Post-AAR, Pre-Thanksgiving links!

November 23, 2021

Sorry I've been silent here!  I was at a conference in Texas this past weekend (what is it with me and Texas? I don't know, but I do love some of the people there).  Heading into a quiet time with family, I hope, and also some friends.  Should be fun; I hope you have some quiet, and rest, and fun, as well.

To counteract those cheerful thoughts, here are some snarky things:


More evidence, if you needed it, that a liberal arts education is actually, you know, valuable.


When Marvin Olasky decides it’s time to get off the bus, you know the bus has become a suicide bomb.


Good analysis:

“for the portion of the Republican base heavily predisposed to racial prejudice, the culture war and issues like critical race theory easily work as dog whistles calling them to the polls. But for many voters, and not just white ones, critical race theory is in a basket with other cultural microaggressions directed at working people by the elites they see as running the Democratic Party. Take, for instance, one of the women in Barefoot’s focus groups. When asked if Democrats share their cultural values, she said, 'They fight for the right things and I usually vote for them but they believe some crazy things. Sometimes I feel like if I don’t know the right words for things they think I am a bigot.'”


I don’t think I had read this before, but it is a review of Tony Judt’s book Postwar. It is a solid review, though by one of the intellectuals on the left who survived this whole period, and therefore it still holds to a dream of Socialism which juice does not hold you. Also, having been written in 2005, it does not anticipate the re-emergence of a Russian petro-state power, ready to contest the EU as well as the US.  So it contents itself with an imagination of Europe wherein Europe is defined by being not like the United States of America. The same kind of negative definition still occupies too much of the mental space of many Europeans in my experience; they continue to deny the reality of power politics and the need of Europe to have a capacity to coerce as well as convene and (attempt to) convince.


This is fascinating. In a survey of 17 advanced industrial democracies, only in the United States did religion even count among the top five considerations for "what makes life meaningful".




Not wrong, I fear, about tensions on the left:

“The question is whether any compromise with the center is acceptable. Obama competed for moderate views by promising that people could keep their private insurance even as he covered those who couldn’t get any coverage, that he would secure the border even as he gave amnesty to Dreamers. Reducing all these spectra of belief to a simple binary, then declaring the opposing position so horrific it cannot be accommodated, is not a political strategy. It is a kind of anti-politics.”


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.