We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A planted space (aka "a garden") isn't a "space" without the sense of, a suggestion of, or the reality of, enclosure - regardless of scale; whether the scale is a 20X20' herb or rose garden or a 50-100 acre meadow bounded by woods or windbreaks. Just like a picture wants a frame.
I think that comfortable feeling is deeply embedded in the human soul, and it is the reason garden designers speak of outdoor "rooms." I kinda prefer designing or thinking about outdoor "hallways" - the paths which lead from space to space. Hallways, though, must lead to rooms or they have no meaning and no purpose.
Websites like ours and AVI's have a deep respect for the power of tribalism in the human psyche.
For better or worse, it seems like an inevitable human force for birds of a feather to flock together regardless of our basic biological similarities.
Early Colonial America had very few tribes: The evangelical and intolerant Protestants, the crazy Dutch entrepreneurs, the various warring Indian tribes, and the small handful of welcome Jews in Rhode Island and Catholics in Maryland. And African slaves in both the South and North (and some free Africans in the North).
Today, we have all sorts of tribes all over the place, from all over the world. In a way, I can view the Sotomayor affirmative-action nomination as a nod to the tribalism that we acknowledge here as being a powerful force.
The "progressive" identity politics of the Dems meets primitive tribalism. Politics gets very strange when the shape of your genitalia and your ancestry determine your career and power. Full-circle to primitivism.
Put another way, geopolitics hates a wienie. So does history.
OK, so is Obama another Jimmy Carter? We get to watch this history unfold before our eyes, and it seems to unfold a quicker these days. My quick take. Not exactly. What we’re seeing is really a more aggressive Carterism.
To return to my original point, where has the pleasure of the text gone? It’s been sublimated into pleasure at one’s own superior ability to wrest unauthorized meaning out of the text by passing it through an ideological meatgrinder. Congratulations! You’re now ready to deliver papers to at any number of conferences with clever titles about “firing the canon.”
Those who prize social unity and order will tend to believe that people’s deepest feelings and beliefs should be accorded respect. But respect for ideas is never an entitlement. It depends on their intellectual resilience in public debate. No free society can treat people’s deepest beliefs as sacrosanct. They are fair game for hostile and derisive criticism. That is how knowledge advances. […]
No one has a right to the protection of feelings. If politics concerns itself with mental states, there is no limit to how far legislation can intrude on people’s lives. The task of progressive politics is to protect liberty, not least by attacking the accumulation of bad ideas. Yet to many on the Left, the individual, inquiring mind is of far less importance than the representation of designated groups.
In an essay of the above title, Will Wilkinson compares David Brooks with Glenn Beck, and wonders what "Conservative" means in actual policy terms.
I think it's well-worth thinking about, if only for fun. One quote:
... individualism works. As Brooks himself notes, individualistic societies tend to be wealthier than collectivist ones. And studies show that individualistic societies, which emphasize choice and personal fulfillment, tend to produce happier people than do collectivist societies, which are anchored by conformity, honor, and inherited obligations. By almost any measure, individualism is a success.
So does Glenn Beck win this round by a knockout? That would be funny—but also a misreading of the Right’s populist persuaders.
Why? Because the “individualism” of latter-day disciples of Goldwater and Reagan has a strange way of disappearing as soon as they stop arguing about marginal tax rates. Glenn Beck is no different. Scratch him and you’ll find a vehement nationalist whose fiery cable gospel breathes populist life into David Brooks’ abstract collectivist theology.
Read the whole thing. What we're talking about here is where abstract ideology and abstract terms and abstract rallying cries like "individualism" and "freedom" meet reality in the form of politics.
Me? I am a small-scale collectivist (family, church, village, charities), and decreasingly collectivist as power and money move further away from my personal experience and purview, and into the hands of people who pursue personal (mainly careerist) goals and games with money and power they have taken from me.
Barrister comment: I had read that Brooks piece. Wilkinson rightly notes "... Brooks goes wrong when he leaps from the biological facts of life to the “illusion” of individual agency and the desirability of a more communitarian culture." In fact, we view Individualism with its Judeo-Christian-Greek underpinnings as one of the, if not the most remarkable, contribution to Western civilization, and a giant advance for the human spirit on the external control cultures which preceded them. That revolutionary individualism said that a man can be his own master, that he need not be mastered or be a serf, and that the sacred spark in everyone requires this. Socialists, Communists, Liberal Communitarians, Totalitarians, Dictators, Mussolini-style Fascists, Kings of the Jungle and Kings of France are all communitarians who place the individual second to the whole.
Editor reply to The B: Thanks for that, B. By coincidence, but I was working yesterday on an entirely non-political post about ant colonies, and your comment seems relevant to that.
He doesn't get to all of the important considerations, though.
First, many have no option but to retire. Laid-off career guys in their 50s have a tough time finding employment. Some (esp government) jobs offer pensions after x years which make continuing in the job economically silly. OK, they can do something else - and many do.
Second, as Tiger notes, many have jobs which they do not particularly enjoy or with which they have become bored - yet have life responsibilities to fulfill. An "attitude adjustment" might be nice, but it ain't so easy. The main reward of many if not most jobs is the sense of fulfilling a family responsibility rather than the work itself.
Third, many value the notion of being "idle." "Idle" may be the wrong word, though, because most retired folks seem to stay pretty busy, from what I see. It can mean more time for hobbies, for fishing and hunting and boating and mowing your own lawns and fields, doing your own home repairs, spending more time with friends, volunteering, and maybe more trips.
Fourth, I think "the number" is important. If you hit your number (which few can say they have right now), work can be more enjoyable because it seems more optional. You know you can say "Take this job and shove it" whenever you want.
It’s overblown that suddenly Islam is going to spread across the nation,” a candidate for Canada’s socialist New Democratic Party said on the radio the other day. “And, if it does, so what?” Jens Orback, the then “Integration Minister” of Sweden (and pity the land that needs such a cabinet official), was less devil-may-care. On Sveriges Radio five years ago, he advised his fellow Swedes to “be nice to Muslims while we’re in the majority so that they’ll be nice to us when they’re in the majority.” Another “Integration Minister”, Armin Laschet of North Rhine-Westphalia, tells his fellow Germans that “in our cities 30-40 per cent of children have an immigrant background. It will be them who will sustain this country in 20 years.”
Please do not peruse these Tuesday morning links until you have caught up on our posts over the past few days, as I just have done on my return from the sea to hard reality (drove a boat up from Cape May to Rhode Island with a few stops for gas and beer - including one at good old City Island for fried clams and another at Northport for more fried clams and fried oysters). The posts are jam-packed with inneresting stuff.
Libs wonder how they lost on guns and Gitmo. Welcome to America, where we are not quite a dictatorship yet.
What lady would not want to be a MILF, despite the crudeness of the appellation? And what red-blooded male has not a filthy mind? To my eyes, MILFs are a dime a dozen around my neighborhood. Photo borrowed stolen from Tiger's piece:
When things get too hot in the kitchen, pols run away. Pelosi picked China for her Memorial Day weekend. Nice. Hope they taught her something about Capitalism.
The politics of the modern redistributionist state is founded on the assumption that politicians can buy votes by promising voters ever more munificent entitlements - from federal deposit insurance against bank failures to government-subsidized medical care - with the money for these things always somehow being painlessly extracted from somebody else.
Once voters have agreed to forget that every single dollar of tax revenue is extracted from the productive economy by threat of force (including corporate taxes, which are then passed along as higher prices), there is no incentive for any politically favored interest group to do anything but eat subsidies as fast as it can, before all those less deserving other interest groups get a snout in. The demand for entitlements, income transfers, and subsidies will, accordingly, rise without limit. And why not, when “somebody else” is paying?
For this con game to continue working on the suckers voters who buy it, there always has to be a “somebody else” from which more money can be painlessly extracted. It’s “the rich” or “corporations” or (when governments borrow money against future tax revenues) ourselves in the future.
But what happens when there is no “somebody else” left?
Not long ago, I found myself watching the video of another “pro-Palestinian” protest in central London with the Metropolitan Police retreating up St. James’s Street to Piccadilly in the face of a mob hurling traffic cones and jeering, “Run, run, you cowards!” and “Allahu akbar!” You would think the deluded multi-culti progressives would understand: In the end, this isn’t about Gaza, this isn’t about the Middle East; it’s about them. It may be some consolation to an ever-lonelier Israel that, in one of history’s bleaker jests, in the coming Europe the Europeans will be the new Jews.
Vitruvius at SDA recommends the highly enjoyable and accessible MIT required freshman year intro Physics courses - Classical Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism. Prof. Walter Lewin, who teaches both, says his goal is to make the student love Physics, and to see the beauty in it. He succeeds. (If you fail one of the required courses, you are sent home.)
I don't know why any college would bother lecturing on these topics when they can use Dr. Lewin's recordings. Both entire series of lectures are on YouTube, for those of us who could not have gotten into MIT with an H-bomb because of our B+ in BC Calc:
Prof. Lewin makes it all vivid, clear, and entertaining, and the math is straightforward and clear as a bell. Plus no exams, so it's a wonderful way to get some free education, or to refresh your old, fading memories.
For me, Physics, Music (which is Physics + a twist by the human soul), and Religion merge into one sublime cosmic entity which is the awe-inspiring, terrifying, love-inspiring miracle of Creation. I have never understood how anyone can feel like they can feel close to God without knowing all the Physics they are capable of, but I know that is stupid of me.