Saturday, January 22, 2005

More fun with Liberals.

At some point I should really spend the time and just go on the attack nonstop. Neuroeconomics indeed.

My God, why should someone, at the end of a long day at work and still having to go to the market... Why would someone take the long way, through the park? Why waste the energy?
As with most of what I've written over the past two and a half years, it should have been unnecessary. But I'm dealing with idiots.
Change does not begin with political activity, it ends with it. How could someone be so stupid as to think anything else?

And an idiot tech-head like Lessig can argue even half seriously that text is dying? In the year of Our Ford 2005 this shit passes for intellectualism? Jesus fuck. Now even art progresses. But of course this has been assumed by many for years. It's one of the ubiquitous defenses of Modernism, that it was an example of progress. Art has never and will never progress, it finds ways to conserve what it can. It describes what is. And its enemy is neither conservatism nor the past itself but hypocrisy.
Art is how we find a way to make change bearable.

I'm moving to a neighborhood filled with people from all over the world. The cafes are open late at night and they serve liquor. Some streets remind you of Paris. The people, including the young, are well travelled, and the restaurants are good. Some of them are very expensive. Everyone is greedy, this is America, but wherever they're from, people laugh at their greed. They're not American yet. You have to take a number at the bank. The younger women with money who wear the hijab wear Prada. My realtor drives a Lexus and wears a coat with fur trim. At the mention of our President she rolls her eyes with an expression of offhand contempt I recognize from foreign cities; but she loves this country. She came here in 1962, one year before I was born.

Queens is capitalism, but it's not crony capitalism. And it's liberal, but it's not the liberalism of good intentions clean thoughts and guilt. It's cruel, but it's not an ideology of cruelty.

What I've realized more and more, in eating and drinking in the shopping mall that is the Time Warner Center, in drinking and driving around LA, in flying around Europe and talking to friends about Tehran, Beirut, Shanghai and Beijing, is that the new face of capitalism doesn't need and more importantly doesn't want an intellectual defense. There can't be one for a system that's basically barbaric; but we can stop lying about it. And we can set limits. And those limits will not be based on economic principles but on their opposite. I've said this before: my stockbroker is a millionaire many times over. He's worth a lot more than Brad DeLong, but he limits his own wealth. 'Enough is enough" he says, blowing smoke rings in the air. He's Norwegian, but he loves this country. His decisions are hybrids. There are no closed systems; and he knows it.

My new home is getting trendy but the manhattanites and the slackers stick to themselves. And they won't get very far, anyway. They don't work hard enough and they don't have enough money to buy anything. And they're provincial: they find run down holes-in-the-wall and hang out with the drunks. They think it's cool.

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