Michael Moynihan Reviews Russell Brand At The Daily Beast

It can take a village to raise an idiot, and there appears a space in Britain into which sometimes witty, constantly preening and narcissistic performance artist Russell Brand has plopped himself.

After much shameless celebrity-seeking and many attempts to plop himself over here as well (through manic, self-absorbed word and idea play, the performing part, apparently), Brand has also trafficked in thera-speak, victimology, and making self-piteous demands for inclusion of former drug addicts like himself into society through social programs (though, hats off to anyone who’s kicked such habits).

Michael Moynihan reviewed his book so you don’t have to (no, please don’t get up).  ‘Russell Brand’s Revolution For Morons

‘These are sentences that stupid people think are smart; a simple concept brutally assaulted by a thesaurus. When he hits upon a phrase he likes, the reader should prepare to be smothered by it. Scattered throughout Revolution, Brand denounces “the occupants of the bejeweled bus,” “the bejeweled fun bus of privilege,” “the eighty-five occupants of the bejeweled bus of privilege,” “the occupants of the bejeweled bus,” the “bejeweled bus with eighty-four other plutocrats,” and a “bejeweled misogynist making money by moving ice.” The writing isn’t just excruciatingly bad, but exhaustingly repetitive.’

On that note: It’s not the vapid, radical chic Leftist ideology that Brand tries to wave around without much reason…however…Lena Dunham seems at a crossroads of feminism, the celebrity cult of Self (complete with knowing meta-winks at fame), the inwardness of the writer and artist confessing away, as well a lot of wannabe radicalism and warmed-over 60’s bohemian counter-culture.

Kevin Williamson wasn’t too impressed with all the posturing, holding Dunham to her own standards: “Pathetic Privilege.”

I can’t speak to her art, but I think I know why she’s been feted in many quarters.

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Moving along: Should the culture drift further Left, perhaps one could expect the rather lonely Peter Hitchens-type conservative arguments brought against Brand’s bathos.

Perhaps you don’t entirely agree with Hitchens, but if fewer people believe in the spirit of the laws which criminalize drug-use and possession, and fewer believe in the prosecution of those laws (War On Drugs over here), then a lot of the authority based on the presumption of free will and responsibility aimed for in the law-abiding (applying pressure to never use drugs in the first place, especially the hard ones), is likely significantly eroded.

Russell Brand’s arguments aren’t particularly well-made, but I suspect there’s much more space for them, and for compassion without, perhaps, full consideration of the consequences and a lot of other costs besides.

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So, this is just liberalism, right?  It’s not race, it’s class.  It’s not ideology, it’s only science.  Look at all this equality!

See Tom Wolfe’s Radical Chic: That Party At Lenny’s… for a rich account of the times

Which Way, Venezuela?-Michael Moynihan At The Daily Beast: ‘No Mas Democracia’Who Needs A Growing Economy, When You’ve Got Solidarity?-Michael Moynihan At The Daily Beast: ‘The Death Of Stalin’s Songbird’

Christopher Hitchens At Slate: Yale Surrenders

A British Muslim tells his story, suggesting that classical liberalism wouldn’t be a bad idea…as a more entrenched radical British Left and Muslim immigration don’t mix too well: From Kenanmalik.com: ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’… Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’

Lie Down With Modern Art, Wake Up Whenever

Thanks to a reader for the link:

From The Daily Beast: ‘Get Into Bed With Tracey Emin For $2 million: The Sale Of A British Art Icon.’

“My Bed” will be sold at auction at Christie’s on July 1, and has been given an estimate price of between £800,000 and £1.2m (approximately $1.35 million to $2 million), which seems astonishingly low given the piece’s cultural impact. Indeed, David Maupin, Emin’s dealer in New York who sold the bed to Saatchi in 2000 for £150,000 (about $252,000), has said he thinks the Christie’s estimate is too low. “It’s historic. It’s priceless.”

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‘Cultural impact.’  So, a lot of people noticed it?  It took a lot of technical skill? People were shocked by it?  People had a strong reaction after seeing it in person?

It made her a celebrity?

I generally prefer the art dealer’s self-interested marketing bulls**t to a journalist’s ‘cultural impact’ claptrap.

It’s worth thinking about Western culture and the travels of the individual artist through romanticism, modernism and post-modernism and to wherever it is some of those artists are headed now. As for Damien Hirst, it was probably inevitable that someone who couldn’t draw all that well, and didn’t have many of the basics down, would rocket in and out of the spotlight, capturing the moment.

‘Damien Hirst’s output between 2005 and 2008 – the period of his greatest success – has subsequently resold at an average of thirty per cent less than its original purchase price. Moreover, a third of the almost 1700 Hirst pieces that have gone to auction since 2009 have failed to sell at all. Most recently, in November, his gloss-and-butterfly collage Sanctimony failed to reach its lowest pre-sale estimate at a Sotheby’s auction’

Does Hirst possess native talent and technical ability that you don’t?  Do you want him to?

Performance artist Marina Ambramovic and Jay-Z were together during a 6-hour lip sync performance-art piece to promote Mr Z’s last album.

Still, it’s probably more engaging than Tilda Swinton in a box.

Maybe Jeff Koons got there first, where marketing, money, and branding met pop art:  A Reaction To Jeff Koons-For Commerce Or Contemplation?

Deep religious themes and commercialism.  Sentiment, kitsch, the market and some native talent.

From this video:

I think that Warhol, as radical as he seems, still very much prized the idea of originality at the core of his working process, and it’s hard not to see him as being a very original artist in that sense.  The idea of Koons rejecting all originality, I think, is central to understanding what his work was about.’

and:

‘The way Andy predicted celebrity, Jeff predicted branding.’

Here’s Robert Hughes being especially critical of an Andy Warhol modern art collector.  It’s interesting to note that both the artist and the collector may want similar things.

Robert Hughes is skeptical:

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Some of this back-story might help in explaining parts of our current celebrity culture. The desire for fame, to see and be seen, and immortality.

Modern art, pop-art, pop music, fame and meta-critiques on fame are arguably melting in one big pot.  There are lots of people waiting around for something…

What are we missing?

Related On This Site:  From The City Journal Via Arts And Letters Daily: Andre Glucksman On “The Postmodern Financial Crisis”

Roger Scruton says keep politics out of the arts, and political judgment apart from aesthetic judgment…this includes race studies/feminist departments/gay studies etc.:  Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment

Goya’s Fight With Cudgels and Goya’s Colossus.  A very good Goya page here.

Joan Miro: Woman… Goethe’s Color Theory: Artists And ThinkersSome Quotes From Kant And A Visual Exercise

A Reaction To Jeff Koons ‘St John The Baptist’

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

Boko Haram & Al Qaeda-What’s The Strategy, Here?

It seems to me there continue to be dedicated groups of Islamist radicals and terrorists, often acting locally but willing to act globally, making universal claims to truth and willing to act on their beliefs.  I am not persuaded that Western influence (cultural, ideological, economic, military) is the root cause of this Islamist terrorism, nor that Western influence will ever be enough to entirely eradicate it either (through military action or through human rights and twitter appeals).

Addition:  As a friend points out in jest:  Bold statements.

Michael Totten ‘The Rise Of Boko Haram‘:

‘Osama bin Laden is dead, but Al Qaeda is global, and it’s on the offensive, not on the run. One of their franchises took over Northern Mali. Another controls large swaths of Syria. Chunks of Libya could degenerate into Al Qaeda statelets if we’re not careful. Another franchise is active in Yemen. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb would like nothing more than to re-ignite the civil war in Algeria.

Some terrorists really are local—the Kurdish PKK in Turkey, for instance, and the Basque ETA in Spain—but Al Qaeda is and always has been global in its reach and ambition. It makes no difference if Boko Haram never intends to attack the United States directly when it’s affiliated with a larger network that already has and surely plans to do so again.’

What is the exact link?  Eli Lake tries to provide proof: ‘Boko Haram’s Bin Laden Connection:

‘The dispute inside the intelligence community falls along familiar lines about al Qaeda. The White House has emphasized the distinctions between al Qaeda’s core and its affiliates and other aspiring jihadists, who the White House sees as operating almost entirely independent of the central group.

However, another faction inside the U.S. intelligence community—one that comprises the current leadership of the Defense Intelligence Agency and others working in the military—see al Qaeda as a flatter organization that coordinates between nodes and operates through consensus in the model of an Islamic Shura council.’

Related On This Site:  From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’

Fareed Zakaria At Newsweek: ‘Terrorism’s Supermarket’Via Youtube: ‘Roger Scruton On Islam And The West’

Free speech (used both well and unwell) meets offended Muslims: Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks HeadbuttedDuring Lecture’From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’

Najat Fawzy Alsaeid At The Center For Islamic Pluralism: ‘The War Of Ideologies In The Arab World’

Repost-Philip Bobbitt Discusses His Book ‘Terror And Consent’ On Bloggingheads

Freedom Of Expression: Two Friday Benghazi Links-Eli Lake & David Harsanyi

Eli Lake at The Daily Beast: ‘Obama Administration Accused Of Slow Walking On Benghazi:’

‘Those emails suggested a haphazard process for arriving at the final talking points on Benghazi in the days and weeks after the attack. It also showed that ultimately the CIA’s then deputy director, Michael Morell removed lines in the drafts of those talking points saying it was an act of terrorism and linked to Islamic extremists.’

There was a tremendous amount of unrest throughout the Muslim world in the wake of the ‘Arab Spring.’ Long-standing governments of generations had fallen, while violent and potentially violent protests engulfed the region. One of the main thrusts of this administration’s foreign policy has been to appeal to those who would determine their own fates through democratic uprisings and ‘free and fair’ elections. This administration has placed a lot of faith, as well as arguably four American lives in this case, into a vision of the ‘moderate Muslim’ being able to lead to elective democracy in the wake of those changes.

Whether or not it would have saved lives is unclear, but I think it’s fair to speculate that a military response to the seven-hour firefight that went on in Benghazi would have inflamed, or been seen to inflame, these tensions, and certainly would jeopardize parts of this foreign policy vision.

I’m guessing this had a lot to do with the decision to send-out Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. at the time, to push this narrative and focus so heavily on a video made by an American citizen. Re-watching the video, and assuming no ulterior motives, Rice seems almost a little desperate, even, to cling to an explanation favorable to her interests:

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This part of David Harsanyi’s piece I definitely agree with:

‘First of all, the United States government should be actively defending the right of Americans to make stupid videos if they want. Not only does it have no right to make excuses for its citizens’ freedom of expression, it sets a dangerous precedent by doing so.’

Those are troubling instincts.

***In Egypt, a returned, al-Sisi led military autocracy executing Muslim Brotherhood members after the Brotherhood’s dramatic failure to govern is not exactly reassuring. In Syria, a full-on, protracted Civil War scenario attracting Islamists from all over is not exactly reassuring either. There’s been no real advancement on the presumed two-state solution for Israel/Palestine, while Libya remains a basket-case and funnel for Islamists around North Africa and also to Syria.

And from a reader.  Dexter Filkins at the New Yorker. Letter From Iraq-‘What We Left Behind.’

Not exactly a democracy, it seems:

‘When the last American soldiers left Iraq, at the end of 2011, the bloody civil war between the country’s Sunni and Shiite sects had been stifled but not resolved. Now the sectarian violence had returned, with terrifying intensity. For more than a year, thousands of Iraqis, nearly all of them members of the Sunni Arab minority, had been gathering to rail against Maliki’s Shiite-dominated government’

Addition:  How much of this is because of the withdrawal?

Who Wants To Help Build A Technocracy? Repost-Megan McArdle At The Daily Beast: ‘The Technocratic Dilemma’

McArdle:

Still relevant, it seems:

‘Washington is in the throes of a rekindled romance with technocracy: the idea that what is most needed to save the economy and the planet is a bunch of really smart people who have spent their lives studying complicated problems like health care finance or renewable energy.  The last time we had this many fresh-faced wonks geting feted for their deep thoughts was the New Deal.’

Related On This Site: …Repost-From The Spiked Review Of Books Via The A & L Daily: ‘Rescuing The Enlightenment From Its Exploiters’… Behavioral economics and libertarian paternalism and below all that some liberal totalitarianism (the personal is political crowd)…Ross Douthat Responds To Paul Krugman At The NY Times: ‘Can We Be Sweden?’

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

Repost-From The Spiked Review Of Books: ‘Delving Into The Mind Of The Technocrat’

Charles Fried and Randy Barnett among others, testify as to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (Nearly 3 hrs, but likely worth your time.  You can skip to the parts you’d like)

A Few Iran Links

Instead of an emergent international order advancing peace, nuclear non-proliferation, human-rights and democracy throughout the Middle-East, this looks just as much like an American withdrawal from the region, a resultant power vacuum with a few weak peace-deals attached, and a serious lack of overall strategy.   The old Moscow-Damascus-Tehran alliance is flaring up.

From The L.A. Times: ‘New Iran Agreement Includes Secret Side Deal, Tehran Official Says:

‘The new agreement, announced over the weekend, sets out a timetable for how Iran and the six nations, led by the United States, will implement a deal reached in November that is aimed at restraining Iran’s nuclear ambition.’

David Keyes At The Daily Beast: ‘How Iran, Putin & Assad Outwitted America

‘Zarif’s mission to Moscow quells any lingering hopes that Russia can be seduced away from Syria or Iran. Putin has made a simple calculation: Assad will protect his interests better than anyone. Russia, in turn, has made it clear that it will prop up Syria’s tyrant and their Iranian backers at almost any cost. ‘

Claudia Rosett At PJ Media: ‘Instructing Iran In Terrorist Etiquette

‘Iran’s senior officials suffer from no such delicacy toward the U.S. On Tuesday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani gloated on Twitter that in the recent Geneva agreement, “world powers surrendered to Iranian nation’s will.” Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator at the Geneva talks, Javad Zarif, made a point while visiting Lebanon of goingto lay a wreath on the grave of assassinated Hezbollah terrorist kingpin Imad Mugniyah. Lest anyone miss the moment, Zarif did this before a bevy of photographers, ensuring that his thumb-in-the-eye to the U.S. would make news.’

A quote from this piece over at the Atlantic: From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s Work

“Although the professional soldier accepts the reality of never-ending and limited conflict, “the liberal tendency,” Huntington explained, is “to absolutize and dichotomize war and peace.” Liberals will most readily support a war if they can turn it into a crusade for advancing humanistic ideals. That is why, he wrote, liberals seek to reduce the defense budget even as they periodically demand an adventurous foreign policy.”

-Dexter Filkins on Iran here.

-Scowcroft and Brzezinski may be offering plans: ‘George Shultz & Henry Kissinger At The Hoover Institution: ‘What A Final Iran Deal Must Do’

Michael Moynihan At The Daily Beast: ‘The Repentant Radical’

Full interview here.

Ahmed Akkari, one of the men behind the Danish cartoon protests, spends time on Greenland decompressing from the Islamist cocoon, and comes to renounce his former ways:

“He’s very brave. He’s taken a big step, and he’s ready to atone. He’s changed from being an Islamist to being a humanist.”

Believable?

Islamist ‘literature’ for Kierkegaard?

More details here on what he helped to inspire.

Cartoons here. (Westergaard’s is the 2nd down, I don’t have the rights to reprint).

Bonus:

Christopher Hitchens remained unmoved in a debate with Tariq Ramadan and maintained that the metaphysics of Islam will ultimately create and encourage violence through its moral absolutism and its total metaphysical prescription for all aspects of life, including politics and the public square.  Muslims are the ones right now in Europe and the Middle-East, he points out, who are violent and threatening violence and it must be stood up to.

One of the products of Europe is the secular multiculturalism to which Ramadan often appeals, but which the adherents of secular multiculturalism are not always fully willing and able to defend (free speech as broadly interpreted as it often us under the 1st amendment here under the Constitution) against Muslim threats of violence.  This secular tradition has also not been fully integrating Muslims successfully under its banner nor through public policy, the economy, or Europe’s political institutions, often creating fiefdoms and ghettoes.

Hopefully, we can still avoid getting into bed with both the neo-neo colonialists, the bien pensant Euro-Left on one hand and the Islamists on the other, without really addressing the underlying conflicts.

It should be pointed out that aside from cartoonists, filmmakers like Theo Van Gogh, and recent arrivals like Hirsi Ali, it is often the real materialists in Europe, former Marxists and socialists who speak up the loudest and possibly become marked for death:

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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, and its many violent passages).  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).  He proposes a more human-rights based Islam.

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It’s ironic that a strain of European secularism and socialism, quite fascistic, from Gadhafi to Saddam Hussein’s Baath party to Syria’s secularist Baath party still barely in power, was exported, and now we’re dealing with a fascistic Islamist response.

See Also:  Why Lars Hedegaard Still Matters

From The Middle East Quarterly Via A & L Daily: Europe’s Shifting Immigration Dynamic

Kenan Malik In The Spiked Review Of Books: ‘Twenty Years On: Internalizing The Fatwa’-Salman Rushdie

Theodore Dalrymple argues that France has the potential to handle Muslim immigration better because of its ideological rigidity, which can better meet the ideological rigidity of its Muslim immigrants…Theodore Dalrymple Still Attacking Multi-Culturalism In Britain

How do you reasonably deal with relativism anyways?: From Virtual Philosophy: A Brief Interview With Simon Blackburn

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

If you thought the cartoons were bad, more on the Fitna movie here.  Libertarians stand firm on this issue:  Repost-A Canadian Libertarian Making Noise: Ezra Levant

Via The A & L Daily-Interview With Christopher Caldwell At Spiegel Online

Christopher Hitchens At Slate: Yale Surrenders

A British Muslim tells his story, suggesting that classical liberalism wouldn’t be a bad idea…as a more entrenched radical British Left and Muslim immigration don’t mix too well: From Kenanmalik.com: ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’… Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’

Eli Lake At The Daily Beast-‘Exclusive: CIA Honored Benghazi Chief In Secret Ceremony’

Full piece here.

‘The honor given behind closed doors to “Bob,” the officer who was in charge of the Benghazi intelligence annex and CIA base that was attacked in the early morning of September 12, 2012 and then abandoned for nearly three weeks, illustrates the murky lines of command that preceded the attack, and helped make it a politically volatile issue. While the State Department was responsible for elements of the security for the diplomatic mission at Benghazi, the mission itself was used primarily for intelligence activities and most the U.S. officials there and at the nearby annex were CIA officers who used State Department cover.’

The State Department and the CIA are going at one another under such political pressure.  I can remember thinking that we seemed to be embarking on a rather different course for Middle East policy under Obama, and I’ve yet to be persuaded his worldview is accurate enough (I tend to disagree with his ideals), and his leadership deep and competent enough to deliver.

Walter Russell Mead’s take on Benghazi:

‘A Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that more than half of Americans believe the Obama administration is covering up over Benghazi, and that a narrow plurality also thinks the congressional GOP is in on the whole fiasco for political gain. That seems about right to us.’

I still think the primary motivating factor for getting to the bottom of Benghazi is why we didn’t at least make all attempts possible to help, as nothing is worse for troop morale.  The administration particularly needs to be seen as succeeding in Libya, and is particularly sensitive to any criticism that it isn’t.

The liberal internationalist, former human rights campaign folks guided by realpolitik, and yes, Bernhard Henri-Levy’s input in the face of Gadhafi’s tyranny were motivating factors in our involvement.

Here’s a quote from Anne-Marie Slaughter, on liberal internationalism:

‘The central liberal internationalist premise is the value of a rules-based international order that restrains powerful states and thereby reassures their enemies and allies alike and allows weaker states to have sufficient voice in the system that they will not choose to exit’

We also formed an alliance with Anglo-French interests.  Our Middle-East policy is hinged upon a worldview that doesn’t seem to be lining up that well with events on the ground in the Muslim world, and I fear sacrifices too many of our strengths for too few gains, exposing too many of our weaknesses.

In addition, our military is stretched pretty thinly right now and the Republican establishment isn’t showing deep understanding of the issues either.  The Muslim world is not about to live up to our ideals, and this is as much about living up to our own.  To me, this generally means our sovereignty and interests first, solid alliances and international institutions next, and we’ll take it from there.

As always, it’s up for debate.

Related On This SiteEli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanFrom The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’

Just how far Left is this administration anyways? Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others

Megan McArdle At The Daily Beast: ‘America’s New Mandarins’

Full post here.

‘In fact, I think that to some extent, the current political wars are a culture war not between social liberals and social conservatives, but between the values of the mandarin system, and the values of those who compete in the very different culture of ordinary businesses–ones outside glamor industries like tech or design.’

I’m still thinking some of those people in ‘the ruling class’ are going to need some support if the public backlash gets too strong (Washington D.C. is the ‘Hunger Games Capitol City‘).  To some extent they are us, after all, elected to do the necessary evil of hashing out our business within our Constitutional framework, even if many in our society’s vision of leadership is a group of insulated scholar-bureaucrats.  The sausage still needs to get made, and we’ve got to get the incentives right.

I wouldn’t exactly call tech ‘glamour,’ either, especially as it can be a kind of white collar wage slavery for coders and programmers.  Design, too, you know, has to work.  Usually, that isn’t glamorous.

Comments are worth a read.

Possibly Useful Links On This Site:

-Repost-Kenneth Anderson At Volokh: ‘The Fragmenting of the New Class Elites, Or, Downward Mobility’

Thoughts about our political class-Francis Fukuyama And Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘None Of The Above’

Angelo Codevilla’s polemic: America’s Ruling Class-And The Perils Of Revolution.

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Mentioned in the Comments

Jonathan Rauch at Reason takes a look at Charles Murray’s Coming Apart.

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 The Daily Beast-‘Michelle Rhee: My Break With The Democrats’

Full piece here.

Rhee is standing up for vouchers.

If your overall political philosophy defines the public good so broadly that it allows some groups (teacher’s unions) to free ride on the public good, often losing sight of the children, then when do you stand up for the children, and the parent’s right to give their shot at the best choices possible?

Isn’t that right more closely aligned with our founding documents?

Rhee:

 “My job is not to preserve and defend a system that has been doing wrong by children and families. My job is to make sure that every child in this city attends an excellent school. I don’t care if it’s a charter school, a private school, or a traditional district school. As long as it’s serving kids well, I’m happy. And you should be, too.”

Here’s the question we Democrats need to ask ourselves: Are we beholden to the public school system at any cost, or are we beholden to the public school child at any cost? My loyalty and my duty will always be to the children.’

Parents wanting the best for their children is one of the true engines of our society, and it is one of the engines that drives people out of poor, dangerous neighborhoods, leaving schools overrun by the problems of those neighborhoods.  We give people the economic freedom to live in the suburbs, and to get out, which helps create some of the best schools possible.  I submit that you can see the lure for what I call ‘excessive egalitarians,’ especially in education, those who want equality first, and often equality of outcome and a broad raft of rights no matter the cost, and in some cases at the expense of children.

When those public schools left behind become inefficient and mismanaged, wasting money on pupils with very little change in outcomes:  What do you keep, and what do you change?

Also On This Site:  From Reason.Tv: ‘NBC’s Education Summit-Joe Trippi, Michelle Rhee & More’From The Washington Post: ‘D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee To Announce Resignation Wednesday’

Michelle Rhee At Newsweek: “What I’ve Learned”Repost-’Too Much “Quality Control” In Universities?’

Robert Samuelson Via Real Clear Politics: ‘Why School Reform Fails’From The Bellevue Reporter-Walter Backstrom’s: ‘Educational Progress And The Liberal Plantation’