Thursday, February 17, 2011

Politics Last Week, This Week, and Next Week

 •This past weekend saw me in DC for the Republican Liberty Caucus (timed to coincide with the slightly larger but less philosophically accurate CPAC), affording me the chance to bond with Dan McCarthy of American Conservative (who readers of this blog may recall as the paleolibertarian voice to my right-libertarian voice in combat with Kerry Howley's left-libertarian voice in Reason a couple years ago, though now I can think of nothing but the debt), Chuck Moulton, Norm Singleton, Tom Walls, New York City Councilman and Thor fan Dan Halloran, and many more (with brunch cameos by Paul Taylor, Elizabeth Terrell, and even a couple non-libertarians the next day).  Surely, victory is at hand, or at least strange anecdotes.

•This clueless passage from a Washington Post piece that notes Ron Paul won the straw poll at CPAC -- but is still a CPAC "loser" because of his limited appeal -- summarizes part of Paul's speech in a way that shows how hard it is for a libertarian to get even someone as savvy as WaPo politics writer Chris Cillizza to understand (even at a basic grammatical level, I suspect) what we're saying:

...odd pronouncements such as "Government should never be able to do anything you can't do"...

Paul means "...anything you don't have the right to do to each other as individuals," though I suspect Cillizza thinks Paul was saying "Government should not do the impossible."

•Tomorrow the Washingtonian mountain comes to the Manhattanite Mohammed, as the writers affiliated with the conservative Phillips Foundation gather here to listen to Jay Nordlinger, Heather Mac Donald, and other speakers on media topics -- including me on how to comport oneself on TV (based mainly on my experience as a producer).  And a cute libertarian has moved here permanently, I see -- but no more about that for now.

This coming Monday (Feb. 21, 7-10pm) brings the monthly Manhattans Project social gathering I host at Langan's bar-restaurant (47th just east of 7th), which will have as its contrarian guest of honor David Russell, who will briefly make the case for Catholicism and collectivism.

•Even Russell's most papist arguments will not stop me from feeling a small pang of sympathy for Mormons one week later, though, when I attend the stage musical The Book of Mormon from the creators of South Park.  Yes, Mormonism is insane and I look forward to seeing it mocked, but I have long felt that people who just take it on faith that a carpenter rose from the dead -- and will similarly resurrect them one day -- calling some closely related sect nuts is clearly the pot calling the kettle heretical. 

•And speaking of combating biases, I liked this carefully thought-out Jacob Levy post (and the resulting comments thread) about bias in academia, even if it may be too dismissive of the prior John Tierney piece on the topic.

•In the more popular encouraging-biases department, I only just realized that three years ago on my blog I reviewed a book (as a mere addendum to a review of a book by Jonah Goldberg) that was an awesome, pretty darn libertarian, overview of the rise and fall of history's major empires, written by none other than Amy Chua, now famous as the "Tiger Mom" author who has left us all, even Euro-American adults, frightened that we may yet be raised by East Asian women (Tracy Quan calls her the Eastern Hegemommy and gives me a shout-out in the process).  Small world.  Small world periodically conquered by Asians.  The Goldberg and Chua books were both projects overseen by Adam Bellow, as is the recent Goldberg-edited Proud to Be Right, containing my "Conservatism for Punks" essay.  You really ought to purchase that so that you will understand.

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