Sunday, 11 May 2008

The Perils and Pitfalls of Identity Politics

I leave you this fine evening with an essay by Betsy Reed.


Here is your entertainment for this Sunday evening. At 3:20, things stop mattering.


Here is Juan Williams’s column about Barack Obama. Republicans should keep playing the Jeremiah Wright video until election day, not because Wright is black, but because he’s anti-American. That Obama stayed in Wright’s church for so many years speaks volumes about his character.


I have only one
But she is the very best
Happy mother’s day!

Twenty Years Ago

5-11-88 . . . Speaking of heat, one of the hottest issues in society these days is drug testing. The [Ronald] Reagan administration has made the eradication of drugs one of its highest priorities. There is talk among conservatives of a “war on drugs”, of drug dealers “taking our children from us”, and of the military intervening in other countries to stop the production and transportation of drugs. What everyone conveniently ignores is that the demand for drugs in this country is high. On what basis does Reagan criminalize the possession and use of drugs? If only the user is harmed, prohibition must rest on paternalistic grounds. If drug usage is immoral, I haven’t heard the arguments for it. Drug testing is currently the preferred means of stemming the tide. Government workers are the first targets, then people who hold positions of responsibility (such as air-traffic controllers and railroad personnel), and eventually all workers. The idea is that if we can find the drug users, we can help them if they want help or punish them if they don’t. Ignored, however, is the rationale. The Reagan administration simply assumes that it’s permissible for the state to limit liberty.


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia. The stage winner, Italian Riccardo Riccò, averaged 22.1 miles per hour on the 128.6-mile course.

A Year Ago



Men and women are different. We forget that at our peril.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

The skyrocketing costs of health insurance are the result of onerous government regulations, such as mandatory benefits.

Many states require insurance plans to include benefits like chiropractor care or in vitro fertilization. Such mandatory benefits raise insurance costs by about 20 percent to 50 percent, according to the Council for Affordable Health Insurance.

More fundamentally, mandated benefits violate an individual’s right to contract freely with insurers and providers according to his rational judgment for his best interest. Instead, a bureaucrat decides how the individual must spend his own money.

Eliminating these mandates would make health insurance available to millions of Americans who desperately want it but cannot now afford it.

The proper solution to the health insurance crisis is not more government, but a free market.

Paul Hsieh
Sedalia, Colo., May 4, 2008
The writer, a doctor, is co-founder, Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine.


My friend Carlos sent a link to this. I don’t think Socrates was interested in nurturing anyone, promoting cooperation, or creating a “safe circle” (whatever that is). This sounds like the latest attempt to inculcate self-esteem and make all ideas sound equally valid.

Robert A. Nisbet (1913-1996) on the Nineteenth Century

It can scarcely be argued that conservatism exerted any widespread influence on thought in the nineteenth century. For this was the century of great hope, of faith in what seemed to be the ineluctable processes of history, of faith in the natural individual and in mass government. All the major tendencies of European history—the factory system included—were widely regarded as essentially liberating forces. By them, men would be emancipated from the ancient system of status and from communities within which initiative and freedom were stifled. For most minds in the nineteenth century, conservatism, with its essentially tragic conception of history, its fear of the free individual and the masses, and its emphasis upon community, hierarchy, and sacred patterns of belief, seemed but one final manifestation of that past from which Europe was everywhere being liberated.

(Robert A. Nisbet, “Conservatism and Sociology,” The American Journal of Sociology 58 [September 1952]: 167-75, at 172)

Safire on Language