Monday, April 30, 2007

Council Winners

[posted by Callimachus]

Winners for the week of April 27 have been posted.

First place within the council went to the Earth Day post from this site, by a hair, over Presidential Power and Criminal Terrorists by Bookworm Room.

Votes also went to Helots at Eternity Road; On Winners and Losers -- Harry Reid and Defeatism by Joshuapundit; One Day Has Passed by The Glittering Eye; and Into Every Life, Some Reid Must Fall by Big Lizards.

Outside the council, the winner was The Big White Lie by Andrew Klavan in City Journal. This one got a lot of kudos from the right side, but I was not all that impressed with it. While I appreciate the liberation that comes with not having to praise certain bad writers who happen to be ideologically fashionable, that's not necessarily an exclusively right-wing experience (*cough, cough* Ayn Rand *cough, cough*). Nor are the "tortuous attempts to rename unpleasant facts out of existence" only found on one side of the equation.

Where Klavan writes, "The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to lie," he then goes on to list the classic liberal shibboleths. But there are uncomfortable easy answers on the right as well, such as the question of the deserving poor or the role of governments in marketplaces. And whereas Klavan naturally writes about the Hollywood liberal set he knows best, it is a mistake to lump all the left into that category.

He also loses me when he accuses leftism of "hiding itself within the most labyrinthine construct of social delicacy since Victoria was queen." Well, as a conservative, you ought to find something faintly appealing in the collectively agreed-to and socially applied codes of decency and politeness that defined that more refined era. At least by contrast to the Don Imus thing and whatever it is that spews out of the too-loud car stereos that drive by me in the hood all summer. And to say, as he does, "It sometimes takes, I mean, a Rush Limbaugh or a Sean Hannity to withstand the obloquy attached to stating the facts of the matter" seems to me to give these men too much credit for what it is they do.

Also getting votes were our friend Michael J. Totten, for Where Kurdistan Meets the Red Zone, another of his stellar on-the-scene pieces from Iraq; and Getting the Message, a highly recommended (by me) offering from The Mudville Gazette.

Votes also went to A Failure of Doctrine, Not of People a thought-provoking piece at Winds of Change; A Time for War, a moving rumination at Treppenwitz; and We Get the Government We Deserve at The QandO Blog, which addresses one of several elephants in the room of the current American political scene:

So, on the one hand, you have poor transmission of culture through a failing education system and on the other, a press which can and does shape public opinion even if the public doesn't, for the most part, understand the fundamentals of the system. Given that, it should come as no surprise to any of us that we have the government we have, the "beauty contest" elections we conduct nor the seemingly unstoppable growth government continues to enjoy. To me the only remaining question is have we reached the point of no return, or is there still time to try to turn it around?