Ten Second News

What (New) Documentaries Should People Watch?

I haven’t watched one in a while, and though I lean towards the political type, or those documentaries which depict the worst kinds of social injustice, I’m willing to take a spin outside my wheel house this time. So I thought I’d put a call out for great documentaries I and everyone else around these parts…

Culture is the villain

I’ve had this sort of nebulous notion that culture itself is a problem. Not any particular culture, mind you, but rather the entire concept of culture.  The exclusivity of the group over the individual. A lot of people will hold up individualism against collectivism, but what if that’s just scratching the surface? Culture is the…

Against Traditional Morality

by James Hanley Guest author: James Hanley. Tom Van Dyke has written a very thoughtful post about the role of traditional morality in law. There are various points at which we could quibble with his argument, but here I offer a direct rebuttal of his support for traditional morality as a basis of law, arguing…

What are women for?

I keep trying to better understand James Poulos. I like James a great deal, though we disagree pretty fundamentally on many things. I’ve been fascinated by his discussions of the Pink Police State (a conservative argument against panem et circenses.) And yet postmodern conservatism has always been somewhat vague. It’s unorthodox in terms of American debate –…

How Finding a Job is Like Losing Your Keys

“Who do you think made the first stone spear? That wasn’t the yakkity yaks sitting around the campfire. It was some Asperger sitting in the back of a cave figuring out how to chip rocks into spearheads. Without some autistic traits you wouldn’t even have a recording device to record this conversation on.” – Temple…

Fantasy and the Anglosphere

When I published my fantasy piece in the Atlantic it was linked (reproduced?) by Richard Dawkins’ site and a number of the atheists in the commentariat had scathing things to say about fantasy literature. Apparently it is not enough that readers of fantasy do not, in fact, believe in their make-believe. Apparently the fact that dragons…

On the value of higher education

Here’s James Poulos on higher education, claiming things like: We fixate on higher education as the key to employment because no other institution but college really acculturates Americans into “legitimate” society. Those who do not attend college are second-class citizens in a cultural sense first, and in an economic one only second. Regrettably, the personalities…

The weird ideological inversion of the school reform debate

At one of our excellent sub-blogs, Alex Knapp makes this commonsensical point: We live in a country where Creationists can run for President without being laughed out of the room, homeopathy is seen as real medicine, millions of people buy into “The Secret” that wishing for something hard enough makes it real, and the cast…

Abortion and Slavery again

Ta-Nehisi has pushed once again into the abortion and slavery debate, this time following the invocation of that analogy by Rick Santorum and Joe Klein’s subsequent defense of Santorum’s rhetoric. Now, I’ve admitted in the past two things about the fetus-as-slave analogy: first, that it is not a very good analogy – and indeed I…

On Certainty & Doubt

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard…

Status redistribution and American exceptionalism

“It occurs to me that there’s an obvious link here with the idea that the contemporary populist right is heavily driven by ressentiment—and that a lot of our current politics has less to do with actual policy disagreements than with resolving status anxieties. You can think of patriotism as a kind of status socialism—a collectivization…

How to govern well

What do Singapore, the United States, Canada, Denmark, and England all have in common? At first glance, not much. One is an oligarchic city state, two are parliamentary democracies, another is a Scandinavian social democracy, while the United States supposedly represents the laissez-faire extremes of the developed world. But we intuitively understand there are certain…

Capra-corn and the life of our time

There’s a quote about Carl Jung that I’ve come across a couple of times and shamelessly stolen every chance I’ve had: “We live a double life whether we know it or not. We live our own life and we live the life of our time.”  Economists are now warning of a double-dip recession, even though…

One last salvo on immigration

Mark’s points about the relationship between American dynamism and immigration are well-taken. Again, I’d like to stress that I’m endorsing an exceedingly mild form restrictionism – perhaps a system that expands immigration quotas for Third World countries not adjacent to our border while limiting the number of new arrivals from Latin America. That said, I…

The City That Never Sleeps – Or Shrinks

I enjoyed David’s defense of New York’s cultural dominance far more than I probably should have, and agree wholeheartedly.  This despite the fact that, as a kid – and even into my early 20s – I did all I could to hate Manhattan.  That all started to change rapidly on December 31, 2000, when my…

Folk wisdom and the tyranny of the experts

[updated below] I’ve been thinking about birth a great deal lately. This is likely because birth in my family is just around the corner. Our second is due in July. In any case, all this birth-thinking and meeting with doctors and birthing experts and midwives and such has me pondering how we as a culture…

A brief defense of the Pope

[updated] “I read the coverage of the Pope every day in the newspapers and listen to the BBC news and as a Catholic and a journalist I feel like crying out pathetically: “This is not fair!” And it isn’t fair, or reasonable. Intelligent journalists who are normally capable of mental subtlety and of coping with…

Community, technology, & work

I think this Amanda Marcotte piece is pretty interesting.  She touches on the idea of work and community and how the modern workplace has, until very recently, served to cut us off entirely from our loved ones during the day.  This, she asserts, was not always the case.  People used to come into more contact…

Markets in everything ctd.

I think Jason and I disagree less than his critique of my post would suggest.  He is correct that my rather brief treatment of markets (and the purpose of markets) leaves a great deal to be desired.  I was not intending to write a piece explaining the many benefits (or limitations) of markets per say…

Liberaltarianism is dead

“I don’t want to say that liberaltarianism is dead. But is it endangered? Sure. It deserves to be.” ~ Jason Kuznicki I think the hopes placed in the Obama administration by libertarians have been fairly well dashed at this point.  On civil-liberties issues and on economic issues, the President has not gone nearly far enough…

On noble savages and the humanity of the ‘other’

Sullivan nods approvingly at this passage from Conor on Avatar’s Na’vi: The problem with the noble savage cliche is that it is demonstrably untrue. The people who inhabited North America before the arrival of Europeans warred, died for lack of medicine, sometimes killed animal herds so unsustainably that they faced starvation — so despite the…

culture is everything (well, mostly everything)

“In short, liberals and conservatives refuse to see the areas in which they have common ground because far too often they simply cannot get past the cultural markers that prevent them from even listening to the substance of what their cultural opposites are saying.” ~ Mark Thompson In this post Mark is responding to what…

Sacrificing Ideology at the Altar of Culture

Jamelle writes: “In a lot of cases, the aim of liberals isn’t necessarily to massively expand the reach of government as much as it is to add some intentionality and rationality — as well as make explicit — the ways in which wealready intervene in the economy (health care reform is a perfect example of…

From the Department of Missing the Point

Despite my recent disagreements with Conor, one area where he is indubitably correct is in criticizing conservatism’s inability to engage the culture in which it must exist.  This, to me, is not a political issue – it has little to do with winning elections or with governance – but it leaves conservative cultural critiques utterly…

Libertarians and Diversity (or lack thereof)

The forthcoming issue* of Reason features an exceedingly thoughtful essay by Kerry Howley, in which she argues that libertarianism would be well-served by widening its scope and paying far more attention to infringements on liberty that are the product of cultural forces.  It’s an argument familiar to those of us versed in sociological or anthropological…

Kulturkampf

Victor Davis Hanson is visiting Europe. More precisely, Italy and Greece. Several profound insights into the nature of continental society follow: After concluding another 16 days in Europe. I am again reminded how different their form of socialism  is, and yet how closely it resembles the model that Obama seeks for America. The vast majority…

John Derbyshire and the Wise Latina

“Judge Sotomayor was raised in public housing? So was I. Her mother was a nurse working late shifts? So was mine. When did white working poor people disappear off the face of the earth? Where are the eager listeners to their “compelling stories”?” ~John Derbyshire John “Derb” Derbyshire pendulates between very sensible and very silly. …

going to war with the army you have

“Rather than deep moral and spiritual renewal leading to civic health, what if it’s our national solipsism and susceptibility to suggestion that pull us together, and pull us through? What if, rather than being stuck with virtue, we discover that, after a few initially painful changes in lifestyle, we can buy spray-on virtue in a…

From Intolerance to Tolerance to Acceptance

Freddie has made a strong argument against viewing autism as a positive thing to be celebrated.  In so doing – and keeping in mind that he is our resident liberal – Freddie argues that such views are political correctness run amok.  To complete the role reversal, I, one of our two resident self-avowed libertarians, am…