Nobody comments here, so it’s not a personal need, but I want to see comments on blogs and articles organized differently. First I’ll say what I want to see, and then I’ll explain why.
Each comment will be directed to one of four triage categories. These will not be the traditional “Doesn’t need treatment now”, “Needs help”, and “Too hard to help–let him die” categories. Rather, they will be: Read more…
Categories: a.research, blogging, bureaucracy, consensus, conservatism, decisionmaking, elitism, political philosophy, statistics, thinking, voting
Via Jay Nordlinger, from Frederick Douglass’s “What Shall Be Done with the Slaves If Emancipated?”
Our answer is, do nothing with them; mind your business, and let them mind theirs. Your doing with them is their greatest misfortune. They have been undone by your doings, and all they now ask, and really have need of at your hands, is just to let them alone.
It’s well known that Ronald Reagan as governor of California signed a bill legalizing abortion that was the biggest action increasing abortion before Roe v. Wade. It turns out he was also pro-homomsexual, going out of his way to help defeat a ballot proposition that would have explicitly made it legal to fire schoolteachers for being homosexual. See this pro=Reagan American Spectator article.
NewMajority has a great story about Robert Taft:
Bill Buckley liked to tell a story about one of Taft’s reelection campaigns, when the Senator’s wife was asked at a rally whether her husband was a common man. “Oh no,” she retorted, “he is not that at all. He was first in his class at Yale and first in his class at Harvard Law School. I think it would be wrong to present a common man as a representative of the people of Ohio.” The political professionals blanched, but the crowd gave the Tafts a standing ovation.
It’s interesting that Taft *was* a man of his times– or a politician– supporting things such as the minimum wage:
Taft was not the uncompromising scourge of liberalism that many of his followers imagined…. He supported government-funded old age pensions, medical care for the indigent, an income floor for the deserving poor, unemployment insurance, and an increased minimum wage. Because he believed that a home was necessary for a decent family life, and because the free market was not supplying low-cost housing, he advocated urban slum clearance and public housing. Because he believed that all children deserved an equal start in life, he reversed his earlier position and called for federal aid to education.… As his brother Charles recalled in 1966, Taft was “an innovator of the first class in a number of welfare fields, going beyond what the Democrats had the courage to talk about in those days.”
Don’t take that last paragraph as complimentary.
I don’t like Mitch Daniels’s attitude. From a 2009 speech:
We must never miss a chance to move, to make improvements, to modernize. Doing so while others are paralyzed will demonstrate yet again that ours is a state where change is much more than a slogan. A state that faces forward, fearlessly. A state to whom the future belongs.
Prof. Bainbridge, referring to Prof. Balkin has post on ideology that made me think of how misused that word is. Or, perhaps it is so misused as to have become useless.
As commonly used, an ideology is a system of beliefs. What I have always thought was the true meaning of ideology was a system of beliefs without any underlying beliefs. Thus, one might be an environmentalist because you like pretty and useful things, or you might be an environmentalist by ideology, where recycling and parks are good regardless of any instrumental motive. The term is useful then because it gives us a name for basic belief systems that are not religions. We sometimes say, “Environmentalism is a religion,”, but it really isn’t. It doesn’t have gods. But it is often like religion in that it is hard to argue against without upsetting its fundamental beliefs.
A term with similar flavor is “values”. People say that “Honesty is one of my values” without realizing how they are degrading honesty by that statement. It has the connotation that honesty is something that the person happens to value, even though it has no intrinsic worth. Values are basic, like ideology. If honesty is simply one of my values, that means I don’t base it on religion or utility or natural law. It is just like my valuing of pistachio ice cream. Wise people have principles and philosophies; unthinking people have values and ideologies.
From the American Spectator comes an article by Emmett Tyrrell that confirms the soundness of Dr. Somers’s conservatism:
…my boycott has finally attracted the support of my old friend, the former Olympian, Alan Somers, who recently set a world record for the 3000-meter swim for men sixty and over. Al was a teammate of mine on the Indiana University swimming team in the early 1960s where many of our teammates were Olympians and world record holders. When I slapped my boycott on the Olympics he dissented. Worse, he chided me, attributing my boycott to sour grapes over never making the team.
Well, it is true that I never made an Olympic team but I never won a Rhodes Scholarship either, and I have never been critical of Rhodes Scholarships. Yet I accepted Al’s rebuke with my usual benignity, confident that as the Olympics lurched ever further from the Olympic ideal of amateurism and good sportsmanship Al would capitulate. It is immensely rewarding to have him on my side during this Olympiad. What is more, next week he will collaborate with me in this space when we shall deplore a particularly egregious excess in this year’s swimming competition.
For now Al, whose Olympiad was in 1960 in Rome, is at work reviewing David Maraniss’s confused book on those games Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed The World. Among other deficiencies, Maraniss fails to report that the 1960s swimming competition was the first in which male swimmers shaved their body hair to improve their times. One of the great news stories of the games issued from one reactionary American’s refusal to follow the fad. Al was the reactionary. He gained instantaneous worldwide recognition after propelling his shaggy body to an Olympic record in the trials for the 400-meter freestyle. How he did in the finals I shall leave for Al to explain. He still denies shaving has anything to do with performance and in fact wore a mustache when he broke the world record in the 3000-meter swim.