Spirits in the material world

I’m a little afraid of even asking Corey Robin to come back for a discussion of “The Reactionary Mind” after last time (it devolved into people bashing him for what he said about Nietzsche), but I’ll try to do one without him soon. Here’s a mini half-assed one.

One thing about the book that rings truer and truer to me is its claim that conservatives tend to hate materialism and economic explanations for things, even though they love to talk about the power of markets.

If you’ve been following all the Charles Murray/Bobo bullshit recently, this is exactly their fixation: it’s not enough to help the great unwashed find good jobs, the unwashed need their social superiors beside them to guide them (cause when they’re bad, they’re so so bad). It’s not that Murray/Bobo’s methods to make this happen are unsound, it’s that I don’t see any method at all, sir. Writing books and columns about how tote-baggers should live nearer to strip malls simply does not qualify as a method. Also too, believing that tote-baggers should live closer to strip malls is also a very strange reason to oppose health care ad economic initiatives.

Conservatives may even be right (for all I know) that the moral/philosophical beliefs of the middle-class are the most important thing in our country. But they have no realistic plans to “improve” these beliefs.

So it is in general with conservatism. Everything is about some ineffable pseudo-spirituality that may or may not have anything to do with the material world. Why does anyone take conservatives seriously?






157 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    it devolved into people bashing him for what he said about Nietzsche

    WTF?

    ETA:

    Why does anyone take conservatives seriously?

    They have power, or are agents for those who do.

  2. 2
    pragmatism says:

    Why does anyone take conservatives seriously?

    They may win the lottery someday and want to be worshipped.

  3. 3
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    Matthew 6:24

    ‘Nuff said…

  4. 4
    slag says:

    @Baud:

    it devolved into people bashing him for what he said about Nietzsche

    WTF?

    I believe the phrase you may have been looking for is “LOL!”.

  5. 5
    ReflectedSky says:

    I don’t think anyone does take conservatives seriously, except said conservatives. The military-industrial complex, Wall Street and other powerful, wealthy elites that suck off the government teet use conservative messaging as a distraction and a trick. Most of the people who support the conservative movement are doing out out of tribal identification and resentment of Others. Their emotive bonding means that logic and seriousness is beside the point. Brooks probably does sort of believe what he says, because he pours forth such consistent bilge so copiously. However, if the NY Times was suddenly purchased by, say, John Cole, and there were no well-paid, high prestige, low effort jobs available for his current brand of swill, he would find himself MIRACULOUSLY believing and writing things that John Cole would agree with.

    Most people don’t actually enjoy thinking, it seems.

  6. 6
    schrodinger's cat says:

    They are fools. Like my 6th grade teacher used to say, one who knows not and knows that he knows not is a fool. Or like in Brooks case they are psychopathic shill making fools out of us.

  7. 7
    Steve says:

    At the risk of dredging up an old pie fight, I’m curious what he said about Nietzsche that caused such angst. Maybe DougJ has his tongue in cheek like usual. Personally I loved Nietzsche even though I didn’t understand him at all.

  8. 8
    parsimon says:

    Wait, what did he say about Nietzsche? I’ll have to do some searching to find this.

  9. 9
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Steve: What happened? I missed it all. Should I have brought some popcorn?

  10. 10
    Linnaeus says:

    One thing about the book that rings truer and truer to me is its claim that conservatives tend to hate materialism and economic explanations for things…

    This was particularly evident in a few strains of mid-20th century American conservatism. Folks like Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, etc. opined that one of the flaws (in their view) with left-liberal thought was that it was too materialistic, particularly in the sense that it placed too much emphasis on the material conditions of people’s lives. To them, human societies should be characterized by “natural” orders and classes, and materialism upset this arrangement, leading to a deleterious breakdown of society.

    Put another way, they’re saying, “know thy place and keep it”.

  11. 11
    Face says:

    Why does anyone take conservatives seriously?

    Cuz they’re about to own both the House and Senate.

  12. 12
    Raven says:

    It’s always strange when I see that song because of “Mechanical World” by. . . .Spirit! Killer guitar and vocals.

  13. 13
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    @Steve:

    I’m afraid linking back will lead to a renewal of the argument.

  14. 14
    MariedeGournay says:

    Der Antichrist is my favorite Nietzsche book because it has the most beautiful/ironic description of Christ I’ve ever read. I like him better when he was going mad.

    On topic, yeah, for them ‘markets’ isn’t really about economic systems; it is the God of Proverbs: rewarding the worthy and punishing the undeserving. Actual markets are the realm of fortune, a concept they fear and loathe.

  15. 15
    David Koch says:

    methods to make this happen are unsound, it’s that I don’t see any method at all, sir.

    I love the smell of movie quotes in the morning.

  16. 16
    parsimon says:

    @DougJarvus Green-Ellis:

    If we promise not to renew the argument, but just to enlighten ourselves as to the nature of the thing, can you link it? (I’m asking this chiefly because I’ve studied and taught Nietzsche, and I’d like to know what the kerfuffle was about. Quite possibly some ado about nothing.)

  17. 17
    SteveM says:

    it’s not enough to help the great unwashed find good jobs, the unwashed need their social superiors beside them to guide them

    A nitpick: Murray wouldn’t say “it’s not enough,” he’d say that scolding them is more likely to help them get jobs than actually giving them jobs. Murray categorically denies that economic conditions or the porousness of the safety net can be blamed for even a tiny fraction of the condition of the Fishtowners.

  18. 18
    Tuffy says:

    Why does anyone take conservatives seriously?

    Because (black) Welfare Queens (are black). And young bucks buy T-bone steaks with food stamps.

  19. 19
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    @SteveM:

    Yes, you’re right.

  20. 20
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @ReflectedSky:

    Most people don’t actually enjoy thinking, it seems.

    I have found the same thing. Physical work is often avoided as distasteful.

    Mental work is often conflated as physical work, and although there is energy
    required for thought, to me, it is different. I don’t really enjoy physical labor, but I enjoy thinking. Many do not.

  21. 21
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Raven:

    Fresh Garbage !!!

  22. 22
    Raven says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: The world’s a can for you fresh garbagegegegegegegeege

    Man I love that album, one of those that will stay in my brain even when the alzheimer’s kicks in.

  23. 23
    Svensker says:

    I’m a little afraid of even asking Corey Robin to come back for a discussion of “The Reactionary Mind” after last time (it devolved into people bashing him for what he said about Nietzsche)

    Seriously? Good grief.

    Gift horse, mouth, anyone?

    This is why we can’t have nice things. Really.

  24. 24
    Brachiator says:

    Conservatives may even be right (for all I know) that the moral/philosophical beliefs of the middle-class are the most important thing in our country. But they have no realistic plans to “improve” these beliefs.

    Murray is a tiresome fool. He reminds me of one on Nietzche’s titles in that he practices the use and abuse of psychology and science in order to keep pushing the same rancid ideas that he has been pushing since he co-authored The Bell Curve. Only now, it’s that some white people are as unworthy as black people. I guess this is supposed to count as progress.

    But this simpleminded assertions about “morality” and economics is just dumbth.

  25. 25
    geg6 says:

    OT, but they really are who we thought they were:

    http://www.enewspf.com/latest-.....-race.html

  26. 26
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Raven:

    It’s hard to shake out those deep learning receptors.

  27. 27
    Raven says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: Lemme tell you about the sunrise in the dew listening to “Ice”. Whew!

  28. 28
    kindness says:

    Conservatives may even be right (for all I know) that the moral/philosophical beliefs of the middle-class are the most important thing in our country.

    They aren’t. All they care about is defunding the DFH’s, their own moral superiority and being King of everything.

    @Face: Man, that’s a load of bullshit right there.

  29. 29
    jl says:

    I’ll bite on Nietzsche.

    I do not remember whether I was on that thread ‘bashing’ Corey for what he said about Nietzsche, but would not be surprised if I was.

    IMHO, Corey labelled Nietzsche as a reactionary, and interpretation is that Nietzsche was a counter revolutionary against s * s h * l * sm, commies, and egalitarian levelers. (Edit: interpreted to mean, by the current reactionaries, as what all advanced mixed economies do now).

    I disagree. Nietzsche was a conservative, but not like the current GOP brand.

    Nietzsche wrote about social democracy in Human All to Human. He was not opposed to it, he thought it had advantages and disadvantages. He thought it would destroy itself since it would eventually lead to a population that was too debased to appreciate works done by the state for the common good, and that his notion of the superior elite could use to create great works. He particularly thought it would be useful in keeping the advance of violent authoritarianism at bay (he was wrong about that, clearly).

    A lot of people who try to align the conservative Nietzsche with the current crop of debased reactionaries forget that Nietzsche believed a self sustaining and progressing society of people who did not feel oppressed or exploited was required to breed his beloved supermen.

    Regarding, for example, reproductive rights, I think Nietzsche did want women at home raising kids, but he did not want barefoot, ignorant, impoverished, sick women at home who only had resources to keep a unpredictably expanding brood from starving and dying (which looks like to me what the current reactionary GOP crowd wants.) That kind of mother, and those kinds of kids could not form a foundation for the society in which an elite could reach their potential.

    Nietzsche hated commies and s o s h * l * sts, that is about all he had in common with the current GOP crowd.

  30. 30
    Violet says:

    @ReflectedSky:

    However, if the NY Times was suddenly purchased by, say, John Cole, and there were no well-paid, high prestige, low effort jobs available for his current brand of swill, he would find himself MIRACULOUSLY believing and writing things that John Cole would agree with.

    If John Cole owned the NYT, I hope he’d have the good sense to get rid of some of the morbund writers that comprise the current punditocracy. A rotating cast of opinion piece folks would be a breath of fresh air. Maybe someone gets the gig for a month and then can’t return to the opinion page for a year.

  31. 31
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Brachiator: Nah. With the black folk, it might be biological. For the white folk, it’s cultural. And his solution of living closer together is the solution. It’s an old conservative solution torn out of the pages of the 1880s, where social workers were supposed to be upper middle class women inspecting people’s homes to find signs of “disorganization” but not actually providing any benefit except instruction on how to be properly organized. It was supposed to be superior to direct relief. It was cheaper, and it avoided the inconvenience for Protestants spending their money to help Catholics and Jews who tended to populate slums.

  32. 32
    Raven says:

    The discussions on the local paper about Obama apologizing for the Koran burning are insane. These idiots would love to see some GI’s get wasted behind this bullshit.

  33. 33

    The purpose of Murray’s work isn’t to help people get jobs–it is to distract the dying middle class and deflect anger by blaming the poor for their poverty. He is trying to give the middle class permission to publicly shame the lower class, hoping that by pitting the two against each other they will not attack the rich.

    There remains a core of civic virtue and involvement in working-class America that could make headway against its problems if the people who are trying to do the right things get the reinforcement they need—not in the form of government assistance, but in validation of the values and standards they continue to uphold. The best thing that the new upper class can do to provide that reinforcement is to drop its condescending “nonjudgmentalism.” Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn’t hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms. When it comes to marriage and the work ethic, the new upper class must start preaching what it practices.

    Religion is used to keep the masses in line.

  34. 34
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Raven:

    How medicated were you?

  35. 35
    Brachiator says:

    @geg6:

    OT, but they really are who we thought they were

    This shit is almost too pathetic for words.

    Almost.

  36. 36
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Fuck Nietszche.

  37. 37
    ReflectedSky says:

    @MariedeGournay: This. Not sure if I picked up the quote properly (I’m still new at commenting here). But yeah, they want a vengeful God, and since he’s been annoyingly silent for centuries, they treat the “free market” as a proxy, even though the market they support isn’t free. What’s still odd to me, though, is that the fat thumb pressing down on the Wall Street/Koch side of the scale doesn’t generally help those who are in any way falling for that argument. But I guess they see that white old men tend to benefit, and they want to identify with those guys and punish people not white, male and old, so suddenly the actions of the market are deemed moral.

  38. 38
    Raven says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: Very little, it could have fit on the head of a pin if ya know what I’m sayin? “Picture yourself on a boat on a river. . . “

  39. 39
    chrome agnomen says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    think you left a ‘not’ out of the quote.

  40. 40
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Raven:

    “Waiting for the Sun”

  41. 41
    Linnaeus says:

    @Susan of Texas:

    The purpose of Murray’s work isn’t to help people get jobs—it is to distract the dying middle class and deflect anger by blaming the poor for their poverty. He is trying to give the middle class permission to publicly shame the lower class, hoping that by pitting the two against each other they will not attack the rich.

    Basically, a social sciencey justification for neofeudalism.

  42. 42
    parsimon says:

    @jl:

    IMHO, Corey labelled Nietzsche as a reactionary, and interpretation is that Nietzsche was a counter revolutionary against s * s h * l * sm, commies, and egalitarian levelers.

    I have no idea what this means. The ‘reactionary’ terminology doesn’t really parse for me with respect to Nietzsche. I’ll leave it alone, then.

  43. 43
    Raven says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: My first experience started in Seattle. We dropped and got back on a bus to Ft Lewis. When we got back we were too waxed to stay in the barracks so we took a radio to the laundry room. The news flashed that Bobby was killed. If you watch the video of Learning to Fly by Petty at 3:03 you’ll see a brief shot of RKF and Rosie Greer holding him. Now, after years of research it seems that it was random that he put it in the video but goddamn!

  44. 44
    pragmatism says:

    @Susan of Texas: this this a thousand times this.

  45. 45
    jl says:

    It would be interesting to see Nietzsche running in the current GOP primary race.

    When the moderator asked why not adopt the death penalty for all crimes, Nietzsche would explain that strong societies that have moral force and respect among their people did not need to use violent punishments like the death penalty. Or beatings, torture, harsh treatment in prison.

    Weak societies needed the death penalty and cruel punishments: the threat of violence was their only means of controlling the population.

    So, I am sure that answer would get cheers and applause from the audience.

  46. 46
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Raven:

    Stoned, in a barracks listening to am radio about RFK….That would’ve been enough to make me put-down for a long time. But not forever. :>)

  47. 47
    Anoniminous says:

    Why does anyone take conservatives seriously?

    Some people are intellectually lazy. Some people are ill-educated. Some people are cognitively dysfunctional. Some people are just plain stupid. Some people are Social Dominants looking for people to dominate. Some people are Right Wing Authoritarians looking to be dominated. And yadda-yadda-yadda.

    The causes, they are many.

  48. 48
    Jager says:

    My conservative brother in law lives in North Dakota and is constantly talking about how “good” and “nice” and “friendly” the people are. He’ll take a breath, then start talking about the “rag head” doctor who x-rayed his shoulder or those “god damned oil workers all make too much money” or “you know some of these lazy bastard farmers and ranchers who never had a pot to piss in are getting $27,000 a month in mineral lease payments?” and “they are taking trips to Hawaii in the winter”. He’ll switch gears and come up with bullshit like the reason ND was blessed with the Bakken Oil formation is because the state is filled with good people, conservative politics and the people go to church all the time. I didn’t know the dinosaurs gave a shit where they died! He won’t face the fact that Bakken was a government geologist and the technology for extracting the oil was researched and funded by the government. He is willfull, crazy, stupid and doesn’t care. He is a conservative.

  49. 49
    ReflectedSky says:

    @Linnaeus: (This is also a reply to Susan.)

    I don’t think this will work now because the middle class is so small and so weak. They used to be afraid of someday falling into the lower class, but now — if they’re not already there — they’re afraid of falling into it TOMORROW, and they know they themselves are not lazy, weak, disorganized, etc.

    Also, slightly adjusting my initial point, I do think these kinds of bogus blame the not-wealthy theories are sucked up by the wealthy so they can feel better about themselves and experience no guilt about their role in our deteriorating society. Hey, I’m BETTER, that’s why I’m wealthy. It’s not because I’m willing to help insurance companies block owed payments to dying people, or call little old ladies and talk them into investing in garbage stock, or happen to be the descendent of some scum-sucking bastard who was willing to lie, cheat and steal his way into enormous wealth in an emerging, underregulated industry.

    Really, they’re the primary audience for Murray — who else reads his stuff?

  50. 50
    Culture of Truth says:

    Because it provides an intellectual cover for selfishness. Its appeal will never fade.

  51. 51
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @chrome agnomen: You are right!
    I did indeed do that.

  52. 52

    BREAKING: Virginia state senate kilsl fetal personhood bill.

    I have to think all of the uproar over its ultrasound bill was responsible for killing this piece of shit legislation. They opened a can of worms and now are trying to stuff the creepy crawlies back inside.

  53. 53
    Chris says:

    One thing about the book that rings truer and truer to me is its claim that conservatives tend to hate materialism and economic explanations for things…

    This… and the reason they hate the left wing worldview is one of the same ones I was drawn to it in the first place: the reliance on empirical, materialist and yes, economic explanations for things rather than, well, ego-boosting bullshit.

    Paul Krugman’s phrase about how “economics is not a morality play” is to a large extent what the disagreement is all about. To them, it is a morality play. Poor people aren’t poor because of recessions or job outsourcing to China or the decline of unions, they’re poor because they’re bad and lazy people who deserve what they get. America wasn’t happy and prosperous in the 1950s because Keynesian economics guaranteed that result, it was happy and prosperous because of Patriotism and Family Values. The economy hasn’t been getting more and more unstable for the last few decades because of deregulation or union-busting, it’s because of Godless Liberals and Multiculturalists upsetting the Invisible Hand of God.

    And so on, and so forth.

  54. 54
    Raven says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: Where I was headed didn’t lend itself to psychedelics Apocalypse Now notwithstanding. Had to make do with the kine for a year or so anyway.

  55. 55
    jl says:

    @parsimon: Well, that is what people are interpreting as Corey’s discussion of Nietzsche, and I think they have an argument that is what Corey meant. I don’t think it fits either.

    The GOP has become an advocate of a predatory oligarchy. I don’t think there are many thinkers in the past who openly or knowingly espoused that kind of state. Except fascists who prettied up the operation of such a society with romantic BS.

  56. 56
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Raven:

    My first time it was Sunshine. Badly cut with speed and strychnine. I was just a passenger in the car going to Laguna Beach to look for Crow. The car turned into a submarine and the other cars passing by looked like sharks underwater. I thought I’d gone barmy.

  57. 57
    parsimon says:

    @jl: Heh. I think the audience would be deeply confused.

  58. 58

    He is trying to give the middle class permission to publicly shame the lower class, hoping that by pitting the two against each other they will not attack the rich.

    As we move towards a future where having enough to eat becomes a positional good.

  59. 59
    Raven says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: That strych was a bitch but it did get the heart movin. Barrel’s they were if memory serves?

  60. 60
    Brachiator says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Nah. With the black folk, it might be biological. For the white folk, it’s cultural. And his solution of living closer together is the solution.

    Fair point. Either way, Murray is full of shit.

    @Susan of Texas:

    When it comes to marriage and the work ethic, the new upper class must start preaching what it practices.

    The idiocy here is that the new upper class is some special repository of the “right values,” along with the idea that the new upper class is reaping rewards because of their right values.

    Murray is not much different from the charlatans who claim that you will bet a basket of eternal goodies if only you love the baby Jeebus. Murray’s agent is no less supernatural despite all the secular huffing and puffing.

  61. 61
    Citizen_X says:

    He thought [social democracy] would destroy itself since it would eventually lead to a population that was too debased to appreciate works done by the state for the common good

    Boy, Nietzsche nailed that one. What do I mean? “WHA’S GUBMIT DONE FER ME? GITCHER SOSHULIST HANDS OFFA MY MEDICARE ARGLE BARGLE!”

  62. 62
    scav says:

    @Southern Beale: 24-14. Like that part.

  63. 63
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Brooks is peddling his BS again in his latest chat with Gail Collins.

  64. 64
    schrodinger's cat says:

    BTW what are Murray’s academic credentials, or is he yet another innumerate conservative who doesn’t even understand how percentages work.

    ETA: OK I found out, PhD in political science, just like Sully I think, except that his PhD is from MIT instead of Harvard.

  65. 65
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Raven:

    Barrels, yes. We finally got some pure from the Brotherhood (Leary).

    We called ’em flying saucers. Didn’t miss the strychnine, one iota.

  66. 66
    Interrobang says:

    I’m Canadian, so NaCl as necessary, but my conservative parents are conservative basically because they hate paying taxes and have a nearly infinite capacity for doublethink. My mom’s a stone racist who gets along fine with every POC she’s ever met. My dad hates paying taxes, but if you start talking to him about all the great things taxes get you in Canada (which is why, if you’re me, you don’t mind paying your civilisation bill), he’ll agree with you right on down the line…until his mind snaps back into his reflexive “I hate paying taxes” mode.

    Hell if I can figure it out. I have too much damn integrity to be able to think six contradictory things at once, I think.

  67. 67

    this is pretty much the conservatives’ problem. all they can do is bitch about stuff. sometimes what they bitch about is correct; they’ve correctly identified the problem. but they have no solutions.

    they have no answer for, ‘ok, so what’s your solution then?’ except for breaking the broken even further.

    i have a conservative friend, and we have an off-and-on running conversation over email. we talk about the economy, he bitches about the way obama has handled it. i say, ok, so what’s your solution then? no answer. he bitches about unemployment; i say, ok, so what’s your solution then? no answer. and so on and so forth…

  68. 68
    scav says:

    Tom, FYI looks to be an open (unclosed) tag in your open thread.

  69. 69
    WaterGirl says:

    @parsimon: I googled “Nietzsche The Reactionary Mind site:balloon-juice.com”. Here’s the book discussion.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....ok-club-2/

  70. 70
    burritoboy says:

    “Why does anyone take conservatives seriously?”

    I’m going to go WAY out on a limb here. We have to admit that conservatism is a pretty deeply embedded phenomenon. It’s generally been the predominate or near-predominate politics in the English-speaking world for the past 200 years. We can’t ignore that conservatism exists as a powerful political reality in not only the US, but Canada, Australia, the UK and Israel.

    Conservatism as a whole is incoherent but it is built of parts that are inherently part of all modern political theory – including liberalism.

    One central part of conservatism is a certain interpretation of economics. What we must keep in mind is that what is now called conservative economics was originally liberal economics – Smith, Ricardo, Bentham, Marshall, Walras, Jevons, etc were all liberals. They base their economic theories on liberal assumptions. On this, the conservatives aren’t conservatives in any real sense, they’re just an earlier form of liberals.

    Another central part of conservatism essentially descends from Rousseau’s critique of the Enlightenment. But Rousseau’s critique is also deeply embedded into liberalism as well. The liberal proposed solutions are seemingly at odds with the conservative solutions, but they both aim ultimately to address Rousseau.

    It would take a lot of work to show how all this operates, obviously. The weirdness of Anglosphere conservatives comes from their unique combination of the economic thought above WITH a certain solution of Rousseau’s critique. European conservatives just believe in the same solution of Rousseau’s critique but reject liberal economic theory. The small group of Europeans who believe in the economic theories of Smith, Marshall, Ricardo, Walras, etc (but don’t find Rousseau’s critique plausible) correctly call themselves liberals. European leftists reject those economic theories and have a very different solution to Rousseau’s critique.

  71. 71
    Raven says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: We were chatting about Kid Charlemagne on my ever so quick trip to Berkeley this weekend. Pretty amazing to be with this big group of folks from back in the day and virtually everyone is straight as an arrow.

  72. 72
    Mark S. says:

    I looked at the thread in question, and it didn’t seem like it was overwhelmed be discussions of Nietzsche.

    I’m no expert on Nietzsche but I’ve read more of him than any other philosopher besides maybe Plato (about the only two philosophers I find very readable). To call him conservative is a stretch: he certainly believed in hierarchies but the people he’d put at the top probably wouldn’t appeal to most conservatives. Or to put it another way, I highly doubt he would be very impressed with John Galt.

    He was pretty sexist but not very racist (for his time). He didn’t seem to be a big fan of either socia1ism or capitalism, nor of democracy or (obviously) religion. He seemed pretty much oblivious to the existence of the United States.

  73. 73

    @geg6:

    Barack Hussein Obama II, Aka Barack Hussein Obama, Aka Barack H. Obama has the race status of being a “Mulatto.”

    A mulatto?! Really, Peak Wingnut?! You’re pulling out the Mulatto card now?!

    I thought I was beyond being surprised by these clowns, but I have to admit, they got me by playing the ol’ mulatto card.

  74. 74
    Delia says:

    One thing about the book that rings truer and truer to me is its claim that conservatives tend to hate materialism and economic explanations for things…

    Well, they all seem to worship Ayn Rand and she was a rock hard materialist.

    As for Nietzsche, the problem with relying on him for anything is you can be sure somebody can dig up a quote that says just the opposite.

  75. 75
    parsimon says:

    @WaterGirl: Oh thanks. I could have done as much myself if I’d been more dedicated!

  76. 76

    …and just to clarify, i’m talking about your average day-to-day conservative that you meet in the wild. not politicians or those who have newspaper columns.

  77. 77
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Raven:

    I was following your commentary on the visit. Memories…….

    I’m not quite straight. Still bent from ancient sport injuries.

  78. 78
    wrb says:

    @jl:

    IMHO, Corey labelled Nietzsche as a reactionary, and interpretation is that Nietzsche was a counter revolutionary against s * s h * l * sm, commies, and egalitarian levelers.

    Not having read Corey, but having read some of the posts about him, I’ve wondered if his theory has room for someone like Dostoevsky, whose passion for the welfare of the poor and deeply felt love combined with a deep suspicion of hubristic social theory and schemes for reorganization.

  79. 79
    geg6 says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    And I if I had to guess, I’m guessing that no one under the age of 30 or 40 or so has ever even heard the word or knows what it means. I mean, I’m 53 years old and I’ve never heard it used in my lifetime (except in history books or historical novels).

  80. 80
    Chris says:

    @Brachiator:

    The idiocy here is that the new upper class is some special repository of the “right values,” along with the idea that the new upper class is reaping rewards because of their right values.

    The idiocy is the statement that the upper class somehow has “the right values” on things like marriage. When it comes to personal morality/lifestyle, most of the rich people I know are as completely on board the “if it feels good, do it” train as any mythical DFH.

  81. 81
    Raven says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: Besides getting sober the fact that all of us played ball is probably a contributing factor. We had two softball teams, The High and Mighty and Asleep at the Bat that were the scourge of Champaign-Urbana. The fellow whose birthday it was is a professional fitness instructor and most of us have worked really hard to stay in shape. That being said, we’ve buried more than our share over the past 10 years.

  82. 82
    Brachiator says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    I thought I was beyond being surprised by these clowns, but I have to admit, they got me by playing the ol’ mulatto card

    Actually, they’re playing the Dredd Scott card. It is just amazing that these fools are yearning for an 1850s white only America.

    And it clearly puts a lie to those who want to insist that opposition to Obama is merely poltical.

  83. 83
    Samara Morgan says:

    it devolved into people bashing him for what he said about Nietzsche

    lol, sry to have missed that.

    know wut MasterTroll? you and Corey Robin and Murray and Bobo are all full of it….you are all first culture intellectuals, talking about talking about shit.
    because there is a biological basis for all behavior.
    And science is beginning to figure that out.
    You should discuss Mooney’s new book.
    In the meantime, check this out.

    Santorum’s absurd global warming conspiracy theory is the kind of thing that absolutely outrages liberals — but to my mind, they really ought to be getting used to it by now. From global warming denial to claims about “death panels” to baseless fears about inflation, it often seems there are so many factually wrong claims on the political right that those who make them live in a different reality.
    So here’s an idea: Maybe they actually do. And maybe we can look to science itself — albeit, ironically, a body of science whose fundamental premise (the theory of evolution) most Republicans deny — to help understand why it is that they view the world so differently.
    __
    In my last piece here, I commented on the growing body of research suggesting that the difference between liberals and conservatives is not merely ideological in nature. Rather, it seems more deeply rooted in psychology and the brain — with ideology itself emerging as a kind of by-product of fundamentally different patterns of perceiving and responding to the world that spill over into many aspects of life, not just the political.
    __
    To back this up, I listed seven published studies showing a consistent set of physiological, brain, and “attentional” differences between liberals and conservatives. Later on my blog, I listed no less than eleven studies showing genetic differences as well.
    __
    Last month, yet another scientific paper on this subject came out — from the National Science Foundation-supported political physiology laboratory at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The work, published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (free version here), goes further still in helping us understand how biological and physiological differences between liberals and conservatives may lead to very different patterns of political behavior.

  84. 84
    Chris says:

    @Interrobang:

    I’ve found that you can talk them into all kinds of things, up until the moment when it occurs to them that these things are LIBRUL, their brain hits reset and they just babble Fox News talking points (or whatever the Canuck equivalent is) for the rest of the conversation.

    There are more than a few conservatives where I leave every conversation going “you know, if they’d just fucking LET themselves think, they wouldn’t be half bad at it.”

  85. 85
    terraformer says:

    Conservatives are taken seriously because people are paid to take them seriously.

    And those who aren’t paid to do so are easily led by those who are paid to do so, pre-millionaires, misanthropes, lacking the empathy gene, etc.

  86. 86
    Raven says:

    All those dayglow freaks who used to paint the face
    They’ve joined the human race
    Some things will never change
    Son you were mistaken
    You are obsolete
    Look at all the white men on the street

  87. 87
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    you are all first culture intellectuals

    Glass houses, stalker.

  88. 88
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Raven:

    I had a colleague whose father died of a heart attack at 52. He immediately stopped drinking and smoking, and went on a fitness obsession. He was built close to the ground, but a robust physique. Ran 6 miles a day.

    Three weeks after his 52nd B’day, dropped dead of a heart attack.

    Genetic predestination………..

  89. 89
    geg6 says:

    @Chris:

    The idiocy is the statement that the upper class somehow has “the right values” on things like marriage. When it comes to personal morality/lifestyle, most of the rich people I know are as completely on board the “if it feels good, do it” train as any mythical DFH.

    Interesting point. In my job, I deal with people from all income levels and I get to see their financial/personal situations in detail due to the nature of my job. What I have found fascinating this year is the number of parents from upper income families who are married and living together in the same house but are estranged, separated, or filing for divorce but plan to stay in the same home. I noticed it because these parents are just having a fit that the federal student aid rules require that they file the FAFSA using both parents’ income information if they still live in the same home. I don’t know if it’s some sort of scheme someone told them they could use to get more aid than someone in their income bracket could normally qualify for, if they are being as financially stretched in this economy as anyone else and figure living together without speaking or interacting is worth the savings in housing costs, if there is some sort of War of the Roses battle happening, or some other factor is at work. But I have had phone calls or in-person conversations with at least six families in this situation within the last few days. And we are talking families with incomes in the range of $150,000-$300,000 a year (which, around here, is richrichrich). So while Murray is correct that these people get married more often and stay together longer (which, really, common sense would tell you is much easier if you have loads of cash), I have wonder at what cost?

  90. 90
    Brachiator says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    because there is a biological basis for all behavior.

    This is too reductive to be meaningful.

    On the other hand, it also suggests that some day, with the right medication, you might be helped.

  91. 91
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Brachiator:

    This is too reductive to be meaningful.

    She wasn’t far off. Much of human behavior is genetic.

    Ever hear of ‘instinct’?

  92. 92
    Raven says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: Yea, ya never know. One of my buddies reminded me that at xmas of 69 I was just home and he was on his way. I asked him what he was going to be doing and he said he was a “tracker” (dog handler out in front of grunts). We were both trippin and I said “you are going to get killed”. In a clearing in Cambodia the other three members of his team and all 4 dogs did. He got hit in the face and shoulder but lived. I had no recollection of this but he said it was the 1st time anyone had even mentioned to him he might be in some shit and was a good wakeup for him.

  93. 93
    makewi says:

    It might be interesting to have actual conversations or read your thoughts doug, but it gets so tiresome having to wade through all the teenage angst about how terrible and so much worse than “we” are all those mean old idiotic conservatives are.

  94. 94
    jl says:

    @makewi: Hey, you up for a brain scan? Some people are doing research. I will if you will.

  95. 95
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @jl:

    Someone should study it, cold

  96. 96
    WaterGirl says:

    @parsimon: I only recently learned to add “site:balloon-juice.com” as opposed to just balloon juice – it seems to make a huge difference in the links that come up. That’s the reason I included my search, so anyone who wasn’t aware of that might learn something, as I recently did. I wasn’t in any way implying that you are lazy!

  97. 97
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Raven:

    Deep learning….you probably saved his ass.

  98. 98
    Raven says:

    @WaterGirl: Spent the weekend with CU refugees.

  99. 99
    Raven says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: Nah, fucking M-60 round hit him in the chin and somehow spun. It was total luck. Surviving the ensuing heroin addiction may have been too but none of it made him deserve years at the Post Office!

  100. 100
  101. 101
    burritoboy says:

    Nietzsche is not a conservative nor was he a reactionary, but he was an opponent of liberal thought, and an opponent from the Right. We don’t really understand what that means because that sort of Right disappeared under the rubble of 1945. There’s essentially no modern analogues in any concrete sense.

    What might be illuminating is that the people most influenced by Nietzsche on the left side of the equation ALSO came to very strongly oppose liberal thought.

  102. 102
    WaterGirl says:

    @Raven: I know you were on a trip… San Fransisco? Were you traveling with the refugees, or visiting them? No, wait, it was a reunion, right?

  103. 103
    parsimon says:

    @WaterGirl: No, no, I was lazy! If you use Google’s advanced search page you can just specify the URL/domain for search; for a simple search you can just add “site:blahblahblah.blah”

  104. 104
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ @ Top:

    Conservatives may even be …

    Whoa, careful there. You know Conservatives: Give’em a may, and they take a mile.

    .

  105. 105
    cat says:

    Conservatives may even be right (for all I know) that the moral/philosophical beliefs of the middle-class are the most important thing in our country. But they have no realistic plans to “improve” these beliefs.

    Corrupt institutions breed/attract corrupt actors, but they can survive if there are only a few corrupt actors. The institutions start to collapse when the mid range actors start to mimic the players at the top and increase the number of corrupt actors.

    In a sense the middle class is the most important part of society in that if it doesn’t become corrupted it will sustain a society. The only problem is the middle class will eventually mimic the upper class as mimicing the most successfull actors is the best survival strategy so a corrupt upper class will eventually poison everything under it.

  106. 106
    jake the snake says:

    @Brachiator:
    This is not a new thing. Ever heard of po’ white trash?

  107. 107

    If you’re talking about the second installment, a brief scan of that thread looks like a very civil, scholarly disagreement over the character of Nietzsche as a political writer. Commenters brad and Merp took issue with Robin’s characterization, but I didn’t really see any pies flying.

  108. 108
    Chris says:

    @burritoboy:

    Nietzsche is not a conservative nor was he a reactionary, but he was an opponent of liberal thought, and an opponent from the Right. We don’t really understand what that means because that sort of Right disappeared under the rubble of 1945. There’s essentially no modern analogues in any concrete sense.

    What kind of right do you mean? “1945” suggests you’re talking about either fascism, or the kind of conservatism that was still fighting the nineteenth century and wanting to go back to the days before the American and French revolutions (the kind of thing that spawned Vichy France).

    But it seems to me that right stuck around in a lot of different places after 1945. Franco in Spain, Salazar in Portugal, the Colonels in Greece, all the tin-pot dictators we propped up in Latin America…

  109. 109
    Samara Morgan says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: lol. ima third culture intellectual.
    i have published peer reviewed scientific papers in my resume.

  110. 110
    Culture of Truth says:

    Nietzsche is dead, man.

  111. 111
    WaterGirl says:

    @parsimon: Sometimes I’m lazy, too. I care enough to ask, and to hear the answer, I just don’t care enough to go do the research myself. :-) I figure it all evens out in the end.

  112. 112

    @Brachiator:

    Actually, they’re playing the Dredd Scott card.

    Well said.

  113. 113
    Brachiator says:

    @jake the snake:

    This is not a new thing. Ever heard of po’ white trash?

    This reminds me of the character in Downton Abbey who derides her mother for not being classy enough, because she is American, as though nationality were genetic. A lot of people who deride others as being po white trash come from exactly the same background and circumstances, and often share the same values, despite the veneer of respectability that more money gives them. Donald Trump comes to mind, here.

    @Benjamin Franklin:

    She wasn’t far off. Much of human behavior is genetic.
    __
    Ever hear of ‘instinct’?

    Sigh. “Biological basis for all behavior” is reductive. “Much of human behavior is genetic” is also reductive. We can nod our heads and agree, and yet neither of these statements say anything meaningful about how genes interact with the environment, how genes expressed themselves, how biological processes manifest themselves as behavior, etc.

    And that’s before we get to all that fun stuff about heritability.

  114. 114
    Splitting Image says:

    I’m having as much trouble comprehending the idea of Nietzsche as a conservative as I did seeing Andrew Sullivan call David Hume one.

    Those are two of the most iconoclastic thinkers of all time. If some of their ideas have become generally accepted (or generally accepted by “conservatives”) that doesn’t make them conservative.

    Also, I skimmed through the other thread (thanks Watergirl) and I’m afraid I don’t really see that many people “bashing (Robin) for what he said about Nietzsche”. A couple of people objected to having him mentioned as an influence on Ayn Rand, which is a reasonable enough objection to make.

    It is true that Nietzsche tended towards authoritarianism and was extremely skeptical of democracy, but it was the “movement conservatives” of his day that made him that way.

  115. 115
    penpen says:

    @Cris (without an H): Yeah it was vastly milder than advertised. Anyway I thought DougJ thrived on flame wars?

  116. 116
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Brachiator:

    In what sense are you using the word ‘reductive’?

    neither of these statements say anything meaningful about how genes interact with the environment, how genes expressed themselves, how biological processes manifest themselves as behavior, etc.

    And that’s before we get to all that fun stuff about heritability.

    Huh?

  117. 117
    burritoboy says:

    Chris,

    We’re talking about fascism.

  118. 118
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Brachiator: bio-luddite.
    ;)

  119. 119
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Samara Morgan: insufferable.

  120. 120
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Brachiator: you COULD read through Mooney’s linkage before you start sneering.
    He covers a lot of your concerns, you old bio-luddite you.
    ;)

  121. 121
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Samara Morgan: insufferable, and first culture stalker.

  122. 122
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Samara Morgan: insufferable. Mooney deserves a better blog pimp than you.

  123. 123
    Samara Morgan says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: and proud of it.
    are you sad because i made “Our” EDK look stupid again?
    ;)

  124. 124
    Gex says:

    @geg6: You come at it from an angle of wanting to reduce human suffering. They want to maximize it. These guys have a suffering fetish – so long as it is others who are suffering.

    IOW They don’t see that suffering as a cost and would answer you with a big fat zero.

  125. 125
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Samara Morgan: proud of being a cudlip stalker. noted.

    I’m not sad about anything, you pissant, other than the fact that you pollute every thread you join, even when you are trying to contribute substantively. Go back to WoW, stalker.

  126. 126
    Rick Taylor says:

    Nietzsche for President!

  127. 127
    Samara Morgan says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: /yawn

    Dr. Scott: You don’t want to hurt anyone.
    Samara Morgan: But I do, and I’m sorry. It won’t stop.
    __
    Samara Morgan: Everyone will suffer.

    you will have to get Cole to ban me to save your bro EDK’s pundit career.

  128. 128
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Samara Morgan: I prefer to just call you a stalker and be done with it.

  129. 129
    Quincy says:

    If I remember right, the essay in Robin’s book that is most supportive of this part of his thesis, that conservatives aren’t interested in the actual material/economic arguments, was the essay on Irving Kristol and William Buckley. Robin focuses on comments from the latest years of their lives, which may have influenced their perspective. It seemed they wanted to leave behind something grander than a party built around appeals to the greed of taxpayers who don’t want to pay for social services and corporations that want unconstrained power to exploit. I haven’t read as much from Buckley’s younger years, though considering he was born wealthy and certainly appeared more interested in the romanticism of fighting communism, secularism and central planning than in the anticipated effects his causes would have on material distribution, the thesis might have described him just as accurately then.

    For many of the rank-and-file members of the era that birthed the modern conservative movement, such as the factory and business owners and orange county homeowners, and the modern libertarians and a fair share of the tea partiers, I think they shy away from the economic explanations because, as many here have said before, those explanations point to their own selfishness. It’s comforting to see things as a morality play – taxes are an assault on individual freedom, government can’t tell me how to run my business, poor people don’t deserve food stamps – as opposed to having to admit they just want to keep more of their own money. It’s also simpler, which shouldn’t be discounted. Economic explanations are complicated and uncertain, which doesn’t feed the outrage and revolutionary spirit conservatism thrives on. Perhaps Bobo and his ilk are intelligent enough to understand the economic explanations, but you don’t pander to the conservative base that way. And these days anyone more interested in factual explanations of issues than in pandering has either left the party or been run out.

  130. 130
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    @Quincy:

    Well said. I can add nothing…

  131. 131
    Birthmarker says:

    This thread has taken an interesting turn that has nothing to do with Nietzche…

  132. 132
    Birthmarker says:

    @WaterGirl: You are a really good googler!

  133. 133
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Birthmarker: They often do.

  134. 134
    jl says:

    @Birthmarker:

    ” This thread has taken an interesting turn that has nothing to do with Nietzche…”

    It does have Tunch. Not sure much Nietzsche is required.

  135. 135
    Mike G says:

    conservatives tend to hate materialism and economic explanations for things

    Because that would subject them to the limitations of evidence and verification, where they fail badly. It’s so much easier and lazier to traffic in magical thinking and turn everything into a ‘moral’ issue; where any challenge based on rationality or reason can be seen off with judgement and condemnation from a self-proclaimed ‘moral high ground’ of superiority.

    It’s the same reason they hate science. Do you think a lazy frat-boy like Chimp Bush or a mind-sealed-shut zealot like Santorum could ever engage in a debate based on reason, evidence and knowledge?

  136. 136
    Brachiator says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    you COULD read through Mooney’s linkage before you start sneering.

    Are we talking about Chris Mooney? Been there, done that, not impressed.

    @Benjamin Franklin:

    In what sense are you using the word ‘reductive’?

    Pretty much the commonly understood sensse. Let’s see.

    You say,

    Much of human behavior is genetic. Ever hear of ‘instinct’?

    OK, how much is “much?” What instincts are you talking about? Which genes are responsible for which instincts? How does culure relate to “instincts?”

  137. 137
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    Pretty much the commonly understood sensse

    You a lawyer? Sure talk like one…

  138. 138
    Brachiator says:

    @Benjamin Franklin: Dude, I have an ongoing interest in science and evolution. I’m a bit curious as to what “much of human behavior is genetic” means to you. Seems to me that this is the beginning of a conversation, not a conclusion. But, as always, your mileage may vary.

  139. 139
    kuvasz says:

    It is crucial to conservatism that the people must literally love the order that dominates them. Of course this notion sounds bizarre to modern ears, but it is perfectly overt in the writings of leading conservative theorists such as Burke.

    Democracy, for them, is not about the mechanisms of voting and office-holding. In fact conservatives hold a wide variety of opinions about such secondary formal matters. For conservatives, rather, democracy is a psychological condition. People who believe that the aristocracy rightfully dominates society because of its intrinsic superiority are conservatives; democrats, by contrast, believe that they are of equal social worth.

    Conservatism is the antithesis of democracy.

  140. 140
    Batocchio says:

    So can we set up a time to discuss the next two chapters? I’d recommend against this Sunday unless it’s early, as the Oscars are on…

  141. 141
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Brachiator: how much does culture relate to the relative distribution of grey matter?
    how much does culture relate to brain morphology and function?
    how much does culture relate to evolution and the fitness of heritable traits laid down in the EEA (environment of evolutionary adaptation)?

    you are an old person. a lot of old people develop conservative tendency as they age i think.

  142. 142
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Brachiator:

    OK, how much is “much?”

    Mooney said ~5% here.

  143. 143
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Brachiator:

    I have an ongoing interest in science and evolution.

    no you dont.
    or you would read Mooney’s piece.
    Want to Understand Republicans?
    First Understand Evolution.

  144. 144
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Mike G: from Mooney’s upcoming book.

    To my mind, it means it is high time to grapple with a fact that we like to conveniently ignore: the left and the right are deeply asymmetrical actors in our politics. If we could acknowledge this, it might explain an awful lot.
    __
    For instance, consider a few observations that seem to take on new resonance in light of the latest research:
    __
    The Tea Party hates President Obama much more intensely than liberals love him. Or to state things less judgmentally, there is an “intensity gap,” as the Pew Research Center puts it, between the right’s political base and that of the left.
    As of last May, for instance, 84 percent of staunch conservatives strongly disapproved of Obama’s job performance, but only 64 percent of solid liberals approved of it. Meanwhile, 70 percent of staunch conservatives viewed Obama very unfavorably, but only 45 percent of solid liberals had very favorable views of him.
    What’s going on here? To conservatives, the new research implies, President Obama may literally be an aversive and threatening stimuli (or, perhaps, a disgust-evoking one). They fixate on him, and respond to him, physiologically, in a defensive fashion.
    For liberals, in contrast, Obama was surely once very appealing, perhaps circa 2008, and excited positive and appetitive emotions. But they’ve since grown bored or disillusioned with him and gone on to sample many other things in the environment — like Occupy Wall Street — always exploring and searching for the new. (All of which, incidentally, may translate into a very serious electoral disadvantage this fall.)
    Conservatives opt for Fox News much more strongly than liberals opt for any single outlet. In a 2007 “selective exposure” study by Stanford researcher Shanto Iyengar, it was found Republicans overwhelmingly chose to read fake articles labeled with the “Fox News” logo, but chose a story running under a CNN or NPR logo just 10 percent of the time. By contrast, Democrats in the study didn’t like Fox, but also didn’t show a strong affinity for a particular alternative news source — they seemed to sample information sources more widely.
    What’s going on here? One possibility is that in a political environment filled with perceived threats, Fox helps conservatives feel secure by giving them ideologically consistent and reassuring information. Alternatively, perhaps Fox’s constant negative framing of liberals, and of other news sources, appeals to or even excites conservatives, whipping them up for political battle.
    Either way, liberals just don’t seem to need an outlet like Fox. Again, they’re busy chasing after the new and different — out exploring, rather than hunkering down.
    The big question lying behind all this, of course, is why some people would have stronger and quicker responses than others to that which is perceived as negative and threatening (and disgusting). Or alternatively, why some people — liberals — would be less threat aversive than others. For as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers note: “given the compelling evolutionary logic for organisms to be overly sensitive to aversive stimuli, it may be that those on the political left are more out of step with adaptive behaviors.”
    __
    And thus are we drawn to the only context in which we can make any sense of any of this — the understanding that we human primates evolved.

    Research says– there is a measureable, statistically significant difference between liberals and conservatives. That is empirically obvious, right?
    Science just attempts to model the cause. One theory is that liberals and conservatives are BIOLOGICALLY different.
    Corey Robin has another theory….but his theory seems to be that conservatives are different because of free will. they choose what to believe.
    i dont agree with that, i believe the roots of choice are biological…not deterministic, but a basis that inclines towards one affiliation over another…

  145. 145
    Samara Morgan says:

    Now here is a good example of conservatives using emotion over reason.
    Palin: When does Karzai apologize for one of his troops killing two of our soldiers over the Koran-burning?
    The obvious answer is that Obama and Panetta are trying to negotiate permanent bases in Afghanistan, and Karzai is the best hope of doing that.
    Obama and Panetta are trying to avoid a repeat of our ignominous expulsion and subsequent disenfranchisement in Iraq.
    This strat is very important because Imran Khan is going to get Zardaris job next door, and he hates America, and the Paks have over 100 nukes.
    So to a reasonable human with adequate substrate in the ACC, Obama’s apology is a LOGICAL response.
    But Palin and her proxy Allahpundit are not reasonable or logical.
    see how that workd?

  146. 146
    THE says:

    Are you going to buy Chris Mooney’s book Samara?

    I think in the long run, the US would be wiser to let the rising superpowers of China and India deal with Afghanistan. This is not a place where the USA has any “natural” sphere of influence. No trade, no cultural or historical ties.

    USA will always be an interloper here.

  147. 147
    Samara Morgan says:

    @THE: pre-ordered.
    Sry, in the long run, the US is not going to have any choice. Bush burned all our bridges in MENA.

    i still think that when the US GTFO’s A-stan, the Taliban are going to roll into Kabul, dip Karzais head in tar, and set it on a spike on top of the American embassy.
    and Murricans will wonder wtf is going on because they studiously ignored shit like this.

  148. 148
    THE says:

    I don’t know what role Karzai will play in the future. I don’t analyze in that kind of detail.

    My concern is that it will take a huge investment to develop Afghanistan and integrate it into the Asian trade networks — The new Silk Road — and only rising industrial superpowers like India and China will have the commercial need for Afghanistan’s raw materials in sufficient quantity to justify pumping the large-scale investments in.

    It needs roads, railways, massive longterm commitments in some of the most difficult physical conditions on Earth. It’s only because Afghanistan has the huge raw-material resource-base that makes it worth the effort for local Great Powers to do that.

    USA would never spend the money. Afghanistan is too remote from America’s “natural” trade networks. America doesn’t “need” Afghanistan the way India and China do. This is quite apart from any “security” interests either of them may have in the country.

  149. 149
    Samara Morgan says:

    @THE: cop-out.
    America needs the permanent A-stan bases to keep Israel from going more bugfuck nutz than it already is.

  150. 150
    THE says:

    Why copout? I don’t see Israel as central to anything much other than East Mediterranean security. Red Sea maybe through the Gulf of Aqaba. Even the Persian Gulf will be more of a concern to China in the future than to the USA IMHO given trends in oil consumption.

    That BTW is why I’ve been so interested to see China step forward to veto the UNSC resolution on Syria with Russia.

    To me China is showing its long-term interest in the region. Something I have been expecting to emerge for some time.

    The Sunni-Shia thing is relevant to China as China starts to penetrate the Persian Gulf from the landward side. On the Iranian coast of the P. Gulf, China is mainly dealing with Shia, but as China extends its reach to the Arabian coast, it must deal with Sunnis. How they balance that, and shift their alliance pattern, is intriguing to watch.

    Much to learn here there is.

  151. 151
    Marmot says:

    As usual, im late to the party. But great topic despite the title, Doug. It strikes me that the Fk Bobo line is similar to that of the Chicago macroeconomic approach, which seems to favor any solution or explanation EXCEPT taxing the rich or spending for the non-rich.

  152. 152
    Samara Morgan says:

    @THE:

    I don’t analyze in that kind of detail.

    cop-out.
    its all connected.

    USA would never spend the money.

    lolwut? we already spent a shit tonne of money building girls schools and roads. we even funded a banking industry in a desperate attempt to attach our legacy parasites (the free market) to a new source.

  153. 153
    Samara Morgan says:

    chu no wat Spock?
    you are not recommending economics texts for me any more.
    do you think the free market is an ecophagy?
    Dr. Manzi said he didnt know what that meant….in my “french letters” to him.
    LOL!

  154. 154
    THE says:

    its all connected.

    It’s not. Do you think China or India cares at this point whether Karzai or someone else is the person they will be dealing with on the ground in Afghanistan.

    I mean, I am sure they will have their preferences, but it will be their preference and they will choose it for their reasons. Whover they decide to deal with as their preferred man-on the spot.

    lolwut? we already spent a shit tonne of money building girls schools and roads.

    ROFLMAO Have you seen what a large mining operation looks like? We remove entire mountains here in Australia.

    Rio Tinto is buying a fleet of robot vehicles just to carry the ore to the processing plant.

    BHP’s ore trains to the coast at Port Headland are three kilometers long.

  155. 155
    Samara Morgan says:

    @THE: spock, spock, spock.
    the physics arent the point, the memetics are the point.
    its like a strike on Jerusalem would be to the jews and christians.
    WWIII….the poxyclipse.

  156. 156
    THE says:

    And I’ll tell you something I’ve become aware of in recent years, Samara.
    China builds stuff on a bigger scale even than the Americans or us.

    If China move their mining operations into Afghanistan full tilt, the Hindu Kush will tremble.
    If they need Afghanistan’s resources, no-one will stop them.

  157. 157
    brad says:

    Unless the thread took a further turn after I left, that Nietzsche thing is about my comments.
    For the (unnecessary) record I wasn’t bashing him for what he said about Nietzsche, I was taking what I tried hard to keep as polite issue with something I feel was a very mistaken, and I freely admit(ted) incidental to the point of an otherwise fine work, inclusion of Nietzsche as a thinker whose work underpins conservative thought.
    It’s not my fault there weren’t many other questions, and it’s not fair to term 3 or 4 calm posts as bashing.

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