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August 06, 2005


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Honestly, Tutor, you have to admit that your desire to tax spend is just a vengeful assault on the natural elite. Your use of petty and cynical slurs like "rent seekers" pretty much make my case for me. If they didn't have some merit, how did they get to be so rich?

Let's face it, your kind of liberalism is an infantile disorder. It's based on hatred, and you don't even realize it! You are, in effect, putting the cart before the horse in an effort to escape the rising tide of historical inevitability. All we're saying at the tanks is that it's time for you to get off that familiar bed of nails.

I read a lot of libertarian writers, Tutor. Chief among the evils of the state they wish to eliminate are war and authoritarian coercion of the citizenry. The burden of taxes spent in pursuit of those goals is immoral. Eliminating only the taxes, and then only selectively, doesn't make war or a police state less likely. There has never been a time when authoritarians would hesitate to rack up massive debt or outright steal in order to pursue their goals.

The smarter ones among them, Bismarck, for example, conceived of the welfare state as means not just of keeping people in line, but also as an essential part of the engine of economic growth. If the conservo-philanthropists eliminate the welfare state, where will the consumption to fuel our version of capitalist growth come from?

Other topics of interest to libertarians are the legitimacy of titles to land and the sustainability of free interactions among the people of the country. Holdings acquired by "murther and theft" have no legitimacy, and are open to expropriation. Restrictions on civil liberties are both an economic burden and an immoral exercise of authority. To say you oppose the latter, but work for people who give direct aid and intellectual cover to those who enact these restrictions is the anti-thesis of libertarianism.

Regarding Rand, it's beyond parody that someone who constantly inveighed against the parasites who jealously destroyed opportunities for their fellows should have followers who work for radical statists and exponents of lifestyle criminalization. These people are no more Randian or Libertarian than religious people who demand that their selective morality be given the force of law are Christian.

Styling onself a libertarian has to have some teeth to it. Otherwise it's as ludicrous as public conveniences so shoddy that they completely defeat their putative purpose.

When I was a taxi driver, I had some passengers who insisted on calling the FDR Drive the "East River Drive" even though everybody I had ever heard before had called it the FDR drive. It was pretty funny - when I figured out what was going on in their heads, I kept inserting the phrase "FDR Drive" into our conversation. This had the effect of ending the conversation.

Yes, FDR, the bogeyman of the liberty of contract believers. One would think that their penchant for royalism and a recognition of his role in saving proud capitalists from the consequences of their miserably stupid, mean spirited excesses would excite a little admiration. Maybe the Tutor is right after all. A depantsing followed by a spanking might be just what they need.

FDR was an aristocrat, from a wealthy and cultured old family. One of the big problems with repealing the estate tax is that we may have more and more of these limousine liberals, the effete descendents of their money-making parents. Passing on family values of avarice and cunning are essential to our nation's long term health. How did the Bush family do it? Religion! Let us pass these best practices along.

Now that I recollect, those people lived in a leafy neighborhood in Rye, called Greenhaven. One time they found one of our other drivers parked in their driveway, passed out drunk. He didn't even have a call there. An intrusion of royally brute reality. You can rename that with words. A lot of the drivers hung out at a bar called the Knight Spot. There are royalists at all levels, eh? Mud beggars and flower maidens at a beer-soaked Renaissance festival finding the happy meadium. I think somewhere in the bible it says if you give money away and then tell people about it, you aren't worth jack. But if you give people mud jests and flowers it's probably alright to mention it.

The poor, Klaus, have always fallen under the chariot wheels of the prosperous. It is the way of the world, and nature too. Ask Rollo.

There's always solace for those anxious to serve, you know.

Comment at PhilanthropEnt as yet unpublished -The general view makes the Rwandans, or the Sudanese, or anybody in any of those crisis-ridden zones, absolutely independent of their landscape. Flat dusty plains of no consequence whatsoever.
Except for trivial details like language and clothing the victims could be transported intact, in that view, from the refugee camps to a housing project in Detroit or Montreal, or even, with some cleaning up, a suburb anywhere in the USA.
The quaint primitive idea that we are inseparable from our physical environments without the incurring of great loss to both is a virtual museum piece now, an authentic bit of tableau in the diorama - but I think it's absolutely central to the human presence. It's what's wrong.
That what's taking place is more than people not getting enough to eat, that in fact it isn't about that at all, anymore than the problem of the inner-urban wilderness of most cities is the presence of crack cocaine in their economies.
These are symptoms of a disease most of us are afraid to name or even look at clearly, because we're symbiotic with it; and part of our worldview is our independence, our autonomy - our near-total control of our own environments and our "destinies".
At the same time that the images of starving Africa are popping up in the newsfeeds the debate about "evolution" is polarizing the social forum.
And where is evolution now?
Where is it playing out, being enacted, functioning in the way that gave us our intelligence and immune systems?
Feeding the hungry isn't as simple as it looks.
All that talk of "human systems" is hollow misdirection and dangerously arrogant in its incomplete representation of the whole.
Because without knowing what it is and where, who it is you're feeding, what they are beyond mouths and bellies and bodies with disturbingly gaunt faces, you may be starving them without intending to.
Or more cloyingly wrong, feeding them to stop the images of their hunger and suffering from reaching you.
The point being Mr. NinnyLiberalPants not that starving Africans are okey-doke with me, I'm generally opposed to all suffering, but that you are starving their environment, and setting them, and all of us, up for bigtime screaming horror, while you oohh and aahh about their immediate suffering. Starve their cultures, some of which are thousands of generations old and proven successful, and nobody cares.

I generally oppose aid on principle, but some of these people have things we need. The American lifestyle is not up for negotiation, after all. If the LiberalNinnyPants can be made to feel better about robbing them when they get a little aid, I'm all for it. Everyone needs a hobby. If it looks like assitance is actually getting somewhere, we can always stiff the little fuckers.

Alone, Leery. Go up to Gilead and get bombed, O virgin daughter of Egypt. But you multiply remedies in vain; there is no healing for you, nevermore.

Ok, so it is easy to demonstrate that the right is a patchwork of mutually conflicted theories, so why doesn't it blow apart from its own internal forces?

What would Lenore's crowd see at the idea form of national government in the U.S.? Logically they should advocate for a very small federal government, just enough to enforce the general principle of individual liberty down through any more local political/regulatory institutions. They should be about as happy with Republican policies and Marxists are of the Democrats.

I could go with such an arrangement and work to create the conditions for Commons creation and growth on a local scale. Demonstrate it works and spreading the model is easy.

It's a noble endeavor to have the responsibility for redistrubuting a portion of the loot from the biggest ponzi scheme in history, now that the "coercive" forces with different distribution schemes are quite powerless.

The Philanthopric Initiative is this: mindful of the inevitable collapse of the ponzi scheme, the ruling class requires philanthropic mercenaries to identify weaker segments of the social body that will be harmed by the collapse, but whose continued functioning would be useful in the post-collapse restructuring, to prop up the ruling class, and assure its continued existence post-trauma.

The beneficent conceit that philanthropy consists of husbanding well what the earth has "loaned" to us, as if monetary wealth were a gift of nature - beyond laughable. I suppose you need that kind of drapery when you're the front men for global thievery.

Oh dear, I think Miz Ealy may have paved over her ample garden. I had the impression I had emerged above ground, all the familiar sightsscentssounds, but upon further investigation, comments seem to gain no purchase there. It is quite an illusion, the budding interactive garden (a state-of-the-art underground hologram i suppose) and must have cost her a pretty penny, but shouldn't a.mole be encouraged to aerate even the most barren plain, especially the most barren? Plainly.Cousin m.rat had this to say: "Approve this, piddle-twit." He then performed a special rendition on a sagging virtual petunia. Shame.

Ok, so it is easy to demonstrate that the right is a patchwork of mutually conflicted theories, so why doesn't it blow apart from its own internal forces?

Gerry, for the intellectuals the greatness of the vision can handle all sorts of contradictions. I'm sure most of them deeply regret, in the right company, the necessity of having to acquire extraordinary powers. It's not a new thing, IMO, or exclusive to neocons, pseudocons, royalists and other off the deep end authority freaks who make up their coalition. There's no way to work with them, only for them. Their style of thinking is reaching the limits of what external realities will allow. They're going to have to get increasingly violent to maintain it. The longer other powerful people play along with them, the worse it will be. The longer the "little people" are willing to ritually confer legitimacy, the easier it is for them to order violence.

It would be simple thing to put a check on them through an attack that uses the ritual legitimacy conferring process. The weakest part of the winger construct is the accommodationist faction -- the Vichy Democrats.

a.mole, I don't think there's anything especially sinister about moderated comments taking a long time to appear. It's the simplest way for busy people to handle trolls and spammers.

Logically, racism should have diminished thanks to Enlightenment's progress. But, the more we know that a genetic theory of race is unfounded, the more racism is reinforced. It is because racism is an artificial construction of the Other based on an erosion of cultural singularities (of their otherness between one another) and on an acceptance of a fetishistic system of difference. As long as there is otherness [alterite], strangeness, and dual relationships (event violent ones), there is properly speaking no such thing as racism. This was more or less the case until the 18th century, as anthropological reports indicate. Once such a "natural" relationship is lost, one enters an exponential relationship with an artificial Other. And nothing in our culture allows racism to be curbed since our entire cultural movement goes in the same direction [sens] which is that of a frenzied differential construction of the Other and of a perpetual extrapolation of the Same through the Other. An autistic culture which takes the shape of a fake altruism.


The Financial Times had an article (subscription required) the other day wondering at dearth of famous black swimmers. The answer is perfectly simple, but they kept looking for physiological and moralizing explanations. It's not because black people can't float as well white people or they lack the will to get wet.

Most black people are still very poor. People living in poverty are attracted to sports where there's a better chance of cash payoffs, community prestige, some practical value -- boxing, martial arts -- or a combination of the aforementioned. People who have been ghettoized follow the same patterns for a while even if they do manage to escape poverty. In addition, swimming pools in which people can train for big events require a large capital investment. There are not many black foil, epee and sabre competitors for the same reason.

Lenore Ealy and her brethern are models of disengagement. Read their stuff. You're reading a repository, documents from a refrigerated warehouse, a well-executed rhetorical cut and paste operation, void of heart and mind. Calling them parrots would be an insult to parrots.

Oh, no no no, sinister, no. But counter to the immediacy of exchange we have all grown accustomed to, I think. A clean site, like a clean nose, is nice to keep. But a deep breath is not too selective. What volatile earthy scents can breach a powerful mask? What grass? Which roots? Depends on the mask, I guess. At the moment, the mask appears to be made of asphalt -- zero comments over ten months. But I don't mean to be rude, just a little prickly. ; )I will direct your comments to m.rat, Harry, for it is he, really, who is the rude boy here. Down, m.rat, down.(p.s. I had nothing especially substantial to say, only phatic dribbles, so bugger me pink and call me Susie, thank you very much...)

Swimming was my high school sport (well, sailing too, but outside of HS), and that always seemed to be the case to me. There were a few good pools in the city, but very few. Most of the good swimmers at our school came from a park system that is a in the neighborhood I live now. The outdoor facility was built for the '68 Pan American games, and is very nice. There were only about three schools with decent indoor pools, ours was one. When we went to a visiting meet to our biggest rivals from the south side, they had a 4 lane 20 yard pool. I don't think there was anything better on the whole south side.

Oops, for some reason, the browser thought Debbie had just posted from this machine. That was me, Debbie was not a swimmer in HS.

To Harry on the subject of the conflicted right: the qeustion is how to make them finally pay for all the twisted motives. The principles on which Tutor rests his confidence in the Liberal Tradition are the very same ones that resonate in Lenore's claim to the terms Classic Liberal. Methinks that they are in truth more propertarians and elitists as you say, and the need to be made to come clean on all of this.

Problem is this leaves all the rhetoric hollow and without foundation. Come on Lenore, have you or your friends the capacity to engage a literate audience, or are you just going to repeat that cheap tax and spend cliche.

Have you seen the national priorities database, Debbie? It's enraging to see what gets wasted, deliberately, in our unlovely, zero sum pie-divvying.

Someone at O-net just pointed me to the small piece on French family values. I sure would like those seven weeks of vacation, but I don't know if I would accept a cut in pay ...

I saw that on a friend's blog the other day. While the pay is less generous, the social democratic benefits system makes up for a great deal. France is easily in the top twenty desirable places to live.

I left Lenore a comment too. I also suggested by email that she post a "comment policy" to make her intentions clear. I even suggested that she be careful not to allow comments from the riffraff at WB and around the net since it would mess up the "Excellence" to which her site is devoted. In reality, I believe that what will serve her best is comments on her posts from other blogs. She is trying for that tightly bound academic tone. We would only serve an emetic.

Hermetic trumps emetic, I suppose. (Better asphyxia than disslexia, I always say.)

Isn't that backwards? I'd rather be able to breath and have some disslexia than the other way around.

Physiologically, doesn't blue blood lack oxygen?

[Shut up, fish, lemme talk.]
Perhaps a virtual "freedom pen" would be an appropriate expansion to the site. A padded place for the roused rabble to redound? (Ahhhhhh, I seee, dubyabee is the pen, a might removed and sordid.)

"Physiologically, doesn't blue blood lack oxygen?"

The rich are different from you and me.

Puritans objected to bear-baiting, not because it annoyed the bear, but because it brought pleasure to the participants. Treating workers too good is a bad thing, in and of itself--it's just a violation of the natural order of things. Here, most of the big retailers go to all the trouble of getting their associates' minds right, and along comes a competitor treating its people almost like human beings! Talk about the danger of a good example! How ya gonna keep the boy down on the farm when he's seen Paree?


Neo-calvinism essentially forgets about God, and makes commerce itself the religion. Prosperity is still a signifier of moral worth -- but instead of being a secondary signifier, it's primary. It indicates stronger character, superior "fitness." It's a close kin to Greedism, but it's more powerful because it marshalls concepts like virtue and fairness to its service. It's related to Objectivism -- and I daresay most Objectivists are Neo-Calvinists -- but it permits a spiritual dimension that can be lacking amongst Randians.

Neo-calvinists are everywhere, all around us. Wherever you find someone who cries "It's not fair!" when they notice that the wealthy pay proportionally greater taxes than the poor, you have found a Neo-Calvinist or one of his fellow-travellers.


I understand the neocalvinists at the top, the astonishing thing is how well represented it is among those who struggle - the Willie Loman type, who gets by on a "shoeshine and a dream." The truck driver riled up about the injustice of estate tax. The power of neocalvinism is the widely held belief that we can all rise by our own efforts, ever so high. That view persists even among people 50+ who have begun to run out of time and options. "The American Dream" dies hard. To be a realistic under such circumstances only increases the pain.

Mole, a virtual freedom pen is a great idea. Those in it are invisible and inaudible. There they can exercise their freedom of speech unhindered. One of the things I enjoy about WB is that is is an open secret among the tony philanthropy types. They know what we talk about here, but feel it safer to ignore it. They are like well-dressed people scurrying by a bunch of bums in an alley, or a group of citizens behind razor wire by a Bush speaking event. They keep their heads down and lips tightly closed. Their manner says, "We are serious people; let us find cleaner air." But WB is a mobile Dumpster. We may be invisible but we are right smack in the middle of Philanthropic Circles. How embarassing! And how delightful. They can ignore us, but that gives us the fabled "Ring of Gyges." Here in our upside down world, the wearer of that ring can work for justice without being penalized.

$80 million dollars, Tutor, for think tanks. If I were going to dispense that with a view to getting Democrats elected, I'd rent a couple hundred crummy offices across the country and staff them with ward heelers who'd go out and ask people questions. The sheer novelty of being considered in possession of an opinion worth hearing would bring in the votes. The way the Dems are now, they would blow that advantage immediately, just as they'll blow $80 million on this idiotic tank scheme.

Neocalvinsism is knee jerk. Once you make it clear to someone that they're not going to be harangued or punished, it drops pretty quickly. Unless, of course, they're at the top.

The $80 mil was raised by a guy with a powerpoint, drawing on the all the internet available data on the funding of the hard right. (See Commonweal Institute). An easy sale to make: "See, they have money for this; we don't; give us money and we will do what they do." Let's say that the money had been used to find and raise up new voices who have their own local or internet base? When will we manage to get funders to "water the base, the grassroots." The Dems call Heritage, "Tamany Hall." Then they go to wealthy people to start on of their own. So we have Tammany Hall A serving the rich and Tammany Hall B catering to another group of less selfish rich. You can see why the whole question of funding for social change is interesting to me. The dollars are there, but not the always such imaginative ideas, it would seem.

That view persists even among people 50+ who have begun to run out of time and options. "The American Dream" dies hard. To be a realistic under such circumstances only increases the pain.

It cannot die, I don't think. It has to be rejected, and is a personal choice that involves ego and character.

The policy issues on the table from the municipal or county level all the way up to national and international ... virtually none of them address the dark shadows of the American Dream, or economic or social change in the direction of the *civil* society we all long for or see just around the next few bends.

Willie Loman died broke, his dream intact. Like religion, the American Dream has its own dignity and consolations. To deprive someone of it, a loser, is to destroy that person's whole world, all hope. Deprived of the dream, would they join together to take this country back? Or crawl into a bottle? Watch TV? Probably, they would introject the failure as their own, feel some shame, and read People to follow the doings of those they idolize. Peasants in the middle ages were not so different, tossing their caps in the air as the Pope or King went by.

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