Friday, January 25, 2008

Council Winners

Despite my confident predictions of defeat, my nominated post went down to victory in the Watchers Council voting for the week of January 25.

To be clear, it's not a book review, since I plainly state I haven't read the book. Rather it's a meditation on the themes and topics brought up by the discussion of the book, and on some of the author's comments about it. Fascism is profoundly anti-liberal, almost to the point of that being a defining statement of it. The brownshirts who brawled with communist thugs on the streets of Berlin in the '20s recognized they had more in common with each other than with the Jewish art collector or the young journalist, or any classical liberal. There is a modern political clustering in America that calls itself, and is called by its enemies, "liberal." It tends toward many ideas and notions that are antithetical to classical liberalism. This is not a fascism problem. This is a cladism problem. "Conservative" has the same difficulties nowadays, and you might as well write a book and call it "Conservative Bolshevism."

Really it was less a win than a matter of being a nose ahead of a crowded field. Seven other posts got "first place" votes, which, since you can't vote for yourself, attest to a very scattered council. They were:

  • Grim Choices Confront GOP by Right Wing Nut House, who at the time he wrote was facing the imminent withdrawal of his chosen candidate, Fred Thompson. Naturally, his view of the party's chances was a gloomy one: "The GOP is a broken party. If the next nominee could win through to victory, they would have the opportunity to place their imprint on the party for years to come. And the chances of a McCain or Romney getting that opportunity chills the bones of conservatives from all factions of the movement."

  • 'I Have A Dream' -- The Democrat's Version by Joshuapundit, which looks at the other party and delights in the train wreck of identity politics.

  • Hillanomix 101 by Wolf Howling, which is a well-versed discussion of what Hillary probably thinks about the economy of the U.S., and what ought to be done to it. It is likely right that, as Wolf concludes, she would prefer more of an EU approach to the economy. Whether she actually could accomplish her wish is another matter.

  • The Radicalization of American Politics by The Glittering Eye, a characrteristically thoughtful piece by Dave, which looks at the Democrats but really addresses both parties. His conclusion is that '60s-stype consciousness-raising about various issues or perceived threats has damaged our discourse, because "those whose consciousnesses have been raised see every event or statement through the prism of that raised consciousness. If you’ve been radicalized with respect to sexual orientation even the most innocent comment can be suspicious."

  • Di Caprio Lies and Hustles Bucks by Cheat Seeking Missiles. It's easy to pass off the humanitarian huckstering of vapid celebrities, and it is a waste of good anger to get too angry about jet-set posturing. But this post also notes the vast waste of materials likely involved in a single fund-raising campaign for what is supposed to be an organization decrying consumer waste and unsustainable practices.

  • Our Out of Control Borders: Who's Accountable? by The Education Wonks. EdWonk offers a perspective on this problem that most of us can't feel personally: "our family lives only ten miles north of the border and, for us, the consequences of our government's refusal to secure this broken down border isn't an abstraction, but an everyday fact of life as our schools, maternity wards, and hospital emergency rooms are overflowing with illegals aliens who are demanding (and getting) social services at taxpayers' expense."

  • What Is "Freedom"? by The Colossus of Rhodey, which succinctly ties together some of the recent debates about freedom -- specifically freedom of expression -- and notes the exceptions to general endorsements of freedom of expression that are made by entities as diverse as Muslim fundamentalists and the United Nations. Such as, "I believe that my freedom ends where the dignity and respect for all the prophets begins," and "Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others." [emphasis added]

Outside the council, voting was a little more coherent. The winner was Bylines of Brutality, a very funny and spot-on tu quoque from Iowahawk. It got my vote.

Votes also went to It's All Israel's Fault at Gates of Vienna; About the Anarcholibertarians at The QandO Blog, and Doctors and Death and Doctors Death, a particularly thoughtful post and a point of view not often heard, at The IgNoble Experiment.

Another vote went to The Navy's Failing China Policy at Pajamas Media. The U.S. Army and Marines have been honing and refining their tactics during the Iraq War, learning, however painfully, to discard what doesn't work and embrace what does. The Navy has had no such opportunities to test its theories in battle for a very long time. Arguably since World War II. It is well to worry that the fleets are getting rusty, and not in a literal sense.