From Joel Kotkin: ‘Where Americans Are Moving’

Full piece here.

‘What can we expect now? It seems clear that the urban-centric policies of the Obama administration have not changed Americans’ migration patterns. The weak recovery has slowed migration, but expensive, overregulated and dense metropolitan areas continue to lose population to lower-cost, less regulated and generally less dense regions. This may speed up as recent tax hikes squeeze the hard-pressed middle class and if, as appears likely, the social media bubble continues to deflate.’

Click through for a net migration chart for 2010-2011.

Related On This Site:  From Joel Kotkin: ‘The Suburbs Could Save President Obama From Defeat’Joel Kotkin Via Youtube: ‘Illinois Is In A Competition’From The WSJ: ‘Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus’Joel Kotkin At Forbes: ‘Is Perestroika Coming In California?’

Are these the enemies of the future?: Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’

Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture…and like Brooklyn with craft beer, the sons and daughters of the Midwest…? –From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar ManFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’… some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’

Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘Drone Wars’

Full piece here.

‘The potential targets of drone attacks have no intention of subjecting themselves to the authority of the United States, so the only option left is to pursue them in territories where the United States exerts no effective control. In these settings, the futility of trial forces the government to take the controversial military option.

In dealing with that calculus, the United States could take citizenship into account in making its decision. But which way should that cut? Does a citizen deserve extra rights against the government that he has betrayed? Or should he be subject to additional sanctions? There is no clear answer, which is why U.S. policy on drone use for targeted attacks will remain an open wound in the body politic. It is both frightening and necessary to have to place such extensive trust in our public officials. But, when it comes to matters of national security, there is no other choice.’

Drone strikes can be a form of militarism lite, I suspect.  For this President, they can meet the political goal of targeting the enemy without troops on the ground as in Afpak and Yemen, thus achieving this aim in a more ‘quiet’ way, appealing to the base which is conveniently quiet as well.

More broadly, do you trust our elected officials and non-elected officials to have such powers?

Drones could eventually bring up civil liberties issues, because they are so inexpensive, reduce risk of harm for the user, and can be used effectively by all sorts of people here at home, from criminals to law enforcement.  They can be used to control a lot of the public sphere with minimal effort and cost.

I recall briefly thinking of Glenn Greenwald as almost in the anarchic tradition, but when he’s not, that he leans more toward progressive and liberal ideals, so he likely has animus against the State having such power in the first place (civil libertarian…he sued the Obama administration on behalf of the ACLU) but also because of the liberal lean he may have animus against those who would define liberty further away from a more progressive/liberal point of view (blaming America first for not having the right ideals, perhaps somewhere between Noam Chomsky and Julian Assange who both flirt with anarchy as well).

He makes some interesting arguments, however.

Francis Fukuyama has been writing about surveillance drones as well.

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’Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘The Obamacare Quaqmire’

The anarchic tradition on this site:  A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”… …Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of KnowledgeLink To Lew Rockwell Via A ReaderRepost-Two Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’…minimal state…Repost-Youtube Via Libertarianism.Org-David Friedman: ‘The Machinery Of Freedom

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”

Originalism vs. The living constitution: George Will Via The Jewish World Review: ‘True Self-Government’..Still fighting the battles of the 60′s…? A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”…Catholic libertarianism: Youtube Via Reason TV-Judge Napolitano ‘Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Government is Dangerous’

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Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Shock The Casbah’

Full piece here.

A very good analysis of the current Hamas-IDF skirmish in Gaza, and where it fits into other trends in the Middle East, with an interesting, modest proposal at the end (you’ll have to click through):

‘Today, we have to reverse the arrows: The ups and downs of the Palestinian impasse, like whether it is kinetic or not at any given time, have become instrumental with regard to the far more consequential future of politics in Egypt. Egypt is now less reliably useful to the United States as a mediator in Israeli-Palestinian affairs, but it has become far more important to the United States because its uncertain future will ramify across the entire, now destabilized Arab world, and also impinge significantly on the role of Iran and Turkey amid the Arabs.’

Related On This Site:  Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest’s Via Media: “The Rise Of Independent Kurdistan?”..

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest on Egypt: ‘Still More of the Same—and Something New’

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From Via Media: ‘Death by Euro: Spain Faces Crisis as Catalonia Turns Secessionist’

Full post here.

Fault lines emerge:

‘Exit polls from the regional elections in Catalonia show that pro-independence parties are winning a huge majority: up to 95 of the 135 seats in the regional assembly, according to analysis from theFinancial Times. Worse, from Madrid’s point of view, the radical pro-independence forces are doing unexpectedly well.’

I sat in an Barcelona office for a few weeks with a woman hired to work in the law school to promote Catalonian identity.  She was very old, and her job seemed to consist of sitting at her desk for a few hours each day, making sure students put fliers up, and occasionally answering the phone in a shrill voice.

This is a bit more serious, possibly as serious a thing to happen since Tejero walked out onto the lower Parliment house in 1981 and tried to stage a coup.

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Some more on Mead and his discussion of what he sees as four competing American schools of thought that work their way into our foreign policy:

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Related On This Site:  “Spengler” At PJ Media: ‘Lessons From Europe’s Winners And Losers’From Law At The End Of The Day: ‘Torn Between Religion And Law In Spain’…probably best not to mention the Civil War depending with whom you’re dealing: Timothy Snyder At The New Republic: ‘Savagery’…Spanish Poet Antonio Machado died while trying to get away: A Few Lines By Antonio Machado

Repost-Via Youtube: Conversations With History – Walter Russell MeadWalter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘Beyond Blue Part One: The Crisis of the American Dream’

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Via Architizer Blog: ‘Modernism Goes To The Movies’

Full post here.

Some pictures at the link.

There’s mention of the Mt. Rushmore house at the end of North By Northwest.  I suspect some among us have wanted to live in a modernist lair.

From an article in Der Spiegel on the Bauhaus, where modernism got its start:

‘The real feat achieved by Gropius and his cohorts was to have recognized and exposed the sociopolitical and moral power of architecture and design. They wanted to exert “effective influence” on “general conditions,” fashion a more just world and turn all of this into a “vital concern of the entire people.”‘

I’m always a little skeptical of such grand visions.  Utopianism runs deep.

Here’s Robert Hughes saving some choice criticism for the Empire State Plaza in Albany and the centralization of power through architecture as he saw it (a rich mix of the corporate and the bureaucratic from 50’s and 60’s America):

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Some of Le Corbusier’s work here, examples of Modern Architecture here.

See Also: They designed a city in the heart of Brazil that really doesn’t work for people: Brasilia: A Planned City

No thanks to living in planned communities upon someone else’s overall vision.: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?Repost-Via Reason: ‘Salvador Allende’s Cybersocialist Command Center’…Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture? –From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar ManFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’… some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’

A structure in the desert…not even a city Update On LACMA, Michael Heizer And The ‘Levitated Mass’-Modern Art And The Public;..where is modernism headed? Via Youtube: Justin, The Horse That Could Paint

Denis Dutton suggested art could head towards Darwin (and may offer new direction from the troubles of the modern art aimlessness and shallow depth…the money and the fame) Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

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Via Yale Global Via Althouse: ‘A Discussion Of How Globalization Has Strengthened Islamic Fundamentalism’

Full piece here.

Interesting piece:

‘It would be a mistake, however, to regard the developments in the Islamic world as a counter-globalization against the one originated in the West. Instead of rejecting globalization, the Islamic world is finding its own way of globalization.’

Demographically, there are more Muslims now than before.  I still think it’s best to not allow the highest ideals guiding the U.S. economy, our foreign policy, and our domestic politics be the culturally relative approach, nor ‘the European way,’ which has invited Muslims in for employment reasons and left them in ghettoes, allowing the pot to simmer for a while.

There are many important differences between the U.S. and Europe, but this more liberal, post-Enlightenment secularist worldview is still a product of the West, has some public sentiment going for it here in the U.S., and has serious blind-spots.  While another neo-con invasion Iraq isn’t necessarily our goal, and clearly has, and will likely have consequences, the United States has business interests, oil interests, strategic and security interests throughout the Middle East.

On a related note, here’s a further debate from Intelligence Squared with Ayan Hirsi Ali on one side, arguing that Islam is the problem (the same absolutism in Islam that will not tolerate questioning of its tenets, its many violent passages, and its unreformed worldview which has a prescription for pretty much all aspects of the culture and public square).  A member of the opposing side suggests that Muslim alienation in British life, combined with a European influenced fascist inspired-Islamism is the problem, not Islam itself (yes, it’s colonialist Europe’s fault).

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Where are the people in Egypt, the plurality or majority of the population, with enough money, time, education and opportunity to support the institutions necessary to resist the actual political will of the large Islamist movement in the country?   This was the same movement formerly repressed by the SCAF and the enormous, corrupt bureaucratic structure that wielded power partially with our aid.  Where are the people who have enough political will and support who could also resist the more radical, transformative currents in the region?

Well, now the Islamists are in power, however democratically elected they are.

What’s reasonable to hope and which ideals will guide us going forward?

Related On This Site:  Samuel Huntington worked against modernization theory, always going against the grain, and argued that a chasm between the West and Islam will be a primary source of post Cold-war conflict: Clash of Civilizations:  From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s Work

His student, Francis Fukuyama and once neo-conservative (likely before working with the locals against Russians in Afghanistan and sometime after we invaded Iraq) charted his own course in The End Of History.   From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington…he’s now taken that model of Hegelian statecraft home:  Francis Fukuyama At The American Interest-’The Two Europes’

So, it wasn’t an Arab Spring, but there has been an erosion of the old rituals and control of the public square….more individualization that has affected the man on the Street, according to an Olivier Roy: Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’

From Abu Muqawama: ‘Mubarak And Me’From Michael Totten: ‘The New Egyptian Underground’Michael Totten At The American Interest: “A Leaner, Meaner Brotherhood”

Francis Fukuyama At The American Interest Online: ‘Political Order in Egypt’

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘Mubaraks, Mamelukes, Modernizers and Muslims’……James Kirchik At The American Interest: ‘Egyptian Liberals Against the Revolution’

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Ross Douthat Responds To Paul Krugman At The NY Times: ‘Can We Be Sweden?’

Full piece here.

Douthat’s original piece here.

‘The Swedish experience does demonstrate that it’s possible for a welfare-state society to survive the waning of religion and the decline of traditional marriage without sacrificing middle class prosperity. But this success is founded on a level of cultural homogeneity and an inheritance of social capital that simply isn’t available in a polyglot republic-cum-empire like our own.’

Riffing on Douthat: If liberty means extending liberty, or aiming to extend liberty to ever more groups of people through State involvement and a more moral bureaucratic class redistributing resources through the most up to date thinking or the new economic models, then at what cost does this occur to the creation of wealth?   Can you even compare Sweden and the U.S effectively?  What hard evidence do we have that these policies will work?  More deeply: Who is in charge and how do such people ‘know’ what is best for others?

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I remain skeptical of some work by Charles Murray, but he had some interesting ideas on Sweden fifteen years back.  That model has not been as successful in assimilating immigrants and maintaining Swedish birth rates nor arguably economic dynamism, and there is a pendulum which can swing back darkly to the right, to nationalism, racial identity and the baggage of the past:

“In every town was a beautiful Lutheran church, freshly painted, on meticulously tended grounds, all subsidized by the Swedish government. And the churches are empty. Including on Sundays. Scandinavia and Western Europe pride themselves on their “child-friendly” policies, providing generous child allowances, free day-care centers, and long maternity leaves. Those same countries have fertility rates far below replacement and plunging marriage rates. Those same countries are ones in which jobs are most carefully protected by government regulation and mandated benefits are most lavish. And they, with only a few exceptions, are countries where work is most often seen as a necessary evil, least often seen as a vocation, and where the proportions of people who say they love their jobs are the lowest.”

As Murray suggests, the prevailing European secular habit of mind (which shuns overt religious faith) has also transposed a lot of Christian metaphysics (and a lot Marxist materialist/socialist/social democrat/communist thought) into the modern European state.  Many religious values continue of course, but are also, in part, maintained by that state.  That state, in turn, can limit much dynamism and freedom we take for granted here in the U.S..

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Continuing towards a theme, the rise of nanny-statism in the U.S. (banning Big Gulps and ‘nudging‘ people toward decisions you want them to make) partially has its roots in behavioral economics, and Cass Sunstein’s libertarian paternalism (he makes some interesting arguments):

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From an article at CATO:

“If behavioral economics has taught us anything, it’s that humans are vulnerable to framing effects. In other words, how people make choices turns on seemingly irrelevant aspects of the situation, such as the order in which options are presented, the other (unchosen) options presented at the same time, which option is designated as the “default,” and so on.

The new paternalists, having learned this lesson well, frame the public policy debate in a way that encourages paternalistic interventions. They have done so in at least three ways.”

Click through for more.  A lot of people have plans for you and me.  A lot.

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Here’s a quote from Arthur Schopenhauer:

“Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.”

Related On This Site:  From Michael Totten At World Affairs: “Noam Chomsky: The Last Totalitarian”Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of Knowledge…Martha Nussbaum criticizing Chomsky’s hubris in Martha Nussbaum In Dissent–Violence On The Left: Nandigram And The Communists Of West Bengal

The West is less violent?  I’m not sure I’m convinced by Pinker, anyways: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas HobbesFrom Reason.TV Via YouTube: ‘Steven Pinker on The Decline of Violence & “The Better Angels of Our Nature”‘

Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen have plans for America and India, and it involves much more state involvement here in America:  Amartya Sen In The New York Review Of Books: Capitalism Beyond The Crisis

Have you downloaded the apps…and the concepts of Enlightenment and post Enlightenment liberty that can lead to runtime errors and fiscal failure? Sachs and Niall Ferguson duke it out: CNN-Fareed Zakaria Via Youtube: ‘Jeff Sachs and Niall Ferguson’

Repost-From The NY Times: Review Of Christopher Caldwell’s Book “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West”Francis Fukuyama At The American Interest-’The Two Europes’

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 leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

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