Repost-From The Liberal Bastions-James Baldwin, Often

Quote found here:

‘By the time Baldwin published “Another country” and the essay collection “Nobody Knows My Name,” both in 1962, he had become America’s leading black literary star. Both books were commercially successful, but reviews were mixed. In 1962, “The New Yorker” published Baldwin’s essay “The Fire Next Time,” which detailed his evangelical upbringing and his views on Christianity as a form of slavery forced on and then embraced by blacks. When Baldwin became the official voice of black America, however, he immediately compromised his voice as a writer, sacrificing his gifts in order to gain acceptance from the Black Power movement. In the 1970s, Baldwin was adrift not only politically but aesthetically. Nevertheless, up until his death, in 1987, at the age of 63, Baldwin continued to harbor the hope that he would be embraced as an important literary figure by his own race.’

And just to suggest no definitive answers to such problems, but rather which kinds of questions might be worth asking:

At minute 9:20 of Thomas Sowell discussing his book: ‘Intellectuals and Race…

…Baldwin is quoted:

People in Harlem know they are there because white people do not think they are good enough to live anywhere else…[In a new housing project they] naturally…began smashing windows, defacing walls {and] urinating in the elevators…

======================

But what if in the crusade of black folks to appeal to white folks’ better natures, one fell prey to the vanity of this idea?:

‘The central premise of liberal intellectuals for decades…[was] that the racial problem was essentially…inside the minds of white people…

Well, Baldwin was pretty successful at reaching inside the minds of many, to his credit, using his natural gifts to make a moral plea for such ends.

Sowell asks why certain cultures have pursued ideas and abstractions to tremendous advantage, developing habits of success in the sciences, politics, law, trade and technology in the process?

America, certainly, has been one such success story, despite and partly because of its original sin, and such successes have happened before in England instead of Ireland, the Greeks and Romans instead of Northern Europe, as Sowell notes.

Why not join ’em, copying what works, or at least trying hard to beat them at their own game once given the chance? This seems to be a logical consequence of Sowell’s reasoning. This, as opposed becoming locked in resentment, justified in anger, dependent upon the ‘oppressorfollowing an ideology in search of a cause; victimhood in search of facts and evidence.

Schools and programs can do a lot, expanding experience and making people larger than they otherwise would be, but they are often an inefficient way to do it, offering less than can a stable home in a growing economy, while running into problems of unions, twisted incentives, bureaucracies, corruption and waste.

Notice the emotional appeal:

=================

I suspect that under an activist moon, many liberals must feel the tidal pull of solidarity against the ‘oppressor;’ left seeking their own moral lights in a rather dense fog.

There must be someone to blame!

This can also be very funny; creating incentives for well-educated, often very square people to overlook, quite conveniently at times, their own habits of success, wealth-building and hard-work.

This can also be very sad, making successful folks follow incentives that will eventually undercut their own habits of success, wealth-building and hard-work through awful political incentives, potentially dragging us all into poorer place with little room to reflect.

Preach what you practice. Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Also On This Site: From Fora Via YouTube: ‘Thomas Sowell and a Conflict of Visions’Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’

Repost-Vidal/Buckley Debate, 1968

Thanks, Thomas Sowell

At age 86, here’s his last syndicated column.

In honor of the event, here’s an interview that’s stayed with me:

========

Sowell discusses his constrained/unconstrained formulation from a Conflict Of Visions as he and the interlocutor test it out (on current politics as well).

Sowell suggests those that adhere to the constrained vision believe that human nature is flawed, the basis for all else, and must be constrained by checks and balances, which also spring from human nature. These institutional checks and balances move forward much like our legal system (or separation of powers), and on a case by case basis with some respect for the actual experience of the people involved, though questions of law and fact for example, will often decide the outcome. He compares/contrasts the French and American Revolutions.

The unconstrained vision seeks to use the political/legal system to enact justice, fairness, equality etc and other ideals which are assumed to be universal, and in the best interests of all, but whose pursuit often ends up creating just as much inequity, injustice and unfairness, and often lines the pockets of just those pursuing the ideals in the process (addition: or at least the kind of idealism that invests in one person or a group of people is kept in check by our separation of powers).

Also On This Site: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”Thomas Sowell at The National Review: ‘The Inconvenient Truth About Ghetto Communities’ Social Breakdown:’

From The Liberal Bastions-James Baldwin, Often

Quote found here:

‘By the time Baldwin published “Another country” and the essay collection “Nobody Knows My Name,” both in 1962, he had become America’s leading black literary star. Both books were commercially successful, but reviews were mixed. In 1962, “The New Yorker” published Baldwin’s essay “The Fire Next Time,” which detailed his evangelical upbringing and his views on Christianity as a form of slavery forced on and then embraced by blacks. When Baldwin became the official voice of black America, however, he immediately compromised his voice as a writer, sacrificing his gifts in order to gain acceptance from the Black Power movement. In the 1970s, Baldwin was adrift not only politically but aesthetically. Nevertheless, up until his death, in 1987, at the age of 63, Baldwin continued to harbor the hope that he would be embraced as an important literary figure by his own race.’

And just to suggest no definitive answers to such problems, but rather which kinds of questions might be worth asking:

At minute 9:20 of Thomas Sowell discussing his book: ‘Intellectuals and Race…

…Baldwin is quoted:

People in Harlem know they are there because white people do not think they are good enough to live anywhere else…[In a new housing project they] naturally…began smashing windows, defacing walls {and] urinating in the elevators…

======================

But what if in the crusade of black folks to appeal to white folks’ better natures, one fell prey to the vanity of this idea?:

‘The central premise of liberal intellectuals for decades…[was] that the racial problem was essentially…inside the minds of white people…

Well, Baldwin was pretty successful at reaching inside the minds of many, to his credit, using his natural gifts to make a moral plea for such ends.

Sowell asks why certain cultures have pursued ideas and abstractions to tremendous advantage, developing habits of success in the sciences, politics, law, trade and technology in the process?

America, certainly, has been one such success story, despite and partly because of its original sin…and such successes have happened before in England instead of Ireland, the Greeks and Romans instead of Northern Europe, as Sowell notes.

Why not join ’em, copying what works, or at least trying hard to beat them at their own game once given the chance? This seems to be a logical consequence of Sowell’s reasoning. This, as opposed becoming locked in resentment, justified in anger, dependent upon the ‘oppressor’, often following an ideology in search of a cause; victim-hood in search of facts and evidence.

Schools and programs can do a lot, expanding experience and making people larger than they otherwise would be, but they are often an inefficient way to do it, really offering less than can a stable home in a growing economy, and running into problems of unions, twisted incentives, bureaucracies, corruption and waste.

Notice the emotional appeal:

=================

I suspect that under an activist moon, many liberals must feel the tidal pull of solidarity against the ‘oppressor;’ left seeking their own moral lights in a rather dense fog.

There must be someone to blame!

This can also be very funny; creating incentives for well-educated, often very square people to overlook, quite conveniently at times, their own habits of success, wealth-building and hard-work.

This can also be very sad, making successful folks follow incentives that will eventually undercut their own habits of success, wealth-building and hard-work through awful political incentives, potentially dragging us all into poorer, darker, place with little room to reflect.

Preach what you practice.  Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

***From a reader, parks are better than the kind of neighborhood ‘The Message’ comes from:

Duly noted:

‘People pissin’ on the stairs you know they just don’t care’:

Also On This Site:  From Fora Via YouTube: ‘Thomas Sowell and a Conflict of Visions’Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’

Repost-Vidal/Buckley Debate, 1968

Two Tuesday Links-Roger Scruton & Thomas Sowell

Roger Scruton at Forbes: ‘Is Europe Still Defensible From Invasion?

Bankrolling European security with our military is probably not sustainable in its current form.  Many European interests naturally diverge from our own, and an intellectually lazy anti-Americanism can easily become political currency in the Eurozone.

***European interests naturally diverge wildly, and I have my doubts about the current Eurocratic political union being able to channel such political, ethnic, historical, cultural, and economic forces towards a common defense.  I suppose we’ll see.

Scruton:

‘The American people cannot go on defending a country like Germany – a country that enjoys a standard of living calculated to arouse envy in its impoverished Eastern neighbor, while self-righteously preaching ‘soft power’ and ‘non belligerence’ to its pampered people. At some point Americans are going to wake up to the fact that they are being unscrupulously exploited. Their armed forces are trained to fight and die in Europe, on behalf of people who would not dream of doing the same for America, and who are not prepared to die even for their homeland’

As always, at the end of the day, I think we’re on our own in this world, while alliances come and go.  In the wake of our withdrawal from the Middle-East and with Asia rising, as Americans, we’ve got our work cut-out for us.

Ukraine and Putin’s ethno-nationalist thuggery is just a reminder.

Did NATO go wrong as well?

————————

Thomas Sowell remembers Gary Becker.

‘Despite the contempt that some economists have expressed toward sociology, Gary Becker went from being a professor of economics at Columbia University to being a professor of economics and sociology at the University of Chicago. No doubt sociology was improved by Becker’s contributions.’

I can imagine Becker made waves in the social sciences. As I’ve experienced with Charles Murray, social scientists who go against the grain often face a tough slog, especially introducing a rational model of behavior into the mix:

 

Jerry Bowyer Interviews George Gilder At Forbes

Full interview here.

Gilder’s idea:

‘That capitalism is chiefly a knowledge system, rather than an incentive system.’

On Gilder’s thinking, people are learning and suffering from their own mistakes, more so than they would otherwise.  The capital being invested into the acquisition of knowledge is ideally risked by those whose money it is, not politicians who trade money for votes, and have their own goals (when was the last time you saw a politician not just as interested in perception and re-election rather than principles and ideals?).

Politics and political incentives are usually a few times removed from what’s going on in a society, and in my experience perhaps somewhat analogous to the HR department in your company (Addition: Responsible for human capital yes, but arguably non-essential, often beholden to upper management, with incentives to enforce and create more internal regulations.

Also:

‘What Wall Street likes, a lot of the time, is volatility and instability, and they want the downsides protected by government guarantees. That’s why there is this tension between Wall Street and Main Street and Silicon Valley, and why I think one of the tragedies of the recent era has been Silicon Valley’s defection to the government side; Silicon Valley now is oriented toward getting government guarantees for their green projects.”

The society isn’t just less wealthy by allowing green thinking and green ideals to be the highest things around, and even arguably less moral because the government has used the example of force to affect outcomes, but the whole society tends to be more closed, less able to adapt to events, and less dynamic.

Related On this Site: As someone interested in the humanities, I don’t want to leave the matter solely to venture capitalists, nor charter schools, nor Continental philosophies, nor the religious, nor the postmoderns by any stretch, but I do want to resist the institutionalized Dewey do-gooders and secular abstract idealists and humanists that lead to all those people and groups free-riding on the public good.  Does that really best serve our children from lower ed to higher ed?; Jerry Bowyer At Forbes: ‘A College Bubble So Big Even The New York Times And 60 Minutes Can See It…Sort Of’… The libertarian angle, getting smart, ambitious people off of the degree treadmill:  From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’ I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking.

A Few Quotations From F.A. Hayek’s: ‘Why I Am Not A Conservative’Friedrich Hayek Discussion On Bloggingheads

-A link for Michael Lewis’ article about California politics, public pensions and Schwarzenegger’s time in office.

Big cities, especially New York, tend to over-regulate business, you can hope for efficient corruption: Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘City Planners Run Amok’Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas: ‘California’s Kafkaesque Rent Control Laws’

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘Death By Wealth Tax’……Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘The Obamacare Quaqmire’

Link From A Reader: ‘Richard Epstein Introduces Chicago’s Best Ideas To Students’

Mario Loyola & Richard Epstein At The American Interest: ‘The Disabling Of America’

Full piece here.

Good intentions and sentiment can lead to horrible incentives and business-killing laws, making people more likely to try and legislate away the realities of life:

‘Paraplegic and wheelchair-bound, Pinnock threatened most of the businesses in Julian with lawsuits if they did not quickly install accommodations for the disabled, in compliance with Title III of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He also demanded that they reimburse him for certain “research fees” averaging about $2,500 per business .’

I’m not surprised to see courts in The People’s Republic Of California take up the law (signed by George H.W. Bush) with special determination.  The regulatory force is strong in the Golden State.

Our authors finish with:

‘The ADA’s enforcers have undertaken the utopian task of redesigning society to eliminate the disadvantages of disability. They will never be satisfied. Every decade will bring another layer of regulation, each more intrusive and incomprehensible than the one before, each accompanied by another tidal wave of avaricious lawyers. The lesson of the ADA should be clear: No law of this kind should ever be enacted, on any subject, in a properly functioning democracy.’

For every unfair thing in life, and every actual injustice, there can be an intrusive, clunky, federal law that can trade some injustices for others.

Your bathroom mirror is two inches too high:

——————————

***It’s my hobby horse, but I don’t think many in our culture have quite realized that the ideas and ideologies that create sentiment in the public mind against the injustices of life for all, and seek positive justice, fairness and equality for some, will be pursued with the same purity, true-belief, moralism, ignorance, politics and political power-grabbing, money, hypocrisy and intensity of all other human affairs.

I’m skeptical.

-A link for Michael Lewis’ article about California politics, public pensions and Schwarzenegger’s time in office.

Related On This Site:   Big cities, especially New York, tend to over-regulate business, you can hope for efficient corruption: Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘City Planners Run Amok’Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas: ‘California’s Kafkaesque Rent Control Laws’

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘Death By Wealth Tax’……Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘The Obamacare Quaqmire’

Link From A Reader: ‘Richard Epstein Introduces Chicago’s Best Ideas To Students’

From The American Spectator: ‘Sowell, Race Hustlers, and David Hume’

Interview here.

Sowell speaks about his new book, ‘Intellectuals And Race’, and speaks against multiculturalism:

‘What multiculturalism does is it paints people into the corner in which they happen to be born. You would think that people on the left would be very sensitive to the notion that one’s whole destiny should be determined by the accident of birth as it is, say, in a caste system. But what the multiculturalism dogma does is create the same problems that the caste system creates. Multiculturalism uses more pious language, but the outcome is much the same.’

Here is Sowell, heavily influenced by the Chicago School, arguing the welfare state maintains some of the same dependence in the black community that slavery required:

——————

Related On This Site:   What about black people held in bondage by the laws..the liberation theology of Rev Wright…the progressive vision and the folks over at the Nation gathered piously around John Brown’s body?: Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’……Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”

Race And Free Speech-From Volokh: ‘Philadelphia Mayor Suggests Magazine Article on Race Relations Isn’t Protected by the First Amendment’

Repost-Eugene Volokh At The National Review: ‘Multiculturalism: For or Against?’

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘The End Of Charity?’

Full piece here.

‘Why then would the government take steps to cut back on charitable giving? The most obvious explanation is both insidious and dangerous. It is to shrink the size of its main competitors in the private sector in order to increase the dependence of ordinary people on the federal government.’

This administration has actively pursued getting people to sign up for benefits, in many cases.

Interestingly, old-school Democrat and poor Brooklyn kid Daniel Patrick Moynihan made a similar argument to Epstein’s about making charitable giving easy.  Beware the encroachment of government into such areas of our lives.

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’

What about black people held in bondage by the laws..the liberation theology of Rev Wright…the progressive vision and the folks over at the Nation gathered piously around John Brown’s body?: Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’……Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas: ‘California’s Kafkaesque Rent Control Laws’

Full post here.

‘In March 2011, my column for Defining Ideas carried the title, The Follies of Rent Control. In it, I took to task the Court of Appeals of the Second Circuit for perpetuating a substantive mess in takings law when, in Harmon v. Markus, it yet again upheld New York City’s Rent Stabilization Law. On that occasion, I directed my attention to the injustices that arise whenever the government may allow a tenant on a short term lease to remain on the premises, at rental rates set by the government, after the lease has run out.’

Related On This Site:  Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘The Tax Expenditures Muddle’

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