20 May 2013

Smoked Internet Link Sausage Platter

A weekend of professional obligations began early, so I never did get around to pulling these from the smoker at the recommended time.

  • Neoconservative economics descends almost entirely from the so-called "Austrian school," epitomized by Friedrich Hayek's political economy... which, as it turns out, is not the pure economics that Hayek's many neocon disciples proclaim.
  • Meanwhile, New York City is vanishing — at least as a place for young artists. Indeed, I suspect that it is vanishing as a place for individualism in the arts at all, based on the continuing encroachment of "production values" achievable only through great flipping wads of ca$h. That said, I'm not sure the story is much better elsewhere.
  • It's certainly not any better in traditionally-produced-and-financed-and-distributed film. If anything, the studios don't really care if anyone likes it enough to see it a second time.
  • But that's a better attitude than the industrial food combine has. Now, as it happens, I eat an organic diet, leavened only with a little bit of inorganic salt. All food is "organic" — it's one of the true idiocies of marketing to proclaim a truisim as a value judgment. Food that we can actually digest is organic in that it is composed almost entirely of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen... and almost all of the remainder is water.
  • Last, and far from least, I need to vehemently disagree with The Perfesser. This time, he has gone much too far with mislabelling, and I'm afraid it's hurting his position and argument. On his blawg today, he rejects Judge Richard Posner as never having been a conservative, all the while throwing in rather snide remarks about liberals.

    Enough. Perhaps Judge Posner does not meet The Perfesser's criterea for "real" conservatism. (I think he does, having practiced before him and seen how his opinions are actually viewed by other judges, but reasonable minds may differ.) But, as I'm not myself a conservative, I'll defer... for the moment. The problem here is not the "false attribution" problem, but a different failure of privilege: Does an outsider have the privilege of labelling others? As a specific counterexample, consider the FauxNoose label of "liberal" being applied to people who, according to those of us who call ourselves "liberals," are not liberals at all. President Obama is a moderate, and not even a consistenly left-of-center moderate. Hilary Clinton is a straight-down-the-middle moderate, with the single exception — perhaps, and due to its economic basis only perhaps — healthcare. More to the point, John Newton — the individual whose opinion led to The Perfesser's screed — is not a liberal, in either the American or European sense of the term. (I'd also disagree that Solis is a "hard-core liberal" — she's much closer to Labour than to any internally coherent variety of liberalism.)

    I'm sick to death of this kind of resort throughout the American polity to the tribal magic of the Rule of Names, in which one obtains power over something by attaching a label to it — usually a label that would be relatively neutral but for the special meaning ascribed in this context. I welcome actual engagement with conservative thought; I do not welcome yet more engagement with labels, as in the days of the Evil Empire and Iron Curtain and all of those other rhetorical devices used to make enemies out of those whose opinions are different (sometimes inimically so, far more often not).