The New Clarion

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Cavalcade of Links 3

March 31st, 2011 by Myrhaf · 12 Comments · Link Cavalcade

1. The Professional Left.

2. When Newt Gingrich jumps on the religion bandwagon, does it mean that a longtime power seeker senses the way things are going in America?

3. The Obama Administration’s ineptness.

The foreign-policy ineptness we’re seeing from the Obama administration is quite striking. Its key players are sending out contradictory messages one after the other. One day Hosni Mubarak’s regime is stable; the next day he has to go. One day Bashar Assad is a reformer; the next day he’s a butcher. The president tells Members of Congress he expects we’ll be actively involved in military action against Libya for days, not weeks; the secretary of defense, when asked how much longer we might be in Libya, says, “I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that.” The president says, Colonel Qaddafi “must step down from power and leave” immediately; the caveat is that his exit can be achieved only through non-military means.

I have long thought that the left’s subjectivist epistemology makes them stupid. When you’re convinced reason is useless, you stop using it.

4. Yuval Levin has written a long essay, “Beyond the Welfare State,” arguing that we need to trash the welfare state and find a new type of society. His argument is mostly practical, although he believes the welfare state is immoral in its unintended consequences. His program is better than what we have now, but is it something people would rally around? Would it hold in the long run? Would his concession to altruism undermine the better elements?

5. In case you missed the tsunami ravaging Kesennuma Port, it’s amazing. You see the ocean wipe out a town in six minutes.

6. Edward Cline looks at the lunacy of an altruistic war.

12 Comments so far ↓

  • madmax

    Yuval Levin is a typical pragmatist:

    How do we balance our aspirations to prosperity and virtue and build a thriving society that makes its wealth and promise accessible to all?

    “Wealth and promise accessible to all” balanced with “aspirations to prosperity”; ie how to balance capitalism with socialism, egoism with altruism. Has this worked ever in the last 120 years since the rise of the Progressive Movement Mr. Levin?

    Real democratic capitalism — a free society with a free economy and a commitment to help every citizen enjoy the benefits of both — is the ideal that must guide the work of American domestic policy in the coming years.

    “A commitment to help every citizen enjoy the benefits of [free economy and free society]” obviously can’t be done. Levin’s “democratic capitalism” is really just watered down welfare-statism. Levin is an altruist who is trying to allow for some egoism in politics. It can’t be done that way. It is the nature of altruism to expand and destroy the remnants of egoism that remain in a culture. Altruism is a cancer that is constantly spreading. Leftists and centrists (like Levin) don’t understand this. Hell, Conservatives don’t even understand this.

    Charles Murray and Nial Furgeson each have versions of modified welfare states that abolish the income tax and establish a roughly 30% national sales tax. They are probably better than what this guy Levin has come up with. But even Murray’s and Fergeson’s plan wouldn’t work. In the end the welfare state would expand under their systems as well.

    The danger of Levin’s article is that he seems to be telling the Conservatives, and really the Tea Parties, that total opposition to the welfare state is both immoral and impractical. He uses the term “human nature” several times to indicate that opposing the welfare state is cruel and therefore inhuman. Levin strikes me as a gutless coward in the end. The exact opposite of the type of person we need in this fight. Levin is doubly naive if he thinks he will score any points with a Leftist or be able to convert any of them with his mushy drek. He’s totally ignorant of the evil of the Left.

    Perhaps he should read that essay on the Professional Left. That was a real eye opener.

  • Fareed

    “How shall we balance the competing aspirations of our society — aspirations to both wealth and virtue, dynamism and compassion? How can we fulfill our simultaneous desires to race ahead yet leave no one behind?”


  • madmax

    How shall we balance the competing aspirations of our society — aspirations to both wealth and virtue, dynamism and compassion? How can we fulfill our simultaneous desires to race ahead yet leave no one behind?

    This guy is a Pragmatist who is trying to reconcile egoism and altruism. It can’t be done.

  • Fareed

    he’s presenting a false alternative between wealth and virtue

  • L-C

    Regarding the tsunami, I’ve seen a whole lot of talk about how nuclear power plants should be shut down all over the globe, yet little mention of how many lives modern technology and civilization saved in Japan.

  • Roger Theriault

    “How shall we balance…”

    Who is this WE? Are there other people in the room? Has he solicited, and received, permission to speak on someone else’s behalf? If not, he’s using the wrong pronoun.

  • Inspector

    Roger, the pronoun is because of a long chain of mix-ups, rooted in altruism.

    Altruism does not see humans as having common interests – rights – which do not impose positive obligations on other men, or indeed society. (only the negative obligation – do not initiate force, i.e. leave them be)

    To altruism, to create a functioning society is an impossible attempt to “balance” these perpetually warring and inherently antithetical interests. Altruism is inherently IMpracticable and IMbalanced, thus it requires the kind of “balancing” of which he speaks – compromises, sacrifices, winners and losers.

    And because sacrificial animals must be chosen under altruism, he’s absolving responsibility by using the “we.” You see, “he” or “they” didn’t choose to sacrifice you – “we” chose it together. You must have participated in this choice democratically, and so give total sanction to the result.

    I’d be surprised if he knew it, but that’s the source of the “we.”

  • Inspector

    Of course it’s perfectly legitimate to confront that “we” with questions regarding its source, and speculation about the speaker’s bearing of rodentia.

    I often do precisely that, and encourage the same from others.

  • Inspector

    Actually, the above isn’t entirely fair – the speaker’s assumption is that since sacrifices must be made, we all sort of have to collectively choose how, or at least that’s the most fair way he envisions. The sanctioning bit is another topic.

  • JimWoods

    Gingrich has been cheerleading for the God-squad for a long time.

    His book Winning the Future (2005), which is his 21st century version of the Contract with America, not only puts God at the center of governance but also calls for the impeachment of judges that disagree with him about God’s role in government.

  • Inspector

    Yeah, I could swear I remember stuff from Gingrich from the ’90’s where he was pretty squarely a religious conservative. Could be wrong, just going from memory.

  • Myrhaf

    I was wrong to write of Newt that he “jumps on the religion bandwagon.” He’s been on that bandwagon a while.