Repost-Theodore Dalrymple At The City Journal-The Persistence Of Ideology

Interesting read.

Francis Fukuyama and his influential essay are mentioned, as well as Immanuel Kant, Marx, and Isaiah Berlin.

Ideas matter, obviously, and the piece attempts to re-contextualize many ideological struggles which keep shaping our day-to-day lives (I have it on good intel that the guys down at the docks say ‘quotidian struggles’).

Dalrymple:

‘Who, then, are ideologists? They are people needy of purpose in life, not in a mundane sense (earning enough to eat or to pay the mortgage, for example) but in the sense of transcendence of the personal, of reassurance that there is something more to existence than existence itself. The desire for transcendence does not occur to many people struggling for a livelihood. Avoiding material failure gives quite sufficient meaning to their lives. By contrast, ideologists have few fears about finding their daily bread. Their difficulty with life is less concrete. Their security gives them the leisure, their education the need, and no doubt their temperament the inclination, to find something above and beyond the flux of daily life.’

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Related On This Site:

-Fukuyama’s Marxist/Hegelian influence and the re-purposed Christian metaphysics and Statism found within much German Idealism:  Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’…Fred Siegel On The German Influence And Kelley Ross On Some Of Roger Scruton’s Thinking

-Are we really progressing…can we be more clear about means and ends? Via Youtube-Samuel Huntington On ‘The Clash Of Civilizations’Repost-Classical Liberalism Via Friesian.Com-‘Exchange with Tomaz Castello Branco on John Gray’

Sunday Quotation: From Jonathan Bennett On Kant…Link To An Ayn Rand Paper By George Walsh: The Objectivist Attack On Kant…From Bryan Magee’s Talking Philosophy On Youtube: Geoffrey Warnock On Kant

-The Englightenment/Romantic tension…the horror of rationalist systems which claimed knowledge of man’s ends, but also a defense of both positive and negative liberties-Appeasement Won’t Do-Via A Reader, ‘Michael Ignatieff Interview With Isaiah Berlin’…A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”

***Why so many Britons on this site? (J.S. Mill, Isaiah Berlin by way of Riga, Michael Oakeshott, Roger Scruton, Bryan Magee, Theodore Dalrymple, John Gray etc.?)

I don’t know all the reasons, but there’s definitely an Anglophilia at work, our division by a common language, and perhaps an overall ideological predilection towards an Anglo-sphere alliance.  I think there is mutual benefit, security and leverage to be had in working for a more closely united English-speaking ‘liberal’ world order.   There are many sacrifices and risks, dangers and blind-spots, too.

Many of these writers/thinkers have had to face a more institutional and entrenched Left.  They can know intimately whereof they speak.

It’s easy to feel vaguely good about our relationship, but let’s not forget moments like these:

washingtonburns.jpg

This is a depiction (thanks to impiousdigest.com) of British troops burning the White House.

Some Thursday Links-Are You ‘Socially Responsible’ & Global Women’s Health Inspectors: Colombia Division

Richard Epstein takes a look at ‘social responsibility’ investing:

‘In September 1970, the late Milton Friedman published a bold manifesto entitled “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” in the New York Times Magazine, where he argued that businesses do not need to engage in various charitable or public-spirited activities, even those that generally meet with approval from shareholders. The best defense of the Friedman thesis is that any discrete corporate effort to advance collateral ends will not enjoy the unanimous consent of all corporate shareholders, so that the contribution operates like an implicit tax on dissenting shareholders. The better track is for the corporation to make the shareholders rich, so that they in turn can embark on their own charitable operations, without having to bind their fellow shareholders.’

I’d argue that more people nowadays are feeling social pressure to seek purpose, membership in a group, to do what everyone else is doing, be or be thought a ‘good’ person through their investments, and reacting accordingly.  There’s an underlying collectivism in the idea of wearing your commitments on your sleeve this way.

Or, at least, this underlying collectivism puts upward pressure upon companies and corporations to appear ‘socially responsible’ whatever their aims, and in fact pretty much every advertising campaign nowadays seems to be making some nod to climate change, helping the poor, making a difference etc.

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Peter Suderman at Reason on ‘optics’:

‘So the short version is this: The administration had evidence indicating that a young advance team member, who was also the child of a lobbyist-and-donor-turned-administration-staffer, was involved in a potentially embarrassing incident with a prostitute while serving as a member of the presidential advance team—and yet explicitly denied that this was the case, and also appears to have pressured independent investigators to delay and withhold evidence until after the election was over.’

Original piece at the Washington Post.

From The Detroit Free Press: ‘White House To Announce $300M In Aid Friday To Make Detroit Safer, Erase Blight’

Full piece here.

‘Nearly $300 million in aid for Detroit — from federal and state coffers, private businesses and charitable foundations — will be announced Friday as Obama administration officials visit the city to discuss what can be done to help eradicate blight, improve transportation, encourage new business and make residents safer.’

Life support?:

‘Sperling wasn’t immediately able to break down just how much of the $300 million represents new funding and how much had already been awarded to Detroit but, for whatever reason, hadn’t reached the city before. But he said much of it represented an effort by adminisitration officials to scour their departments for funding that Detroit could access’

How did Detroit get here?

Very comprehensive and easy to navigate.

More from Megan McArdle on the behavior that comes with pension bonuses:  Not worth saving.

Some links on this site: Charlie LeDuff, Detroit’s populist, citizen journalist’s youtube channel here.  At least he’s sticking around.

Are you looking at beautiful photos and feeling sorry for Detroit, and yourself?  See Time Magazine’s photo essay by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre (less porn-like, more thoughtful).

Hipster hope, artists, collectivists and small business types can’t save it either:  A Short Culture Wars Essay-Two Links On Detroit & ‘Ruin Porn’

GM is not a municipality, but good money got put in, probably after bad and it reeks of politics: From The Detroit News: ‘How The Treasury, GM Stock Deal Got Done’

What about the popular arts and culture?:Update And Repost-From Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’…A Few Thoughts And A Tuesday Poem By Philip Levine

A garage sale for the city’s art? Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘Detroit’s Van Gogh Would Be Better Off in L.A.’From The Detroit Free Press: ‘DIA’s Art Collection Could Face Sell-Off To Satisfy Detroit’s Creditors’

Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  Check out his series at The American Interest

From Bloomberg: ‘Detroit Recovery Plan Threatens Muni-Market Underpinnings’

From Michael Totten’s Blog: ‘Two Hours’

Post here.

The administration may have known within two hours into the Benghazi attack that Ansar al-Sharia had claimed responsibility:

‘Reuters claims to be in possession of three emails that, if authentic, should put to rest once and for all how long it took for the White House and State Department to learn that the terrorist attack in the Libyan city of Benghazi last month was, in fact, a terrorist attack.’

Still unfolding.   What’s the grand strategy here?

Addition:  How is the President’s strategy in Libya working out?  How is the War On Terror going?  What are the threats facing the U.S?  Why Libya and not Syria?  What kinds of people are we getting into bed with in Syria, Libya, Egypt and is the Muslim Brotherhood really the group to leverage to peel away from the radicals and terrorists?

Another addition:  Were we running guns out of Benghazi, destination Syrian opposition, many of which were falling into the wrong hands?

This would mean Stevens and his crew were in Benghazi on the sly.  In the bigger picture, this would back the Turks against Assad in Syria and also work against Iran who sees Assad as their best ally.

Another Addition:  Via Eli Lake, Benghazi suspect held in Tunisia.

Another:  Per The Atlantic, there is no story:

It sounds very plausible. There’s only one problem with that view: No evidence has surfaced so far to support the idea that the Obama Administration deceived the public deliberately.

Then it just appears incompetent, or not so good at handling the conflicting intelligence, of which there is a lot.  It would be nice to have some clarification from the President.  There’s quite a rift in our politics right now and we are sending a message to those who would harm and kill us.

Why push the video as the cause of the attacks?  And if it’s just incompetence and slow reaction…is the Middle East any more stable?  How’s the war on terror?

Another Addition:  White House declines comment.

Related On This Site:   From Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘Exclusive: Libya Cable Detailed Threats’

Eli 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’

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From Foreign Affairs- ‘Agreeing On Afghanistan: Why The Obama Administration Chose Consensus This Time”

Full piece here.

Some discussion of how procedure affects outcomes in the White House decision-making process, and how the new strategy was arrived at.

Related On This Site:   From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanRepost-From Michael Yon: ‘The Battle For Kandahar’Dexter Filkins Book On Afghanistan And Iraq: “The Forever War”Monday Quotations-Henry Kissinger

Repost-’Dexter Filkins In The NY Times: The Long Road To Chaos In Pakistan’

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