I do not have to reproduce it here. You've already read about Dinesh D'Souza's "book."
Par contre mes amis à gauche, I think there's probably something to his argument. It's actually quite spiritual. The abuse of freedom, which consists of its overuse, negatively affects the dharma of our nation, ergo we must curtail it.
Modulation. Key change.
The abuse of
freedom the orgasm, which consists of its overuse, negatively affects the dharma of our nation incarnation, ergo we must curtail it.
Faggots call it edging (don't ask), but the wily Hindus call it tantra.
Tantric freedom. By indefinitely resisting the urge to
ejaculate be free, we are experiencing an orgasm a freedom of a different kind.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
I do not have to reproduce it here. You've already read about Dinesh D'Souza's "book."
Via Jim and then Hit and Run, I see that Robert Ringer, Looker-Outer for Number One, marrier of Panamanian Playboy models, second-oldest Ayn Randian (mais pas encore !) in the world, has thrown in the towel. La liberté, cette dieu-salope, elle est morte ! Ringer casts his lot instead with something he calls "practical conservatism." And what is Practical Conservatism? We're glad you asked. Practical conservatism:
is an ideology that believes in adherence to the tenets of pure libertarianism to the fullest practical extent, but also believes in the use of force, when and where it is absolutely necessary, to protect not only the lives and property of citizens, but to maintain society’s generally accepted code of conduct.This all has something to do with theory vs.
There's probably a serious response to all this. You could probably say that pure libertarianism, whatever on earth that is, defines "society's generally accepted code of conduct" as having to do with shit like stealin', killin', rapin', wearin' brown shoes with a charcoal suit, and other such grave violations of a person's life, liberty, and fashionable decorum. Libertarianism, which is not anarachism, as Ringer seems to believe, does in fact believe that a state with a mandate to use force, derived from the consent of the goverened, is a good thing, since police and courts can keep bad people from killing nice people. We simply believe that such powers should be closely circumscribed so as to prevent a civilizational disorder known as Waco-Shiavo-J.Edgarhooverism. Libertarianism is, in fact, abundantly practical about cultural matters. We, the libertarians, recognize that there is fuck all you can do about culture unless you wrap your women in burkhas and start cutting out the eyes of pornographers. And even then, alas . . .
Anyway, Ringer has it in his head that the real problem with the West is rap music, video games, and pornography--the last quite odd from a man who, as mentioned, married a Playboy Bunny, though I suppose he'd tell you that he'd never have married her if he'd discovered that she'd also modeled at Ifuckhorsesforcash.com or some such. He also disapproves of inarticulate college athletes, "Superstar Trial Lawyers," the Supreme Court, the cancellation of Matlock, the shoulder-strap seatbelt, and these kids today. He is, in other words, your grandfather without a nurse around to feed him his pills and take away the remote.
Look. People who complain about "superstar trial lawyers" are really complaining about the fact that O.J. Simpson killed a white woman and got off. Well, consider it cosmic repayment for slavery, which Ringer seems to consider the foundation of multiculturalism. (No. Really. He seems to believe that the crime of the slave trade was creating a multiethnic Republic. Words fail.) Or else they're still pissed about the McDonald's hot-coffee case. Every time I hear the phrase "frivolous lawsuit" from one of these crotchety post-libertarian scoldmongers, I want to scream that the much-vaunted founding fathers of this country were a bunch of petty fuckers who ran around suing the shit out of everyone and each other, and that our intellectual and political forebears in old Anglo-Saxonia practically made a national sport out of the tort.
All of the preceeding, in any case, is mere prelude and excuse for me to note that it was hardly rhyming negroes who invented bawdy verse. Thusly do I commend to you, and wish you a good weekend, this lovely verse from "A Ramble in St. Jame's Park" by John Wilmot, The Second Earl of Rochester (1647-1680):
So a proud bitch does lead about
Of humble curs the amorous rout,
Who most obsequiously do hunt
The savory scent of salt-swoln cunt.
Some power more patient now relate
The sense of this surprising fate.
Gods! that a thing admired by me
Should fall to so much infamy.
Had she picked out, to rub her arse on,
Some stiff-pricked clown or well-hung parson,
Each job of whose spermatic sluice
Had filled her cunt with wholesome juice,
I the proceeding should have praised
In hope sh' had quenched a fire I raised.
Such natural freedoms are but just:
There's something generous in mere lust.
But to turn a damned abandoned jade
When neither head nor tail persuade;
To be a whore in understanding,
A passive pot for fools to spend in!
The devil played booty, sure, with thee
To bring a blot on infamy.
Friday, September 08, 2006
So saith Pravda on the Potomac.
Let me stipulate:
Let me further stipulate, in part as a follow-up to some downbloggery about the vapidity, lunacy, and idiocy of my countrymen, that the surprising (though not as surprising as the article makes it out to be) persistence and popularity of 9/11 conspiracy theories, if anything, serves as a sort of secondary counterargument to the truth of such theories. IOZ's Law of Popular American Boondogglery states:
that I do not believe that 9/11 was an inside job that I do not believe it is unreasoable, crazy, or ahistorcal to believe that 9/11 was or could have been an inside job.
Any belief held by more than 10% and less than 90% of the American populace decreases in likelihood in inverse proportion to any increase in popular belief.Which is to say that if half of Manhattan and a good third of the rest of the country think Mohammad Atta flew with a "Dick Cheney is my CoPilot" bumper sticker, it's almost certainly a load of crap, and the more folks who believe it, the crappier it is.
That said, the WaPo article does that curious thing that mainline media does when dealing in conspiracy: it chuckles, but does not engage. If, in fact, the idea that a controlled implosion rather than a jet crash brought down the World Trade Centers is so easily disproveable, where, pray tell, is the disproof? The article provides a link to an NIST fact-sheet that seems frankly designed to encourage suspicion. In response to the second FAQ about precisely why the NIST didn't consider the possibility of "controlled demolition," NIST answers between with lines with: Because we already knew that airplanes did it. Indeed.
Anyway, my favorite exchange in the article follows:
"It's like the Nazi-facilitated Reichstag fire," Honegger says from her home in California. "They guided and secretly protected it to justify their global agenda."Isn't it a little odd to ask if anyone could do something so spectacularly twisted when someone has done something so spectacularly twisted?
Let's put aside the could-anyone-do-something-that-spectacularly-twisted? question and touch on practicalities.
Jim Henley kindly links to a recent post in which I complain that the country is so far into the woods that the nominal opposition is reduced to complaining that the media interlocuters of our ruling party are insufficiently faithful to the catechism of official state history. (What is the 9/11 Comission? The 9/11 Comission is a comission infinitely perfect. Etc.) This is but the most recent incarnation of a critique that grew from the original report: that, by god, the Comissioners said "Let there be a vast state security apparatus, and let it be answerable to someone preferably called a Tsar." (Remind yourself of the old rebbe's prayer for the Tsar in Fiddler on the Roof: May God bless and keep the Tsar . . . far away from us!)
Jim notes that the Senate has not actually passed an intelligence budget for either this year or next. In fact, they haven't even voted on a budget for this year or next. He wonders:
The Senate isn’t going to vote on the budget authorization at all? It didn’t vote on last year’s bill either? How is it that our intelligence agencies are still open for business every day? Why are the employees coming to work? Are they so dedicated to defense of the country that they’ve been providing their services gratis? Because, according to the national operating manual, if both houses of Congress don’t pass your budget, you don’t get any money. I attended my son’s back-to-school night tonight and the teacher said that fifth grade has a unit on the American Constitution and government. I feel like telling him he can play Toontown instead of doing that homework.I wonder if we ought to start calling it Toontown, D.C. I think I shall.
Jim says "the rots got deep" and laments the failures of divided government. Since I remain, to the best of my knowledge a hamasickshual, and thus one petit sauté closer to the camps, I'll see Jim's ante and raise him one "We're doomed. Dooooomed!"
Representative government is not the natural condition of man. Chieftanism is. The limited, representative form of government, subdivided into coequal, competing branches, deriving its legitimacy from the consent of the government, ad inf., blah blah blah, to which I owe great emotional and intellectual allegience, is an historical peculiarity. Not only is it not transferable (cf. Iraq, Afghanistan), it is probably not preservable. I think it highly unlikely that representative government in any form we'd recognize can function in a nation like China as it approaches 2 billion people. Such government would collapse into paralysis, from thence back to central-statism in mere moments against the sweep of history. For the much-ballyhooed World's Largest Democracy, India, the same, I fear, is true. You can hardly call a nation with so vast an underclass true Democracy in any event; it is certainly no republic. In any event, it is now a nation with a surging Hindu nationalism, a rise in internecine religious violence, a mad nuclear policy, an equally mad nuclear neighbor, and any number of vast ecological catastrophes just waiting to happen if its pace of industrialization continues. Here in the United States, even 300 million people is 200 million too many for a Republic. At least. I do not believe that democracy can survive here.
It is all fine and well for an extremely wealthy, literate, quasi-agrarian society with access to vast lands, waters, and natural resources to set itself up as a Republic. The franchise is relatively limited; office-holders are public-spirited gentlemen of independent means; the overwhelming majority of political problems--from the establishment of good jurisprudence to the maintenance of schools to the construction of physical infrastructure, can occur locally. Nor yet is it impossible for such a society to extend the franchise, industrialize, modernize, and centralize such projects as good road and rail, the provision of power (literally) to the people, and a national defense (again, in the literal and not euphemistic sense of the word).
But 300 million gas guzzling Americans, underliterate and undereducated and underinterested, does not a Republic make. Localism is insufficient in scope to remedy the problem, and everything national governments touch turns to shit. 43% of Americans continue to believe that Saddam Hussein flew airplanes by remote into the Twin Towers. 60% of Americans do not believe in evolution. A majority responds in the affirmative to the statement: "America is a Christian country founded on Christian principles." It is terribly impolitic to say so, particularly among uplift-obsessed liberals for whom there is wisdom running wide as the Missisip in them thar hills, but we are a vast nation of ruminant, incurious dunces ruled by venal know-nothings whose seats and souls were purchased for them in the ongoing influence auction that we call "The Two-Party System" or "Electoral Politics." There is no national cure for our ailment, which is that we are a dumb, superstitious, uninformed mob sitting upon the deadliest arsenal--millions of times over--ever possessed by any dumb, superstitious, uninformed mob since well before Rome said "Fuckus Yesus" to an Augustan Empire of global conquest.
The problem is deeper than the mere matter of a broken system of checks and balances. It's deeper than the parliamentary impulses that take over single-party-dominated government. Fifth grade civics won't do it. Chat up the fellow sitting next to you at the bar the next time you stop in for a beer, and say, "Hey, howabout that Senate, huh? They didn't even authorize a budget for the intelligence agencies! And how about those agencies staying open and running without a budget! Is that, like, unconstitutionally fucked-up or what?!" He will not know what the fuck you're talking about.
How--I ask you--how do the governed give consent to a form of governance whose mechanics they simply do not understand?
Well, they don't. I'm a young man, and I expect that we'll still be electing Presidents when I'm being wheeled around the home. We'll also still be voting for All Stars and American Idols, or whatever their incarnations five decades hence. And I will dodder about, telling anyone who listens, "In my day we had one party with two names. And you could only get electricity from plugs in the walls. And we wiped our asses with thin pieces of paper!"
That's nice, gramps. Settle down and eat your Jell-O.
UPDATE: Via Billmon, who wonders How much longer can this corrupt, idiotic excuse for a republic keep stumbling along on sheer inertia?
Returning from a five-week summer vacation, GOP lawmakers have much to worry about: war in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism and border problems, high energy prices and health-care costs, and none of the federal government's annual spending bills enacted.Unfortunately for Billmon, as expressed in the post above, is: For a very, very long time to come.
So what did House leaders decide to make the centerpiece of the week? H.R. 503: the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. This legislation, passed yesterday, followed Wednesday's action on a full slate of bills including H.R. 2808, the Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Coin Act.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Rot at the heart of the Imperium. Does it not seem more and more that our government could simply place a clown on the stairs of the Capitol and order him to wave his arms shouting, "Look over here! Now look over there! Now look over here!"
And the entire staffs of our major newspapers would caper from one side to the other, each time reporting how the Clown demonstrates the capacity of so-and-so to set/renew/revise/enjoin the terms of this or that new debate.
It seems quite extraordinary to me that the sort of counter-mobilization required for a good, sustained antiwar movement is currently being expended to prevent the airing of some kind of 9/11 miniseries deemed insufficiently fair to the Clinton Administration.
Meanwhile, I can only thank Democrats everywhere for once again proving every point I could ever think to make about the collapse of our society into a rather tawdry pseudostatism, as they argue that the crime of this television show is that it fails to adqueately genuflect in the direction of the official government history. Recall that the 9/11 Commission spent a lot of time and money to conclude that Weimar America suffered from "a lack of imagination." It proceeded to exculpate everyone from blame, and then recommended that the best means of protecting our rights and freedom as God's Most Freest People on Earth in the World was to tear down the walls dividing our police, intelligence, and emergency response agencies--not to mention our military--and erect a vast, centralized, militarized state security apparatus for the protection of the Paterland.
Yes indeed. If only ABC would tell that inspiring story, then Atrios could rest easy and return to labeling this or that television personality or first-term congressman a "wanker."
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Anyway, I occassionally swing by to see what some of my favorites are writing. Your deep thought of the day:
But a string of most exquisite pearls, if tied around balls of a donkey, would only cause people to roll their eyes and snicker.I haven't a clue what it means, if anything, but by god, there it is!
(IOZ, the above-linked poster, and Transhumapundit all started out over at the Fray. That'll teach ya.)
Michael J. Smith makes a good point, one that I have tried to make again and again on this blog: the assertion that Democratic Party rule, while no panacea, would be measurably, substantively better than Republican Party rule places the onus of proof on the asserter. And yet I find myself far more often than not trying to wrap a succinct reply around the unanswerable rejoinder to my pox-on-both-houses-ism: Are you saying that Al Gore would’ve done such-and-such if he’d been president!?! Smith takes the birdshot to the face of this epistemological vapidity, so to speak, and in the broad sense he’s exactly correct to note that it is, in the end, a secondary-at-best consideration, far eclipsed by the question of what precisely a reempowered Democratic Party would do upon settling into a new sinecure as Washingtonian Top Dog.
Still, I think Smith misses an opportunity to get all George C. Scott-as-General Buck Turgidson and scream a hearty "Hell yeah!" at his skillfully maligned interlocutors.
So for the record: Yes, I believe that if Al Gore had been elected/appointed/whatever in 2000, these United States of America would indeed be at war in Iraq right now, even as we speak. Like most Democrats of consequence, Gore converted to Iraq-peacenik only after the venture went south, and his critiques, though full-throated, remain in the firmly proceduralist Democratic mainstream: not that it was inherently wrong to fight a war of aggression against another nation in order to depose its leaders and install a new regime, preferably an amiable and aesthetically democratic client, but that it’s taking so goddamn long and costing so goddamn much money to get it done. His critique, in other words, is not of the bank robber for robbing the bank, but of the bank robber for shooting wildly and hiring a slow getaway car.
The line to neoconservative foreign adventurism runs right through the Democratic party. Paul Henry Nitze was not a Republican. Gore is as much the intellectual heir of the Cold-War threat-pornographers as any Democrat alive today. In his Congressional career, he staked out a place as one of the most “pro-defense” Democrats, staunchly opposing base closings, forever approving of bombing campaigns abroad. (He also opposed abortion and said that fags are nasty and dirty, but who’s counting?) He was a major proponent of Operation Desert Fox, as well as the decade of disastrous sanctions which further punished the Iraqi people for having the temerity to live under a US-sponsored dictator. (Indeed, missing from most analysis of the genesis of the Iraqi insurgency is mention of these sanctions and their toll as an inchoate motivator of popular anti-Americanism.)
The Occupation has gone very, very badly, and consequently Voterus Americanus has turned against it by degrees. I do not question that Al Gore’s transition to antiwar advocate is more or less heartfelt, but I do question the logic the projects his current opposition to the manner and execution of occupation backwards in time to retroactively abrogate his extremely hawkish views prior to bold display of vicious "incompetence" (a misuse of that word I despise, but there it is) in the Middle East. Recall that in 2000 it was George W. Bush running against the adventurism of his Clintonian opponent, claiming that you could count on him, the folksy GOP candidate, to do the work of compassionate conservativism at home and speak more modestly abroad in this new, post-cold-war era of strong international institutions. The essential project of liberating Iraq is as much a dream of Clinton-Gore as Bush-Cheney. That Bush-Cheney found in an unrelated terrorist attack a clever MacGuffin to actually institute that policy is hardly proof—or even suggestion—that Bush’s defeated opponent had anything else in mind.
So yes. Had Al Gore been President, we’d be in Iraq right now. The difference? It would have gone more smoothly; the transition from invasion to occupation would’ve been handled with less "audacity of hope," to crib a phrase from coreligionist Barack "I’m Partly Black! It’s AWESOME!" Obama and more hard-tacks police-statism. The insurgency would’ve taken longer to get underway. Opposition would still be confined to those of us on the fringe who believe that unprovoked foreign invasions are categorically and not merely particularly bad. Democrats would be cheering our forward policy, and Republicans, including current war-pimpers, would be lamenting the One-Worldism and foreign interventionism of those damnable Democrats who, they would remind us, also got us into Vietnam and fucked it all up.
In short: It is clear neither retroactively nor predicatively that Democrats will engage in a sounder or more ethical foreign policy given the opportunity. Committing the same errors, but in a different order, hardly seems a remedy to our current woes.
Election season must be upon us. The speechwriters of the Presidential Party have cooked up a series of essentially meaningless historical non sequiturs, whose historicity and meaninglessness are irrelevant since Voterus Americanus can't remember to put out the trash a day later on account of Labor Day, let alone recall the specific circumstances and acts that accounted for, say, the appeasement of Adolph Hitler and the German Third Reich in 1938. The so-called left, meanwhile, has learned that a corporate media giant will air a corporate "docudrama" based loosely on a whitewash commission report that such leftians embrace simply because there are a few moments in the hearings transcripts in which certain Administration officials seem neither particularly attentive nor especially not-unspeakably-dumb. As if you needed a blue-ribbon panel for all that.
Although nothing would be better for the American left than the total destruction of the Democratic Party, itself a kind of corporatized docudramatic reality show full of long-in-the-tooth television pseudocelebrities gumming the porridge of political rhetoric straight to a new majority in the lower house of congress--thence onward to total blame for everything currently wrong with this country, which is more or less everything--most of the left-leaning blogosphere seems principally concerned with refuting the historical truth of a network television special and yapping, once again, that Osama bin Laden, vivant, proves that the President is a dangerous moron. And thus proven, what next?
Well, they haven't the foggiest. Gridlock? I think that even with a Democratic majority in one or both houses of Congress, we shall be at war with Iran before the decade, if not the year, is out. The Democratic party has practically been begging for it for nigh unto four years now, ever since we invaded Iraq even though "Iran poses a far graver threat."
Well, at least we found a new oil field in the Gulf, which, once it comes on line in six or so years, if it comes on line in six or so years, will provide in its entire lifetime less oil than is consumed in the United States in a single year--and that's assuming 100% recoverability!
Kurt Vonnegut is right about us.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Pittsburgh's recently-elected Mayor Bob O'Connor died last week. O'Connor was a Democrat, as one must be to become mayor of Pittsburgh, but in his too-brief tenure he performed exactly as a libertarian would hope a mayor to perform. His predecessor, Tom Murphy, was a sort of National Greatness politician writ small: a City Greatness politician intent on using city government as the principle redeveloper of the urban environment. He failed; his pet projects evaporated; the city under his administration sank into an economic mire from which it is only now recovering.
I didn't support O'Connor during the campaigns last year. I thought him one more example of the old school of Pittsburgh politics, all back-room deals and family fiefdoms. I now regret my judgement. On taking office, O'Connor made clear that development was mostly the business of private enterprise (although he was always willing to shake a hand, appear in a photo-op, dispatch a speaker to a press converence). Instead, he dedicated his administration to the unglamorous issues of public safety and urban cleanliness. It is an unromantic truth that economic development is aided substantially by a clean, safe, aesthetically pleasing urban environment. There was noticeable change under Mayor O'Connor. The city looked and felt better.
For years, friends and I had been saying that if only the city would clean up a little bit, work to improve its infrastructure, make peace with its public unions, then development would follow. It is, after all, a cheap, pleasant place to live. O'Connor's next interest seemed to be revising some antiquated tax structures and working on issues of metropolitanism: reducing redundancy among the many municipalities of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, coordinating government services, eliminating unnecessary levels of government.
He was a good and admirable man. I regret his passing.