Don’t say we weren’t told
Many sober voices warned that an expansion of NATO to Russia’s border would poke the Bear, leading to an inevitable war. As long ago as 1998, following the U.S. decision to expand NATO eastwards, George Kennan said the following to Thomas Friedman:
“I think it is the beginning of a new cold war. I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the founding fathers of this country turn over in their graves.
Patrick Deneen, Russia, America, and the Danger of Political Gnosticism.
Super-smart people, as Haidt notes in The Righteous Mind, are more skilled than others at finding arguments to justify their own points of view. But when they are asked to find arguments on the opposite side of a question, they do no better than anyone else. Brainpower makes people better press secretaries, but not necessarily better at open-minded, self-critical thinking.
Jonathan Rauch, The Constitution of Knowledge
Alarmist medical news feed
There must be an alarmist news feed, because my local TV station’s noon news always clocks in around 12:20 with some new medical study that shows I should give up yet another pleasure.
I offer in response Study Shows You’re Nobody Until Somebody Loves You.
Distraction is deliberate
“Distraction” will become the formal currency that drives the economy because in a nation where people (especially young men) can no longer count on full-time employment, the state will have every incentive to support and defend every hedonistic, narcissistic, distractive behavior in order to keep attention off themselves and their failed policies.
James Howard Kunstler, Living in the Long Emergency
What Basic Income ultimately proposes is to detach livelihood from work. Its immediate effect would be to massively reduce the amount of bureaucracy in any country that implemented it. As Leslie’s case shows, an enormous amount of the machinery of government, and that half-government corporate NGO penumbra that surrounds it in most wealthy societies, is just there to make poor people feel bad about themselves. It’s an extraordinarily expensive moral game played to prop up a largely useless global work machine.
David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs
(An FBI field-office report lumped some “traditionalist” Catholics with “violent extremists” and called for government investigation:)
The document’s “open source” reporting comes from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has spent years branding mainstream conservative groups as “hate” organizations and has no credibility outside progressive circles. The FBI gumshoes also point to articles in Salon and The Atlantic, which shows they need to expand their reading lists.
No wonder the FBI retreated once the document was made public. It hastened to say the report didn’t meet its “exacting standards” and was being removed from its system. It also promised the FBI “will never conduct investigative activities or open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray’s problem is that millions of Americans no longer believe this ….
An even bigger problem is that millions of Americans justifiably no longer believe anything the federal government says.
WFYI has ruined WBAA
I just need to say this for the benefit of search engines.
WFYI, public radio Indianapolis, purchased WBAA, Indiana’s oldest radio station and the voice of Purdue, in one of a handful of Mitch Daniels moves that have really pissed me off.
At the time of the purchase, WBAA was a better-run station than WFYI, but I had no idea how terribly-run the buyer would make its new acquisition. Monday morning, I listening (because my wife prompted me) to a news segment that ran unintelligibly at half- or quarter-speed. Broadcasts from WBAA are routinely jumping back and repeating 5-10 seconds or material. As I typed this, they played three things (live stream and two pre-recorded announcements, one of them an inaccurate announcement of the time) simultaneously.
Very sad, though it saves me a $X in annual support.
I want to be a headline-writer when I grow up
I’m cutting back, both by design and lessening interest, on reading about politics. But the headline on an NYT Opinion piece amused me: Nikki Haley Has a Great Future Behind Her.
Top issues of the day
Damon Linker explains why anti-woke isn’t his top voting issue:
Here, meanwhile, are some of the things I consider to be significantly more important than the president and party I vote for coming down against wokeness:
Will the president and party abide by the rule of law, including the peaceful and orderly transfer of power based on the lawful and accurate counting of ballots?
Will the president and party treat mendacity like a virtue, knowingly spreading lies in order to discredit ideological opponents, undermine trust in federal law enforcement, and whip up insurrectionary rage in the hopes of using it to overturn constitutional checks on power?
Will the president and party fight to preserve government programs on which tens of millions of Americans rely? Or will they act, instead, to fulfill the wishes of plutocratic donors who care most of all about cutting their own taxes?
Will the president and party make wise, level-headed decisions in foreign policy? Or will they react on the basis of personal pique and very narrowly defined notions of national interest (and even on the basis of the president’s pursuit of self-enrichment and the party’s desire to score cheap political points)?
If the president and party do make a move against wokeness, will they do so in a way that’s compatible with individual freedom? Or will the goal be achieved by enhancing government power and curtailing various rights, including the freedom of association?
I would add to Linker the reality that the GOP has seized upon “woke” like Christopher Rufo seized upon “critical race theory”, stretching them beyond recognition and crudely weaponizing the stretched misrepresentations.
Chris Christie ain’t afraid of Florida Man
“I’ve known him for 23 years, and so I’m not the least bit afraid of him,” Christie told The Dispatch during an interview last week, while in Washington for meetings with Republican governors. “The presence of Donald Trump [in the primary] still makes a difference to a lot of people. He didn’t do what the normal one-term president does, which is go away in shame because they’ve lost. He has no shame.”
“If I get in, I get in because I want to win,” Christie said. “I’m going to be a truth-teller in this race. I think that the American people are hungry for the truth, and they don’t even know what it is anymore.”
Chris Christie of Donald Trump
Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.
You can read most of my more impromptu stuff here (cathartic venting) and here (the only social medium I frequent, because people there are quirky, pleasant and real). Both should work in your RSS aggregator, like Feedly or Reeder, should you want to make a habit of it.