The negation of ideology

Obviously, I don’t buy the idea that when giants like Bill Buckley roamed the earth, conservatism was teh awesome, but Kathleen Parker digs up a quote from Russell Kirk that is very interesting in light of today’s purity tests and party purges:

In fact, the 10-point checklist proffered by Bopp and others is the antithesis of conservatism. As Kirk wrote in his own “Ten Conservative Principles,” conservatism “possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata . . . conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.”

Each of Bopp’s bullets is so overly broad and general that no thoughtful person could endorse it in good conscience. Some are so simplistic as to be meaningless. As just one example: “We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges.” What does that mean? Do we support all troop surges no matter what other considerations might be taken into account? Do we take nothing else into account? Does disagreement mean one doesn’t support victory?

Whatever the intent of the authors, the message is clear: Thinking people need not apply.

What’s interesting to me is that today, even self-styled intellectual conservatives claim that David Hume and Edmund Burke offer specific policy proposals. I guess the truth is that anything can be dumbed down to a list of bullet points if you try hard enough.

In fairness, it’s not just Republicans hanging up a sign that says “thinking people need not apply.” When Obama is compared to Spock for insisting on the use of reason in decision-making and told to just make a fast decision, even it’s wrong, on Iraq Afghanistan, the media has that sign up too.

It’s hard not to see this as a sickness that may eventually destroy our society.

More signs of a Republican resurgence

This (via Robert Harding) ought to have New York State Dems quaking in their boots:

Emil Henry, Jr., a former assistant Treasury secretary under George W. Bush and executive at Lehman Brothers, has been in discussions with state Republican officials about the possibility of running for governor next year, according to people with knowledge of the conversations.

Ed Cox, the state Republican chairman, has courted Henry intensively in recent weeks, hoping to recruit a wealthy and well-connected candidate…


….when Henry left the Treasury department in 2007 after two years on the job, Paulson issued a statement thanking him for “reducing the regulatory burden on our nation’s financial institutions, and spearheading our efforts for preparation in the event of a financial crisis.”

I’m probably less of a banksta hater than most, but this strikes me as beyond stupid. Not just because he would have no chance of winning, but because he’d almost certainly get teabagged. A party split is the last thing NYS Republican can afford right now. If they’re smart, they’ll put some Doug Hoffman-type loon at the top of the state Republican ticket in 2010 to fire up the base and help with down-ticket races.

Open Thread

No access to my home computer today, so two photos by me. Regular photo blogging will start again on Monday.



Email me a link to your one or two favorite pics on a photo site like Flickr (do not send the image itself please) and I will put up favorites in open threads. Send a short caption if you want one.

Click on the photos for a link to the photographer’s website. To see all photo threads, click on ‘photo blogging’ at the bottom of the post.

If your computer cannot read our email links at top right, my email is (remove the zeroes): portus0jackson0ii at yahoo dot com.

This Could Get Really Ugly

Could be a long, long day tomorrow for Steeler nation:

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who sustained his fourth concussion in four years last Sunday, will miss this week’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, has reported.

That leaves the Steelers with Dennis Dixon as their starting quarterback.

Dixon, the third-string option before Charlie Batch broke his left wrist when he came in against Kansas City, has appeared in one game in his two NFL seasons, completing one pass.


The Dubai Mess

I’ve read this article twice, and I simply do not understand the relationship between debtor nations and the real estate speculators at Dubai. Anyone want to fill me in?


I’m hard-pressed to disagree with a whole lot of this Kathleen Parker piece.

I’m actually kind of shocked Fred Hiatt let it through.

Who would Jesus execute?

Let the eagle soar (obligatory link):

SHARLET: [The] new (Ugandana) legislation adds to this something called aggravated homosexuality. And this can include, for instance, if a gay man has sex with another man who is disabled, that’s aggravated homosexuality, and that man can be – I suppose both, actually, could be put to death for this. The use of any drugs or any intoxicants in seeking gay sex – in other words, you go to a bar and you buy a guy a drink, you’re subject to the death penalty if you go home and sleep together after that. What it also does is it extends this outward, so that if you know a gay person and you don’t report it, that could mean – you don’t report your son or daughter, you can go to prison.

And it goes further, to say that any kind of promotion of these ideas of homosexuality, including by foreigners, can result in prison terms. Talking about same sex-marriage positively can lead you to imprisonment for life. And it’s really kind of a perfect case study and the export of a lot of American largely evangelical ideas about homosexuality exported to Uganda, which then takes them to their logical end.


SHARLET: [The] legislator that introduces the bill, a guy named David Bahati, is a member of the Family. He appears to be a core member of the Family. He works, he organizes their Uganda National Prayer Breakfast and oversees a African sort of student leadership program designed to create future leaders for Africa, into which the Family has poured millions of dollars working through a very convoluted chain of linkages passing the money over to Uganda…

Looking at the the Family’s 990s [IRS records], where they’re moving their money to – into this African leadership academy called Cornerstone, which runs two programs: Youth Corps, which [it] has described in the past as an international “invisible family binding together world leaders” and also, an alumni organization designed to place Cornerstone grads – graduates of this sort of very elite educational program and politics and NGO’s through something called the African Youth Leadership Forum, which is run by – according to Ugandan media – which is run by David Bahat…