A proposal and a footnote.
The almost singular driving purpose of our American economic policy should be* to encourage productive capital to move here. (Not high finance engineering, but actual means of production, to use the old terminology.) In fine, the driving purpose of our policy should be Hamiltonian through and through — the difference being that while he had to build a base of productive capital all we have | Read More »
Remember your wits
I have heard and read a lot of panic and resignation out there. On the edges of it are despair. Hedge fund operators talk of the new economy of canned food and ammunition, and buying farmland in Canada. Normal family men evidence a peculiar despondency, retreating from the world. What is this? Today is the last day to capitulate to despair. Today is the last | Read More »
The Libertarian Variation
Anyone familiar with the lineaments of the debate over same sex marriage will have encountered what we might call the Libertarian Variation. This is the view that all the commotion surrounding this dispute could be avoided if only we could persuade the state to have done with marriage altogether, leaving it a strictly private affair. Most commonly the it will be advanced with a kind | Read More »
Virginity for sale.
A woman with a peculiarly mercenary streak is auctioning off her virginity for a considerable sum of money: $3.7 million, according to this Telegraph report. It’s one way to beat the recession, I suppose. The idea of enterprising degradation came to her, it is further reported, because her sister was able to pay for “her own degree after working as a prostitute for three weeks.” | Read More »
Seeing double when drunk on Liberalism.
Damon Linker thinks there were (I almost said are) two Fr. Richard John Neuhauses. The good one and the bad one. Very generously, Linker writes that “I’m not mistaken, the first, more thoughtful Neuhaus has reasserted himself in the past two years.” What a relief that is. But what did that other one do? What are the second Neuhaus’s crimes? Well, he encouraged “the American | Read More »
Open Thread: no Idiot Wind.
The tedium of the commentary on the Middle East sort of resembles Bob Dylan’s Idiot Wind: Idiot wind, blowing through the flowers on your tomb, Blowing through the curtains in your room. Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth, You’re an idiot, babe. It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe. I myself doubt that there will ever be peace in | Read More »
Keynes (right) with Harry Dexter White The volume of Keynesian and neo-Keynesian economic prescriptions churning out of the newspapers and talking heads on TV right now is a something to behold, ain’t it? One shudders at the thought of the despondency that will greet the eventual failure of most of these remedies. We have a very unusual and in a basic sense unstable condition where | Read More »
Derivatives and human hubris.
Learning of the kinds of exotic instruments used by Wall Street in the years before the crash can be a mind-boggling experience. First, of course, because of the complexity of these things; but also because of the staggering sums of “paper wealth” they produced. AIG and other firms sold credit default swaps in such massive numbers that there was at one point insurance on over | Read More »
Notes on the crisis
I’m standin’ in the shadows with an aching heart I’m lookin’ at the world, tear itself apart — Bob Dylan, “Mississippi” Here Dylan has given us a brilliant summation of the condition of the simple citizen in the face of the economic crisis that exploded in our faces in mid-September, and which may well prove more momentous than another calamity, another September, seven years earlier. | Read More »
Renewal on the Right
The airwaves are full of talk about how to revive or renew the GOP and Conservatism. Rightly so. But such a task must be undertaken on a number of levels. One level is that of intellect and scholarship; and renewal on that level will be a matter of introspection, careful study, and refinement of arguments. We need to go back and recover our roots. Now | Read More »
He was a great man — one of the greatest of our age. To my mind there can be no doubt that had the West heeded his prescient warnings in his famous Harvard Address, the world today would be a far better, saner, freer place. Many years before Soviet Communism fell, Solzhenitsyn had already discerned the deeper crisis: the “tilt of freedom in the direction | Read More »
The debate we must have.
Some months ago we learned something that should have surprised no one — at least no one in the least bit familiar with the stultifying intellectual paralysis that afflicts much of the Republic on the subject of Islam. We learned that various federal agencies, including Homeland Security, are expressly resisting the use of descriptive terminology — “jihadist,” “Islamic terrorist,” “Islamist,” etc. The reasoning here is | Read More »
The forgotten costs.
The debate over immigration, when it ranges over the subject of costs and benefits, tends to favor anodyne abstractions and economic postulates. The costs of securing the border and, by attrition, reducing the illegal immigration population include conjectures about economic decline, about the loss of our prestige as a welcoming nation. The benefits, meanwhile, generally take a similar form: cheap products, fluid labor, corporate profits, | Read More »
Here is something interesting
John Zmirak has written a graphic novel, which recapitulates Dostoevski’s great episode from which it takes its title. This grand inquisition takes place in Rome, its protagonist is an African bishop, and the inquisitor is a most unlikely personage. The dialogue is a powerful and evocative blank verse, and the artwork is beguiling. I am by no means an expert on graphic novels, but this | Read More »