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Showing posts from September 17, 2006

the heroism of flattery

“I will be as ready as a chessman to be wherever your Majesty’s royal hand shall set me. -- Bacon Francis Bacon would have immediately understood the how the CEO of Hewlett Packard, Patricia Dunn , got kicked bumpety bump down the winding staircase up which she had advanced, since he, too, fell in the aftermath of a rather shady scandal that began when, as attorney general, he vetted an application for a patent of monopoly concerning the manufacture of silver and gold thread for a brother and a cousin of the King’s favorite, Buckingham. Ever since Macaulay made the abuse of this patent (by Giles Mompesson, among others, a splendid example of a 17th century buck, unscrupulous, mean, the model for Massinger’s Sir Giles Overreach in A New Way to Pay Old Debts) the centerpiece of his accusing essay about Bacon, Baconites have rushed to the man’s defense. And one of these days, LI will dawdle over a post about the whole thing – but – yesterday, when we were looking for scholarly work on fla
All rising to great place is by a winding star; and if there be factions, it is good to side a man's self, whilst he is in the rising, and to balance himself when he is placed. – Francis Bacon LI’s dao is sarcasm. First comes the irony, then comes the insight. So, yesterday, we appended a ps to our post on Iran, recommending that the best way to influence policy at the moment is through insinuation and flattery at the Bush court. Thus, strategically, those who want to avoid bombing Iran in this country should try to find ways to make this seem like Bush’s own thought, the logical conclusion of his perfectly brilliant Middle Eastern policy. We meant this satirically – for there is nothing that still awakens the latent Puritan in the American character as flattery, and we have a Puritan in the woodpile as well as anybody else. But as soon as we had written it, a piece of the puzzle, as it were, dropped in place. For if – as we think is true – in shedding the Constitution (the torture

in other news from the idiot front -- William Bennett!

LI is going to get to our pacifism post this weekend, we hope. In the meantime, readers are urged to peruse, rapidly, holding their noses, the noxious op ed by William Bennett and Rod Paige, urging – as is the wont of big government conservatives – the takeover of local educational standards by a D.C. corps of test-centric whackos. For Bennett, the man responsible for increasing the tempo of drug related crimes in the U.S. in the 80s, this is standard stuff. Just as he had no clue about how markets work, and so, making the black markets more violent in the 80s, mistook that violence as a sign that he should continue a truly brainless drug policy, so, here, he takes the unmistakable signs that the No Child Left Behind act is a farce, turning American schools into test taking factories, and draws… the wrong conclusions: “But there's a problem. Out of respect for federalism and mistrust of Washington, much of the GOP has expected individual states to set their own academic standards

tarrying with pacifism

Since LI is dedicated to the destruction of Mars – which is like the mouse that fucked the elephant, n’est-ce pas? – the question arises: Mistah LI, are you a pacifist? No. LI is not a pacifist. But – borrowing language from the world’s greatest vendor of snakeoil, Mr. G. Hegel his own self – I do want to preserve the resistant and always crushed negation of the pacifistic moment. The true insanity of Mars is not that Mars is in perpetual war, but that peace and war are secondary to the war structure. Pacifism is premised on the fact – a fact acknowledged by all the sane - that states are the primary political actors in the international order, and that wars are things that they engage in or do not. But this is not what the insane, the underground man, or the mouse that fucks the elephant, sees. No sir. We see that it is war and its structures that govern states. We see Mars, looming all around us. We see that we live in a Republic in which people can calmly claim that, for instance, w

Let's not attack Iran

LI has maintained, since 2004, that the U.S. won’t invade Iran. However, we wonder, in the light of recent news about U.S. naval deployments in the Gulf, whether the Bush administration is really planning to attack Iran. The proxy war against Hezbollah was a major disaster, and as we know, this administration has never met a disaster it hasn’t wanted to repeat. It is like being ruled by brain addled drivers from the demolition derby. Fred Kaplan’s analysis in Slate is worth reading, even if it is larded with the usual U.S. propaganda about how much the people of Iran hate their gov. LI thinks the theocratic structure of the Iranian government is despicable, but I am not sure that I represent the feeling of the majority of Iranians. Somehow, an awful lot of them voted for their president – a fact easily wiped away from the board by the fact that Iran has a truly undemocratic system. Why, unlike in the U.S., for instance, the deciding factor in who is elected president is the majority of

a little appeal

LI went to the mailbox today, thinking that a certain little synaptic gap in our total finances was about to shrink, due to some overdue checks coming in --but no such luck. It is one of those moments when the trapeze bar isn't there, and the trapezist looks down to check the net. Yikes! All of which is to say -- those of you readers who have thought of contributing to LI's continued well being (and not readers who have contributed, abundantly, in the past) -- might want to click our little pay pal button.

mars 2

A few home truths. LI is neither opposed to the state, nor to capitalism, nor, if it comes to it, to socialism. This puts LI out of the running as far as political philosophy is concerned. As far as LI is concerned, political philosophy is as strange a thing as, say, a philosophy of poker that only recognized two cards: the Ace and the deuce. A poker philosopher with that idea would be uniquely un-equipped to recognize a poker game. Often when I read the crowd of libertarians, conservatives and lefties expound on the public and private sectors, I feel like I am reading my fictitious poker philosopher trying to figure out the name of this god damned card game they keep showing on ESPN2. Myself, I have my eye on Mars. It isn’t that I think of Mars as wholly bad, an absolute evil – I have too great a dialectical sense of the conditions of my own existence, and that of everyone, literally, who I know or have ever known, and too little suicide in my veins, to utterly damn Mars – as much as

Jim O'Beirne's war

There are those who think Limited Inc is kidding about Iraq being Bush’s Vanity war. This article should clear up that contentious issue. The Iraq war was the first war in this nation’s history fought entirely to give a political party a leg up in the elections, and as a Romper room for its language challenged children. Iraq was a Club Med for the Heritage Foundation set. Something we pointed out when this story first appeared, about two years ago, but worth pointing out again, given this fuller account: “After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon. To pass muster with O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for De