Archive for February 7th, 2009

February 7, 2009

‘Useful idiots’

“GOP legislators can best be described as ‘useful idiots’ who make Democratic proposals seem moderate and responsible. . . .
“The Democrats suggest more than $900 billion in pork. So Republican ‘centrists’ cut a few billion here and there, and everyone can now embrace $800 billion in pork.”

Doug Bandow

February 7, 2009

Free the people, eat the chicken

(BUMPED; UPDATE BELOW) What does the humble chicken have to do with economic freedom? Ask Antony Fisher:

(Via the Hostile Opposition.) UPDATE: Frequent commenter Dave C. informs me that Rusty at the Jawa Report has posted video excerpts of Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy, which frequently quotes Hayek.

February 7, 2009

Young Turks and gay marriage

Since last October, at least, I have been using the phrase “Young Turks” to describe the restless young intellectuals of the conservative movement. Most of these young men — not to slight the ladies, but nearly all of these writers seem to be male — who would be tomorrow’s Weavers and Buckleys and Kirks are not strictly political writers. That is to say, they didn’t spend 2007-08 obsessively handicapping the presidential election, but they are “political” and conservative in the sense that they have made clear their general commitments to the Right.

Now, if you talk to these bright young fellows — and I find excuses to talk to them as often as possible — one of the things you learn is how many of them are either (a) in favor of gay marriage as a matter of social justice, or (b) defeatist in conceding that the legal recognition of gay marriage is a political inevitability, even though they personally oppose it.

Is it really so? Permit a geezer his doubts. I remember being 15 years old when our teachers at Douglas County High School arranged a teleconference between our classroom and our state’s senior senator, Herman Talmadge. And I remember that all of us long-haired hoodlum types — this was 1974 — were eager to ask Sen. Talmadge about legalizing marijuana, so that he had to fend off two or three questions on the subject. (“Uh . . . hey, man, like . . . what about weed?”)

Thirty-five years ago, it seemed to us teenage weedheads that we were on the cutting edge of social change, but the Jeff Spicoli Nation never came to fruition, did it? Nowadays, America is perhaps more socially tolerant toward the herb — I confess to having been an adolescent doper without fear that I’ll be hounded out of polite society for the revelation — but the stuff is still illegal. (And thank God for that, as who would want to deprive the stoners of the undeniable frisson of their outlaw status?)

Yet the Young Turks generally view the gay-marriage debate as following in the historic path of Social Progress, an irresistible floodtide, so that such opposition as there is must speak in tones carefully measured, lest offense be given to the eventual winners of the debate.

Measured tones have never been my style. My defiance of the irresistable floodtide has been couched in reference to Roy Moore’s concurrence in Ex Parte H.H., and I have defended my position by asserting that men and women are not equal in the sense of being fungible. (Men and women are different; therefore, a union of differences implies a natural complementarity inherently missing from same-sex relationships. Viva le difference!)

While it may have seemed that, in making such a bold assertion, I was merely engaged in my favorite sport of baiting Conor Friedersdorf (guilty, your honor), there is nevertheless a real and politically relevant argument involved, and I would be interested in stirring it up again, if only to gin up some weekend traffic. So, what say you? J.P. Freire? Ross Douthat? Helen Rittelmeyer? Perhaps some old geezers like Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher would also like to weigh in, as well. Linkbacks are guaranteed under the Full Metal Jacket Reach-Around Rule, and anyone else who wants to weigh in is welcome to leave a comment.

ADDENDUM: Comments are moderated, so if you want to call me a “faggot” — hey, start your own blog.

UPDATE: Helen Rittlemeyer:

Being publicly pro-SSM is the quickest way for a young journalist to signal that he’s one of the right-wingers it’s okay to like. Haven’t they heard that it’s better to be feared than loved? Or, to put it less glibly, the real respectability of a solid argument is preferable to the worthless respectability one gets by being on the Harmless Right.

Note to Helen: Please install SiteMeter and Technorati at your blog, so as to keep track of your traffic and help others know when you’re linking them. (Gee, you’d think a girl genius could figure these things out for herself!)

February 7, 2009

The mystery stimulus

The Senate has apparently reached agreement on . . . something:

Senate Democrats emerged Friday night from days of negotiations to declare that they had reached a deal with at least three moderate Republicans and now have the votes to approve their own version of a huge stimulus package that President Obama says is critical to strengthening the nation’s flagging economy.
The agreement on what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called “the Obama plan” promised to deliver the new president his most important legislative victory so far. . . .
Those involved in negotiations said the deal on what they billed as a $780 billion package – approximately $40 billion less than the House approved and nearly $160 billion less than an earlier Senate draft – came about after a working group of centrists agreed to reduce both spending programs favored by Democrats and tax cuts pushed by Republicans.
The final Senate bill probably will be around $800 billion, members of both parties said.

Exactly what is in this bill, we don’t know, and apparently they’re going to vote on it this weekend without bothering to tell us. (More from CNN.) Michelle Malkin says, “Show us the bill!”