Skip to main content


Showing posts from May 1, 2005
I’ve been waiting for two years for Tony Blair to get his comeuppance. So this morning, I should be filled with glee. I’m not. I’m filled with pity. The repudiation of Blair was all about the war. A concentrated effort will be made to reverse the obvious among the American pundocrats in the next couple of days, but the fact is that, even if we put the anti-war shift away from Blair’s Labour at around 4 percent, that missing percentile torpedoes Blair’s ability to govern – as he is used to governing. The polls don’t get to the multiplier effect. A list of voter priorities is not a map of voter mood. Every other issue was infected by the feeling that Blair practiced blatant deceit and high-handedness in maneuvering to bring Britain into the War. What was the point? The U.S. was going to invade with or without Britain. In the event, Britain got nothing. No say in the running of “coalition” Iraq – the English had to sit back and watch flunkouts from the Heritage Foundation destroy Iraq as

Greater evils, election time

Pity the Brits today. An election between a man who is marginally more evil than Bush (the margin consists of his much greater intelligence—Blair is Iago to Bush’s Ubu Roi) and a conservative leader who is campaigning to bring the paramilitary right back to the fold. Howard is simply another sign of the disaster Margaret Thatcher wreaked, like some medieval comet shedding plagues, on a party that at one time boasted Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan. The socialist side of the British political economy, one should always remember, owes a lot to Conservatives – from the willingness to break with the liberal/free trade orthodoxy in Lord Salisbury’s era to Macmillan’s normalization of the welfare state. A Macmillan would recognize the opportunity that Blair has given the Conservatives to repair the social compact by opposing, wholeheartedly, the ill conceived alliance with the U.S. to invade and subjugate Iraq. A Macmillan would also recognize that a conservative defends those instrum

damned, rammed and sunk

We’ve been thinking of Abiezer Coppe. The reason we’ve been thinking of Abiezer Coppe is that Infinite Thought, in the course of visiting a May day celebration in some village in England, came across some “prophetic (and poorly-spelled) religious missives [that] were posted on walls around a place that already seemed pretty religious (in a whitebread, exclusivist, entirely British kind of way). Russia will attack Israel, apparently according to Ezekiel 38-39 (The Gog-Magog bit).” She has photos up of the broadsheets here . Now, unlike the bestselling leftbehind apocalyptic novels put out by rich evangelical types, in which we see the happy merger those two ur-American tropes, the Caucasian utopia and the action hero movie, the older style of apocalyptic lit digs into the pork and corruption of a world that runs over the oppressed and sees its dark ends – the first who shall be last, here, include the rich evangelical types, being fed into the maw of some rich Bosch-style monster. When

Laissez faire casualties

LI, in pursuance of an editing job for a client, was reading Mill’s Principles of Political Economy the other day, looking for a certain quote. We found the quote, but we also found Mill’s rather startling defense of the export of food stuffs from countries that were in the midst of famine as dictated by the logic of free trade. Or so it appeared to us. The passage, in the PPE, reads: “On the subject, however, of subsistence, there is one point which deserves more especial consideration. In cases of actual or apprehended scarcity, many countries of Europe are accustomed to stop the exportation of food. Is this, or not, sound policy? There can be no doubt that in the present state of international morality, a people cannot, any more than an individual, be blamed for not starving itself to feed others. But if the greatest amount of good to mankind on the whole, were the end aimed at in the maxims of international conduct, such collective churlishness would certainly be condemned by them.

Rolling over in our sleep

LI has long contended that the proper analogies for the Iraq war should be sought in U.S. foreign policy in Central and South America, with its heavy emphasis on the electric wire to your balls and support for a compliant elite, sitting on all those extractable raw materials, rather than in WWII or in Vietnam. Oct 24, 2004 – LI “The Lord Raglans of the Rumsfeld gang – the Tommy Franks and Ricardo Sanchezes – have, if anything, been even more coddled by the press, which does love a man in uniform, and since getting their fingers burned in the Vietnam war have reliably laid down a covering fire of delusions for the U.S. government as it has supported death squad democracy in Central America and, now, Iraq. It is rather embarrassing for the newspapers to have to confront the obvious screwups of our politicized and incompetent high command – Franks inability to hurt Al Qaeda when it was concentrated in Afghanistan, and Sanchez’s mindblowing underestimation of the insurgency last fall – s

Blake's bird continued

There is one myth about perspectivism that must be dispelled before one can make any sense of it. It is of the essence of perspectivism that, among all possible perspectives, there is no single one that can encompass all the information found in every perspective. In other words, perspectivism claims that there is no God’s eye perspective. The myth takes that to mean something like: there are no universals. The two claims aren’t equivalent. It may well be that there are invariants across perspectives. But this does not mean that you can make, out of those invariants, a sort of uber-perspective. There are no back doors to the God position. Furthermore, these invariants aren’t necessarily “truths”. I suspect that there are invariants that are fictions. Now, it is at this moment that someone inevitably pops up, a smirk on his face, and says, aha, how can you talk about truths and fictions if everything is just a perspective? This objection comes down to saying that truth is an extra-pers