Sunday, October 20, 2002

It is interesting the degree to which Republicans are willing to stand on principle when it comes to guns, even in the face of concerns for public safety, but are unwilling to do so when it comes to privacy and freedom of speech, given the same, though much less obvious, concerns. This morning on ABC after trying to make the case that gun fingerprinting does not work, (imagining, among other things, a storehouse full of millions of spent shells) and having his argument shot down by the rest of the assembled panel, George Will came close to arguing just this, that state security is more important than individual safety. This is and always has been the philosophy of the conservative elite but in a democracy it's not meant to be talked about in public.

After all the chatter about the apathy of the american voter, not to mention of the press, we have the result in the simplistic foreign policy of an uneducated man. The administration's response to news from North Korea, (ignoring the fact that they did not inform congress until after the Iraq debates) will no doubt be on par with James Kelly's performance two weeks ago. Their response to Indonesia will be no better.
Nothing on this day is more symptomatic of the situation than The New York Times Magazine. It's a mark of the conflict in this country that the 95% of the Times including ad space that is constructed to document and accessorize various form of decadence and conspicuous consumption should be excused, in the minds of the liberals who read it, by the 'seriousness' of the articles. This week between ads for ten thousand dollar dresses and and million dollar homes one can find an article by Paul Krugman on the unfairness of it all for the average American. I know that left/liberals will be in ecstasy over the appearance of such ideas in a glossy magazine, even one printed on cheap paper, but I won't be.

Also this week there is an article on the 'Democratization' of TV thanks to the web and other measures of audience response. This is something that will probably go unnoticed in political circles, though the same questions if raised about Karl Rove, also the subject of an article this week, will result in a response.
So we get an attack on a dumbed down American idea of politics back to back with a celebration of the dumbed down American idea of Art. If we criticize Americans for their ignorance and argue that their freedom should be earned, shouldn't we make the same argument for art: that it should do more than affirm the lowest common denominator? Art by committee and politics by whatever the least educated are trained to think; though the least educated may have been smart enough to leave it all to the pundits, who are trained better than anyone.
Democracy has a brighter future in Iran

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