Mention Of Oakeshott On Trump And The Managerial State-A Few Links

-Via Marginal Revolution: Joshua Mitchell at Politico: ‘Donald Trump Does Have Ideas, And We’d Better Pay Attention to Them

‘Michael Oakeshott, an under-read political thinker in the mid-20th century, remarked in his exquisite essay, “Rationalism in Politics,” that one of the more pathological notions of our age is that political life can be understood in terms of “principles” that must be applied to circumstances. Politics-as-engineering, if you will. Republicans themselves succumbed to this notion, and members of the rank and file have noticed. Republicans stood for “the principles of the constitution,” for “the principles of the free market,” etc. The problem with standing for principles is that it allows you to remain unsullied by the political fray, to stand back and wait until yet another presidential election cycle when “our principles” can perhaps be applied. And if we lose, it’s OK, because we still have “our principles.” What Trump has been able to seize upon is growing dissatisfaction with this endless deferral, the sociological arrangement for which looks like comfortable Inside-the-Beltway Republicans defending “principles” and rank-and-file Republicans far from Washington-Babylon watching in horror and disgust.’

I can understand why people want to be left out of the fray, as I mostly do, too.

Trump clearly appealed to American national greatness in order to get elected (Make America Great Again), as well as to many people who’ve seen a decline in living standards, and who are wondering just where future opportunities will come from.  The lack of trust in institutions is deep and often justified in our country right now, the populist resentment wide, extending quite beyond party politics.

Trump pretty clearly saw an opening on immigration early on in the election (this blog prefers something like the melting-pot), and he pushed the immigration hot-button regularly, through countless speeches, establishing himself in the race on this issue alone.

He then broadened his appeal in attacks on other Republican candidates and the party establishment, the Democratic establishment and the Clinton machine, our top-heavy regulatory State and the current administration, as well as the media more generally.  He attacked people, and personalities, often as much ideas and policies.

To my mind, the continual overreach by the Left under an activist President (identity politicking 24/7) has a lot of emperors wearing little clothing.

Onward we go.

-Yeah, but it’s Vox.

-Minogue, Kenneth.  Politics.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1995. (Pg 111).

Works pretty well for me:

‘We may sum this up by saying that the more the style of what used to be called politics becomes theorized, the more political problems come to be reintrepreted as managerial.  Working out the least oppressive laws under which different and sometimes conflicting groups may live peaceably together is being replaced by manipulation and management of the attitudes different groups take towards each other, with the hope that this will ultimately bring harmony.  In other words, in the new form of society, human beings are becoming the matter which is to be shaped according to the latest moral ideas.’

And maybe 80’s synth-funk will make a come back someday, but until that day, you can see how the stuff is made:

Radical Activism Often Cools Into Bureaucratic Authoritarianism-Also, A Case From The De Blasio Files

Why Should You Get A Liberal Education? From The ASAN Institute Via Vimeo: ‘Michael Oakeshott’s Cold War Liberalism 1’

Repost-John Gray At The Literary Review Takes A Look At A New Book On Michael Oakeshott: ‘Last Of The Idealists’

Tyrants In The Palm Of Your Hand & Links to Links to Links

Theodore Dalrymple at Takimag.com: ‘From Sir, With Love.’

‘I have always liked banknotes as physical artefacts, and have kept one or two from the foreign countries that I have visited (I am not so much a collector as an accumulator). There was displayed in the window what was called “The Tyrant Collection”: six colorful banknotes marked with the portraits of various tyrants’

A surprising amount can be contained in a banknote collection.

‘Among the other lessons I learnt from banknotes is that, in modern times, only communist countries count in threes. Thus I have a Cuban three peso note (with the ghastly Che Guevara on it) and an Albenian three lek note. This in turn demonstrates that the spread of communism was also the spread of Russian cultural influence, for while the Soviet Union printed 3 Ruble notes, this was a continuation of Tsarist practice.’
Tyler Cowen has some links on Gary Becker’s passing, including this quote from Kieran Healy on Foucault on Becker:
The shifts in focus Foucault picks out here, and the concepts and methods that accompanied them, are why Becker’s influence has been so enormous, why his work has been the straw man in so many social science articles, why his methods allow for such broad application, why the imagery of choice and responsibility that so often accompanies them has proved so politically attractive, why the world is now full of economists who feel empowered to dispense advice on everything from childrearing to global climate change, and why the audience for this advice is so large.’
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A final note:  I’ve got a title worked-out for an upcoming Dan Brown-esque Vatican City intrigue Catho-holic mystery/thriller for any takers:  “The Bergoglio Imbroglio:  Papal Fire
I’d like to see it in airport bookstores by the end of the year.
Another Addition: That’s a joke.
Also, check out Les Gelb at the American Interests on what Obama needs to change (note: he’s ideologically rather rigid and rather thin-skinned when it comes to genuine challenges and contrary points of view):
‘To his credit, he questions his subordinates with great intellectual ferocity and skill. Rarely, however, does he allow his own thinking or policies, some already packaged for public consumption, to be rigorously scrutinized beforehand. Even after a productive meeting of top senior officials in the Situation Room, President Obama is said to repair to the Oval Office with a limited group of personal advisers’

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution-‘My Rand Paul Problem’

Full piece here.

‘The renewed attention to Paul exposes the critical tension between hard-line libertarians and classical liberals. The latter are comfortable with a larger government than hard-core libertarians because they take into account three issues that libertarians like Paul tend to downplay: (1) coordination problems; (2) uncertainty; (3) and matters of institutional design.’

Epstein has a wealth of practical knowledge and theory on law and economics, especially from the libertarian point-of-view:

‘It is important to understand the differences in views between the strong libertarian and classical liberal position. Serious hard-line libertarian thinkers include Murray Rothbard and Karl Hess. Rothbard believes nonaggression is the sole requirement of a just social order. For Hess, “libertarianism is the view that each man is the absolute owner of his life, to use and dispose of as he sees fit.” There are large kernels of truth in both propositions. It is quite impossible to see how any social order could be maintained if there were no limitations against the use, or threatened use, of force to enslave or butcher other people, which Hess’s proposition of absolute self-ownership strongly counteracts.’

He finishes with:

‘As Tanenhaus and Rutenberg note, Rand Paul knows that he must move to the center to become a credible political candidate. If he embraces a classical liberal framework, he can meet the objections of his critics without abandoning the best elements of his own libertarian position. ‘

Food for thought.

From the progressive and non-classically liberal-Left, I’m guessing Rand Paul criticism could move from the typical loony-libertarian stuff, to that of a middle-ground-seeking sellout/opportunist if he’s seen as more successful, and therefore more of a threat.  Typical battle-space preparation would likely ensue.

The Right has problems with Paul’s generally anti-war sympathies, and libertarian pro-individual freedom positions more broadly.  Pro-pot, pro-porn, and pro-legalized prostitution talk amongst libertarian circles won’t exactly bring-out the social and religiously conservative vote.  Also, it’s probably worthy of note that nationalism and patriotism have been taking big hits on longer trend lines, or at least in the current mood, it will be harder to justify military spending with a foreseeably unresponsive and bloated Federal Government (technology and globalization, Moore’s Law and the rise of Big Data are all thrown into the mix as well).

Americans are probably not going to be terribly happy with their politics for awhile, and it could be just as hard to justify high-military spending politically from the Right as it is the disastrous Obamacare and more government waste from the progressive Left.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

From Malcolm Greenhill: ‘I believe my good friend, Jeff Hummel, has made the best attempt so far at solving the public goods problem of national defense:’

http://mises.org/document/274/National-Goods-versus-Public-Goods-Defense-Disarmament-and-Free-Riders

Related On This Site: Anarcho-capitalism:  Pro-market, anti-state, anti-war…paleo-libertarian: Link To Lew Rockwell Via A Reader…Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes:  Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of KnowledgeTwo Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’

Catholic libertarianism: Youtube Via Reason TV-Judge Napolitano ‘Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Government is Dangerous’

New liberty away from Hobbes…rule-following punishers?:Repost-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’

Steven Pinker curiously goes Hobbesian and mentions an ‘international Leviathan’:   At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas Hobbes

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’

I’ve got enough friends, thanks, and I’ll read about behavioral economics on my own: Cass Sunstein At The New Republic: ‘Why Paternalism Is Your Friend’Sheldon Richman At Reason: ‘Classical Liberalism Vs. Modern Liberalism’

From Vanity Fair: ‘Reverse-Engineering A Genius (Has A Vermeer Mystery Been Solved?)

Full piece here.

Just as optics revolutionized the sciences and the boundaries of human knowledge, from Galileo to Newton and onwards, Tim Jenison wonders if optics may have revolutionized the arts as well.

‘But still, exactly how did Vermeer do it? One day, in the bathtub, Jenison had a eureka moment: a mirror. If the lens focused its image onto a small, angled mirror, and the mirror was placed just between the painter’s eye and the canvas, by glancing back and forth he could copy that bit of image until the color and tone precisely matched the reflected bit of reality.’

Good Vermeer page here for a refresher on the Dutch master.

Penn & Teller helped make a documentary which has gotten good reviews, entitled ‘Tim’s Vermeer.

They discuss the project and Tim’s theory below (perhaps only the Girl With The Pearl Earring knows for sure if the painter used such a technique):

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Related On This Site: In The Mail: Vivian Maier

Goya, that modern, had to make a living from the royal family: Goya’s ColossusGoya’s Fight With CudgelsGoethe’s Color Theory: Artists And ThinkersNASA Composite Image Of The Earth At Night…Beauty?Garrett Mattingly On Machiavelli-The Prince: Political Science Or Political Satire?

Repost-From The NY Times: Schlieren Photograpy

From Edge: ‘Re: What Makes People Republican? By Jonathan Haidt’

Full post here.

It’s good to be suspicious of the attempt by social scientists to theorize about politics (more theory into politics, more loaded questions).  Some profound silliness and interesting thoughts at the link:

‘Democrats use the language of universal entitlement, when they talk about state-supported preschool or childcare, or the language of individual autonomy, when they talk about choice or contraception, or the language of investment, when they talk about the long-term benefits of healthy and well-educated children. But none of these ways of talking about children really capture our everyday intuitions.  Of course, there isn’t a good alternative conservative language for these intuitions either. The Republican language of traditional religion also doesn’t get it, which is why the celebration of Sarah Palin’s unwed daughter’s pregnancy seemed so paradoxical.’

Points taken (most people have a box to put you in, though the people around you and their political beliefs can deeply shape your thinking and your life).  I don’t quite buy the moral equivalence.  As for Palin, I suspect part of her appeal is the fear and contempt she draws out in her political opponents.  To some, she is a representative for the Christian faith and Christian values in action;  a politician who believes in limited government and who fights corruption, but is villified by many, some of whom are quite illiberal and who attack her personally.  Of course, Palin is still a politician, regardless of her abilities.

And whence morality?  Still a matter of deep debate.

Related On This Site:   Some Tuesday Quotations From Leo StraussFrom Peter Berkowitz At Harvard: ‘The Reason Of Revelation: The Jewish Thought Of Leo Strauss’Franz De Waal At The NY Times 10/17/10: ‘Morals Without God?’

Using J.S. Mill, moving away from religion? Rationalism and Utilitarianism On The Rise?: From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

Maybe if you’re defending religion, Nietzsche is a problematic reference: Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy…

Jesse Prinz Discusses “The Emotional Construction Of Morals” On Bloggingheads.Repost-Is Psychology A Science? From Richard Feynman’s ‘Cargo Cult Science’

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