Culture & Entertainment

On re-reading Liberal Fascism: Defining Evil Down

The comforting exaggerations and ideological short-cuts, historical curse words, the imputation of the the worst imaginable intentions to all political adversaries, reflect an unreformed, self-defeating desperation. Maybe, as Goldberg writes in the last paragraph of Liberal Fascism, when protesting the other side’s insulting tactics, it’s past time to cry, “Enough!”

Posted in Books, Featured, History, Politics Tagged with: , ,

It wasn’t a very good year: 1938 – Hitler’s Gamble by Giles Macdonogh

[amazon-product]0465009549[/amazon-product] Considering the centrality of “Munich” to American thinking on foreign policy – and the centrality of the war that followed to what America has become – there’s an argument for considering 1938 to be as important to our understanding

Posted in Books, History, International Relations Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How little you know: The Deniable Darwin by David Berlinski

The Deniable Darwin collects essays written from 1996 to 2009 mostly on the same general theme: That the insufferable pretensions and aggressive self-certainty of science ideologues prevent us from justly appreciating how much we actually have learned about the natural

Posted in Books, Science Tagged with: ,

A journey to delicious and beyond…

This is one of the greatest TV Commercials of all time. It makes me proud to live in a country where TV Commercials like this one are produced. And if you disagree, then you’re worse than Greg Gutfeld.

Posted in Art, Pets Tagged with:

Books in Brief: THE LIFE OF BELISARIUS; I, SNIPER; THE WAR THAT KILLED ACHILLES

I ordered Lord Mahon’s The Life of Belisarius on a recommendation at NRO The Corner from Victor Davis Hanson.  For the amateur history buff, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book, which was first published in 1829, is its depiction of

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In a world of their own: Conservatives and Avatar

Having immensely enjoyed the audio-visual orgy of James Cameron’s Avatar, as the kind of out-of-body experience that big movies are for, I find myself feeling sorry for the many conservatives – published critics, self-publishing bloggers, and commenters – who have

Posted in Movies

Tales from the Geopolitical Crypt: Seven Deadly Scenarios by Andrew Krepinevich

Seven Deadly Scenarios can be read and enjoyed almost as a collection of near future science fiction stories, though unlike sci-fi writers, who typically unveil the imagined course of future events elliptically, piece by piece, thus to keep the reader

Posted in Books, Future History, War Tagged with: ,

Portrait of a Failed Presidency: "What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?" by Kevin Mattson

As though to make it inescapably clear that the Carter Presidency lacked the Mandate of Heaven, even the national 4th of July celebrations in Washington DC were rained out, and a week later Skylab came crashing to Earth…

Posted in Books, Featured, US History Tagged with:

If At First You Don’t Succeed… – WORLD WAR ONE – a Short History by Norman Stone

The point was supposed to have been progress, or loyalty, or self-defense, or empire, or enlightenment, or democracy, or honor, or justice, but the arc of modern history bends toward irony.

Posted in Books, Featured, History, War Tagged with: ,

Just read: THE CAVALIER IN THE YELLOW DOUBLET

I won’t attempt a review of The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet, the fifth book of Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s “Captain Alatriste” series, which is set during the decline of the Spanish Empire in the early 17th Century.  Instead, I’ll note in

Posted in Books, History Tagged with:

From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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