Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I want to make myself feel better, so I will give you the DeLongian sign-off: That is all.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
(h/t Brad DeLong)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
UPDATE: Also, welcome to any readers who reached us via Grasping Reality with Both Hands, which I've always thought of as a violent metaphor, bringing to mind the image of an enraged Brad DeLong grasping reality between his hands and throttling it, similarly to how he appeared when he debated this guy.
Monday, August 17, 2009
I've heard it said that it might have been a mistake to give seniors Medicare back in the 60s, because those of us in favor of universal healthcare robbed our cause of (1) the most consistent voting block in the country, and (2) a voting block that has the most to gain from healthcare coverage provided by the government. Whatever the truth of that is, it certainly does seem that there is an effective anti-reform strategy involved in scaring seniors, and Douthat is right to point that out.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
"If you travel long enough and far enough — like by jet to Johannesburg, by prop plane to northern Botswana and then by bush plane deep into the Okavango Delta — you can still find it. It is that special place that on medieval maps would have been shaded black and labeled: “Here there be Dragons!” But in the postmodern age, it is the place where my BlackBerry, my wireless laptop and even my satellite phone all gave me the same message: “No Service.”
Exotic byline? Check. Technological hat-tip? Check. Reference to "post-modern?" Check. Take her off to Ed, doll, I'm catchin' a steamer to Zanzibar. Where's my pith helmet?!
While I appreciate Brad DeLong linking to this piece, and I agree that it's a mistake to assume that Cronkite-era journalism was much better, the implication in the final paragraphs that the scummy David Broder was worse than Walter Lippmann dismays me. Read your Drift and Mastery, DeLong!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
To the Editor:
One phrase used by more than a few people in the debate on health care reform is that “our health care system is the envy of the world.” Which world is that?
A recent Harris/Decima Poll in Canada, the country that probably knows our system the best, found a 10-to-1 majority who believe their system is better than ours. And Harris Polls in France and Britain found that most people there believe that their systems are “the envy of the world.”Humphrey Taylor
Chairman, The Harris Poll
New York, Aug. 13, 2009
-from a New York Times Editorial
Friday, August 14, 2009
In my experience, it has never denounced the destruction of wild chinchilla populations in the Andes. It has never sought to combat the negative stereotypes about Slovakia perpetuated by the depiction of Bratislava in Eli Roth's "Hostel" films as a place of third-world savagery and sadotourism. My perusal of the archives has yielded no posts attacking or defending Jon Elster; relatedly, the links on the right side of the page are bereft of sociology blogs in favor of things like "Philosophy, et cetera," which smacks to me of a narcissistic disciplinary chauvinism that impedes the catholic wonderment that marks the best life has to offer.
But this blog, if you will permit me a cliche, is an oasis in the desert of our contemporary politics. It is a refuge where PKrug is rightly lauded for wielding his Nobel-burnished credibility like a Republican-smiting Mjöllnir, where Glenn Greenwald is forgiven for his bad Portuguese but hailed for his keen intellect, and where half the posts are short enough to be Tweets but I gobble them up anyway like Belgian candies made of unctuous marzipan wrapped around nougaty polemic. Frankly, it is a blog that cannot be ignored.
My plan is to abet the already high quality of the blog. Ultimately, the prestige of the PKLFM cenacle will make possible a guest appearance by PKrug himself on these digital pages.
It is to this end that I devote myself, as well as to the satiety of those readers extant and still to come.
"It's not just that the NHS outperforms the US on most health outcomes. What leaps out at one is the way in which class amplifies the differences. America's psychopathic healthcare system is sacrificing tens of thousands of lives, mainly working class and African American, for the sake of profit. Health advisors and boards of trustees routinely kill people, knowingly, to defend the bottom-line. Right now, those who are scaremongering about the NHS are lobbying vehemently to ensure that nothing about this vile state of affairs ever changes. They aren't stupid enough not to understand the consequences of what they are doing, but the current rate of death and misery is part of creating an optimal investment climate. This is social sadism. This is a humanitarian catastrophe. To remedy this intolerable state of affairs, I propose a lobby or solidarity group to 'Save America' (or 'Save America From Itself', or 'Stop Them Before They Kill Again' - you get the picture). There should be rock concerts in Hyde Park to raise money for the millions of Americans who have no healthcare. Bob Geldof and Bono - and here's the excellent thing - would be totally uninvolved in any of this. Funds should be available for those who have been told by their insurance companies that their life is less important than shareholder value, to pay for an airline ticket to any country where they can get treated properly. And all support should be given to those heroic freedom fighters taking on the inhuman monsters who have been getting away with killing their people for far too long. I bet negative PR like that would get some reforms going pretty fucking quickly."
Liberals have a touching attachment to the idea that the truth will win out, that a truth is so blindingly clear to people that they will accept it. As long as we get the truth out, we will win. Oh well, all ideologies have their blind-spots...
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
-"The Availability of Wittgenstein's Later Philosophy," Stanley Cavell
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Btw, I spelled Ahmadinejad's name correctly on the first try. I must be a terrorist.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
-Must We Mean What We Say?
This passage in the Foreword to Must We Mean What We Say? struck me, and I mean provoked in me a cascade of connected thoughts. I have a strong affinity for it because of its similarity to a passage in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which I romantically want to believe inspired Cavell. At the end of Book I of Zarathustra, which, according to popular conception, Nietzsche wrote in a feverish state of inspiration in less than ten days, Zarathustra implores his followers to repudiate him. He says "One repays a teacher poorly by always remaining a student." For anyone inspired by Nietzsche to philosophy, this is a critical passage. Nietzsche expects those who would follow him to reject him.
This is a deeply disturbing prospect, and on the surface, paradoxical. How can one best show fidelity to a vision by rejecting it? But that is what Nietzsche urges. There is more to what he says than the sentimental pap of "find your own way." While there is certainly some truth to that statement, it obfuscates more than it reveals. It sounds clear enough, but what does it really mean?
I cannot claim to have a fully fleshed out answer to the question of how one philosophizes with a hammer, to use a particularly bombastic Nietzschean locution. I think the key might lie in the idea of an attitude towards philosophy, instead of particular philosophical positions. It is fashionable in contemporary Anglo-American philosophy to delineate philosophers by their substantive philosophical claims. People are divided into naturalists and theists, incompatibilists and compatibilists, externalists and internalists. One wonders what the point of all such categorization is. It certainly does not seem to be the main thrust of Nietzsche's philosophizing. Is the metaphysical status of the will to power an interesting question? What about Nietzsche's substantive ethical positions? Is that why we read Nietzsche?
I don't think it is. We read Nietzsche to watch him in action, to see what it is like for a sensitive person to come to grips with the pressure of existence. I don't have all the answers as to what Nietzsche is doing. All I know is what I want to do is more of whatever that is, and the first step is to figure out how to do that in a manner congruent with his Zarathustran maxim.