Saved from the American Conflagration

To be placed in a shrine impervious to Russell Pearce and his bilious followers….

The Declaration of Independence

Except for the abused people referred to as …inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages…, and the people transported here against their will from their homes in Africa, and kept in cruel and abject bondage for generations, a promising beginning.

The Constitution of the United States

An intelligent and remarkably valiant attempt to mix oil and water, which managed to endure for 220 years, more or less. In its later amendments, particularly the 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th and 24th, some evidence that the promise of the founders might one day be fulfilled.

Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address

The clearest warning we ever got.

Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address


Emma Lazarus’ The Colossus

The promise renewed.

A Tinkerer’s Damnation

Originally appeared as a comment on Autonomy for All. Reposted here with minor changes.

Tinkering…. As good a word as any for a dearth of political will. I hate to bash Brad DeLong, who’s one of the good guys, and doesn’t really deserve a snarking, but he’s a classic case of the technocrat who believes in all the seemingly correct policy solutions, yet is left as helpless as the rest of us by the madness of Realpolitik, not to mention the madness of people who wouldn’t recognize realism if it bit them in the ass.

Here’s Professor DeLong, who’s as smart as we make them these days, waxing ironic:

And here we reach the limits of my mental horizons as a neoliberal, as a technocrat, as a mainstream neoclassical economist. Right now the global market economy is suffering a grand mal seizure of high unemployment and slack demand. We know the cures–fiscal stimulus via more government spending, monetary stimulus via provision by central banks of the financial assets the private sector wants to hold, institutional reform to try once gain to curb the bankers’ tendency to indulge in speculative excess under control. Yet we are not doing any of them. Instead, we are calling for “austerity.”

It may make for decent theater, but irony is hardly the best defense against the limitations of the intellect in situations like the one we all find ourselves facing today. Neither is cognitive dissonance, as in the governor of Wisconsin — Wisconsin, for Christ’s sake — threatening to use the National Guard to shoot public employees who object to being beggared by a nasty right-wing ideologue. Or, if you’d rather read about the problems of furriners, this: The Arab World’s Triple Crisis.

If Professors DeLong and Krugman can’t handle the political implications of our manifold current crises, who can? My answer is that no one can, not and remain unscathed. Our future is no longer strictly a mattter of policies good or bad, and no matter how much we might wish it to be otherwise, the outcome has become unpredictable.

21st Century Partisanship

The national coalition of misanthropes which is making war on me and mine clearly believes that honesty is a form of mental retardation. Unfortunately, liberal luminaries like Barack Obama, the Clinton dynasty, Rahm Emanuel, Jamie Dimon, and a glittering host of others in the Democratic Party and its affiliates seem to share that belief. They aren’t my allies. At best they’re placeholders; at worst, they’re part of the enemy’s baggage train.

As many of our disgruntled and downtrodden have already observed, this makes partisanship in the new American century something of a bore — when it isn’t downright dangerous to our future health, well-being and sanity.

So when I call you, and urge you to vote for President Obama next year — which it seems very likely I’ll feel compelled to do — please do consider the subtext.