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Showing posts from January 29, 2017

the vocabulary that is busy being born a little political philology

He who is not busy being born is busy dying Historically, the Democratic party in the 20th century put a premium on coalition politics, the party's response to American urbanization . Half of all Americans still worked in agriculture in 1900. This changed, at variable speeds by region, until by 1950 it was 12 percent. It changed the most on the Northern east coast, and the least in the interior South and Midwest. Because, in 1900, the Republicans were still the party of small and large traders, which had successfully fought against slaveholding power, the party was receptive to change by its progressive end. The progressives combined anti-corruption advocates and genuine critics of speculative capitalism. Meanwhile, the Dems were tacitly pro-corruption, in as much as corruption was a sort of tax on the wealthy that distributed, in a highly inefficient way, wealth to the immigrant and the farmer. The big city machines naturally tended Democratic. After that progressive turnin

a sententious post

“Which life should one live – the life one likes. I like writing. I like change. I like to toss my mind up and see where it goes.” – Virginia Woolf, diary entry, 1934 Most of us – me for one – toss our minds up very rarely. What we like at 18, we bear on our shoulders at 68. Partly this is because we don’t lead the life we like. Virginia Woolf was no exception to this rule. She was subject to neurological assaults on her sanity, sexual assault by a step brother when she was young, and (more positively) the comforts of her circle and place. Her likes, and thus the life she liked, were hugely conditioned, imperially conditioned, and this she knew well. The question of our likes after 18 comes so often too late for us to recognize – instead, the crucial questions are what we can tolerate, what we need to do tomorrow, how we can negotiate with the bill collector, the colleague, the family member That internal oracle falls silent, as the path to it is overgrown with weeds. Our likes