Commenter Archive

Comments by CK MacLeod

On “Forgetting Wilson (Reply to Jonah Goldberg)

@ Matt X:
Business model? Sheesh. I have a business - disconnected from this blog. I know about business. Business is a good friend of mine. Pardon me, commenter, but this is no business.

I didn't "attack Steyn." I criticized his approach to a particular issue in strong terms, and I stand by my criticism, and as far as I can tell he seems somehow to have recovered from the devastating blows I landed on him...

I could respond to the rest, but I'd just be repeating prior comments/posts. Maybe you haven't gotten to them yet. Maybe they were too long-winded. If you're not interested in this topic, there are lots and lots of alternative entertainment, information, and opinion sites on the web.

Also, FYI, Wilson was a Dem. I know you don't care, but no need to get yourself tripped up in future.

"

@ Matt X:
Insult? A) you be one to talk, and B) lotso folk on the hard right would be proud to be identified as such. Some seem to wake up every morning and perform an hour of starboard-hardening exercises before they even turn on their computers to blast Crime Inc. (aka The Obama Administration) at Free Republic or wherever. If you told them they were soft right they'd punch you out right through their computer monitors with their right hands.

Getting dainty about terms like that, when people are throwing around "Maoist" and "cancer" and "fascist" and "traitor" and "Hitler" to describe the other side, or defending the people who do, is almost touching in its childlike lack of self-consciousness.

Hard right, hard left, who cares? I think Rush is pretty smart, but I've been critical of him. Hannity: I'd put him at medium hard: Far enough to right to appeal to and represent the hards, but of a moderate demeanor and civil. I've watched him off and on for years and have a hard time bringing to mind a single interesting thing he's ever said. I've wasted much more time on Beck, whom I consider a much more interestingly dreadful phenomenon, and who once reached down from the media heights to mischaracterize something I wrote on air - that's just how famous I am, whoop-tee-doo for me. You can search this site or HotAir for my opinions on Beck in what they used to call folio installments.

As I indicated in the post - possibly during a part you tuned out on because it was too long and off-putting - I think Party of No-ism was justifiable in 2009, and back in 2008 I was all for rightwing popular front against the Dem wave. Times change: There hasn't been a whole lot new to say on Ø, the Ø-ers having mostly shot their wad, conservatives appearing to be "in the ascendancy" and with a chance for power and therefore responsibility, so it's a lot more important to speak now or forever hold your piece.

Got it?

On “First Term New Jersey Governor Presidential Prospect For a Mere Two Years After Taking Office? – Nyah, Never… Not in a Hundred Years!

@ narciso:
I can't get past the fact that West referred to the Founders rising up against the "republic" of Britain. Just unforgivable. Blackwell was on RedEye and nowhere near as funny as Thaddeus McCotter.

The search for the PERFECT candidate goes on.

On “Forgetting Wilson (Reply to Jonah Goldberg)

@ MovieMan0283:
Though you're right about people on the left and within the pseudo-elite whose responses to LF did them no credit. I think one of the reasons JG deigned to respond to a whiny little off-putter like me, aside from the fact that he's a congenial person willing to take on all reasonably civil comers, is that so much of the response from critics has been derisive and dismissive rather than engaged with the topic, which, greatly to his credit, he treats as more important than who spat the best wad at the other kids.

"

No, no, movieman, Matt X is right. I'm a long-winded sub-Frum, and I dared to question the huge and much better-liked Mark Steyn on his trite, idiotic, and politically insane fantastically insightful taxes rap.

And there's nothing, nothing I care more about than where others place me on the ideological spectrum. And nothing that the nation and the world should be more concerned about.

Matt, I'm sorry for slobbering all over your beautiful and pure conservatism and taking up your valuable time with my self-indulgent efforts. Would you like your money back?

On “First Term New Jersey Governor Presidential Prospect For a Mere Two Years After Taking Office? – Nyah, Never… Not in a Hundred Years!

@ strangelet:
Used to think that way, but I'm younger than that now, to paraphrase Bob Dylan. I remember back when I was a little boy, before the Great War, and how young people used to like to defy artificial conventions. They just don't make young 'uns like they used to.

Anyway, lissen up, grrrl, corpulence or, as Frum said about Limbaugh, personal bulk may suddenly turn into all the rage. Lotsa personally bulky people out there, after all. He could get that Lane Bryant model to do a Christie-Girl video for him.

Christie's got work to do, and not enough time to run for Prez according to the way the game is played today. On the other hand, there's no rule in American politics that wasn't made to be broken. Maybe we'll finally get the sort of deadlocked multiple ballot convention that used to be almost the norm, and that pundits and political junkies dream about every four years, meaning almost anything can happen. That was how Wilson ended up the Dem nominee 100 years ago, though unless Christie is seen between now and 2012 walking on water and raising the dead, like his double namesake, I don't see him as the likely beneficiary even of a process like that.

Speaking of double namesake, it almost makes up for his cultural distance from the social conservatives.

On “Forgetting Wilson (Reply to Jonah Goldberg)

@ Zoltan Newberry:
Both Meg and Poizner have pretty much convinced me that they're say-anything mainstream finger-in-the-wind cons, but still preferable to Jerry Brown. The younger Jerry Brown might have beaten either of them, but he's gotten more conventional left, and rumor has it that he's borderline non compos mentis.

On “Paul Ryan on Real Progressivism

MovieMan0283 wrote:

Sorry CK, I know you’re a fan…

No need to apologize and not so much. I moved into effective neutrality pending further developments a while ago, but, even when I counted myself a supporter or was at least holding out more hope for her, I was able to maintain virtual friendship with full-on Palin Derangement cases like a couple people here.

I think the dominant position on A-stan has been notch-to-the-right/supportive of Obama, with some reservations, from the foreign policy types in conservative-land. Will paleo-cons and McCarthy, West radical anti-Islamists were in the minority. I'd say some distancing has clearly been going on among the mainstreamers lately, however, based on developments and falling confidence in the O-team's competence.

On “Forgetting Wilson (Reply to Jonah Goldberg)

@ narciso:
We didn't have much environmental enforcement actually, and, as a lifetime resident of Southern California, L.A. and environs, I have a hard time completely condemning Air Quality Management as it's been implemented. More to the point, Beck and to a lesser extent Goldberg, and many of their fans much more so, want to enjoy the thrill of railing against Big Government "junk" without ever admitting the trade-offs. Most will lambaste the insufficiently pure anti-statists, yet when tested on a specific point, they retreat to "whatever, to the right of you."

"

@ narciso:
We have a bit of a problem in forcing some of our extreme rhetoricians to face the implications of their own words. Beck, for instance, likes to have things both ways: He'll toss off a line, beseeching his audience to recognize the moral need for the "least possible government," and then he'll turn around and ridicule his critics for suggesting that he's calling for reduced education, law enforcement, environmental enforcement, workplace safety, etc. In the radical libertarian utopia, who would be around to bar children from laboring? I betcha if you look around you can find someone, maybe at Reason, ready to recite how wonderful labor was for many children and their families.

On “Paul Ryan on Real Progressivism

@ MovieMan0283:
I wasn't, quite, advocating rule by national referendum, much less "electrified democracy." I don't know of anyone pushing for anything like the former, and only a few Fuller fans and direct democracy wingnuts probably even are aware of the latter.

On the other hand, the opinion that our representatives are vastly out of touch as well as corrupt is widespread, not restricted to the conservative right. Direct democracy was one weapon against such ills. Maybe referenda could be introduced for very specific purposes: Balanced budget except when deficit spending validated within 90 days by a popular super-majority, that kind of thing.

But my main point was to highlight the vast distance from real Progressive Era progressives and authentically progressive thinking to Obama-Pelosi-Reid progressives. Even in the "glory days," the flesh sometime proved weak, as when progressives in one state, I think it was Iowa, won direct election of senators (prior to the 17th Amendment), but, when they took control of the state legislature, and thought their candidate might lose a popular election, turned around and nullified the act.

This post also led to a "moment" in this re-examination of progressivism campaign, incidentally. Pope Beck (mis-)read some excerpts of the HotAir version of the post on air, and gave indications that he was ready to excommunicate Paul Ryan, who quickly arranged a call-in in which he in effect repudiated the statements I quoted, and then accused "that blogger" of getting him "all wrong." My big, big fans on the hard right saw it as my public humiliation. I saw the whole thing as both amusing and quite revelatory, in many ways.

On “Forgetting Wilson (Reply to Jonah Goldberg)

MovieMan0283 wrote:

An element of Goldberg’s anti-progressive schtick that irks me (I can’t speak to Beck’s, which I haven’t really examined) is his tendency to brush off all the accomplishments of the era.

Beck is basickly a melodramatic and irresponsible JG on this subject, IMO.

If you take the theoretical position that progressivism is a kind of societal illness, the name for the Enemy, then, yes, it becomes a lot more difficult to point to this, that, or the other progressivism and say "well that one's okay." Why? How? Who ever heard of a good malignant cancer? That's a big part of what I've been trying to say. Others - frequently at this blog especially when we first started getting into this subject - have tried to argue that child labor was already being phased out, or women's suffrage isn't really progressive (alternatively maybe not a good thing), or political machines and railroad trusts did lots of good things. Some truth to some of that - of course. We don't have to go all the way over to the other side and declare Progressivism wholly holy.

Mostly, I think they're stuck on the intellectual's fetish for intellectual work: It's easier to take apart the flaws of progressive writers and theorists, who in my view were imperfectly and often self-interestedly abstracting and reducing the matter, most of which had advanced on its own before and without them, than to look at the full range of Progressive Era reforms, which mostly proceeded "upon no general plan, but in detail."

"

bob wrote:

He compared this dynamic to Milton’s relationship to Shakespeare.

Milton wrote some great stuff. I wouldn't want to stay home without it. We can be glad Shakespeare cleared away so much of the underbrush for him.

The ANXIETY OF INFLUENCE was very influential when I was studying criticism. Didn't prevent Bloom and a bunch of others from continuing their work.

I generally think that "death of x," "exhaustion of y," "it's all been done" themes are as overdone, if inescapable, as "appearance vs. reality" and "restoration of great chain of being" and "overdone" themes in criticism. "I am a latecomer in the world!" is how Nietzsche parodied the "voice of irony." Many of the High Modernists were writing out of a perception that they were too late on the scene, their civilization was exhausted and done for, there was nothing new to do, just "shore fragments against [their] ruin." They were proceeded by one of my favorite art movements, the Aesthetes and Decadents, who were generally surer than anyone that the only theme left was maximally decorous dissipation and extinction.

And it's too early to predict, if not too early to be fascinated by, the potential impact of cognitive science on ideas of the self. Maybe, as we strip away the false accoutrements of the self accessible to finely mixed narcotic cocktails, we'll arrive at sweet and ineluctable reason, just like Locke wanted. Or maybe, when you consider that humanity functioned for millennia in diverse locales and contexts with little or no concept of the self, or with highly intricate and/or deterministic views, we shouldn't be terrified - yet. If I should be, then I can be glad I'm not very young, and, as always that I'm a Beta, Alphas having so much responsibility, Gammas being so stupid. Or maybe we should move On Tyranny up on our reading lists - from the descriptions it looks very relevant.

"

@ narciso:
Would just add that Ryan's approach still stands to my mind as one of the best examples of what I called it before - "real progressivism." It represents a vision for the improvement and rationalization of the progressive state - smaller (vector) not small (scalar) - in its fiscal/budgetary aspects. It might be accurate, in fact, to term what Reaganist conservatives offer as "smaller-than-otherwise government conservatism," but, aside from being a bigger mouthful, it doesn't offer up simplistic "stop the world I want to get off (at no cost)" fantasies.

"

@ bob:
Just read the neurocapitalism article. Much of it rang very true to me. Not sure I see the connection to "Goldberg's here and now," tho.

"

narciso wrote:

Are you already, dumping on Paul Ryan,

Well, turnabout's fair play. His actions have confirmed for me the suspicions awakened by his TARP, bailout, and coporate reform votes that he lacks great personal character.

Ryan has some good ideas, but I haven't noticed the neo-Minute Men and neo-Annie Oakleys offering him more than what the kindergarten teacher offers a particularly enthusiastic finger painter. They've helped open a space for him to be heard... a little. He may have been right to seek support - and a backbone transplant - from the populist right, I've said as much, but I'm not sure where it's heading, if anywhere. I see him and Sarah and others so far declining the opportunity to educate the Tea Partying masses.

As for Newtie: One tactic among many. There was some fiscal retrenchment- Newt would certainly claim as much - and otherwise it was hard to build the will for much more when the budget was heading into surplus. Needless to say the 2010s are shaping up to be a rather different period from the 1990s.

"

@ narciso:
The contradiction between small government conservatism and neo-imperialist gigantism remains, and must hit, maybe sooner rather than later, one or a series of breaking points. The Reagan coalition, 30 years on, still can't explain how we're supposed to have democracy, neo-empire, and small government at the same time. Consistency leads you to Ron Paul - who comes across as insane not because his approach is incoherent, but because it's utopian. The apparent constitutionalist conservative consensus - to the left of Paul, to the right of everyone else - seems to be trillions for defense, and not a dime for social services and public administration. The radical constitutionalist militarists seem to expect us to believe that we can democratically manage an elephantine military-industrial complex with an ant-like state.

"

@ bob:
As you point out, modernism already entailed deconstructive elements, and the observation makes a bit of a hash out of the notion that "post-modernism" is really all that "post." The paradoxes multiply: A movement that turns on a critique of progressive movements presenting itself as progress. It has no argument for itself except under the terms it pretends to reject - so is either a fraud or a passive aestheticism (nihilist in its moral, quietist in its political dimensions). If there's no difference between authenticity and fraud, high and low, and reaction and progress, then we might as well randomly walk back into neo-classicism or romanticism or popular art or Soviet Realism or American Idol. That the everyday experience of most consumers of culture somewhat approximates this approach only seems to relieve us of judgment: That I watch American Idol doesn't make me an American Idolist. Our environment is pervaded with aesthetic constructs: American Idol is expensive shrubbery, or one of those tapestries at the Palace of Versailles against which the nobility would relieve themselves during breaks in the conversation.

You rightly point to the social conservatives as effectively anti-modern, and make a good point about the Cold War. On the other thread I suggested that American conservatism is relative and European conservatism is (or was) absolute. Or maybe I could use the vector terminology: That's an oversimplification in the sense that scalar conservatives exist in America, just as American-style vector conservatives exist in Europe. But if I'm right, and the Founding was progressive (as well as statist), then maybe that's the difference: Under overarching progressivism, conservatism is either relative - nothing to conserve but a progressive vector, to be nurtured, carefully cultivated, properly and conservatively channeled - or untenable, leaving the absolute conservatives with a choice between withdrawal from politics or a revolution that, lacking roots in or access to a feudal (pre-progressive) system of political rights and privileges, would tend to follow fascist patterns.

"

@ MovieMan0283:
You're right - thanks! Must have gotten lost during one or another proofing, and absolutely needed to be included, and is now embedded.

"

@ fuster:
I 'm thinking that's probly the longest comment, and one of the most acerbic, which is saying something, you've ever deposited here, at TOC, or at Contentions.

The former Contenders whom I would take to be your main targets have been making themselves scarcer of late. Goes without saying it's their choice, if they'd prefer not to defend or test their contentions - or, unimaginable as it sometimes seems to me, they actually have lives.

If you graphed the ideological positioning of this blog as the resultant of commenter and author vectors, we've clearly been moving closer to the center on the conventional left-right spectrum. I of course would acknowledge that I've been providing some directional force. I'm not sure that I've been pushing more than I've been pushed - both by the dialogue and also by external events and impressions.

"

narciso wrote:

Without Wilson you don’t have FDR,

Really? Perhaps then it was for the best that James Roosevelt never learned the truth.

The Haitian invasion was typical for American policy during the period. To me it seems rather unlikely that any American president would have been much less activist or interventionist than Tommy was. A more adventurous or militarily self-confident or aggressive leader would have gotten in even deeper somewhere - probably in Mexico - it's anybody's guess to what results.

But the idea is to focus less on the personality than on the conditions and circumstances that summoned him forth and defined his choices.

On “First Term New Jersey Governor Presidential Prospect For a Mere Two Years After Taking Office? – Nyah, Never… Not in a Hundred Years!

Christie's terrif, but the guy behind him so openly digging the whole thing really helps make the bit..

On “Light posting… some soundings…

(Usually, the RecBrow links are new items - but I don't see any reason why that needs to be a strict rule, esp. when they relate to discussion.)

"

Just started the article... have RecBrowed it - thanks! Btw, you can submit articles to Recommended Browsing via a form on the page (see top menu).

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