Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Definitely worth reading. I'm sure that weird psychological currents can be important in politics and Obama does seem even more narcissistic to me than the typical politician. It does seem in a very odd way he is more concerned with building monuments to himself than in doing what the country needs done. Like he is a god and we are his playthings. For this reason his famous "cool" creeps me out.
I doubt it will ever be written, but a real, in depth biography of our ambitious young prince would reveal, I bet, a very strange man. Call me a conservative, but I like the idea of people in high office who come from people we know all about. Like you know, Churchill. But, whether Steele gets Obama right, I don't really know.
I love Michael Barone. He gets it absolutely right: what we are in now is a battle between the people who support the Founders and the people who support the Progressives.
I may have mentioned earlier that a few months ago the RC bloggers had the chance to have dinner with Barone at the lovely home of the lovely Professor Gail Heriot. And a good time was had by all. Gail had wisely gone to a nice wine shop and said "give me a bunch of bottles of some very nice wines!" and they had. We spent most of the evening discussing politics -- English 17th century politics, with occasional digressions into the 16th century. I was pasted enough to aver that Shakespeare was obviously a secret Catholic but too pasted to defend the claim coherently, a dangerous mental space to occupy.
As to present times, dark as they seem, they also present a wonderful opportunity for the people to learn about and understand the fundamental ideas on which our country was founded and are more useful than ever. I'm optimistic that we are going to come out of this chastened and with a much more robust appreciation of what a valuable thing liberty, as our Founders understood it, is.
Here's a classic statement of progressivism from Woodrow Wilson, complete with what I take to be a racist joke. See what you think, but I think he comes across as deeply unappealing.
Gary Johnson was the Governor of New Mexico from 1995 until 2003, and he describes himself as a libertarian leaning Republican. He sounds like he is running for President in 2012. I had never really focused on the guy before, but just heard a radio interview of him. He is really libertarian. He talks about cutting entitlements straight out, saying Social Security and Medicare were mistakes. He say he believes in a strong defense, but wants to bring the troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. And he favors gay marriage, ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and decriminalization of drug use.
I agree with some of these positions, while I have some disagreements with others. I don't believe he has much chance of winning the Republican nomination, not to mention the Presidency with views like these. He sounds like another Ron Paul, who he supported, but one who was not merely a Congressman, but a Governor.
Its good that someone, besides Ron Paul, is taking these positions. The public needs to hear the reasons why Social Security and medicare were bad ideas the day they were passed. I particularly like his focus on the fact that the government is now spending 43 cents on the dollar with borrowed money. But I doubt he is the person to beat Barack Obama in 2012.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
It's beginning to look like Obama wants to cram down a "peace" settlement on Israel the same way he crammed health care down on us Americans. The two motives for this, I guess, are a general pro-Palestinian stance of the US left and that it would be yet another glorious achievement for our Great Leader.
How Israel should manage this, I don't know. But one thing for her to keep in mind is that while Israel may be unpopular in the White House, she is enormously popular with the American people. This strikes me as another good issue for the opposition to this Administration (may it be one term only!) to take up.
For a lot of Americans, Israel is not that hard to understand. Here are a lot of people rejected in the strongest possible terms by Europe who decide to build a nation in Indian Country and have made a spectacular success of it. Only in this case, they are like returning Indians. The analogy is not perfect. While it may not be Wyoming or Utah, it's still pretty cool, and it has beaches. Of course their neighbors hate them. If your neighbors don't hate you, you probably are not much of a success. I realize it is infinitely more complex than this; I am just trying to think like an average American here. But as complex as it is, I don't think it ever ends up at, let's tear down what has been built and call it justice. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? That darn Obama. He can be a very destructive fellow. I wish there were some cheaper way to satisfy his ego. The way he's chosen is very inefficient.
And pardon me for asking, but what exactly is our interest in setting up a Palestine? We need another country we will have to fly predator drones over? Oh right. If we set up a Palestine, then the not-to-be-called-Islamo-fascists will not hate us so much, and peace and brotherhood will ensue in the Middle East. My personal view is that if we are going to set up new countries, they should be countries that will not be our enemies. If the idea is to set up an enemy of the US, why not let Iran or somebody do it? They have lots of useless desert. They could put it there.
I hate bullies. I'm glad these ones have been charged criminally. In schools where you can be kicked out for having a pen knife, kids routinely get away with the most destructive sort of sadism towards the weakest or most vulnerable among their peers. As this book (which I highly recommend) about Japanese culture explains, bullying can become so endemic in a culture that it becomes a national social problem.
It's a tough problem, but one thing that helps is teaching kids the martial arts. They build self-confidence and knowing how to take and dish out a blow can be an important skill. But it is hardly a cure-all. My impression is that school teachers and administrators routinely ignore the problem because it is difficult and ugly to deal with. It has to be accepted that social hierarchies enforced by bullying just are the default social order in school and that if active steps are not taken to create a better order, that is what you will have.
Miller refers to Jesus as "typically cranky". This is really most unfair. With Good Friday (or now, in Davenport, Iowa, "Spring Holiday") coming up, one need only think of the Crucifixion. Jesus famously only complained once during this dreadful event, to say "I'm thirsty." Anyone who has thought about it, and I think it is fair to assume Ms. Miller has not, just by generalizing from her approach to matters religious, would realize that only complaining once while being crucified evinces an almost supernatural patience.
Religious journalism has gotten strange. It now seems to be the province of people who don't like religion. How would it be if sports were covered by people who don't like sports?