Thursday, March 13, 2014


1. The site Libertarian Republic (which recently ran my own piece on libertarian/neoconservative overlap) also notes that a somewhat libertarian saint may soon be canonized -- namely, G.K. Chesterton (h/t Justin Stoddard and Rick Sincere).

2. In less Catholic news, Neil deGrasse Tyson has been criticized for oversimplifying the tale of Giordano Bruno on this week’s premiere of the new Cosmos, making a kooky mystic persecuted by the Church sound like a historically-significant scientist.  This saddens me a bit, since the original 1980 series with Carl Sagan was a pivotal step in my mental evolution away from watching In Search Of as a child to reading Skeptical Inquirer as a teen, which has made all the difference.

Still, science and fantasy can sometimes mix as in this amusing mash-up of Carl Sagan and Agent Smith from The Matrix (h/t Neil Horning).

3. Claims about the cosmos are not affirmed or falsified by their incidental psychological or aesthetic effects on us, but you might wonder: are religion and self-hatred a natural pair?  Well, there is a site called “Catholicism for Cutters.”

4. Jon Stewart has become something of an anti-heretic enforcer himself and can sink almost as low as simply calling libertarians poopyheads -- and still leftists cheer The Daily Show, as Kevin Williamson laments. 

But at least they had my ex-boss Judge Andrew Napolitano on to explain his simultaneous condemnation of slavery, war, and Lincoln, as if that combo should be confusing (at the linked site, find the videos from March 11 -- including the faux-gameshow segment pitting the Judge against a hot black female Abe Lincoln and three college professors, which is about what it takes to challenge the Judge).

5. If you want a libertarian comedy alternative, of course, you need Trevor Moore, seen here doing his fact-based rap about the Founding Fathers (and, yes, Lincoln) loving the herb.

6. At the annual CPAC gathering, where a plurality of surveyed participants want to legalize pot, Rand Paul emerged as the straw poll favorite and the leader of the rising, more libertarian generation of Republicans. 

He began his speech there by praising the Abolitionists, as well he should, and goes on to use the South’s lynch mobs of a century ago as an example of what happens when civil liberties are abandoned -- and him doing so should not surprise or confuse people wary of the Southern faction of libertarians any more than Judge Napolitano writing a whole book about government’s oppression of blacks should. 

Paul emphasized the importance of liberty for people of all ethnicities and genders -- yet even conservatives such as Roger Simon apparently can’t resist the urge to find some hypersensitive, p.c.-style reason to complain, with Simon tweeting his displeasure at Paul quoting anti-Israel Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, as if Paul did so out of anti-Semitism. 

(Dude, did I not mention the convention was pro-pot?  Were you not alive in the 1970s?)

7. Meanwhile, leftists and academics, who also likely dread that libertarians are closet fascists, are chock full of respect for the philosopher Heidegger, who we now know with even greater certainty really was a full-blown Nazi.

8. I admit I adore the gigantic, singing clown Puddles who is rather Weimar.  He has returned to the Lorde well after doing a very popular cover of her song “Royals,” and frankly he’s so good at doing covers it stops being funny at some point -- but is still totally worth watching.

9. While we’re talking about people’s cultural sensitivities getting all inflamed, it’s worth noting a knot of four leftists Facebook-unfriended me a few days ago over my shocking claim that artists borrowing imagery and symbolism from other cultures -- say, a singer wearing a Native American headdress -- is not necessarily evil or hateful or damaging. 

I suppose you can imagine people being so sensitive that they freak out over such hybridization, but usually the people doing the freaking in these cases would be the first to weep if we also discarded other hybrids they happen to like, such as, say, blues-inflected rock n’ roll, cartoonified Greek warriors like the ones in 300, anime, fusion cuisine, all of Western civilization, etc., etc.

The selectivity of their (recently mounting) outrage is even worse than that, though, since you know darn well these high-strung people also tend to be the ones who are first to turn around and defend “transgressive” art when it suits them, from eclectic burlesque imagery to bourgeois–shocking shellacked piles of dung in art museums.  They pretend to be deeply, deeply concerned but will in fact turn on a dime when it’s tactically convenient in order to attack their targets.  Nasty.  Don’t let them guilt-trip you, people. 

They have the unmitigated totalitarian presumption to think everyone should speak, act, and create precisely according to their formulas -- and to think they actually do speak (in the only way allowed) for the oppressed populations they claim to represent.

As it was at Brown University in the p.c. 90s, so it is all across the nation today: If people are taught that the more upset they get, the more political and moral clout they wield, surprise surprise, they will get increasingly upset -- and it will never end.  Indeed, anyone who made it through four years at Brown without learning that disturbing lesson is an imbecile -- as is anyone who now sees without worry the rising tide of trigger-warned, coddled, “privilege”-checking, race-animosity-encouraging little cultists who pretend to speak for the holy cause of social justice.  Check your narcissism. 

(And of course the sensitive folk loved Heidegger at Brown.  Carl Schmitt, too.  And Paul de Man...) 

10. This is more like it: a Cato forum on states, clans, and individuals.

11. While back at the Ivy League -- Yale this time -- here’s the frightening insanity to which a feminist pro-fat culture and a slavishly BMI-measuring pseudo-health establishment lead.

12. But, hey, we libertarians aren’t perfect either, and I see the Friday night episode of FBN’s Kennedy-et al-hosted show The Independents will be a whole hour asking left and right critics “What’s the Matter with Libertarians?”

It’s bound to be more thoughtful than the seventy-plus anti-libertarianism articles AlterNet and Salon have run in just the past two years, including one this week suggesting libertarians’ heads would explode if they were confronted by, say, the argument that we need to build street lights in order to facilitate the buying of pizza (WHO WILL ILLUMINATE THE PIZZA??). 

What really galls is that Lynn Parramore, who wrote it, was a Dionysium debater once.  I realize all these articles tend to be written as if by people who have never gotten near an actual libertarian brain and never intend to, but, y’know they could send an e-mail or two before shooting their mouths off.  Or just retire and get the hell out of the way.

1 comment:

Eric Hanneken said...

Perhaps I shouldn't judge the new Cosmos by its first episode, but I detected a different tone from the original series. The protagonists of Carl Sagan's stories (Betty and Barney Hill notwithstanding) were mostly scientists. Think of Johannes Kepler, who slowly and painfully abandoned his precious celestial spheres model of the solar system when observations stubbornly refused to line up. Other stories weren't about scientists but were intended to illustrate a scientific theory--for example, the origin story about samurai crabs.

In contrast, the new Cosmos gave us a martyr story about a mystic who was treated horribly by the Catholic Church. It was true, but why was Tyson bringing it up? Why was he talking about politics and crime, instead of nature? I suspect the purpose was to reduce the status of the anti-science tribe, and to increase sympathy for the pro-science tribe. This explanation is especially plausible after progressive hero Barack Obama was selected to introduce the series. (Progressives view themselves as scientifically-oriented, and their opponents as unthinking traditionalists.) Carl Sagan may have been a man of science and a man of the left, but he didn't play this game in the original Cosmos.