've never read it, but I understand that The One's first book revolves around his race, so I sure don't see why it is racist per se for someone else to write a book that has the same sort of focus. BTW, if he wins, we are in for at least four more years of PC overreactions of this sort. That's actually one of the reasons I'm not voting for him, one of the less important ones. (I'm not voting for White Haired Dude either, but that is a -- partly -- different story.)

Posted by: Lester Hunt on October 30, 2008 4:23 PM



I love Sarah. She's with me. It's instinctive.

I loathe Obama. He's pure enemy. It's instinctive.

So come election day I'll be voting instinctively for Sarah...and not at all instinctively for the half with me/half enemy old coot who comes as part of the package.

Posted by: ricpic on October 30, 2008 5:28 PM



Obama has already done his nation a service in defeating Hellary.

Posted by: dearieme on October 30, 2008 5:28 PM



Why didn't he get this to come out before the election? I mean, it's got to be so much more insightful than the crap by Jerome Corsi that did come out before the election.

The "Half-Blood Prince?" I've got kids so I know that's a Harry Potter reference, but it's so fucking distasteful.

Shouting Thomas just reminded me that the truly offensive term is half-breed. It's pretty close, though.

Posted by: Noumenon on October 30, 2008 5:31 PM



Barack Obama is about as radical and dangerous as former GE CEO Jack Welch. He's the Floyd Patterson of politics and, to use a distasteful reference, a classic Oreo.

Anyway, I already voted for Ralph Nader. The Democrats, including Obama, have consistently betrayed their constituency since the 2006 elections. They'll never get my vote again.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on October 30, 2008 9:23 PM



No big deal, but I could do without the flippant Harry Potter reference. I wouldn't want to see that on a book about eg Tiger Woods, so I'd extend similar courtesy to Obama.

What most concerns me in his supporters is the notion that Obama's sinister radical associations were somehow inevitable. The idea seems to be: he was a black man in grass-roots and machine politics, radical mum, rough family-life...what can you expect? What I'd expect from someone good enough to be POTUS is an early and firm rejection of what Ayers and Wright stood for.

The loathsome Woodrow Wilson was blatant in his contempt for blacks. The way to discard his shameful legacy is to accept that the individual Obama has made his own deliberate choices. Anything less than that is pure Dixiecrat.

Posted by: Robert Townshend on October 30, 2008 9:37 PM



If McCain were to be elected, Mr. Sailer's book has a shelf life of five days. Clearly then, he must be hoping for an Obama victory.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on October 30, 2008 10:07 PM



...a true Woodstock piece of trash hippie woman... even though she never lived in Woodstock. -- ST

Woodstock wouldn't tolerate Woodstock-- they moved it to Bethel, remember?

Obama has already done his nation a service in defeating Hellary. -- Dearieme

Well, yes... Symbolically, the "first female president" shouldn't be the wife of a violent sex criminal. But equally symbolically, the "first African-American president" shouldn't have begun his career in the home of a white boy whose parents murdered a black cop.

Reg, those were both superb and very funny. --Patrick H

Thank you for the kind words. Doggerel is underappreciated as a vessel for conveying ideas.

If McCain were to be elected, Mr. Sailer's book has a shelf life of five days. --P.L. Winkler

I have this strong feeling McCain will "pull a Harry Truman", whether he wants to or not. Steve's book and bad luck may close the sale.

Posted by: Reg Cæsar on October 30, 2008 11:45 PM



I don't know, reading 2Blowhards has been really disheartening lately

It's really been unbearable. I don't agree with the general political tone here, but usually I can skip over it. I only came to this thread because I clicked the wrong link for the Cezanne post.

Obama's mother is priceless... a true Woodstock piece of trash hippie woman... even though she never lived in Woodstock....Obama made race the central point of his campaign. Sailer didn't do this.....Electing Obama, who is a half-breed, doesn't provide us with atonement for our sins.....McCain was a bad candidate for the Republicans because he really isn't a Republican.

Shouting Thomas is the champ here. Obama's mother was worth a fertilizer spreader full of Mr. Thomas.

McCain is a very conservative Republican who once in a long while fails to properly polish the knobs of the demented Republican core. Ooooh, eight years ago he said something bad about Jerry Falwell! Ooooooh, he cooperated with Kerry on a Vietnam bill! Stone him!

I love Sarah. She's with me. It's instinctive.

I like her. Personally, I just plain like her. I think that it's great that she gave birth to her kid instead of aborting him. She's proud to be a beauty queen. She was a star athlete and a hometown girl made good.

Anyone who thinks that Palin could function as president has lost it. She knows nothing about anything. Her record in Alaska is full of sketchy behavior, just like every other Alaska politician. I'm glad she makes you people happy, but scratching your itch isn't what Presidents are for.

Believe me, this comment has been heavily edited for politeness.

Posted by: John Emerson on October 31, 2008 6:45 PM



If McCain were to be elected, Mr. Sailer's book has a shelf life of five days.

If Obama wins it has a shelf life of five days. I downloaded it yesterday and spent about forty-five minutes skimming it, and the book is crap. The funniest part is in the preface, where he tells the Obama campaign to not bother trying to fight the book. It was an amusing sort of unintentional self-flattery. Don't worry, Mr. Sailer, your book won't even be a blip on their radar. The book is what is commonly referred to as a "cut and paste job": facts harvested from the mainstream media, pasted together with fluffy dime-store psychoanalysis.

And I think John Emerson is right on target in his comment.

Posted by: James on October 31, 2008 8:31 PM



I don't see how it matters, both of the candidates were perfectly happy ripping the money out of our pockets to throw at Wall Street and it's merry band of insolvent "home owners". That's change?

Sorry, that's business as usual. The US government is an apparatus for milking money out you and me and giving to the more connected, with a nice bone or two thrown out for the "poor", whoever they are.

Either way, we'll get it good and hard, and that's just what we deserve.

Posted by: Todd Fletcher on October 31, 2008 11:02 PM



John Emerson said -> Believe me, this comment has been heavily edited for politeness.

John, you've become less and less polite the longer you've hung around conservative websites. Should we soon expect your writings to reflect the sound and fury of another Mark Morford?

Posted by: Toadal on October 31, 2008 11:25 PM



We can ditch the cracks about the late, magnificent Floyd Patterson and Oreos in the same dumpster as the "half blood" reference. But there may be some substance in the notion that Obama is no true radical. The thing that's beginning to strike me about the man is his ability to serve the times, do that well...and do little else. The Vicar of Brae, sir!

Perhaps the shocks of high office will finally shake out the real Obama: the sly, supine conformist he always was.

It surprises me that undoubted heroism and good intentions (and a rich wife) have brought McCain so far - and that more doubtful heroism and intentions (and a rich wife) brought John Kerry to the same point not long ago. It's hard not to think back on Marshall and Eisenhower, and the credentials and experience those soldiers brought to the executive branch of government. What gives there?

Of course, there is someone in the lists with real small-business experience, who has an impressive record in public administration...and in all the hard get-it-done-now-or-soon stuff. The stuff that would make Peggy Noonan or Maureen Dowd faint if they had to do it for one day.

You know the stuff I mean...the stuff that Tina Fey can't imitate.

Posted by: Robert Townshend on November 1, 2008 4:43 AM



Toadal: This one of only three or so conservative websites I hang around on -- I very seldom troll. None of them are primarily political (or predictably conservative either), and all of them have non-political topics they're very good on. I try to keep my mouth mostly shut on political topics, but sometimes I slip.

I actual troll liberal sites more than I do conservative sites -- Crooked Timber, Yglesias, Washington Monthly. I'm not AT ALL polite there, because I'm at home there and a guest here.

Posted by: John Emerson on November 1, 2008 11:19 AM



This is not a conservative website, John.

I suspect that you think it is because it doesn't toe some party line that you think all respectable people must follow. Who knows what party line you think decent and respectable people follow? Could be Stuff White People Like silliness or could be progressive political correctness.

This website is willing to give reasonable consideration to conservative ideas, which according to progressive ideology is not allowed. Decent people must not even hear the conservative side lest they be polluted with hate, racism, sexism, etc.

In the same way, Fox News is pilloried for the heresy of actually presenting conservative viewpoints alongside liberal viewpoints. (Fox News really does present conservative and liberal viewpoints just about 50/50. It is the only major media network that does.)

That you consider a rogue site like 2Blowhards a conservative site says a lot more about you, John, than about this site.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on November 1, 2008 12:02 PM



"Rogue site" -- I like it! Thanks.

Actually one of the below-the-surface points I like to think I sometimes make here is highlighting one of the central conundra of liberalism. Which is: liberalism can't be liberal about everything. (Conservatism is a good example of what liberalism can't be liberal about.) And if liberals can't be liberal about conservatism (open to its good points, etc), in what way then do liberals deserve to be called liberal at all?

In other words, if you make "liberalism" the central or highest virtue, the standard by which you judge everything, then you yourself (Mr/Ms Liberal) will necessarily fail, because you can't bring yourself to be liberal about some things. Which pretty much disqualifies you as a liberal.

It's fun to push on that point, because it's at that weak spot that liberalism can't help but collapse. (It's here where you start bumping into stuff like "The big city liberals I know are the least tolerant -- the least liberal -- people I've ever come in contact with!" Which has certainly been true in my experience.) And the collapse of liberalism leads to far more interesting places and thoughts.

Oh, it's all a big jumble ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 1, 2008 2:57 PM



The word "rogue" just came to mind. When I looked it up, it seemed to fit quite well:

1. Vicious and solitary. Used of an animal, especially an elephant.

2. Large, destructive, and anomalous or unpredictable: a rogue wave; a rogue tornado.

3. Operating outside normal or desirable controls.

I think that I meant #3. I certainly did not mean to imply, Michael, that you are vicious and solitary, or large and destructive... least of all anomalous. Perhaps unpredictable.

Yes, you are operating outside normal or desirable controls. Maybe Obama can fix that.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on November 1, 2008 3:29 PM



I was responding to Toedal, Shouting, and I did say "not very predictably conservative". It does seem to be a liberal-hating site, and if you don't believe me read the posts above, including your own.

I call bullshit on Fox News. They say they're even handed, but they're not. Simple as that. Some fools believe them.

I feel fine about Blowhards most of the time, but not about you, Shouting. Your stuff seems to be all venting and grudge and resentment and vengefulness. Tons of anger and very little content. But insofar as I can tell what you think about anything, beyond just being mad all the time, I disagree with you.

Posted by: John Emerson on November 1, 2008 4:19 PM



Michael, you're taking the literal meaning of the word "liberal," taking it to its extreme and applying it to a political philosophy. Liberalism does not mean being tolerant and accepting of everything. It means, at least to me and the liberals I know, being tolerant and accepting of how people chose to live their lives (even if it differs from your own), while fighting hard for the things you believe in. It's a game of semantics when you call hypocrisy on a liberal for not being intolerant of something he/she feels is wrong.

Posted by: JV on November 1, 2008 8:36 PM



You're wrong, JV.

As I said before the "conservatives are stupid" argument is being used as a pretext for blacklisting in the arts, academia and the media.

Liberals believe that they have the right to a workplace segregated by political viewpoint, despite the fact that this is illegal.

The backup argument is: "Conservatives are bigots." This makes liberals feel good about blacklisting. Bigots aren't entitled to a job.

The arts, media and academia did not become 90% controlled by liberals by accident. Blacklisting is the reason. I know. I've been fighting through it my entire life.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on November 2, 2008 8:02 AM



JV -- It can sometimes be worth making a distinction between informal and formal uses of words.

Loosely speaking, you and your buds are liberal -- pretty loosey-goosey where much is concerned. BTW, so am I, and so's Shouting Thomas, who has lived a much wilder and looser life than most of the people who give him a hard time. (He's "liberal" even where his own reactionary instincts and feelings are concerned -- which means that he's more liberal than most liberals.)

But liberal is also a strand in political philosophy, with its own history of recurring debates, issues, conundra, etc. Positive vs. negative rights, for instance -- is it more "liberal" to let things fall where they will, or is it more "liberal" to make efforts to ensure equality? No one's ever been able to settle that one out, and yet it keeps popping up, over and over.

That's because it's some kind of weak point (or sensitive point) in the very nature of liberalism.

The "how can you be a liberal if you can't be liberal about your opponents?" question is another one that continues to come up. We saw it in 2001, for example. How can we make "tolerance" an overriding virtue if it turns out that some of the people we're being tolerant towards genuinely mean us ill? (The question is a worthwhile one independent of whether or not Muslims are like that, btw.) Yet once we start making exceptions, we lose some of our status as tolerant people.

Another one: If you put liberalism and tolerance (ie., personal freedom) above all other values -- and that's in a poli-sci sense what liberalism is about, not just being a loosey-goosey person -- how can you ensure that society runs fairly smoothly? Dismantle traditional ways of doing things and maybe what you wind up with is chaos.

When traditional norms don't hold people and cultures together any longer, they tend to get replaced by top-heavy, ever-more-explicit legalisms and bureaucacies. So things like an ever-growing European Union result, or political correctness.

Another one: A liberal point of view is one that's open to other cultures. Yet liberalism in its nature is a universalizing thing -- these values are held to be good for all people, everywhere and always. So liberalism tends to steamroller into the "other" cultures (which are traditional and very non-liberal) that liberals often treasure and revere and undermine and even destroy them.

These are all examples of liberalism (in the poli-sci and historical sense) spinning out its inner logic. I suppose you can dismiss all this as, I dunno, mere logic-chopping. But you can also see taking it into account as useful, enlightening, etc.

BTW, in a poli-sci sense, nearly all Americans qualify as liberals -- ie., as people who embrace Enlightenment-derived, rationalistic ways of going about things. Dems are "welfare liberals" where Repubs are "market liberals."

In the U.S. we have very few people who are true socialists, and probably even fewer who are true conservatives -- Jim Kalb, who I often link to, is a really rare case, and it can come as a real shock and challenge to encounter the thinking of someone who's a real conservative. The thinking of people who are true socialists or true conservatives (let alone true anarchists) can seem alien to people of the modern world, to come from another universe entirely. (That's a lot of what I like about it.)

Using "liberal" when we mean "Democrat" and "conservative" when we're talking about "Republicans" is journalistic short-hand, and as far as I'm concerned leads to a lot of unnecessary noise and friction. Repubs carry on as though Dems are socialists (most aren't), and Dems carry on as though Repubs are traditionalist conservatives (most aren't). Both ignore the fact that in fact we're almost all "liberals" in the deeper sense.

Anyway, like I say, it can be useful to hash out distinctions between formal and informal senses of words.

To use myself as an example: In the informal sense I'm about as liberal (I cut people a lot of slack), postmodern (it's all a big multi-viewpoint-ish patchwork out there, so why fight that?), and multicultural (I dig comparing, contrasting, sampling and enjoying many different cultures) as can be. That's just how I choose to live, and it all suits me very well.

But liberal, postmodern, and multicultural in the partyline, programmatic, know-it-all, apply-it-everywhere, formal sense? No thanks. (Hey, affirmative action is a good example of the topdown version of liberalism.) And one reason why is this question: What's liberal about enforcing liberalism from the top down? Patting myself on my own back: I'm just more liberal (in some ways, anyway) than that.

Kalb's new book is called "The Tyranny of Liberalism" and is excellent at poking around these issues and questions.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 2, 2008 9:09 AM



"The arts, media and academia did not become 90% controlled by liberals by accident."

ST, don't you think those jobs attract a basically liberal crowd by default? Not everyone, of course, but most of them? It's a sensibility thing.

Also, you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Of course people under the guise of liberalism have made some bad decisions, but the same goes with conservatives. There's good and bad in each, and a blanket condemnation of one side or the other is just plain lazy.

Posted by: JV on November 2, 2008 1:44 PM



ST, don't you think those jobs attract a basically liberal crowd by default? Not everyone, of course, but most of them? It's a sensibility thing.

By some measure, this is true.

If you've really paid attention to the Bill Ayers controversy, you would notice that packing the schools with radicals was a conscious strategy of the 60s left. This strategy has been remarkably successful.

When I was growing up in the 1950s and early 60s, it was common to meet teachers and arts instructors who were cultural conservatives. Men were much more heavily represented in the teaching profession.

Neither of these are true any more. Ayers is representative of a conscious strategy of the left. You will seldom encounter a cultural conservative in the teaching profession, because (and I repeat) blacklisting drives heretics out. The feminist animus toward men (along with fear about accusations of sexual harassment and rape) has just about driven men out of the teaching profession in the primary and secondary schools.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on November 2, 2008 2:18 PM



"The feminist animus toward men (along with fear about accusations of sexual harassment and rape) has just about driven men out of the teaching profession in the primary and secondary schools."

I'd say it has more to do with the impossibility of providing for a family on a teacher's salary. I should know, that is the very reason I left teaching. It is a profession increasingly seen as one providing supplemental income. Why bust your ass in front of a mostly hostile audience and meet with apathetic parents for 35-45K a year when you can sit in a cube churning out code for 100K?

Posted by: JV on November 2, 2008 4:57 PM



John Emerson, it's a pleasure to hear a normal voice around here!

Posted by: Sister Wolf on November 2, 2008 11:59 PM






Post a comment
Name:


Email Address:


URL:


Comments:



Remember your info?