A Defense Of Capitalism, Moving Away From Deconstruction & Questioning The Idea Of All That Progress-Some Links

Via Bloggingheads-Will Wilkinson & Jason Brennan Of Georgetown University discuss Brennan’s new book: ‘Why Not Capitalism?’

A radio interview with Brennan here at Libertarianism.org.

Some arguments against idealized and practical socialism.  The kids probably need to hear this kind of thing nowadays.


Via The American Mind Series at Claremont McKenna CollegeHeather McDonald, a fellow the Manhattan Institute, discusses her movement away from Deconstruction at Yale, Jacques Derrida, and her time as a clerk for a judge on the 9th Circuit:


This Jack Balkin paper on Deconstruction is interesting.

See: Heather McDonald At The WSJ: ‘ The Humanities Have Forgotten Their Humanity’Monday Quotation From Charles Kesler And A Few Thoughts on Conservatism


Via a reader: Edward Feser’s review of John Gray’s ‘The Silence Of Animals.’  It is rather unfavorable, and for my part, may highlight a divide between the act of writing and reading as a particular use of the creative imagination versus that of the more sustained reasoning required of philosophical debate.

Needless to say, Gray’s rather nihilistic approach casts doubt upon much of the modern project, religious claims to moral authority, the new humanism and many common assumptions of progress and the products of reason as well.

Here he is in his own words:


Related On This Site:  From The NY Times Book Review-Thomas Nagel On John Gray’s New ‘Silence Of Animals’From Darwinian Conservatism: ‘The Evolution of Mind and Mathematics: Dehaene Versus Plantinga and Nagel’

From Edward Feser: ‘Nagel And His Critics Part IV’A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”

John Gray Reviews Jonathan Haidt’s New Book At The New Republic: ‘The Knowns And The Unknowns’

Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

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”

See:Repost-Classical Liberalism Via Friesian.Com-’Exchange with Tomaz Castello Branco on John Gray’…John Gray At The Literary Review Takes A Look At A New Book On Michael Oakeshott: ‘Last Of The Idealists’

Repost-Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘The Sidewalks Of San Francisco’

Full piece here.

The City Journal is taking on some of the consequences of California’s progressive politics, and how San Francisco policies can create rewards and little to no punishment for the string of homeless kids who travel from city to city up and down the West coast.  Living in Seattle, I can testify to this behavior (McDonald characterizes it as a new hippie trail and a logical consequence of its morally suspect origins, though I suspect that there are other reasons, including manifest destiny).

Attempts to impose law and order are met with strong rebuke:

‘The homelessness industry instantly mobilized against the Civil Sidewalks law. Its first tactic was to assimilate the gutter punks into the “homelessness” paradigm, so that they could be slotted into the industry’s road-tested narrative about the casualties of a heartless free-market economy. “Homelessness, at its core, is an economic issue,” intoned the Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco’s most powerful homelessness advocacy group, in a report criticizing the proposed law.’

But this is San Francisco.  There’s a huge pool of sentiment (and often votes) for anything even mildly anti-business, anti-establishment, and sometimes full-on anarchic (this would help explain the WTO protests here in Seattle).

But point taken: someone’s moral concern becomes a cause for action (often with other people’s money, and righteously), which can become a non-profit (run with other people’s money, sometimes well, sometimes terribly) which can become part of a political force seeking its own self-interest (which then seeks more of other people’s money through politics and taxation)…and eventually…becomes willfully ignorant and dismissive of the burden it places upon the businesses, residents and citizens of its client host.

Of course, McDonald has been focusing on crime, and the harm done by crime against idealists seeking to round up criminal actors and the worst parts of our nature under a certain progressive ideology and politics:

“I don’t hang out in the Tenderloin because I don’t feel like smoking crack,” Cory says primly. Such scruples suggest a keen sense of self-preservation, notes Kent Uyehara. “These kids couldn’t handle the Tenderloin,” he says. “The local drug dealers won’t tolerate hippie punks interrupting their operations; they’d get beaten up or shot.”

At least most of them usually aren’t violent, or as violent as the actual people who murder, rob and steal. McDonald focuses on the effect on civil society, which is likely her strongest argument:

‘It is also about the most basic rules of civilized society, which hold that public spaces should be shared by the public, not monopolized by the disorderly few.’

Addition:  John Stossel has more here:

Related On This Site:  This is the city that brought a near ban on toys in happy meals…From Strange Maps: ‘Crime Topography Of San Francisco’Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘Radical Graffiti Chic’

California’s anti-immigration, anti-union Democrat: Full video and background on Mickey Kaus here.

More broadly:  An anarchist who ended up conservative:  Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’

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Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘Radical Graffiti Chic’

Full piece here.

In L.A.:

‘…beginning in April, the Geffen—a satellite of L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art—will host what MOCA proudly bills as America’s first major museum survey of “street art,” a euphemism for graffiti.’

She takes a moralistic tone, but makes a decent point:

‘A neighborhood that has succumbed to graffiti telegraphs to the world that social and parental control there has broken down.’

So is it worthy of institutionalization?  How does one weigh the aesthetic value of graffiti against the criminality that often goes with it…and the hypocrisy of those who don’t have to live around graffiti and the gang activity who are legitimizing it? MacDonald has been consistently focusing on the harm done by crime, and to the victims of criminals against those (usually on the Left) who wish to view criminals as victims themselves…within a larger ideological framework…with consequences for the rest of us.

Also On This Site: People are using art for political, religious, commercial and ideological reasons as always…right or left…believer or non-believer…Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty: Pascal Dangin And AestheticsFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit

Trading Robert Moses for Brailia…an authoritarian streak?:  Brasilia: A Planned CityAnd AestheticsRoger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?

Philosopher Of Art Denis Dutton of the Arts & Letters Daily says the arts and Darwin can be sucessfully synthesized: Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

How might Nietzsche figure in the discussion, at least with regard to Camille Paglia.  See the comments:  Repost-Camille Paglia At Arion: Why Break, Blow, Burn Was Successful…Here’s Nietzsche scholar J.P. Stern on Nietzsche’s anti-Christian, anti-secular morality (Kant, utilitarians), anti-democratic, and anti-Greek (except the “heroic” Greek) biases…