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Showing posts from September 12, 2004
Bollettino The second term LI would like to think that the defeat of George Bush is still a good bet. But we can’t trick our gut feeling. That our worst president – vacuous, dishonest, corrupt – is going to really win, instead of fake win, this election fills us with political despair. It is as though we’d been condemned to eke out the rest of our life on a diet of nothing but potato chips. Endless non-nutrition. However, the polls record the obvious. Kerry’s strategy for defeating Bush has been a series of unbelievable miscalculations. It has not only eroded Kerry’s own image as a “leader” – those questions about leading the country can go up or down – but it has locked in an image of him as a loser. The worst numbers for Kerry are not in the for or against categories – they are in the question about who is going to win. This is a measurement of the sense of the race. The only way to dislodge an incumbent is to make the incumbent seem vulnerable. Here are the latest NYT nu
Bollettino As many of LI’s readers know, the House refused to renew the ban on automatic weapons. We can now – or soon – buy as many Uzis as we want to. The ban, we know, was largely symbolic, and contained enough hedges and exceptions that any gun dealer worth his bullets could find his way around them. It is doubtful that gun bans led to the decrease in the murder rate in the 90s. LI’s skepticism about gun control is such that we don’t care, one way or another, about the end of this provision of the Brady law. The ancient equivalent of the automatic weapon was the polybolos. There’s an interesting rundown on military weaponry, and Archimedes inventions of clever weapons to outwit the Romans, in David Frye’s contribution to the October issue of Military history. He gives a nice survey of the situation in the Mediterranean in 200 BC, when the Romans encountered the resistance of Carthage to their empire building. “Archimedes was a product of an age like none other in the
Bollettino "It is difficult to set any limit upon the capacity of men to deceive themselves as to the relative strength and worth of the motives which affect them: politicians, in particular, acquire so strong a habit of setting their projects in the most favourable light that they soon convince themselves that the finest result which they think may conceivably accrue from any policy is the actual motive of that policy. As for the public, it is only natural that it should be deceived. All the purer and more elevated adjuncts of Imperialism are kept to the fore by religious and philanthropic agencies: patriotism appeals to the general lust of power within a people by suggestions of nobler uses, adopting the forms of self-sacrifice to cover domination and the love of adventure. So Christianity becomes "imperialist" to the Archbishop of Canterbury, a "going out to all the world to preach the gospel"; trade becomes "imperialist" in the eyes of merchant
Bollettino We are late linking to the American Academy of Arts and Science’s Bulletin for Spring, 2004 . However, we would urge our readers to check out the article on McCarthy and McCarthyism. Nathan Glazer and Anthony Lewis contribute two not very rocking speeches in commemoration of the McCarthy-Army hearings, fifty years ago – but Sam Tannenhaus, one of the right’s best up and coming intellectuals, contributes a pretty sterling piece, especially considering that it remains under the 2,000 word mark. For Tannenhaus, the problem posed by McCarthy is a part of a larger historical conundrum: how did the American right move from isolationist in the thirties to the interventionist anti-communism of the Cold War era? “One of the mysteries to me, as I write about American conservatism, is how quickly and seamlessly the American Right moved from an isolationist, anti-interventionist position leading up to Pearl Harbor to an extreme interventionist position afterwards, particular
Bollettino Our friend T., in Nyc, wrote us a nice email about our last post. This is it. Dear LI, Thank you for stating my every fear in a solemn and muted post. Amongst all those things that the unalayzed members of this current (and yet to be) regime do not admit is Zizek's observation that three widely-touted examples of democracy, touted each in their own particular and peculiar time, Taiwan, South Korea and Argentina were, each in their time, military dictatorships: this fact will NEVER be acknowledged, although it ought to be for it could save lives. But who is it that has had enough analysis to analyze this precedent? A reminder, a quote that I sent to you about this time last year [the last clause I know for September 11 is a necessary point of reference for me, like any anniversary of a (literally) meaningful event; it is a period of extremely private sadness; it is, of course, something that I will not give-up, it is a Thing that permits me relief from ev