Dorothy Thompson At Harper’s Magazine-August 1941: ‘Who Goes Nazi?’

Full piece here.

Our author speculates who would go Nazi in a room full of people at a dinner party.  Continuing on a recent theme around here and in society more broadly:

‘Kind, good, happy, gentlemanly, secure people never go Nazi. They may be the gentle philosopher whose name is in the Blue Book, or Bill from City College to whom democracy gave a chance to design airplanes–you’ll never make Nazis out of them. But the frustrated and humiliated intellectual, the rich and scared speculator, the spoiled son, the labor tyrant, the fellow who has achieved success by smelling out the wind of success–they would all go Nazi in a crisis.’

Her powers of analysis could be useful…

Thanks to a reader for the link.

Related On This Site: He coined the term “true believer”:  Via Youtube: Eric Hoffer-’The Passionate State Of Mind’Via Reason: ‘Salvador Allende’s Cybersocialist Command Center’

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘History Repeats: In Europe, They Want Jewish Blood’

Full post here.

On Tariq Ramadan’s response to the Toulouse Mohammed Merah attack:

‘Ramadan in no way condones or approves of these murders, but his response still falls short. Ramadan sees no anti-Semitic executioner here, only an oppressed soul driven inexorably by unfair social forces to murder others — most of whom, irrelevantly, happened to be Jews.’

Well, the European Left, multiculturalism, and moral relativism don’t require it of him and neither do the Muslim world nor the Muslim brotherhood (he bridges the two worlds), so why should he?

‘Europe and France should either have kept the immigrants out or welcomed them in as they prepared a place for them. They did neither, and the payback will hurt.’

Very high unemployment, poor living conditions, high birth rates, cultural exclusion into ghettoes and fewer opportunities to really be French (or German, or British) leave men like Merah in no man’s land (and he is by all means accountable for his actions).  A few, like Merah, choose this cowardly path.

Smaller, more regulated and indebted economies, low birth-rates, more culturally homogenous societies united under a technocracy and anti-nationalist post World War II governance (which is understandable and has good reasons but which stuffs nationalist impulses into the shadows, sometimes unreasonably and makes them self-righteous and inflamed) could likely make Europeans face some uncomfortable choices regarding its Muslim immigrants.

And some folks in America want to have a similar set of principles be the highest things around over here.

Comments are well worth reading.

Related On This Site:  A British Muslim tells his story, suggesting that classical liberalism wouldn’t be a bad idea: From Kenanmalik.com: ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’

For anyone,it takes moral courage to stand up to the messianism, Islamic moral absolutism, and dark theocratic tendencies of the Middle East…liberty is key as well as moral responsibility to think in terms of the legitimacy of rule here at home.  It is often the Left, the materialists (anti-religious) who stand up: …From Beautiful Horizons: ‘Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan at the 92nd Street Y’Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’From Michael Totten: ‘An Interview With Christopher Hitchens’

‘Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks Headbutted During Lecture’……From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’

What kind of threats to free speech do the justice and rights crowd pose?:  Repost-A Canadian Libertarian Making Noise: Ezra Levant

Materialism and Leftism Paul Berman On Bloggingheads: The Left Can Criticize Iran… Paul Berman At The New Republic: ‘From September 11 to the Arab Spring: Do Ideas Matter?’

Western societies are becoming less violent overall? We’ll see about that-Steven Pinker curiously goes Hobbesian and mentions an ‘international Leviathan’:   At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas Hobbes

Are we back to a clash of civilizations…or are there are other options: From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s Work

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Repost-From Virtual Philosophy: A Brief Interview With Simon Blackburn

Full interview here.

I just wanted to focus on an interesting problem:

“Nigel: Has relativism had its day as an influential philosophical position?

Simon: No – and I don’t think it should ever die. The danger is that it gets replaced by some kind of complacent dogmatism, which is at least equally unhealthy. The Greek sceptics thought that confronting a plurality of perspectives is the beginning of wisdom, and I think they were right. It is certainly the beginning of historiography and anthropology, and if we think, for instance, of the Copernican revolution, of self-conscious science. The trick is to benefit from an imaginative awareness of diversity, without falling into a kind of “anything goes” wishy-washy nihilism or scepticism….”

It looks like we’ve been dealing with such a problem for a long time, in one form or another.

See Also On This Site:  Can you maintain the virtues of religion without the church…of England?:  From The City Journal: Roger Scruton On “Forgiveness And Irony”…Are we going soft and “European”… do we need to protect our religious idealism enshrined in the Constitution….with the social sciences?…Charles Murray Lecture At AEI: The Happiness Of People

From Wikipedia’s Page On Leo Strauss: A Few Quotes:  From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?

From Reason.com: ‘The 4 Best Legal Arguments Against ObamaCare’

Full piece here.

Click through for the arguments against the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act, the Individual Mandate, and legal arguments against Obamacare (libertarians are leading the charge).

In the discussions I’ve had, if someone believes the idea that health-care is a right and not a commodity (some people argue that it is privilege, morally, but I’ll stick to a commodity, as with a commodity you get what you pay for in a world of limited resources), then they are usually supportive of the Law.

If upheld, I believe we would be inviting the government into our lives in a way we haven’t before, granting it the power to tax and penalize us for our very health itself (few things are more important).  Because few things are more important, and because so many people do not have access to health care, or do have access but we are providing it to them inefficiently, or because some people abuse the care provided and do not have the ability to manage their lives accordingly, or because health-insurance companies are making end-of-life decisions sometimes based on the bottom line and the profit motive (which is what would happen under the new Law), because we’ve tied health-care to employment, or because costs are rising rapidly for all due in part to technology, longevity, and prescription drugs (all of which would become less available long-term under the law)…the supporters of this Law are willing to overlook the power granted to one group of people (their favored political and ideological interests) over other interests left to pick up the costs.

For many of them, the concept of a right is universal enough to enshrine their thinking into law, and the Affordable Care Act, passed as it is, will do.  In digging, I sometimes find much ire against their political and ideological enemies rather than Nature herself, sickness and disease, the natural inequality of human gifts and abilities, and the unequal outcomes we allow in our society.   They want the social contract to mean something quite different.

Of course, the idea that the Act won’t lead to greater fiscal insolvency and massive deficits, at a time when two other entitlement programs are increasingly insolvent, is a non-starter.  It won’t.

The American Interest has a breakdown of the Supreme Court’s schedule here.

Addition: Richard Epstein has more here. More good coverage here. Price controls will drive insurers to compete to provide worst care for the sick, and destabilize health insurance markets by taking away the means insurance companies use to stay afloat.

Another Addition:  The limiting principle.

Related On This Site:  From The New England Journal Of Medicine Via CATO: ‘The Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate’From If-Then Knots: Health Care Is Not A Right…But Then Neither Is Property?… From The New Yorker: Atul Gawande On Health Care-”The Cost Conundrum”Sally Pipes At Forbes: ‘A Plan That Leads Health Care To Nowhere’Peter Suderman At The WSJ: ‘Obamacare And The Medicaid Mess’From AEI: ‘Study: ‘Obama Healthcare Reform Raising Costs, Forcing Workers Out Of Existing Plans’

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Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘City Planners Run Amok’

Full piece here.

The Upper West Side wants to limit store frontage to prevent big commercial businesses from ruining the character of the neighborhood.  Epstein has focused particularly on land use in the past:

‘I begin with a cautionary note. It is too easy to treat “neighborhood character” as a loose and sentimental notion that should be excluded from urban planning deliberations. To do so would be to ignore what everyone knows: that the character of our surroundings makes a huge difference in how we live and organize our lives. The proper integration of public and private spaces is something people expect in deciding where to live and work. There is no question that private developers think about how to integrate aesthetics, access, and use into a harmonious whole; they know these amenities drive both the desirability and price of the units that they wish to sell. Ample evidence suggests that character also matters a great deal in public spaces.

But to stop there leaves the story incomplete, for it fails to address two questions: Will regulations, such as the ones discussed above, improve the “streetscape character,” as its supporters claim? If so, will it do so at an acceptable cost to all of the individuals and businesses that bear the brunt of the proposal?’

A pretty thorough analysis of likely consequences, especially for business owners and landlords and their limited legal recourse.

Related On This Site:  Covering the law and economics from a libertarian perspective: Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution Journal: ‘Three Cheers for Income Inequality’Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘Death By Wealth Tax’

Kay Hymowitz At The City Journal: ‘How Brooklyn Got Its Groove Back’…Is the same definition of ‘community’ connected with one that can stifle economic growth through political means?: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?

Trade and commerce aren’t just vehicles for nanny statism, equality delivery services and racial harmony…they are well…trade and commerce:  Via Youtube: Ric Burns—New York: A Documentary Film – Episode One: The Country and The City (1609-1825)Joel Kotkin Via Youtube: ‘Illinois Is In A Competition’

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Via Youtube: Eric Hoffer-‘The Passionate State Of Mind’

Continuing on a theme on this blog.

Hoffer was a man deeply suspicious of top-down organization and intellectuals running things, yet he is a man deeply curious and taken with ideas:  He strikes this blog as something of an anti-intellectual’s intellectual.  He worked as a longshoreman for much of his life in San Francisco and was not formally educated, but read many of the great books.  In the video he discusses how he thought he was observing a change from an interest in business to an interest in ideas in American culture and society in the 1960’s, among other things.

From a Thomas Sowell piece, the Legacy Of Eric Hoffer:

‘Hoffer said: “The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.”

People who are fulfilled in their own lives and careers are not the ones attracted to mass movements: “A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding,” Hoffer said. “When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.”

What Hoffer was describing was the political busybody, the zealot for a cause — the “true believer,” who filled the ranks of ideological movements that created the totalitarian tyrannies of the 20th century.’

Related On This Site:  Francis Fukuyama has started a center for Public Administration at Stanford…it’d be interesting to imagine a conversation between Hoffer and Fukuyama: Francis Fukuyama At The American Interest: ‘Mexico And The Drug Wars’…Has Fukuyama turned away from Hegel and toward Darwin? Adam Kirsch Reviews Francis Fukuyama’s New Book At The City Journal: ‘The Dawn Of Politics’

Are we still having the same debate…is it manifest destiny?: A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”Repost-Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘The Sidewalks Of San Francisco’

On Americanization: China is growing a middle class, Brazil, too.  People want more freedom, more options after they industrialize: Sachs and Niall Ferguson duke it out: CNN-Fareed Zakaria Via Youtube: ‘Jeff Sachs and Niall Ferguson’

The classical liberal tradition…looking for classical liberals in the postmodern wilderness: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”… From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’…Looking to supplant religion as moral source for the laws: From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum.New liberty away from Hobbes?: From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’…Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and trendy leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

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From Foreign Affairs: ‘Stephen Biddle and Max Boot Discuss U.S. Afghanistan Policy’

Audio only (~1.00 hr)

‘Stephen Biddle and Max Boot discuss U.S. Afghanistan policy with Jonathan D. Tepperman’
Is continuing COIN (counterinsurgency) possible without a long-term commitment?  Is advise and assist part of a withdrawal trajectory, harming our troops ability to do their jobs? Is a negotiated settlement even possible with a timeline?  Good discussion.