Sunday, August 29, 2010

Salon
Five years later, a richer, whiter New Orleans.
Statistically, New Orleans is experiencing something of a boom. But don't be fooled about the reason why.
Repeat, from a few months ago.
Duncan Black's neighborhood was majority black before the redevelopment that brought him in. It's now 67% White and 12% black.

"I generally think concerns about the ill impacts of urban gentrification are overblown."
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"Contretemps at Cato" again (see below). Another tack.
Brink Lindsey's article in support of a future war against Iraq.
Well, I beg to differ. Iraq is no joke: The crimes that the Baathist regime there has committed and may intend to commit in the future are deadly serious business. Under the reign of Saddam Hussein, Iraq has invaded two of its neighbors...
The first of those two invasions -the attack on Iran- was supported by the US. Lindsey knew this. If he regrets his support for the war, does he regret lying in defense of his position? Read the whole thing. As someone wrote on the thread at CT, it's hard to see it as argued in good faith. Either way it's argued by an idiot. But it's not a question of politics and bedfellows but of whom you choose actively to defend and why. Friendship needs no defense, but friendship doesn't require you to defend a friend's position. An inability to separate friendship and opinion weakens both.

Another example (and another repeat). Two obituaries by Brad Delong.
Jeane Kirkpatrick
Let me express my condolences to her two surviving sons John Evron and Stuart Alan Kirkpatrick, whom she loved beyond all measure.
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.
William Safire
Let the record show that William Safire spent the last 35 years of his life being loyal to his longtime boss Richard Nixon: trying not so much to build Richard Nixon up but to tear everyone else he thought he could--Bert Lance, Jimmy Carter, Nancy Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton--down to Nixon's level...
If DeLong had had a family connection to Safire he would have found a way to write something more respectful. Kirkpatrick's record of corruption in defense of what she would consider moral is no more or less public than Safire's. When DeLong defends Kirkpatrick he's putting friendship and family loyalty before politics, though he won't admit it. Friendship is fundamentally emotional, and DeLong's response is an example of the "tribalism" that technocrats call anti-modern. He'd be horrified to admit he's acting like a Sicilian peasant (or a Neapolitan aristocrat).

When Henry Farrell defends Lindsey and Wilkinson he's claiming also that friendship with people of good faith comes first. But that argument again falls flat, clearly at least in Lindsey's case. And I can't see where the possible existence of good faith helps Wilkinson much. But Farrell is trying more than anything to defend his own relation to their larger ideas. He's defending his own dreams of a social democratic/libertarian hybrid by defending those who might help foster it, even if they're purblind rubes and idiots. His loyalty is less to them than to his fantasy.
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Slow change in language: Ali Abunimah in the NY Times.

It shouldn't be so hard for "rational" "logical" and "reasonable" people to recognize the obvious, but it is. And that's because people are not "rational" "logical" and "reasonable", they operate on patterns of assumption. The facts haven't changed in Israel in 40 years.
The conflict in Northern Ireland had been intractable for decades. Unionists backed by the British government saw any political compromise with Irish nationalists as a danger, one that would lead to a united Ireland in which a Catholic majority would dominate minority Protestant unionists. The British government also refused to deal with the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, despite its significant electoral mandate, because of its close ties to the Irish Republican Army, which had carried out violent acts in the United Kingdom.

A parallel can be seen with the American refusal to speak to the Palestinian party Hamas, which decisively won elections in the West Bank and Gaza in 2006. Asked what role Hamas would have in the renewed talks, Mr. Mitchell answered with one word: “None.” No serious analyst believes that peace can be made between Palestinians and Israelis without Hamas on board, any more than could have been the case in Northern Ireland without Sinn Fein and the I.R.A.

The United States insists that Hamas meet strict preconditions before it can take part in negotiations: recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by agreements previously signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, of which Hamas is not a member. These demands are unworkable. Why should Hamas or any Palestinian accept Israel’s political demands, like recognition, when Israel refuses to recognize basic Palestinian demands like the right of return for refugees?

As for violence, Hamas has inflicted a fraction of the harm on Israeli civilians that Israel inflicts on Palestinian civilians. If violence disqualifies Hamas, surely much greater violence should disqualify the Israelis?

It was only by breaking with one-sided demands that Mr. Mitchell was able to help bring peace to Northern Ireland. In 1994, for instance, Mr. Mitchell, then a Democratic senator from Maine, urged President Bill Clinton — against strenuous British objections — to grant a United States visa to Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader. Mr. Mitchell later wrote that he believed the visa would enable Mr. Adams “to persuade the I.R.A. to declare a cease-fire, and permit Sinn Fein to enter into inclusive political negotiations.” As mediator, Mr. Mitchell insisted that a cease-fire apply to all parties equally, not just to the I.R.A.

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