Saturday, December 09, 2006

R.I.P. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick
She was a good friend to my grandfather Earl. She was an American and a world patriot: her counsel--even at its most boneheaded--was always devoted to advancing the security of the United States and the cause of liberty and prosperity around the world."
American exceptionalism is an anomaly. America is not. The continuing power of that anomaly owes something to the collapse of the Soviet Union, but it owes more to the seemingly rational and morally neutral mechanisms of capital, and to the logic and mythology of individualism which feeds it. In the past this faith was seen as common sense but recently it has taken on the colors of an esoteric knowledge.

Esoteric schools of thought exist usually at the periphery of their traditions; their idealism places them apart from public life. When they become central it signals a new defensiveness, a closing-down, often reducing language to a core of messianism and rigorous formality: the rules tighten as the desire for release grows stronger. The purely material meets the purely psychic.
In religion the result is fundamentalism. In economics the asociality of mathematics is the model and the asociality of autism the result. And if observant Judaism and Islam meet in passing, they're going in opposite directions, and I'd rather have a child take up the faith of the Prophet than become a Hasid.

Delong attaches this to someone's comment: "Oh no. She did a great deal that I think was wrong. But she was well intentioned." An American in 2006 praising the moral power of intention. 40 years ago, it could have been anyone. But times have changed.
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...Kill the Moor first.

Vit. You shall not kill her first; behold my breast: I will be waited on in death; my servant Shall never go before me.

Gas. Are you so brave?

Vit. Yes, I shall welcome death, As princes do some great ambassadors; I'll meet thy weapon half-way.

Lodo. Thou dost tremble: Methinks, fear should dissolve thee into air.

Vit. Oh, thou art deceiv'd, I am too true a woman! Conceit can never kill me. I 'll tell thee what, I will not in my death shed one base tear; Or if look pale, for want of blood, not fear.

Gas. Thou art my task, black fury.

Zan. I have blood As red as either of theirs: wilt drink some? 'Tis good for the falling-sickness. I am proud: Death cannot alter my complexion, For I shall ne'er look pale.

Lodo. Strike, strike, With a joint motion. [They strike.]

Vit. 'Twas a manly blow; The next thou giv'st, murder some sucking infant; And then thou wilt be famous.

Flam. Oh, what blade is 't? A Toledo, or an English fox? I ever thought a culter should distinguish The cause of my death, rather than a doctor. Search my wound deeper; tent it with the steel That made it.

Vit. Oh, my greatest sin lay in my blood! Now my blood pays for 't.

Flam. Th' art a noble sister! I love thee now; if woman do breed man, She ought to teach him manhood. Fare thee well. Know, many glorious women that are fam'd For masculine virtue, have been vicious, Only a happier silence did betide them: She hath no faults, who hath the art to hide them.

Vit. My soul, like to a ship in a black storm, Is driven, I know not whither.

Flam. Then cast anchor. Prosperity doth bewitch men, seeming clear; But seas do laugh, show white, when rocks are near. We cease to grieve, cease to be fortune's slaves, Nay, cease to die by dying. Art thou gone? And thou so near the bottom? false report, Which says that women vie with the nine Muses, For nine tough durable lives! I do not look Who went before, nor who shall follow me; No, at my self I will begin the end. While we look up to heaven, we confound Knowledge with knowledge. Oh, I am in a mist!

Vit. Oh, happy they that never saw the court, Nor ever knew great men but by report! [Vittoria dies.]

Flam. I recover like a spent taper, for a flash, And instantly go out. Let all that belong to great men remember th' old wives' tradition, to be like the lions i' th' Tower on Candlemas-day; to mourn if the sun shine, for fear of the pitiful remainder of winter to come. 'Tis well yet there 's some goodness in my death; My life was a black charnel. I have caught An everlasting cold; I have lost my voice Most irrecoverably. Farewell, glorious villains. This busy trade of life appears most vain, Since rest breeds rest, where all seek pain by pain. Let no harsh flattering bells resound my knell; Strike, thunder, and strike loud, to my farewell! [Dies.]

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