Archive for May 2009


How does a snarling misanthrope like Dick Cheney or William Bennett manage to convince himself and others that he’s a man of virtue? It’s easier to understand with Cheney than it is with Bennett. After all, this was a man with genuine power over others. He could have had you drowned 83 times a month, […]

Luxe, Calme, et Volupté

This blogging stuff is hard work, especially when you’re trying to force your way uphill against what Paul Rosenberg calls our hegemonic discourse. For myself, I’d just like to recover a little of the America that an earnest young teacher once told me about in a junior high civics class, and my parents still believed in […]

The American Leviathan

For the laws of nature (as justice, equity, modesty, mercy, and, in sum, doing to others as we would be done to) of themselves, without the terror of some power, to cause them to be observed, are contrary to our natural passions, that carry us to partiality, pride, revenge and the like. Without the terror […]

We Can’t Get There From Here

If the government is going to give billions, even trillions of our tax dollars to the banks, we should own them. Nationalize the banks. When progressive Democrats say this, what they usually mean is that the government should take over the large investment banks and bank holding companies which have been the recipients of tax-funded […]

The Judgment of History

Jack Kemp is dead. Full stop. The media commentary on his passing is mixed. Some say he was a nice man, and some say he wasn’t, which is about what you’d expect for a public figure, particularly one who spent as much time as he did being controversial. Although I was around when he was […]

Torture Me Elmo

The unbearable lightness of being. This is a case history of what happens when good people trade good will for a stunned complacency. Garrison Keillor, of all people, thinks that prosecuting the miscreants who attempted to square the circle on torture would be victor’s justice, a pallid, sour mockery of the real thing. Let’s have […]

Class Notes — May Day, 2009

Note: this was supposed to have been up yesterday, but then so was I. In a country which has already outsourced a substantial part of its manufacturing, and prides itself on the marvels of the service economy which replaced it, you have to wonder if there’s still any point in making a distinction between what we used […]

Ninety-nine Cents Worth

Compared to the gaseous diffusions of our political discourse these days, the offerings of our songwriters are often a marvel of directness. If you want to know what I mean, do yourself a favor and go listen to John Mayer’s gem Gravity, from his album Continuum. I won’t quote the lyrics here — fair use […]