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Comments by Sully

On “Soon to be lapping up on a shore near you…

If any of the worst-case or near-worst-case scenarios develop on the oil disastrophe, it would have been nice for conservatives to have had a sensible, credible strategy on the environment that was secure against tomorrow’s headlines…

There is no sensible credible strategy on the environment that is "secure" against all conceivable headlines. . . except return to a pre-industrial pastoral existence. Industrial civilization comes at a price, one part of which is expressed in large temporary costs as complex systems occasionally break down in horrifying ways.

It's surprising that the world has gone so long without a major spill, given the sheer amount of oil shipped every day.

On “Sarah Palin shouldn’t be pretending Glenn Beck is normal

@ CK MacLeod:

None of us know precisely where we are on the curve that leads to the government controlling everything because it has been ceded responsibility for the results of everything.

You asked - What’s your evidence of any such curve at all?

I answer - The fact that both the Socialist Internationale and the Nationalsozialist versions of Progressivism travelled along that curve to its ultimate destination. The U.S. only temporarily departed the curve when FDR failed in his attempt to pack the supreme court and thus make the constitution into whatever he wanted it to be. He tried to do that, of course, because he, as a progressive, was supremely sure that One People and One Country were best served by One Strong Leader.

Lest we get lost in remembrance of the grandfatherly FDR, it's always good to remind ourselves that he was, after all, the same FDR who established gulags for Japanese American citizens after he made himself President for Life. The country was lucky when he died in 1944.


@ CK MacLeod:

The “progressive impulse” has reigned in this country politically for around half of the time that this country has existed politically (if not longer, depends on your definition). Last I checked, we were the ones who helped destroy the Gulagers

Because a geometric function initially approaches its limit slowly doesn't mean it won't eventually approach that limit rapidly.

None of us know precisely where we are on the curve that leads to the government controlling everything because it has been ceded responsibility for the results of everything.


The progressive impulse does lead eventually to gulags if followed. Beck is only wrong in presenting that endpoint as imminent.

I personally find him too "hot" for easy viewing; but I don't think he is as far over the top as you do.

We do, after all, have a president who has effectively nationalized sizable industries and who clearly believes that the goal of tax policy is to level outcomes even if at the cost of maximizing tax revenues.

As far as not believing anyone, that's simply common sense. Start believing politicians and pretty soon you'll get to believing truly preposterous things, such as that John McCain won't fold on border control once he wins his election in October, or that Barack Obama always intended to hold tax increases to those earning over $250K.


In search of a cynosure,
Toward eschatonic closure,
You find epistemes are closed for,
You can't immanentize,
And attain worldly ayes,
Which shouldn't surprise,
For that's the ruling guys,
From the big kahuna's assize.

On “CHART OF THE DAY – Heavens to Murgatroyd…

@ narciso:

That chart says it all about a lot of things, a very lot of things. Western Civilization is indeed doomed. It may be time to check around and identify the nearest Imam who certifies conversions.

On “Adventures in Epistemic Opening – Manzi vs Levin and the Fate of Everything

@ CK MacLeod:

and Manzi’s standard isn’t one of scientific purity: It’s one of treating oneself, the opponent, and observers with intellectual respect,

Just for the record I tend to be in about Manzi's camp on AGW; but, having read his initial gratuitously insulting post I can't say he will in future have much of a platform to argue about treating others with intellectual respect. I figured he had a bad day or else he was purposely picking a fight in the manner of Frum Andrew Sullivan.

On “CHART OF THE DAY – Heavens to Murgatroyd…

@ CK MacLeod:

BO definitely provided the appropriate slogan - "Yes we can!"

But it did take Glenn Beck et al to publicize the issues and kindle the fire. When even John McCain has recognized the necessity of talking more like a conservative than he usually has even in election years you know the political frying pan is getting hot.

On “CONTENTION OF THE DAY – National Poetry Month

The dead become flies.
Which then become frogs,
Food to the eyes,
Of snakes and sleek hogs.
Hogs become men,
And over again.

On “On re-reading Liberal Fascism: Defining Evil Down

@ CK MacLeod:

Tyrannical in the same sense that many actions of the Senate and People of Rome were tyrannical in the aftermath of what they perceived as actions inimical to or insulting to the dignity of Rome.

Fort Sumter, which served as pretext for an unlimited war of aggression, bears a lot of resemblance to Caesar's pretext for the conquest of Gaul, an action of which I also approve for its long term effects. Of course I tend to be an "end justifies the means" sort of fellow at base, so these things do not terribly bother me. I find it ironic though that so many people who proclaim that the end does not justify the means are so ready to excuse means that result in ends they favor.

It's hard to read the constitution and conclude that it was a one way door for the states.


@ CK MacLeod:

As a modern day American, glad that the country remained united and glad that slavery was abruptly extinguished, I'm appreciative of Lincoln's methods and results; but his armed prevention of secession by the states was clearly tyrannical. I've not studied what Ron Paul has to say about the matter.


@ CK MacLeod:

Suspended habeus corpus, engaged in aggressive war, instituted an income tax. . .

Good old Honest Abe.


Interesting. You almost tempt me to want to read the book again; but I already sold my copy on Amazon.

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

@ CK MacLeod:

All good logic; but these points have been covered many, many times. In hindsight the logic behind British, French, Polish, American, etc. inaction is impossible to credit. But then in hindsight the failure to send a few thousand troops to get between the Hutus and the Tutsis is inexplicable.

As to then allied awareness of the real state of the German economy, with all our satellites and signals intel and such we thought the Soviets were ten feet tall economically and technologically until the system basically collapsed of its own weight. And we still think North Korea is ten feet tall militarily even though in logic the breaches of artillery pieces unfired for forty years are most probably painted shut, or else inoperable because brass and bronze pieces have been removed and sold as scrap.


Good post as usual Colin. And good comments. It sounds like a good book.

Of course it's unfortunately in the "coulda, woulda, shoulda" realm.

"Someone should have been able to do the math"

Churchill had done the math on Hitler well before 1938, and he was by 1938 patiently building up a cadre of supporters; but even Churchill was unable to sell the British public on what would have been necessary to act on the math.

And, your argument (or the books argument) that Hitler and his Nazis were on the edge of economic and political disaster before the Anschluss can easily be seen as an argument against aggressive action since it says their movement might well have collapsed without aggressive action, or one of the many assassins who went after Hitler might have scored a hit.

This is, in fact, a variant of the argument we hear in opposition to action against the Iranian regime today, namely that outside action might invalidate the opposition that could bring down the regime on their own. That's unsurprising since it's actually a pretty powerful argument.

On “How little you know: The Deniable Darwin by David Berlinski

'The creator, if he exists, has an inordinate fondness for beatles'

And, he's surely capable of arranging the evidence in such a way as to lead us to whatever conclusion he wants us to draw.


@ J.E. Dyer:

Where one finds a snark,
In a thread's lofty arc,
One finds the main shame,
Of that Noah of fame,
Who let a pair on the Ark,
So their kind would remain,
To bedevil the game,
Popping up without shame,
At mere breath of their name.


@ CK MacLeod:

lawful means, including the constitutional process of amendment – some good, some bad, some mixed, but 100% constitutional.

Lawful means of acting beyond the plain text of the constitution include only the constitutional process of amendment. When John McCain authored, with Russ Finegold, a law that was clearly at odds with the first amendment and when George Bush signed that law, all three of them clearly knowing they were acting unconstitutionally, they were in real terms committing treason, which description may or may not be more inflammatory than calling them cancers.


@ CK MacLeod:

Who are we talking about when we talk about “Progressives”?

Actually, Dalrymple was talking about John Kenneth Galbraith, who will do as an archetype. Dalrymple reminded me of just how sure Galbraith was that he knew better than the peasants how to order their lives. And just how contemptuous he was about constitutional limits.

Crony capitalism, of course, can only exist in the presence and with the connivance of cancers like Galbraith who provide the state power to fuel and enforce the cronyism.

I have no problem with city managers and other politicians who more or less strictly adhere to providing essential services to the whole population on a fair and equal basis. Once they stray into redistribution even a little bit they become cancerous, to continue the use of the term you abhor.


Theodore Dalrymple puts a human face on the cancer of progressivism.

Slavers sought to justify their ownership of human beings. Progressives seek merely to justify their ownership of the labor of human beings and their control of the products of that labor.

Update: In fairness I have to point out that it's wrong to morally equate slavers and progressives. Slavers were in general more honest. They did not at all times seek to justify pursuit of their self interest by explaining that it was for the good of their slaves.

On “The Point of Being Annoyed with Glenn Beck

Removed, shoulda read all the comments before commenting on an early one.


As a practical political matter it's important for Republican candidates to avoid rhetoric like Glenn Beck's and to take positions closer to the center, as Scott Brown did; because the votes of the center are a necessity. But that is not the same thing as taking up firing squad positions against an ally who adds fire to the debate along with the usual suspects on the left who are actually and demonstrably working to impose a vision that has nothing to do with the constitution.

I haven't watched very much of Beck but it seems to me that he's a big factor in the current movement by the frog to actually jump out of the simmering pot or to insist that the fire under it be put out, rather than to merely implore the progressives to marginally turn down that fire.


@ Rex Caruthers:

Which reminds me that I have to put that poem over in my poetry spot. As always I've been messing with it, so probably when I post it I'll have CK telling me he preferred the original version.

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