Archive for July 13th, 2009

July 13, 2009

Complete Moral Authority! (BUMPED)

I’m watching Sen. Amy Klobuchar singing paeans to the authentic experience of Judge Sonia Sotomayor. One notes that liberals never seemed particularly impressed with the authenticity of the World War II experience of, inter alia, Strom Thurmond or Joe McCarthy.

Authentic experience only matters when it leads someone to endorse the regnant liberal consensus.

UPDATE 6:50: Never has a blogger been named with less irony than Instaputz, which gives me “Quote of the Day” status, links a 2002 Atrios post quoting League of the South founder Michael Hill and then misattributes Hill’s quote to me, all of which is cited as proof that I am “an unrepentant white supremacist.”

As to the matter of whether defending Trent Lott makes Michell Hill a “white supremacist” (unrepentant or otherwise) I’m content to let Hill speak for himself. The related question of Theodor Adorno, the Frankfurt School and cultural Marxism is something else entirely. Instputz apparently believes that his own confusion justifies dragging me into a seven-year-old controversy in which I was not a participant, so that he can accuse me of being “unrepentant” of an ideology I never espoused.

What infuriates me is that idiots who can’t even get their facts straight, who play mix-and-match quotes in the process of assembling their “Ransom Note” smears, nevertheless consider themselves so much my moral superior as to authoritatively condemn me based on their own ignorant misconceptions, and then act astonished that others don’t do the same.

FWIW, in referencing Klobuchar’s paeans to Sotomayor, I chose the examples of Thurmond and McCarthy — prominent figures in the liberal demonology — specifically to highlight how liberals use “heroic” narratives to justify their own allies, as if a heroic biography proves political virtue. At age 38, Thurmond volunteered with the 82nd Airborne and participated in the Normandy invasion, yet none of the liberals who enthusiastically praised the Vietnam service of John Kerry ever counted Thurmond’s service as evidence of virtue. Perhaps if Strom had thrown away his medals . . .

By what weird manner of Rorshach association this reference caused Instaputz to invoke Michael Hill and Trent Lott, I can only speculate. But given the universe of wild-assed things I’ve actually said — hey, I’m a four-time Malkin Award nominee! — this misguided attempt to indict me for something I never said shows the bizarre lengths to which liberals will go in their permanent campaign to convince themselves of their own moral superiority.

UPDATE: Linked by that unrepentant green supremacist, Instapundit. Y’know, I feel kind of guilty not jumping on board the green-for-Iranian-democracy blog bandwagon. But my failure to color coordinate my blog doesn’t mean I hate either Iranians or democracy. It shouldn’t be necessary to say that, but silence sometimes leads to bizarre interpretations, so I figure I’ll get ahead of any rumors accusing me of fearmongering the Persian Menace.

Also, while I’m at it, I’m OK with women wearing trousers, but am willing to extend multicultural tolerance to Sudanese who feel otherwise. However, this should not be interpreted as an endorsement of flogging.

When did it get so complicated to be a bien-pensant?

July 13, 2009

OK, Conor, that was funny

As satire, “my” advice on methods of advanced blogwhoring is devastatingly accurate. However, you forgot the part about telling the bartender to put everything on Matt Welch‘s tab.

July 13, 2009

‘The Rule 5 Community’?

In celebrating our Sunday babe-blogging ritual, Classical Liberal coins that phrase.

“Community” has a certain flavor of identity politics, suggestive of protest marches and the mau-mau routine, mindless chants led by some demagogic huckster with a bullhorn who insists on being addressed as The Reverend: “No Justice, No Peace!”

Are the Rev. Smitty and I “community organizers”? Do we need some slogans or chants? Our own Judge Sotomayor, to represent the “diversity” of the babe-blogging community?

Or, like the “issues” raised by the demagogic hucksters, is this all merely a shameless pretext to post a photo of Jeff Goldblum’s 21-year-old girlfriend, Tania Raymonde?

NTTAWWT.

UPDATE: A card-carrying member of the Rule 5 community, Donald Douglas notes that the “Classy Mommy” blog gets its own New York Times feature based on “60,000 unique visitors every month.”

Considering my monthly SiteMeter total hasn’t gone below 115,000 since January, I ought to feel outraged. But what about Ace of Spades, whose monthly SiteMeter number is usually about 2 million? Where’s the New York Times feature about the hobo-hating Ewok and his merry band of morons?

Nevertheless, despite my resentment at this injustice, I’ll offer some useful advice to the Classy Mommy bloggers: Change the name to “Classy Mommy Nude.”

You don’t actually have to provide nudity. It’s just what they call “search engine maximization.” Traffic is traffic. Hits is hits. Which is why I’m thinking of changing my blog name to “Lindsay Lohan Topless.” Also, dibs on “Selena Gomez Jailbait.”

July 13, 2009

How to Blog?

I’d love to be asked that question, but instead they asked Felix Salmon of Reuters:

Blogs are a conversation. Remember that. They’re not a sermon, they’re not a news article, they’re much closer to a discussion in the pub, or sometimes a graduate seminar. They can be funny, or serious, or angry; they can be two words or 20,000 words long; they can be pretty much whatever you want them to be, including heavily reported. But they’re distinguished by having voice, which is one necessary part of a conversation.

Hmmm. I’m tempted to react to that, but then there’s this:

Of course, having a good blog can get you hired, too: there are two sides to that coin, and right now the market in good bloggers is pretty hot, and the number of bloggers making six-figure incomes has never been higher.

Donald Douglas goes apeshit on that one:

I can’t imagine anyone making $100,000 a year blogging . . . I want some names! Let’s hear ’em: Who’s making 100k?

What intrigues me more than the $100K number is Salmon’s bland assertion that “having a good blog can get you hired” and that “the market in good bloggers is pretty hot,” which I’m tempted to translate as: “Your blog sucks, otherwise somebody would be hiring you to do it.”

Salmon, however, wrote his notes on blogging for the South Asian Journalists Association, and they are probably not perfectly applicable to the conservative blogosphere. I know conservatives who are getting paid to do political blogging of one form or another. But they aren’t being paid for “voice.” They’re doing fee-for-service work, delivering an online product rather than personality.

‘New Ideas’ and Old Mistakes
Adding a personal perspective without becoming entirely personal, conservatives face a demand-side problem in the current blog market. The people who might have the wherewithal to provide $100K incomes for bloggers don’t seem particularly interested in regular conservatism — that is, conservatism of the sort that the average Republican voter wants.

Instead, the money people want “new ideas” from kids like The New Establismentarians or perhaps even, as Professor Douglas notes, Scott Payne’s “Twenty-First Century Conservatism,” which looks very much like a formula for re-making the GOP in the image of Susan Collins — a conservatism that NARAL, AFSCME and the Sierra Club could love.

We see here a disconnect, a manifestation of the same problem that the Culture 11 disaster exemplified. Steve Forbes (and other investors whose identity we do not know) correctly believed that conservatism needed “something new,” but they didn’t have the slightest clue what that something should be. So they hired David Kuo and got Conor Friedersdorf and “The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage.”

Mercifully, the investors had the good sense to pull the plug before Culture 11 could give us “The Conservative Case for Cap-and-Trade,” “The Conservative Case for Keynesianism,” “The Conservative Case for Infanticide” . . .

Steve Forbes has been a free-marketeer his entire life, and yet where was the free-market voice at Culture 11? Where was there anything remotely like the cheerful Reaganesque sensibility — “Hope, Growth and Opportunity,” to borrow Forbes’ 1996 presidential campaign slogan?

Why is it that whenever someone like Steve Forbes gets the urge to give somebody a wad of money to generate “new conservative ideas,” the money never ends up in the hands of actual conservatives? It’s like watching a cable channel whose programming consists entirely of reruns of the David Brooks biopic: The Republicans Who Really Matter.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Immediately after the election, I warned against exactly the problems that are now affecting the conservative movement. Defeat inevitably induces doubt, and when the GOP gets its ass kicked, the experience characteristically induces in some Republicans a desire to emulate the liberal victors — ergo, “new ideas.”

In “You Did Not Lose,” I argued against the tendency to see election results as an ideological referendum, a rejection not only of conservatism as an idea, but of conservatives as people. In “Don’t Overthink It,” I argued against the tendency to make an electoral debacle an occasion for the sort of intellectual navel-gazing which predictably leads some to conclude that Republicans could win if only they were more like Democrats.

The reason I warned against these tendencies was because I’d seen them displayed after the Bob Dole debacle in 1996, when both David Brooks in The Weekly Standard and Christopher Caldwell in The Atlantic Monthly launched vicious attacks on the red-state conservative grassroots.

My warnings evidently went unnoticed by anyone important, for once again we see the same gormless quest for “new ideas” we saw 12 years ago, a quest that produced George W. Bush and “compassionate conservatism” and — eventually — brought us full circle, right back to Square One. Except that this Square One is not 1997 (when at least the GOP still held its congressional majority) but more like 1965, 1977 or 1993, when the liberal Colossus bestrode the world triumphant, scornful of any restraint.

What the Official Conservative Movement really needs now, as in the wake of those previous electoral catastrophes, is not “new ideas,” but rather courage and confidence in some very old ideas — cf., “How to Think About Liberalism (If You Must).”

However, because my blog sucks, nobody’s offering to pay me $100K to promote those ideas, so please hit the tip jar.

July 13, 2009

The United States of Goldman Sachs

“They exist, and others don’t, and taxpayers made it possible.”
— anonymous “industry consultant,” quoted by the New York Times, reporting that Goldman Sachs is expected to post record profits Tuesday, nine months after getting $12.9 billion in last fall’s bailout

“The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

July 13, 2009

Department of Excellent Questions

by Smitty

Pudge has some simple, yet interesting, questions for Sonia.

But I’d also ask what she thought of President Obama’s judicial philosophy, as expressed in Audacity of Hope. In that book, then-Senator Obama criticized “strict constructionism” and its adherents. He wrote:

Some, like Justice Scalia, conclude that the Founding Fathers will tell us all that we need to know, and that if we strictly obey the rules they’ve laid out — for example, that the only rights protected in the Constitution are those that are written in plain English as understood by those who wrote them — then democracy is respected, and fairness is achieved.

After debunking this assertion, Pudge continues:

Obama notes correctly that Breyer is, in essence, a consequentialist (“take the practical outcomes of a decision into account”, even if they violate the letter and intent of the law), but it gets worse than merely agreeing with Breyer (which is bad enough). He then writes:

The historical record supports such a theory. After all, if there was one impulse that was shared by all the Founders, it was rejection of all forms of absolute authority, whether the king, the theocrat, the general, the oligarch, the dictator, the majority, or anyone else who claims to make choices for us. But it’s not just absolute power that the Founders sought to guard against. Implicit in its structure, in the very idea of ordered liberty, was a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology, or theology, or ism … any tyrannical consistency that might lock future generations into a single, unalterable course, or drive both majorities and minorities into the cruelties of the inquisition, the pogrom, the gulag, or the jihad.

Coming back to Pudge and Sonia, emphasis mine:

But to bring it back to Sotomayor and her hearings, I’d ask her if she agrees that some notion of a historical rejection of absolute truth or authority of any kind — explicitly including that of the Constitution itself — justifies a Justice ignoring what the Constitution actually says in favor of pushing for certain higher “purposes” or preferred “consequences.”

‘Ignoring’ might be a heavy word choice here. Clearly, in altering the fundamentally libertarian course of the Constitution towards a Progressive, utopian course, you can’t just turn the ship on a dime. Or course you are not so crass as to ‘ignore’ the Constitution.

  • You have to shame the Constitution as a tool of white, European male oppression. Apologize early, apologize often. The less historically founded, the better.
  • You have to obscure the timelessness of moral hazards. These had been substantially checked by the three-branch/three-level design of the Constitution. Focus on the shininess of new technology. New people require new thinking. The very age and stability of the Constitution are a bug, not a feature. The fact that it has not already been scuttled, far from indicating a substantially reasonable approach (modulo slavery) instead mean that Progress has more work to do. Trust instead the Latina who is wise.
  • You have to support leaders who are ready to blow Article Five right off.
  • You have to be patient. The cranks who adhere to the Constitution will die slowly enough. It took Moses two generations to prepare the Israelites to enter the promised land. It may take as many as ten to prepare Americans for re-entry into a symbolic Egypt.
  • You have to own the media. Get them to lie for you, early, often, systematically. Provide a scapegoat (e.g. a Sarah Palin) figure for them on whom to pour the bile with which they’d love to decorate you.
  • You have to have tools like Affirmative Action that claim to promote fairness while, over time, increasingly achieving opposite results. There is sweetness in perversion.

So, it’s all good. The demolition of all that was good about America can be accomplished.
Sonia is a sufficiently skilled sophist to appreciate the humor in Pudge’s question. She may not like him exposing the project in quite so succinct a question. But subverting his mind might make a fine side project for her, along the way to wrecking the Constitution itself. But slowly, with much ornate phraseology.