Today is

   "A word to the wise ain't necessary --  
          it's the stupid ones that need the advice."
					-Bill Cosby

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Out and About

Here's Reihan Salam on progressives, reactionaries, blithe assumptions, and "ideologically correct" institutions:

But it occurs to me that the most diehard reactionaries I know are veterans of … schools and non-profits. The reasons are perhaps obvious. There are schools and non-profits that work, to be sure, but my sense is that those that do work are often institutions plagued by the blithe assumptions Chris so strongly resists. Without exaggerating, I think it’s safe to say that veterans of the private sector have made nontrivial contributions to the nonprofit world in recent years, hence the boom in “social entrepreneurship.” Now, much of this is shallow and faddish, yet it’s also clear that much of it has done real good.

The insight behind Chris’s thoughts is a very powerful one, and it closely resembles that of the early Christians, the Mormons, the Scientologists, and conservative groups like the Leadership Institute: it is crucially important that believers closely associate with other believers, and that these relationships outweigh those with nonbelievers in importance. This is an excellent, excellent model for encouraging group loyalty.

But is it a good model for a flourishing intellectual life, or for fostering innovation? Are ideologically correct institutions, like Heritage of the Office of Special Plans, the most responsive to inconvenient evidence?

Withywindle comments on an environmental manifesto that equates conservatism with personal nastiness:

This is, of course, obnoxious nonsense, largely because it makes a simple equivalence between personal nastiness and conservative politics. But what makes it obnoxious nonsense isn't simply the bye-the-bye equivalence of conservativism with personal unpleasantness--it's the conflation of personal and public character, period. The person who writes this sort of vileness doesn't seem capable of saying "such-and-such is an admirable person, although I disagree with his politics." Now, this sort of conflation is the bread and butter of truly traditional political discourse--but the creation of a space between public and private character, between the personal and the political, is the bread and butter of modern (i.e., since the late 1600s) politics. Aside from the virtue in itself of such an attitude, our political health depends upon not seeing politics everywhere--upon being able to cherish our fellow citizens (our fellow human beings) for something other than politics.


Anonymous Topdog said...

KMa, ya mean like we cherish Madman?

October 16, 2007 8:42 PM  
Blogger Kate Marie said...


Sure -- and as I'm sure he cherishes us. :)

When you think of Madman, think of him heckling the Blue Jays left-fielder with a bastardized version of "O,Canada!" at WD's bachelor party. Politics can't tarnish that.

October 16, 2007 9:54 PM  

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