Tuesday, March 31, 2009
For entirely mysterious reasons, I find myself in the mood for some truly escapist literature. Can anyone help me? I think I have read all the multi-volume epic fantasies worth reading, but go ahead and mention one if you think there's a chance I haven't heard of it. (Yes this is a bleg. Though I think most people enjoy sharing what they know.) I also like historical fiction. I like science fiction, but for some reason that doesn't seem to be the ticket right now, unless it's the epic Dune variety. Also, a good end of the world tale is always soothing for some reason. Popular history is good, but that might get me thinking about current events, so probably not. Anything adventurous, fiction or non-fiction. Slow death in the wilderness is always entertaining. Thanks in advance.
Jonathan Chait, over at the New Republic, a big time liberal notices the similarities between Obama and Carter/Clinton:
The last Democrat who held the White House, Bill Clinton, saw the core of his domestic agenda come to ruin, his political support collapse, and his failure spawn a massive Republican resurgence that made progressive reform impossible for a decade to come. The Democrat who last held the White House before that, Jimmy Carter, saw the exact same thing happen to him.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Pretty appalling stuff. GM nationalized to turn it into a green non-profit. Uber-regulators to nationalize at will. TARP money shoved down banks throats so they will have to accept government control. This is not looking good.
But maybe American messiness will save us. I'm still cautiously optimistic that it will.
This looks interesting. I think there is something to this. In San Diego anyway, kids sports are such an industry, there's no place for the kid who just wants to have fun. Little League baseball in SD is serious business. I read somewhere SD is one of the top producers of pro ball players, inside the US anyway. And that's how parents treat it, as a possible path to fame and riches, or at least a scholarship. Football is pretty much the same story. Soccer has different leagues, but it is all serious stuff here. Among other things, it means that if your kid is not that talented, you're not very welcome. Whatever it is about, just having fun is not it.
Tyler Cowan has an interesting post here about Idaho, the state from which I am proud to have come from. I can't say I have any intuitions about whether it would be more or less populated if it were an independent country, however. That is a very counter-factual counter-factual. A commentor says Idaho has almost exactly the same climate as Switzerland. I wonder if that is really true. I'm not aware that the CH has any desert in it.
When one first starts reading about libertarianism, one of the first things you learn is that libertarian views grew out of classical liberalism. But then, especially in the United States, liberalism came to be associated with people who embraced the use of state power to promote certain ends. And thus the term "liberal" was taken from people who were largely libertarians and used by people who were largely statists, like FDR. As a result, the less attractive term "libertarian" had to be coined.
I have long since given up being upset of the theft of the term "liberal." But I had chance to reflect on this when listening to a CSPAN show, in which a liberal was attacking the myth of Ronald Reagan. This liberal did not openly speak to other liberals, no he spoke to his fellow "progressives." And that is because liberals have made liberalism so unpopular that they had to change their name to "progressive." So, even in the age of Obama, liberals cannot openly call themselves by their former name, instead they must hide behind another name.
This latest development only makes the story of the term "liberal" more infuriating. Statists stole the term from libertarians, but then behaved so badly with it, that they themselves had to abandon it. It is as if someone stole the Mona Lisa from Louvre, and then did not care for it, so that after a generation, it was just garbage that no one wanted.
Update:I had intended to post this as a comment, but for some reason it won't let me post it that way.
In response to Russel L. Carter: I am glad I could amuse you, but sadly it is your post that is historically illiterate. In fact, in 2002, I attended a conference styled “Progressive and Conservative Approaches to Constitution Law,” and it was admitted by many of the progressives that they needed to use the term progressive because liberal had become a dirty word.”
In response to Jeremiah J: It may be that modern liberals have arguments that place them closer to classical liberals than libertarians are, but I find them quite unpersuasive. Classical liberalism embraced markets and was suspicious of the state. That conservatives are not closer to classical liberals than modern liberals are – whether true or not – is besides the point.
In response to DJF: The term liberal changed its meaning in the late 19th and especially inthe early 20th century. While John Stuart Mill was one of the thinkers who moved liberalism toward its modern meaning, it was in the works of Hobhouse and T.H. Greene that the change was most effected.