Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I tossed this off yesterday and saved it as a draft:
Less intelligent and even more intellectually vulgar than that asshole from Berkeley, it's Alex Tabarrok.
Kozol's argument can be summed up thusly:

"Letting people escape over the Berlin Wall starves the East German system of the presence of well-educated, politically effective people to fight for the equity of all East Germans."
Smart huh? But of course the argument makes perfect sense within limits. I could say just as easily: "Brave men don't run, they stand and fight." It's an old argument.

I'm not going to add to this string of oversimplifications. Anyone who offers up critiques of others' assumptions with no more than their own assumptions is a fool. Tabarrok counters Kozol's moral arguments -arguments about what does and should constitute moral action- by arguing that such arguments amount to an attack on freedom. But there's no such thing as freedom. Swedish social democracy is bounded by the Swedish culture of conformity, just as American politics is bounded by our culture of idealism and self-destruction (and not every country has our reputation for destroying public toilets.) And I speak English not my own variety of Gxzshppsph. So lets dump this 'libertarian' shit once and for all. Libertarians have their heads up their asses when they pretend culture is no more than exotic decorations and strange food.

As I've mentioned before, DeLong tries to have it both ways: to see himself as a man in search of wisdom, in the classical sense, and as the modern social scientist. Isn't the point of rational self-interest that it obviates most discussion of morality? Assuming that everyone behaves the same way and has the same interests -or that what may be universal interests have the same form- leads to the logic that everyone should have the same interests. So Americans are just like Norwegians, and German is just like Swahili.

The world is not made of what we use to measure it. The only logical choice is to use more than one measure and compare the results. Simple. Really fucking simple.


  1. Does Henley, say, pretend culture is nothing more than an exotic decoration? He seems to take it pretty seriously.

    'Libertarians having their heads up their asses' when it comes to culture would at least be consistent with their butt-out-of-my-business culture.

    And I'd be interested in your thoughts on this latest Lawrence Kaplan rant in TNR. He finds whatever country we're in in dire need of some cultural intervention.

  2. Libertariansm is the rationalism teenagers
    sexually immature male sf reading teenagers.
    Chomsky and DeLong are adult by comparison. And I think you know how I feel about those idiots.

  3. From what I understand you feel Chomsky is an idiot because he isn't a novelist of complex human relationships, which he routinely passes over by noting they're too complex for him to say anything meaningful about. DeLong routinely tries to say useful things about it and isn't particularly successful. Maybe they should try their hands at poetry. :P

    "sexually immature male sf reading teenagers"

    Not really answering my question, but ok. This is probably a more accurate insult for "Left Behind" reading quasi-facist virginity movement teenagers than it is for libertarians who aren't members of the ayn rand/CATO cult. A lot of libertarians are still at least partly informed by 19th century socialists, afterall, they're just not that welcome in circles that get their funding from the corporate sector.


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