So far, blogging seems to be the biggest casualty of my new job. In any case I’ve accumulated a ton of open tabs, and rather than try to string them together into an intelligible post I’m just going to vomit them forth into WordPress, with a bit of snark and little else in the way of added value. This one’s all from Reason‘s Hit & Run blog.
First we have a lulzily indignant paean to category error:
- Attack of the Hipster Conservatives (Boston Phoenix)
(h/t Reason, ofc.)
The author of this ironically sincere piece — we’re well into the realm of metacommentary here — is up in arms over the fact that some of her friends might be conservatives (or libertarians; she’s a bit confused on the distinction). Brian Doherty has a lot to say, and most if it is witty and incisive and includes anecdotes like this:
And I distinctly remember a marketing person at ZDNet, who was trying to organize a debate over Internet regulation, screaming in frustration across the office, “Goddamnit. Is anybody here NOT a libertarian?”
But what I get most strongly out of the Phoenix piece, which Doherty doesn’t mention, is that its author is mostly just frustrated with the realization that libertarians — and even conservatives — are people too, not just abstract and easily-despised Others. They might even be people with whom she’s friends — or worse, people who buy the same clothes she does. How horrifying!
(Full disclosure: I’m a vociferous anarchocapitalist and I wear Naked & Famous jeans to work. Finding hipster jeans that will accommodate legs with muscle on them is a bit of a challenge; fortunately, raw denim stretches.)
I hear someone recently gave a speech that sounded a bit like this:
If you have a mosque in Tennessee, somebody along the line gave you a hard time until you paid them off. There was a xenophobic zoning official somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to swim in an ocean of paperwork. Somebody invested in roads and bridges, and used that investment to stonewall you. If you’ve got a mosque — you didn’t build that. Somebody else could have made that happen, but didn’t.
I might’ve gotten a few of the words mixed up, but the intent’s basically there, right? Government’s inextricably entwined in major struggles and accomplishments, invested in every step of the way — including the three steps back after two steps forward. If government wants to step up and take credit for the successes of new businesses great and small, it’s also going to have to step up and take the blame for xenophobic disgraces like this one:
Next we discover that Jesse Walker — and Alex Pareene — dislike Aaron Sorkin as much as I do:
He’s a smug, condescending know-it-all who isn’t as smart as he thinks he is. His feints toward open-mindedness are transparently phony, he mistakes his opinion for common sense, and he’s preachy. Sorkin has spent years fueling the delusional self-regard of well-educated liberals. He might be more responsible than anyone else for the anti-democratic “everyone would agree with us if they weren’t all so stupid” attitude of the contemporary progressive movement.
Bang. On. (There’s more. Click through and RTWT.)
Sorkin’s worship of the Great Man theory reminds me of the sort of person who admires Robespierre and Stalin — but, carefully, only in the abstract, because those purges are kind of awkward.
You know those late-’80s dystopias in which prisoners are subjected to horrible experimental medical experiments? (Okay, okay, this theme far predates the ’80s but I’m thinking of Skinny Puppy albums.) Well, imagine a world in which we replace the destitute and disadvantaged with the extremely rich. After all, those plutocratic fuckers need to “pay their fair share”, right? Wouldn’t it be great if they helped advance the cause of medical science and maybe scouted out some horrifying side effects the way that douchenozzle in the red Camaro scouts out traffic cops? Why, progressives would be ecstatic — and not because they’re at all resentful of the successes of others, no sir, it’s just because they only hear noises that might save babies.
Spoiler warning: We actually live in that world. And of course bioethicists are complaining.
Naturally. Someone comes up with a new cancer treatment, and the first thing a bioethicist says is “That’s horrible!”
Finally, you know how people are constantly talking about Canada and Sweden as if they’re basically the Soviet Union with the hammers and sickles filed off (and wonderfully successful, therefore socialism works)? Yeah, not so much. Sweden’s been massively privatizing and deregulating its public sector, and Canada’s been deficit-hawkish and growth-focused for quite some time now. Great comparison, bass-ackwards conclusion.
Maybe this weekend I’ll clear up the tagged articles from my economics RSS feed.