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







« French Style Brushwork | Main | The Trouble with Theories and Plans »

July 06, 2009

Politics and Econ Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* From the right ... John Medaille makes a lot of good points in this critique of capitalism. Medaille, a very interesting guy, blogs regularly at the "reactionary-radical" website Front Porch Republic.

* From the left ... Alexander Cockburn thinks that Obama resembles JFK in a number of unfortunate ways.

* F. Roger Devlin introduces conservationist and immigration restrictionist Madison Grant.

* Martin Regnan makes a good stab at summarizing the worldview of Mencius Moldbug.

* Whiskey argues that the ad business is strongly anti-white-male.

* Hey, Betaboyz -- there's still time to join the Church of David Alexander. (Link thanks to Corrupt.org)

* As a fan of both the economist Wilhelm Ropke and the financial journalist James Grant, I was pleased to read in this 1996 interview with Grant that he learned a lot from Ropke.

* Randall Parker assesses the likelihood of immigration amnesty under Obama.

* Thanks to Bryan, who turned up these witty WWIII posters.

* People, eh? I confess that I have moments when I sympathize deeply with anti-humanism ...

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at July 6, 2009




Comments

Dear Michael:

I notice you post occasionally on Roissy's blog. Don't you think it's time for Roissy to do a full-length essay in a serious online publication, such as, for example, the American Conservative? The ideal topic for him right now would be an expansion of his insight into why Kay Hymowitz, conservative credentials notwithstanding, is really nothing more than an old-fashioned feminist, and how she is thus incapable of giving a truly comprehensive account of the modern social ills she's so good at describing.

I raise this idea with you because I suspect you might be in a better position than I am to suggest it to people connected with AmCon or other venues suitable for Roissy. (Steve Sailer, for example -- I'm sure your name makes it through his filters)

Posted by: Katto on July 7, 2009 12:22 AM



Don't you think it's time for Roissy to do a full-length essay in a serious online publication, such as, for example, the American Conservative?

Roissy is a realist, not a conservative. The two overlap, but without a trancedental metaphysic realism is not Conservatism.

And while we're at defining "ism"

The anti-humanist site is full of shit. Humanism is not about raping the planet, it's an ideology that humans matter. Care of the planet and humans are not mutually exclusive ideas. Anti-humanism is the ideology that human beings don't matter. The author by way of example could practice what he preaches and kill himself. Do the planet a favour. Another dickhead with his head up his arse. Nothing to see there, move on.

And finally as I'm still feeling splenetic:

What's with all the Aryan(Nordic) lovers that are popping up on all the evo-bio blogs? Dickheads to the left of me, dickheads to the right. Is it just me or have all the crypto Nazi's found a voice through the evo-bio movement?

Posted by: slumlord on July 7, 2009 10:50 AM



No, slumlord, it's not you.

And as for the anti-humanists...give me Spiked! magazine's philosophy any day. One of the t-shirts they sell says:

HUMANITY IS UNDERRATED

(My favourite tee of theirs, though, is BOMB THE BANS.)

I love Spiked! by the way. The only libertarian/Marxist/contrarian journal out there, so far as I can tell.

Posted by: PatrickH on July 7, 2009 11:19 AM



I posted a hasty comment about the anti-humanist perspective following along the lines of slumlord's view above. I regreted it after sending and asked Michael to please remove, which he kindly did.

Michael asked me, though: "You don't feel grumpy about humankind sometimes?"

I answered him this way:

Well it's a hugely complicated issue. I feel the general frustration that comes from dealing with situations and people who are always (inconveniently!) outside of our control. Of course I do.

I meet rude people, and sometimes I have to work with them (or for them). I get mad at inattentive drivers. I am hurt by seeing my hunting spots and other neat places go under the bulldozer every year.

So I have seen the enemy, and he is me...

But self-loathing never solved any problem. Nor suicide, nor (very often, anyway) murder or war---even against "stupid people."

Problems are solved with creative, not destructive solutions. Our main problem is "the" economy, which is actually just our current economy. It makes useless people of almost everyone, and it defiles every place it touches. No wonder our anti-humanist friend feels like a nobody and wants to "save the world" by killing everyone else!

We have lost our purpose in this economy, mainly because it allows us to give up doing the kinds of things that have given meaning to peoples' lives forever: feeding ourselves, transporting ourselves, clothing ourselves, relating to animals and to one another in person; trying to relate to God. None of us really has a job anymore. Or rather, few of us do any real work, and the strain of that is showing all over the place.

The "anti-humanist's" general deathwish is sad, and childish in its way. But it's scary, too, because while his genocidal fantasies will probably not be realized, he may very well gun down 7-8 people in a shopping mall somewhere before being killed by an off-duty cop.

I certainly don't have a ready solution to the very large problem that has victimized this fellow and the rest of us. But I'm not ready to give up. I have a great wife and kids, solid friends in my neighborhood, a little garden, a few animals, all the Wendell Berry I can read on my bookshelves. I've been working to find God and making some tentative progress on that.

My recent exchange with an anti-hunter here

LINK

... is very much in line with what I would say to the anti-humanist. In short: the world is imperfect and we are made of the very same stuff. That presents us with a challenge---one equal to our intellects and the best of our culture---but it's no call for self-loathing or hatred for others. What it calls for (no kidding) is love. I think that's what scares us most of all!

Posted by: Matt Mullenix on July 7, 2009 12:58 PM



"What it calls for (no kidding) is love."

Let me know how that works out for you.

Posted by: Ted on July 7, 2009 1:27 PM



PS: to be clear, the above-linked blog (NorCal Cazadora) belongs to California journalist Holly Heyser. The anti-hunting / pro-hunting exchange I mentioned occurred in the comments section of that entry. At root, my correspondent's sentiments were misanthropic, and although more genteel than those of the "Anti-humanist," they are comparable.

Posted by: Matt Mullenix on July 7, 2009 1:40 PM



>>"Let me know how that works out for you. "

Ted, I can tell you already: It's not going easy.

Posted by: Matt Mullenix on July 7, 2009 1:44 PM



Katto -- That's a good idea, tks, I'll pass it along.

Slumlord -- The uses some people are making of evo-bio is a little off-putting, isn't it? They seem determined to justify all the fears the Blank Slaters have. As for humanism, I think you're a little off in this case. A definition from one online dictionary: "any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity are taken to be of primary importance ..." That's pretty much exactly the "man is at the center of things" attitude that the Anti-Humanist is raving against.

PatrickH, Matt -- A little earnest today, eh? However serious the Anti-Humanist is about his p-o-v, he's also a provocateur. IMHO anyway, he needs to be taken as such, even as an outrageous comedian, and isn't to be critiqued as a serious-browed participant in responsible conversations.

Which isn't to say that comedy and outrage aren't to be valued, at least by me. I often like it when people bust up the damn "responsible conversation." Without those outbursts joy can ooze out and a kind of tyranny of seriousness can take over.

Also ... Well, it's hard not to be appalled by what humans get up to, isn't it? Are there lots of other species that routinely slaughter millions of their own kind? Would you have us -- or at least the Anti-Humanist -- NOT express our horror and disgust at some of what we've shown ourselves capable of?

Anyway, and FWIW, I like opening the general discussion up to more points of view, and to more extreme ones too: anarchists, Earth Firsters, Austrians ... I think that the usual Op-Ed Page point-of-view offering is 'way, 'way too narrow.

I don't know that I'd want to put the Anti-Humanist in charge of anything but his own website, granted. But since there isn't much chance of him getting elected President, I'm not worried about that possibility. And I'm glad he's out there yelling and cursing. I feel similarly sometimes, I'm just not as eloquent.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 7, 2009 2:00 PM



Michael,

I could lighten up some. My wife agrees! I promise you both I do have a sense of humor.

But it honestly didn’t occur to me that the Anti-Humanist might be joking.

It seems more likely that he shares important points of view with the Columbine shooters, and that his passion for wilderness conservation, etc., is a secondary interest at best. I mean, there have been other justifications for murdering millions of “stupid people,” none of them very good but all of them timely, I assume. “Saving the planet” is just our time’s favorite justification.

Part of the reason his message resonates with you is that human overpopulation is easy to demonstrate. Moreover, stupid people are in no short supply. He scores on both points.

So you must ask: “Are there lots of other species that routinely slaughter millions of their own kind?”

I’d say many would if they could! Our nearest relatives make a pretty good case in point: chimps are vicious operators. But there are plenty of other aggressive and destructive animals afoot. We’ve just got guns and steel, which put us on top for the moment.

But I ask you: How does murdering yet more millions solve the problem of a species already too busy at the same work? There has to be some smarter thing we can do.

Posted by: Matt Mullenix on July 7, 2009 2:35 PM



Michael, thanks for the link to John Medaille's blog. I've never looked into the Distributist philosophy, and I'm not convinced of it as an economic system, but his critique of things as they stand is very thought-provoking, and sympatico.

A bit of a tangent, but I'm offended when I hear news reports that refer to the public as "consumers", like we have no function but to use stuff up and keep the system going. We can all be producers too, thank you very much. We produce all kinds of things of great value that will never show on a graph. The technocrats want make a THX-1138 world of faceless blanks walking around aimlessly but I'll not be participating.

Posted by: Todd Fletcher on July 7, 2009 3:39 PM



It's not that hard, and you should really try it.

Instead of typing Ropke, type Röpke.

Result: Röpke.

Posted by: intellectual pariah on July 7, 2009 4:28 PM



Re: Whiskey argues that the ad business is strongly anti-white-male.

It's anti-white-kids, too. I never see ads (particularly in-store ads) with more than one token, red-headed white kid anymore. You can turn the search for a blonde white kid in an ad into a scavenger hunt. They're so rare, the family unit notices when we encounter one.

And it was sad to see how icky the comments got on Whiskey's post. Jeez.

@slumlord
Roissy is a realist

Um, no. His blog is very entertaining, but if he's a realist, it's for an entirely different reality than our current one.

However:
What's with all the Aryan(Nordic) lovers that are popping up on all the evo-bio blogs? Dickheads to the left of me, dickheads to the right. Is it just me or have all the crypto Nazi's found a voice through the evo-bio movement?

I agree. Been working on a post on it for about a month, now up.

@Michael Blowhard
The uses some people are making of evo-bio is a little off-putting, isn't it? They seem determined to justify all the fears the Blank Slaters have.

Blank Slaters have never had a case; anyone who has kids knows this in spades. The experience of having kids also brings to light all the faults of the evo-bio case, too. I've noticed, like (true, pure) Libertarianism, evo-bio tends to draw in single, young(ish) folks as interesting, but it's usually abandoned once the rugrats experience schools ya in what's built in and what's acquired. (FWIW, I think it's about 53% nature and 47% nurture.)

Posted by: yahmdallah on July 7, 2009 6:12 PM



I'm still full of bilge.

Michael--" That's pretty much exactly the "man is at the center of things" attitude that the Anti-Humanist is raving against.

Man is the damn centre of things. All those forests, oceans galaxies mean jack shit if there is no rational being able to contemplate them and imbue them with value. It is humans who give the inanimate, irrational and mechanical universe any meaning or worth. Pascal's reed?

Now, any good Aristotlean would tell you that a man is not acting in his own self-interest if he saws at the branch he is sitting on. Humanism is the theory that man matters, it is not the theory that nothing else matters except man(as our moronic anti-humanist seems to think). You're average Thomist would say that while this distinction is subtle, it is still a very important distinction. Now, Christian Humanism is quite clear about man's relationship with the planet. Man stands at the apex of the created universe and he was put in it to tend the garden. Christian Humanism teaches that man a sins when he rapes the planet or when he worships it.

Like all other fucking morons our anti-humanist takes a good (environmentalism) and removes it from its context and elevates it above all else. That's why this line comes so naturally to all of them:

You stop thinking in terms of “rights” and “freedoms” and other individualistic, moralizing nonsense.

Ah! The Felix Dzerzhinsky school of "social progress". This guy would be logically consistent and doing Humanity a favour (in more ways than one) by killing himself and saving the world a whole bunch of trouble and sorrow. The older I get, the more sense I see in burning heretics like that moron. He just your typical tyrannical fanatic. Nothing to see here, move on.

The evil is not humanism, but individualism, the philosophy that nothing else matters but the individual and "his pursuit of happiness", this of course is the precise opposite of traditional humanism which balanced individual rights in the context of other equally important goods and duties. Unfortunately the U.S. is the champion of individualism. Individualism is the theory that nothing else matters except making me happy. The planet and other people can go to hell as long as I can have my........(fill in the blank). A lot of social pathology is explained by rampant individualism and its support by the state. As C.S. Lewis said, the song they sing in Hell is " I did it My way". Our moronic anti-humanist is basically what he despises, except he is too stupid to see it.

As for the Evo-biologists, yes they are a nasty bunch. But the one thing they have over the blank slaters is they are quite prepared to discuss facts which may be politically unacceptable. They seem to have the only forum where concepts like racial IQ can be discussed. Not that these discussions go anywhere since that theoretical rigorism is just as absent there as with the anti-humanist prole.

The problem I have with evo-biologists is the same one I have with the Natural lawyers; in that they impute a teleology from the facts. "Is" cannot give "ought". It's a subtle technique of pushing an ideology while under the protection of "scientific objectivity".


Here endeth my rant.

Posted by: slumlord on July 7, 2009 8:12 PM



If Roissy were to write something for a right-leaning publication, his best chance would be Taki's Magazine. Richard Spencer, the editor of the site, has had some luck finding interesting alternative/rightish voices lately. Roissy would fit right in.

Besides, Taki may welcome one of his own.

Posted by: Cody on July 7, 2009 8:44 PM



Yahmdallah--"Um, no. His blog is very entertaining, but if he's a realist, it's for an entirely different reality than our current one."

Sorry, I don't understand, could you please elaborate.

Posted by: slumlord on July 7, 2009 8:52 PM



slumlord, FANTASTIC rant, in that I agree with everything you say there. :)

Posted by: JV on July 7, 2009 9:54 PM



Earnest today? Tosh! I quoted approvingly the marvellously contrarian Spiked! magazine, including their amusingly sloganed t-shirts. Spiked! is of course very hard indeed on environmentalists of the sort who think that the world could use a few less billion people...though more of people just like them. Your anti-humanist hews perilously close to that crowd, the anti-human (not -ist, just plain anti-human) elites who want to deprive people of access to energy, rich food, cars and big loud popular entertainments. If he's supposed to be such a provocateur, why does he mouth all the sneering platitudes about imminent environmental destruction, four-wheelers, suburban homes (and of course the millions and millions of the bungled and the botched in the third world)?

This stuff has been around forever...it's not provocative, it's the zeitgeist.

Posted by: PatrickH on July 7, 2009 10:02 PM



MB: However serious the Anti-Humanist is about his p-o-v, he's also a provocateur.

Well, he's trying. So what? How many times does poor Shoutin' T have to come 'round and patiently try to explain to you that "provocativeness", per se, has no inherent value? (The "Aryan lovers" referenced provoke and outrage, too, but we won't see you justifying them with the laudatory label of "provocateur". Telling us "but he's a provocateur!" is an empty claim.)

Which isn't to say that comedy and outrage aren't to be valued, at least by me. I often like it when people bust up the damn "responsible conversation." Without those outbursts joy can ooze out and a kind of tyranny of seriousness can take over.

Michael, your capacity for dragging along in lead-brick earnestness while purporting to be reveling in rollicking rake-hell provocation never ceases to delight me.

So, which is it here? Is anti-Man outrageously, joyously, comically and deep-thought-provokingly pointing us to a serious matter? - if so, why are you getting all earnest about people being provoked and responding to this provokingly provocative impish impious intellect? Isn't that the point? Or maybe nobody seems to appreciate how wittily and transgressively he's telling us "give a hoot, don't pollute" and "excessive human numbers makes mother Gaia cry", and that makes Michael Blowhard cry? Perhaps the sly (albeit joy-oozing) provocation in your bit here flies over my head: "Well, it's hard not to be appalled by what humans get up to, isn't it? Are there lots of other species that routinely slaughter millions of their own kind? Would you have us -- or at least the Anti-Humanist -- NOT express our horror and disgust at some of what we've shown ourselves capable of?". 'Cause all I see is the excruciating earnestness. (Wow, expressing dismay and horror at what man has done to man and nature. Now there's something you don't see every day. What smug ignorance we'd all be living in if we didn't have an army of trustafarian PETA-Nietzsches to keep it real.)

Remember, one man's provocateur is another man's peddler of banalities. (Or idiocies. Or twattery. Fill in the blank.)

So, in all earnestness, like slumlord said. If Man should not be the measure of things and "human life is not sacred" - whatever, dude, but out of whose ass does one then pull the basis for holding that anything else in the universe is? (No human being gives a crap about a universe without human beings; it's all tedious posturing.)

Matt: I’d say many would if they could!

Perzackly. I guess we could "sacralize" ourseleves, hahaha, if we just all inflicted creditable head injuries on each other and reduced the superior human competence at getting up to what the rest of nature also goes in for. Is anybody here really missing the analogy between "ooh, humans are evil and ruin the sacred earth, all would be well if they were gone" and "ooh, Western white males are evil pillagers and cause all the misery in the world, which would be an Eden if they hadn't come along"? Whenever are all these twats going to put their expiation where their mouths are? I'll bring the nails if somebody else will bring the crossbeams.

Posted by: Moira Breen on July 8, 2009 10:20 AM



"I'll bring the nails if somebody else will bring the crossbeams."

I'm on my way with the 2x4s!. Sustainably harvested of course and purchased in accordance with Fair Trade practices. I'm LEED certified too. I don't want to waste a bullet on these creeps. Anyways, bullets have lead in them. Lead is bad.
PS: Expiation is for Other People.

Posted by: Mouth Breather on July 8, 2009 11:31 AM



Heh. Great rants from slumlord, Moira et al. And yes, wouldn't it be nice if those who demand the sacrifice of billions for the good of the Earth were a little more willing to kill themselves to help the process along? Or even just use a computer with fewer than three monitors?

P.S. It's clear to me that the scientifically unresolvable disputes over global warming have done much less damage to the eco-armageddonist cause than the fact that the eco-armagadders simply don't believe their own apocalyptic rhetoric. It was laughable how the anti-humanist puffed himself up by claiming to be working so hard to save the planet from imminent demise. Oh really? By publishing a screed on the Internet? How much effort did that take? Fifteen minutes?

Lordy, I do despise me those eco-catastrophic peta human-hating varmints. I do indeed.

Posted by: PatrickH on July 8, 2009 1:23 PM






Post a comment
Name:


Email Address:


URL:


Comments:



Remember your info?