cbearden + mustread   40

Republicans Have A Samantha Bee Problem, Too
“To reach the presidency, Bill overcame a history of adulteries, drug use, and draft-avoidance, which was in no small part a triumph of the cumulative narcotic effect of cultural progressivism. By 1994, it was only mildly risqué for MTV to ask the aspiring Commander-in-Chief whether he preferred boxers or briefs.

“Bill Clinton later survived impeachment largely due to cultural progressivism. Bill could have been viewed as having lied under oath to a federal judge in a sexual harassment case, but ‘journalists’ like Geraldo Rivera dismissed the President’s affair with an intern as ‘just about sex.’”
Republicans  Progressivism  MustRead 
4 weeks ago by cbearden
Contra Grant On Exaggerated Differences | Slate Star Codex
“Silicon Valley was supposed to be better than this. It was supposed to be the life of the mind, where people who were interested in the mysteries of computation and cognition could get together and make the world better for everybody. Now it’s degenerated into this giant hatefest of everybody writing long screeds calling everyone else Nazis and demanding violence against them. Where if someone disagrees with the consensus, it’s just taken as a matter of course that we need to hunt them down, deny them of the cloak of anonymity, fire them, and blacklist them so they can never get a job again. Where the idea that we shouldn’t be a surveillance society where we carefully watch our coworkers for signs of sexism so we can report them to the authorities is exactly the sort of thing you get reported to the authorities if people see you saying.”
SexDifferences  SlateStarCodex  MustRead 
6 weeks ago by cbearden
Our Cultural Waterloo | Carl R. Trueman | First Things
“The dominant philosophy in so many secular humanities departments—that there is nothing so complicated in history or literature that it cannot be reduced to a simple question of power and exploitation—has allowed academia to be hijacked by those who are marked less by their knowledge of their subject than by their ability to spout angry clichés about privilege and power and hegemony. These people represent the spirit of the age, and their language is seeping into Christian discourse.”
HigherEducation  Academia  CarlTrueman  CultureWar  MustRead 
7 weeks ago by cbearden
Conservative Postmodernism / by Peter Lawler (The Imaginative Conservative)
“The mistake of modern utopianism is its reasoning that, because the individual obsessively pursues bodily satisfaction, the individual will be happier to the extent he achieves it. The truth is that modern liberalism is about the pursuit, and not about the enjoyment, of happiness. The individual does pursue bodily security and comfort, but the more of it he achieves, the more dissatisfied he is. The more secure or free from contingency he is objectively, the more he experiences his existence as contingent and the more he is haunted by death. The more death is pushed back by modern technology, the more accidental it seems. The more accidental or less necessary death seems, the more terrible it seems.”
PeterLawler  Conservatism  Postmodernism  MustRead 
may 2017 by cbearden
into the morass - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
“For some time now I’ve asked the New York Times to give better and fairer coverage of social conservatives and religious people, and hiring Stephens seems to have been at least a small step in that direction. But if their core constituency continues to engage in freakouts of this magnitude over any deviation from their views, will we see any more such steps? Given the economic realities Yoni’s tweet points to, I’d say: not bloody likely. The pressures of the market are relentless. And the more of our institutions, especially our intellectual institutions, are governed by those relentless pressures, the fewer places we will have to turn for nonpartisan inquiry.”
BretStephens  NYTimes  Polarization  AlanJacobs  MustRead 
may 2017 by cbearden
Review: Daniel C. Dennett, 'From Bacteria to Bach and Back
“Stephen King, cigarettes, and Casablanca are beloved because people like reading about killer dogs, smoking, and seeing Ingrid Bergman's face bathed in light, not because an untold number of so-far invisible and indeed unobservable brain-leeches are addicted to making copies of themselves.”
DanielDennett  BookReviews  MatthewWalther  MustRead 
april 2017 by cbearden
The new culture war (Cranach: The Blog of Veith, 2017/01/27)
“If those issues [morality & religion] are taken off the table, Christians have other interests–jobs, security, liberty–that could align them with this alleged new culture war. Many are members of what Lowry calls ‘Jacksonian America,’ those ordinary citizens scorned by the elite as ‘vulgar masses,’ like those championed by Andrew Jackson (and who trashed the White House when he invited them in).

“Other Christians may be on the elite side, a faction often championed by traditional conservatives. Just as populism used to be central to the ideology of the Democratic party.

“If this analysis is correct, isn’t there going to be tension between a catholic religion like Christianity (‘from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages’ [Rev. 7:9]) and nationalism?”

Precisely.
DonaldTrump  CultureWars  GeneVeith  Nationalism  Christianity  MustRead 
january 2017 by cbearden
Authoritarianism and Post-Truth Politics - Niskanen Center
“Being made to repeat an obvious lie makes it clear that you’re powerless; it also makes you complicit. You’re morally compromised. Your ability to stand on your own moral two feet and resist or denounce is lost. Part of this is a general tool for making people part of immoral groups. One child makes a second abuse a third. The second then can’t think he’s any better than the first, the bully, and can’t inform. In a gang or the Mafia, your first kill makes you trustworthy, because you’re now dependent on the group to keep your secrets, and can’t credibly claim to be superior to them.”
DonaldTrump  Authoritarianism  Discourse  JTLevy  PostTruth  MustRead 
january 2017 by cbearden
Silicon Valley Has an Empathy Vacuum - The New Yorker
“My hope is that we in the technology industry will look up from our smartphones and try to understand the impact of whiplashing change on a generation of our fellow-citizens who feel hopeless and left behind. Instead, I read the comments of Balaji Srinivasan, the C.E.O. of the San Francisco-based Bitcoin startup 21 Inc., telling the Wall Street Journal columnist Christopher Mims that he feels more connected to people in his ‘Stanford network’ around the globe than to those in California’s Central Valley: ‘There will be a recognition that if we don’t have control of the nation state, we should reduce the nation state’s power over us.’”
SiliconValley  Elites  MustRead 
december 2016 by cbearden
TLSChristianity and the birth of modernity – Rupert Shortt
“First, is secularism really robust enough to carry the freight once shouldered by the Church in Europe? Ask politicians or NGOs about the functional aspect of human rights, say, and you’re likely to get an assured answer. Ask about the source of those rights, or about deeper questions of truth and purpose, and the replies are coy. Second and more significantly, is Moran’s apparent assumption that we are simply dancing a minuet around the void actually true? Armchair philosophers – many of them far less acute than James or Moran – regularly announce that the centre cannot hold. As Terry Eagleton among others has emphasized, such people can purchase their unbelief on the cheap, usually by setting up a straw man version of religion no thoughtful believer could accept, before felling it with a single puff. To counter that things do not fall apart may take courage, or insight of another sort – or maybe just the innocence of a child.”

“If we are not self-created, we are answerable to a truth we don’t make.”
Christianity  Culture  Modernity  MustRead 
december 2016 by cbearden
Populism: a defence | Books & Essays | For Europe, Against the EU | spiked
Many representatives of the cultural elite claim that the people no longer care about the truth. What they really mean is that people don’t care about their version of the truth. So when the French celebrity philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy declared that people have ‘lost interest in whether politicians tell the truth’, he was really describing an electorate that no longer shares hisvalues.
Populism  Technocracy  FrankFuredi  MustRead 
november 2016 by cbearden
They Always Wanted Trump - POLITICO Magazine
“Clinton aides finally started to see Trump as more than a tool to destroy Bush. In fact, Mook took him so seriously that his team’s internal, if informal, guidance was to hold fire on Trump during the primary and resist the urge to distribute any of the opposition research the Democrats were scrambling to amass against him. That hoarding plan remained in place deep into 2016 as some senior aides stayed convinced that a race against Trump would be a dream for Clinton, but as others kept insisting on tweaking the long-term plans against Rubio and Cruz—convinced the GOP would ultimately coalesce around the Floridian.”
Election2016  HillaryClinton  DonaldTrump  TeamClinton  MustRead 
november 2016 by cbearden
An Election Is Not a Suicide Mission - The New York Times
“A vote for Trump is not a vote for insurrection or terrorism or secession. But it is a vote for a man who stands well outside the norms of American presidential politics, who has displayed a naked contempt for republican institutions and constitutional constraints, who deliberately injects noxious conspiracy theories into political conversation, who has tiptoed closer to the incitement of political violence than any major politician in my lifetime, whose admiration for authoritarian rulers is longstanding, who has endorsed war crimes and indulged racists and so on down a list that would exhaust this column’s word count if I continued to compile it.”
DonaldTrump  Election2016  RossDouthat  MustRead 
november 2016 by cbearden
Madison and the Perils of Populism > Publications > National Affairs
“Obscured by the turn to populist democracy is any sense that representatives and political parties play an important role in educating and shaping the public mind, or that democracy depends on political leadership to refine, channel, and elevate popular wants. This is curious because it is so at odds with the understanding of liberal democracy that underlies our Constitution, an understanding that is increasingly under pressure. It is particularly curious that Republicans, who not only purport to revere America's Constitution but have made a habit of insisting that it is being undermined, have embraced a populist view of democracy.”
Populism  Democracy  JamesMadison  Constitution  MustRead 
october 2016 by cbearden
Tradition in a Scattering Time - Online Library of Law & Liberty
"We can begin with the obvious fact that we live in abundance amidst unheralded opportunities for most Americans. But things which should be solid seem to teeter uncomfortably atop creaking foundations.  Is there a coherent American citizenship that emerges from a collective memory and intelligence? What constitution do we now live under? Is the lack of any unifying tradition at the heart of our inability to sustain a constitutional consensus that would guide disagreement about policy means and ends? And maybe that’s just it, a constitutional tradition isn’t something you have to necessarily articulate—you feel it in your hips, as Willmoore Kendall once said.  But when it goes, can you get it back?"
Tradition  Liberty  Autonomy  America  RobertReinsch  MustRead 
october 2016 by cbearden
The house is on fire! / by Gary Saul Morson ; On the hidden horrors of Soviet life.
“The volume’s scholars estimate twenty million deaths in the ussr, sixty-five million in China, two million each in Cambodia and North Korea, 1.7 million in Mengistu’s Ethiopia and other African countries, and so on, to a total of about one hundred million. (Eerily, the chief revolutionary in Dostoevsky’s novel The Possessed predicts that the cost of perfect equality will be ‘a hundred million heads.’) So far as I can tell, these estimates are understatements. For example, the most authoritative study of Stalin’s war against the peasantry in the early 1930s, Robert Conquest’s Harvest of Sorrow, arrives at a figure twice the one in this volume. The difference between the two estimates—the margin of error—equals the number of Jews killed by the Nazis.”
Communism  Stalinism  MustRead  from twitter
september 2016 by cbearden
How Global Elites Forsake Their Countrymen - WSJ
“The larger point is that this is something we are seeing all over, the top detaching itself from the bottom, feeling little loyalty to it or affiliation with it. It is a theme I see working its way throughout the West’s power centers. At its heart it is not only a detachment from, but a lack of interest in, the lives of your countrymen, of those who are not at the table, and who understand that they’ve been abandoned by their leaders’ selfishness and mad virtue-signalling.”

“From what I’ve seen of those in power throughout business and politics now, the people of your country are not your countrymen, they’re aliens whose bizarre emotions you must attempt occasionally to anticipate and manage.”
PeggyNoonan  Elites  AngelaMerkel  ImmigrationCrisis  MustRead 
august 2016 by cbearden
Trump: Tribune Of Poor White People | The American Conservative
“The thing that so few of us either understand or want to talk about is that nobody who lives the way these poor black and white people do is ever going to amount to anything. There’s never going to be an economy rich enough or a government program strong enough to compensate for the lack of a stable family and the absence of self-discipline. Are Americans even capable of hearing that anymore?”
RodDreher  JDVance  Interviews  Poverty  AntiElitism  MustRead 
july 2016 by cbearden
Ten Theses on Immigration - The New York Times
1. The nation-state is real, and (thus far) irreplaceable.
2. Immigration is a perilous solution to demographic decline.
3. Culture is very real, and cultural inheritances tend to be enduring.
4. Cultural commonalities help assimilation; cultural differences spur balkanization.
5. Punctuated immigration encourages assimilation; constant immigration limits it.
6. Cosmopolitanism is unusual; tribalism comes naturally.
8. Native backlash against perceived cultural transformation is very powerful, and any politics that refuses to take account of it will fail.
9. Liberal societies are not guaranteed survival.
10. Europe and America are different.

“If you make choices that very predictably empower the National Front or Pegida or Trump [or Brexit –ed.], you cannot wash your hands of those consequences by saying, ‘oh, it’s not my fault that my fellow countrymen are such terrible bigots.’ The way to disempower demagogues is not to maintain a high-minded moral purity that’s dismissive of public opinion’s actual shape; it’s to balance your purity with prudence, so as to avoid handing demagogues issues that might eventually deprive you of power entirely, and render all your moral ambitions moot.”
RossDouthat  Immigration  MustRead 
june 2016 by cbearden
Neutered by Neutrality: The Abiding Influence of John Rawls, Part Two | Public Discourse
“When all comprehensive doctrines are bracketed out of political discourse, what is left tends to be scandalous, sensational, and empty. When interlocutors can no longer appeal to a shared conception of justice and shared notions of rational criteria of judgment, all that is left is power and suspicion. We suspect that our adversaries’ arguments didn’t come first, with the conclusions following from the reasonability of those arguments. Rather, it often seems that their conclusion came first and only later did they search for supporting arguments to buttress their position publicly. But if this is the case, then, as Nietzsche argued, what we call ‘arguments’ are only masks for a person’s will to power.”
JohnRawls  Ethics  Law  MustRead 
june 2016 by cbearden
Defeated by Default: The Abiding Influence of John Rawls, Part One | Public Discourse
“John Rawls’s philosophy of jurisprudence permeates America’s top universities and law schools. The acceptance of his principles foreordained the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage and will do the same in future cases involving euthanasia, transgender rights, and polygamy. Part one of two.”

“Could we really manufacture ‘equality’ in all relevant areas of life, even if we wanted to? Could we, for example, manufacture an equality of families? Rawls tellingly acknowledges that ‘the principle of fair opportunity can be only imperfectly carried out, at least as long as the institution of the family exists.’ We might suspect, then, that a perfectly consistent Rawlsian would work tirelessly to eradicate the family as the last bastion of ‘unfairness.’ Thus, when someone like Mark Regnerus presents evidence that certain family structures are better for children, such evidence could only work against the position of those who cite his work. Since the quality of one’s family is one of those ‘natural assets’ that creates an unequal distribution of society’s benefits, its effect must be minimized as much as possible.”
JohnRawls  Ethics  Jurisprudence  MustRead 
june 2016 by cbearden
Trump's America / Charles Murray (AEI, Feb 12, 2016)
One of the very best things I've read on Trumpism.

“If you are dismayed by Trumpism, don’t kid yourself that it will fade away if Donald Trump fails to win the Republican nomination. Trumpism is an expression of the legitimate anger that many Americans feel about the course that the country has taken, and its appearance was predictable. It is the endgame of a process that has been going on for a half-century: America’s divestment of its historic national identity.”

“Try using ‘redneck’ in a conversation with your highly educated friends and see if it triggers any of the nervousness that accompanies other ethnic slurs. Refer to ‘flyover country’ and consider the implications when no one asks, ‘What does that mean?’ Or I can send you to chat with a friend in Washington, D.C., who bought a weekend place in West Virginia. He will tell you about the contempt for his new neighbors that he has encountered in the elite precincts of the nation’s capital.”
Trumpism  CharlesMurray  DonaldTrump  MustRead 
may 2016 by cbearden
Why does Silicon Valley seem to love Democrats and dismiss the GOP? A Q&A with journalist Greg Ferenstein - AEI
“Silicon Valley’s ideology is pro-market but it is not pro-liberty. Liberty is not a value. They are highly, highly, collectivist. They believe that every single person has a positive obligation to society and the government can help people or coerce people or incentive into making a unique contribution.
“… Equality is also not a value. … Silicon Valley is all about inequity and unpredictability. They really believe that some people are much more productive or inventive than others. One of the ways in which this manifests itself is performance based funding, where they will encourage competition among schools and will give some schools more money than other. Labor unions hate it.”
SiliconValleyPolitics  Politics  SiliconValley  MustRead 
may 2016 by cbearden
Deadly Progressivism | R. R. Reno | First Things
@RadioFreeTom @KevinNR To be fair, I think there's a great deal of truth in this:
FirstThings  Progressivism  PublicMorality  MustRead 
november 2015 by cbearden
Eric's Archived Thoughts: Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty
“Algorithms are essentially thoughtless. They model certain decision flows, but once you run them, no more thought occurs. To call a person ‘thoughtless’ is usually considered a slight, or an outright insult; and yet, we unleash so many literally thoughtless processes on our users, on our lives, on ourselves.”
AlgorithmicCulture  FailureModes  MustRead 
december 2014 by cbearden
Puddleglum and the Savage / by Ross Douthat (NYTimes.com, November 23, 2013)
“In effect, both Huxley and Lewis looked at a utilitarian’s paradise — a world where all material needs are met, pleasure is maximized and pain eliminated — and pointed out what we might be giving up to get there: the entire vertical dimension in human life, the quest for the sublime and the transcendent, for romance and honor, beauty and truth.”
RossDouthat  JFK  CSLewis  AldousHuxley  MustRead 
january 2014 by cbearden

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