January 29, 2011
AT AMAZON, DVD markdowns on movies & TV.
AT AMAZON, DVD markdowns on movies & TV.
“LIFE SUCKS” FOR COLLEGE FRESHMEN, but Dr. Helen is unmoved. “Maybe if the rewards for being a grown-up were greater and the rewards for acting like a self-indulgent teen well into your 30’s were less, we would see fewer miserable college freshman.”
COULDN’T HAPPEN TO A NICER GUY: Is Qaddafi Next?
CLIMATEGATE: British Met Office Keeping Two Sets of Books.
WHAT OBAMA DIDN’T MENTION, when he praised a school in the SOTU address.
PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE ON the beauty of the corporation. “We should be eternally grateful that slave owning, miscegenating, Jacobin-leaning Jefferson failed to squelch the corporation.”
Hey, don’t be dissing miscegenation. Otherwise, yeah.
BARRY RUBIN: Egypt: Three Possible Outcomes.
CLOSING DOWN THE COMPETITION: TSA shuts door on private airport screening program. “A program that allows airports to replace government screeners with private screeners is being brought to a standstill, just a month after the Transportation Security Administration said it was ‘neutral’ on the program. TSA chief John Pistole said Friday he has decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports, saying he does not see any advantage to it.”
No advantage for him, as it was making TSA look bad. Er, I mean, worse.
ARE WE ALL NEOCONS NOW? “So having already endorsed the essentials of the Bush war on terror, Obama is now belatedly embracing the freedom agenda too. Does that mean we’re all neocons now?” Of course not. Obama’s implementation of Bush’s policies is completely different. I do wish that Bush had continued Bush’s policies after 2005, instead of dropping the ball.
COLD TRUTHS ABOUT electric cars’ cold-weather shortcomings.
NOT HOW I ENVISIONED THE 21ST CENTURY: Six Cases Of Cholera Suspected In Massachusetts.
CHRIS CHRISTIE TO ILLINOIS BUSINESSES: Come to New Jersey!
REVERSE ANGLE. Heh. Cheap, but they were asking for this. . . .
ANSWERING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Why ARE women’s breasts getting bigger?
UPDATE: Reader Arthur Lueck writes: “While I am not the most religious sort, I think the reason is clear: God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
“THE LAW PROFESSORS HAD A FAILURE OF IMAGINATION.”
And to politicians who dismiss the constitutional allocation of power as a “technicality,” be reminded that on tax day people pay taxes, instead of treating you like robbers, because of the constitutional allocation of powers. Without that, you’re just another bandit to be treated accordingly. Do you really want to dismiss the rule of law that way? The answer, of course, is that to politicians, the rule of law — like the taxes — is for the little people. I would recommend against pushing too hard on that front right now, though.
MORE EGYPT LIVEBLOGGING AT THE ATLANTIC. Note the formation of armed citizen patrols against looters.
GREG BEATO: The More We Spend On Higher Education, The More We Spend On Higher Education. Things that can’t go on forever, won’t. More: “In the face of the Internet and other technologies that have made information and instruction cheaper and more accessible than ever, you might have predicted that the ever-expanding multiversities of the 1980s and 1990s would suffer the same fate as the music industry and the newspaper business. Instead, scope creep has functioned as an ingenious survival mechanism. . . . It’s true that for-profit institutions are raking in huge profits in large part because of federal subsidies. (The CEO of the holding company behind Strayer University made $41 million in 2009.) But it’s also true that few if any for-profits are using federal money to finance lengthy sabbaticals for high-paid professors who teach a handful of classes a year, or the athletic pursuits of undersized linebackers who should have hung up their cleats after graduating high school. Non-profit institutions of higher learning have been using federal money to make sure American college kids are the tannest, best-fed, most vigorously administrated students in the world for decades now. For a little extra credit, our elected officials should start holding them more accountable too.”
MARKDOWNS ON fitness videos.
WHY THEY’D RATHER TALK ABOUT SARAH PALIN (CONT’D): IMF to US: Better Start Taking Care Of Business. Plus this: “Offering the discretionary-spending freeze as an answer to the IMF’s legitimate concern is akin to telling your mortgage holder that you’ve started an austerity program by deciding not to buy more pay-per-view porn each month than in the previous few years.”
GUANTANAMO AND “detention policy fatigue.”
THE OTHER DAY, READER JASON WHITWORTH ASKED: “For those of us that were in school in the late 80’s/early 90’s and never had a Western Civ course, can you or your readers recommend one?”
I published that, the recommendations poured in, and of course I got too busy to properly digest them. But now here are some.
An anonymous reader emails: “Try The Rise of The West – W H McNeill…”
Rev. Todd Hester emails: “Glenn, Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation is forty years old now, but peerless in my estimation. Clark was an avowed humanist and anti-Marxist, and it showed. I was an English major in the early nineties; it was the basis for my humanities coursework, and was still deeply relevant. I suspect it is more so now.”
Prof. Stephen Clark writes: “In response to Mr. Whitworth, let me bang the drum for Jacques Barzun’s, From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present. A life’s worth of scholarship has been distilled in this work. Beautifully written, Barzun takes you on a grand 500 year tour of the Western world that will leave you in awe of all that has preceded you, but also in awe of a model of classical scholarship that Barzun represents.” I read that, and it’s excellent.
Linda Seebach emails: “Columbia’s course was called Contemporary Civilization, and Amazon has a number of used copies at reasonable prices (new are ~ $85). I took a version at Gettysburg in the late ’50s, but I don’t think that was ever commercially published. Also links to reading list, study guides online, for instance at http://www.wikicu.com/Contemporary_Civilization.”
Reader Dwight Green writes: “I saw the request one emailer made for Western Civ classes. There are many online courses available now at sites like Academic Earth (http://academicearth.org/) or Open culture (http://www.openculture.com/). There really is a burgeoning online industry for courses that I’m happy to see. For those that feel overwhelmed at taking courses, their best bet may be exploring the flourishing world of book blogging. Anyone interested, even casually, in reading is sure to find several that fits their tastes and style. For example, I’m currently working my way through Thucydides and posting my thoughts on it…it’s a challenging read but so well worth it.”
Josh Mandir sends: “I think a good start on Western Civilization is the book Carnage and Culture by Victor Davis Hanson. It covers 9 battles in world history from the Battle of Salamis to the Vietnam War, describing the unique properties of Western Civilization. I learned more about Western Civilization (and, really, history overall) than I did in college.”
Reader William Berry emails: “In response to reader Jason Whitworth’s query about a course in Western Civ for one who missed out on it the first time around, I would suggest the seminar reading list at St. John’s College, available at this link . There is Western civilization, laid out in all its glory. St. John’s is the best college most people have never heard of, where the humanities still flourish. Our eldest son is a student there now, and loves it. But if you can’t go there, the next best thing is to work through the readings on your own.”
Claudia Brown writes: “Your reader who’s looking for a Western Civilization course might consider purchasing the textbooks to the Providence College (Rhode Island) two-year Civ core. Two of my kids went to Providence, and we were really impressed with the course. During various campus visits we met other parents who had themselves attended Providence, and looked back on the Civ course as one of the best they ever took, regardless of what they ended up majoring in or what profession they pursued. (You don’t declare a major at Providence until late in Sophomore year — that’s a good sign.) Even without a course, I’m sure the readings textbook would be valuable.”
Andrew Morriss writes: “The Teaching Company has many, many marvelous courses on the essentials of western civilization. Prof. Rufus Fears’ courses on Rome are spectacular – he’s got a great voice! The best ‘why we got rich’ book is Deidre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Dignity – fabulous, well written, erudite, etc. Basically: don’t kill entrepreneurs and be nice to them and your society will prosper. It is the only explanation that fits the data. Her web page is here, and her website has the book for downloading, reviews (including mine), etc.”
Speaking of how-we-got-rich, the classic is Nathan Rosenberg’s How The West Grew Rich. Many readers recommended this.
Reader Will Danford recommends Roots Of Freedom: A Primer On Modern Liberty. “It was written (by my dad – sorry) for college students, but it was adapted from lectures delivered via Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty before the wall fell. It’s a concise summary of the Western political tradition.” Nothing wrong with plugging your dad’s work.
Reader Jonathan Good recommends this video series on the Western Tradition.
And, of course, if you’re in a big hurry, there’s always Andrew Klavan’s video history of Western culture in 2 1/2 minutes.
PETER SUDERMAN: Egypt’s Internet Kill Switch. “Here’s what happens when a dictator has access to an off-switch for an entire country’s Internet: Via the Committee to Protect Journalists, a visual representation of Egypt’s Internet traffic on January 27th.”
HMM: Porsche considers selling diesel-engined Panamera, Cayenne in U.S. I like the Panamera, and if I were rich I’d consider buying one. But would I be more likely to buy a diesel? I don’t think so. Now a diesel Cayenne makes sense. Or am I missing something?
UPDATE: Reader Matthew Hennessy says I am:
On purely performance grounds, diesel doesn’t cause engine damage from ‘knocking’ (since diesel compression combustion is essentially controlled ‘knock’ already) you can crank up turbocharging.. Also, it can run leaner than gasoline engines, thus leading to better economy. In the US these days, most diesel performance tuning is done on truck platforms (Gale Banks Engineering is big on diesel) but a high-pressure turbo system on a modern common-rail diesel along with a huge # of gears in a multiclutch trans could be a real winner.
Well, stay tuned.
IN BRITAIN, a call for men’s liberation.
INSIDE THE BRAINS OF PSYCHOPATHS. “Not all psychopaths lack the ability to comprehend emotions felt by others. It isn’t that they lack the ability to model the emotions of others. Rather, their emotional reaction to their own modeling of others is different than it is in most people. This is, by the way, why I fear future artificial intelligences. I do not expect they will have behavior-restraining empathy.” Not unless it’s designed in. Some people are working on how to do that.
IN THE MAIL: Gulag Boss: A Soviet Memoir.
PC WORLD: Get Internet Access When Your Government Shuts It Down. “In the land of no Internet connection, the man with dial-up is king.” Plus, thoughts on ham radio, etc.
UPDATE: Reader Tom Hill writes: “Would you mind asking your readers if fiber optic phone systems (such as Verizon Fios) could be shut down as part of an internet shutdown?” I’m sure they could be, but my guess is that Internet would be blocked at the ISP gateway. Others may know more than me.
And what’s the point of dialup if the ISP gateways are shut down? With dialup, you can reach foreign dialup nodes. Of course, it’s also possible to just shut down international phone calls, but that’s another step, and also a costly one.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Egypt Cuts The Net, The Net Fights Back.
I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ONE GODDAMN WORD ABOUT MY CARBON FOOTPRINT: FOIA Request Reveals Pelosi Logged 43 Flights Covering 90,155 Miles from January to October 2010. “According to previous documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the former Speaker’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.”
CHANGE: Gallup Poll: Positive views of GOP for first time since 2005. “The view of the Democratic Party, meanwhile, has improved slightly. The poll showed 46% of Americans viewed Democrats positively, compared with 47% who have a negative view. Still, those numbers are among the worst Gallup has recorded for Democrats since 1992.”
MARKDOWNS ON blankets, bedding, and bath goods.
TIMOTHY DALRYMPLE: Why We Have Children.
POLIWOOD ON THE Kennedy Mini-Series Suppression.
UPDATE: Chinese nervous? “CHINA has blocked the word ‘Egypt” from the country’s wildly popular Twitter-like service, while coverage of the political turmoil has been tightly restricted in state media.”
JAMES TARANTO: Eliminationist rhetoric against Sarah Palin: a production of the Missoula Children’s Theater. “In all seriousness, though, like much of what we have been writing about in the past few weeks, this incident is shocking but not surprising. For all the bogus accusations being thrown at Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, genuinely hateful political rhetoric is commonplace in the art world, even in art that is not overtly political.”
KEVIN WILLIAMSON: Statistical Chicanery: Texas Budget Edition. “The fact is that Texas, at $985 per capita, received less stimulus funding than almost any other state. (Virginia and Nebraska were lower.) It is no surprise to find Paul Krugman manipulating figures, but I am surprised by the number of people who fell for this storyline.”
RANKINGS: College and University Endowments.
MEGAN MCARDLE: What would a U.S. debt downgrade mean?
I think the answer is: Nobody really knows. But probably nothing good.
IMPORTANT HEALTH NEWS: “Adults who make love first thing in the morning apparently not only feel more upbeat for the rest of the day, but also benefit from a stronger immune system. Research suggests that adults who begin their day this way are healthier and happier than those who simply opt for a cup of tea and some toast before heading out of the door.”
BRING BACK KING FAROUK: The Steady Erosion of Women’s Rights in Egypt: A Photographic Story. (Via Prof. Jacobson.)
Hey, King Fuad II is still alive. And no doubt following events with interest.
I JUST GOT LINKED BY WONKETTE, AND ALL I GOT WAS A LOUSY 282 PAGEVIEWS. Wonkette is still publishing?
QUESTION OF THE DAY: ‘Whose Bright Idea Was It to Send Joe Biden Out to Talk About Egypt?’
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER ON OBAMA: “From the moon landing to solar shingles. Is there a better example of American decline?”
NOBODY KNOWS WHAT A REVOLUTION LOOKS LIKE? Until after it’s happened. Or not. “It’s quite clear that Obama is totally bamboozled. He has no culture to deal with this situation, nor does Hillary. I wonder about Panetta. Does the Intelligence Community have people who know in detail who is who in the tumults? Historically we haven’t been great at this–the intelligence failures at the time of the Iranian revolution could fill a fat volume, with another needed to chronicle the failures during the following 31 years–but we’ve got a lot of Arabists and we may be lucky enough to have a few very good ones.”
UPDATE: Tim Cavanaugh says don’t expect too much from the Egyptian riots: “In a world where you can’t even count on The New York Times to go out of business, you can never underestimate the ability of a discredited institution to linger.” Heh.
MARKDOWNS ON heart-rate watches and pedometers.
MOHAMMED EL-BARADEI’S ties to the Muslim Brotherhood?
ELLIOTT ABRAMS IN THE WASHINGTON POST: Egypt protests show George W. Bush was right about freedom in the Arab world. Well, possibly — and as I noted yesterday, I wish we’d kept up the momentum back in 2005, when the correlation of forces — and mana — was more favorable. But it’s also possible that we’re seeing a Piven-style “revolution” in which the serfs just pick a different batch of rulers, and fit them with boots and spurs. We should be doing what we can to make sure that doesn’t happen, but I’m not entirely sure the folks in charge really understand the difference . . . .
UPDATE: Condi Rice in 2005.
BILL QUICK ON INTERNET KILL SWITCHES:
I suspect that if the US government really wanted to pull the plug on the US net today, it could do so.
The whole notion of “internet revolutions” has always been a fragile one, and became even moreso when state actors began to understand and react to the threat.
He’s basically right — though on the other side, the economic cost of shutting down the Internet is enormous, even for Egypt, and would be gigantic in the United States. I had some thoughts on this subject in this review, for the Stanford Law & Policy Review, of Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu’s Who Controls The Internet?
RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Mubarak Obama.
IF YOU HEAR THE SIRENS, close the windows and hold your breath for the next few days.
ROGER SIMON: “Good for Barack Obama who seems to be taking a strong pro-democracy stand in his conversation with Hosni Mubarak.”
FIXING HEARTS WITH FAT-BASED STEM CELLS?
PC MAGAZINE: After Egypt, Will U.S. Get ‘Internet Kill Switch’?
ARMAGEDDON: Facing a “global chocolate drought.”
UPDATE: The Anchoress emails: “When I read that line, for some reason I immediately flashed to 1984, where Winston Smith eats a bit of crumbly dry chocolate and remembers tasting other chocolate as a child, sweet and smooth. Did Orwell even get the chocolate right?”
I think Lawrence Sanders’ The Tomorrow File is a better example, as he makes lousy food a counterpoint to baroque bureaucratic maneuvering in a social-democratic quasi-tyranny. (And that book really deserves more attention than it got). But in fact, I think good chocolate and overweening bureaucracy can coexist for long periods — how else to explain Brussels?
I was going to open this post with a snarky line about whether anybody with even marginal intelligence expected a 40-something community activist to have the necessary chops to deal with an international crisis of the type currently unfolding in Egypt. Indeed, I think I still will: Does anybody with an IQ over the single digits seriously believe that a former community activist and part-time legal lecturer has the skills and knowledge to handle the revolutionary disarray unfolding on Egypt’s streets right now? No. I didn’t think so.
Snark out of the way, I want to talk about something more profound than mere inexperience — and that’s Obama’s instinctive distrust of individual freedom. His two years in office have shown us that, given the choice, Obama will invariably bow to whatever, or whomever, controls the government faction in a given country.
This is a tough problem, but nothing Obama has done so far has inspired any confidence.
UPDATE: On the other hand, what to make of this report? America’s secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising: “The American government secretly backed leading figures behind the Egyptian uprising who have been planning ‘regime change’ for the past three years, The Daily Telegraph has learned.” If this is true, I certainly hope we backed the right guys this time . . .
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Mark Hunn writes: “Glenn, why would we expect anything but feckless ineptitude from an administration still pursuing a war its foreign policy team believes we were duped into by the dumbest president in modern times?” Heh. Well, when you put it that way . . . .
MORE: And reader Bob Poynor writes: “Among all your coverage of the events in Egypt, don’t forget that Egypt operates the Suez Canal. A LOT of commerce goes through there, as well as a lot of supplies to our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Isn’t there a food crunch right now? How much oil goes through there? If a radical group manages to shut it down in a show of strength, even for only a few days, I’d expect a large ripple effect beyond than the mere act of closure.”
And reader Mike Puckett emails: “Didn’t Hillary once say something about a call at three AM? I think that call is coming in now.”
STEM-CELL RESEARCH running into intellectual-property brick walls.
COMPARISON: AT&T vs. Verizon iPhones.
HAS SPORTS PERFORMANCE peaked?
AT AMAZON, it’s the Friday Sale.
WILLIAM GALSTON: As bad as the CBO fiscal numbers look, it’s actually worse.
DAVID HARSANYI: Who Are We in This ‘Sputnik Moment’? Plus this: “Really, was this country ever about being proud that your children ended up in the same plant you slaved in for 30 years? Even with a promise of a union pension and — if you’re lucky — an ‘occasional’ promotion, it sounds like a soul-crushing grind you’d want your offspring to escape, tout de suite.” A place for everyone, and everyone in his place: That’s the new progressive motto! Especially the “everyone in his place” part.
AMY SISKIND: Why Does MSNBC Tolerate Chris Matthews’ Misogyny?
PATHS TO COMPETITIVENESS: More spending vs. better laws.
NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Scaling up from atomic assembly and individual nanodevices to macroscopic systems.
MARY KATHARINE HAM: To “Sir” With Love.
“DENIAL OF MONEY FOR HOUSEKEEPING:” Defining “domestic violence” down.
MICKEY KAUS: Letting Obama Off The Hook: Megan McArdle Is Way Too Understanding. “The dude just sold us an expensive universal health care program on the grounds that it was really a program of deficit-cutting entitlement reform (because it would ‘bend’ the health care cost curve)! Now that it’s time for real deficit-cutting entitlement reform instead of fake reform, he throws up his hands and says ‘Sorry, can’t be done. I’ll just tread water for a while.'”
EGYPT’S TIANANMEN SQUARE MOMENT?
PROF. JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Fact-checking Bill Keller on NYT-Bay of Pigs suppression myth. “The suppression myth has it that the Times, at the request of President John F. Kennedy, suppressed or emasculated its reporting about the pending Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. But as I discuss in Getting It Wrong, in the 10 days before the ill-fated assault, the Times published several detailed reports on its front page discussing an invasion and exiles’ calls to topple Fidel Castro. And, I note, there is no evidence that Kennedy either asked or persuaded the Times to suppress, hold back, or dilute any of its pre-invasion reporting.”
Campbell is the author of Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism. The Bay of Pigs story is one of them.
IT’S BACK: The Balanced Budget Amendment. When this was hot in the 1990s, I thought it was overly strong medicine. But the sickness seems more severe now, so I’m liking it more. Especially with a spending-as-percent-of-GDP cap.
“COMBAT OPERATIONS HAVE ENDED:” Obama’s Afghanistan Gaffe. “He was getting Afghanistan mixed up with Iraq. If this were Reagan or George W. Bush, the press would be all over it, depicting the president as senile, stupid, doddering, a pawn of his aides or vice president, or worse. Instead, the press has almost entirely ignored it.” The narrative is that he’s a brilliant speaker. Facts that interfere with the narrative get ignored.
UPDATE: A reader emails: “First we have a SOTU that is heavily plagiarized and now a verbal blunder…..I think the evidence is clear he is merely a puppet for Joe Biden.” Heh.
IN THE MAIL: The Ayatollahs’ Democracy: An Iranian Challenge.
THE AMERICAN NOMENKLATURA: “Increasingly our nation is divided, not between Rs and Ds, but between TIs and TBs: tribute imposers and tribute bearers. The imposers are gigantic banks, agri-businesses, higher education Colossae, government employees, NGO and QUANGO employees and the myriad others whose living is made chiefly by extracting wealth from other people. The bearers are the rest of us.”
BRUCE YANDLE: Where Do Jobs Come From?
BURN, AMERICA BURN: It’s not just Frances Fox Piven rooting for riots and violence in America. Here’s former New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges on the Greek riots:
Here’s to the Greeks. They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country. They know what to do when Goldman Sachs and international bankers collude with their power elite to falsify economic data and then make billions betting that the Greek economy will collapse. They know what to do when they are told their pensions, benefits and jobs have to be cut to pay corporate banks, which screwed them in the first place. Call a general strike. Riot. Shut down the city centers. Toss the bastards out. Do not be afraid of the language of class warfare—the rich versus the poor, the oligarchs versus the citizens, the capitalists versus the proletariat. The Greeks, unlike most of us, get it.
Plus this from Matt Welch:
Hedges’ recent apocalyptic tear (which has resonance for at least some libertarians, not to mention Pagans) includes urging on sabotage two months ago, and calling corporations “little Eichmanns” last week. And this is no fringe character here–Hedges continues to receive respectful hearings in the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Vancouver Sun, et al, and just last week he was named a finalist for the L.A. Press Club’s Online Journalist of the Year. You will search in vain for any mention of Hedges by the scores of journalistic commenters who have been warning for more than a year now (inaccurately, in my opinion) about impending political violence, inciteful right-wing rhetoric, and borderline sedition.
These hacks don’t mind violence at all, so long as it’s perpetrated by the right people, against the right people. Meanwhile, Hedges in the past has been on the receiving end of some grassroots action I can approve. More on that here.
Liberation under the Piven doctrine effectively becomes a choice by the serfs of which aristocracy they believe will do best by them, since worth is determined by the political process anyway. Which side do we back by our “mass actions”? Liberation becomes the process of putting the “right” people in charge of the masses. It is not — it is never — putting the masses in charge of themselves.
Why not put the masses in charge of their own lives? Because that would require facilitating innumerable transactions and contracts between individuals. That would require self-interest and economic calculation to propel the system. That would mean a market, whose job it would be for the state to keep fair, and that were too little a role for such as Piven thinks should rule the roost.
Meet the new boss, yada yada.
LAW REVIEW CIRCULATION continues to plummet. Well, between SSRN on the front end, and Lexis and Westlaw on the back end, this isn’t a huge surprise.
HEADLINE OF THE DAY: In Desperation Move, Egyptian Regime Shuts Down Access To IowaHawk.
ANDREW KLAVAN: Andrew Klavan: The Highway to Hell, Leftist Remix Edition.
SPUTNIK MOMENT: Soviet space expert James Oberg comments: “I’m seeing up close how ‘Palin Derangement Syndrome’ can compel otherwise intelligent people to foam at the mouth and babble nonsense to prove they’re right and she’s wrong. . . . It’s more complicated, but the essence is, Palin was right: the Soviets sowed the seed of their own collapse by setting off the Space Race.”
This is more like a “party like it’s 1773 moment.” We keep having those.
COLLEGES HAVING TO ADJUST TO guns on campus.
JENNIFER RUBIN: New Black Panther Party case: The facts are in.
JAMES TARANTO: The Politics of Bloodlust: Barbara Ehrenreich, Hendrik Hertzberg and the left’s disturbing preoccupation with violence. “America’s liberal left is preoccupied with salacious fantasies of political violence. These take two forms: dreams of leftist insurrection, and nightmares of reactionary bloodshed. The ‘mainstream’ media ignore or suppress the former type of fantasy and treat the latter as if it reflected reality. This produces a distorted narrative that further feeds the left’s fantasies and disserves those who expect the media to provide truthful information.”
Of course, nowadays that last group is known as “suckers.” Taranto continues:
But wait. How has it escaped Ehrenreich’s notice that the past two years have seen the greatest flowering of grass-roots democracy in America since the civil rights movement? We refer, of course, to the Tea Party movement. To be sure, you won’t see any Molotov cocktails at a Tea Party gathering. You may see some guns–a normal part of life in most of America–but they will be borne lawfully and not used violently.
Since the Tea Party advocates individualism and not socialism, we may assume that Ehrenreich strongly disapproves of it (as does her pal Piven). But to bemoan the dearth of grass-roots activism in America without even acknowledging the Tea Party’s existence suggests a detachment from reality bordering on the clinical.
Even odder, many on the left have advanced a false narrative in which the Tea Party is violent. The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg did so in a column last week, in which he was still trying to justify the media’s falsely blaming the right for the attempted murder of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. . . . Hertzberg is saying no more than that liberal journalists like himself are justified in perpetuating the myth of conservative violence because they promulgated it in the first place.
Perhaps he is right that it is not the product of opportunism but rather of sincerely held prejudice. But would it be a defense of, say, Theodore Bilbo or Joseph McCarthy to say that they sincerely believed the prejudices and falsehoods they espoused? What’s more, Bilbo and McCarthy were politicians. Why is it so hard for journalists to remember that their job is to tell the truth?
It’s never too late for one more shot at blood libel, I guess. Read the whole thing. And remember: One could ask Joe McCarthy “Have you no decency?” With Piven, Hertzberg, Ehrenreich, et al., there’s no need to ask.
MORE VIOLENT EXTREMIST RHETORIC: Top Dem: We will ‘hang’ Republicans.
TOM MAGUIRE WANTS TO BRING TOGETHER Michelle Obama and Gary Taubes. On the other hand, Michelle has a lot of nerve suggesting that the rest of us need to be run through basic training.