Some interesting weekend reading for you, mostly about politics:

The UK’s Neil Crofts has written a book about making a living happily as an entrepreneur instead of as a wage slave, but he takes a completely different tack from the one I take in Natural Enterprise. The key, he says in Authentic, is to get back in touch with yourself, your true feelings, and discover your true calling. Take a look at his compelling introduction What is Authentic Business and tell me what you think.

The NYT calls for the firing of religious bigot and deputy secretary of defense William Boykin. The infamous “Preacher-General” does offend the Islamic community with his sermons equating their god with satan and calling for new crusades.

Philip Agre’s article What is Conservatism and What is Wrong with it? makes some interesting points. What I like best about it are the arguments that conservatism destroys conscience, and that we need new, accessible, articulate, young liberal pundits to at least make the term ‘liberal’ respectable again.

And finally, just for fun, if you haven’t already seen it, take a look at Gregg & Evan Spiridellis’ hilarious This Land animation at their site Jib Jab.

(Thanks to Mike McInerney and Jon Husband and whoever told me about Authenticity — I know, my filing system sucks — for the links. The photo is not mine — it’s from a .pps file called ‘FantasticPhotography’ that’s been circulating by e-mail but doesn’t ID the photographer. Anyone know where they originated?)

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10 Responses to HUNGRY FOR MORE

  1. Rayne says:

    Agre’s essay is quite good, agree with you whole-heartedly. I’ve always been puzzled that conservatives hammer away at so-called “liberal elites” when in truth conservatives do whatever they can to protect their own financial elitism. Agre adeptly makes the case that “Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.”And that just doesn’t fly in a real democracy.

  2. AW says:

    Some necessary readings:[snip]No federal functionary (and no wiseacre journalist) had the right to dictate anyone’s religious beliefs, or force him to keep quiet should he choose to express them. [snip][snip]ARKIN SET OUT to damage an administration he unquestionably loathes, and found an exposed target in Boykin. The usual suspects have gathered round to stone the general on the basis of edited reports compiled by an obvious ideologue, and despite the fact that the his talks were expressions of a deeply-felt faith delivered to audiences of fellow believers. There is no evidence that these talks had caused even a ripple of controversy until Arkin launched his well-orchestrated–and quite manipulative–campaign to bring the general down. If the assault on General Boykin is successful, it is the beginning of the end for expressions of personal faith by public officials. [snip]

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    AW: If Boykin were a Muslim, and had worn his army uniform in an exhaustive set of sermons in Islamic mosques telling the congregation that they had a duty to oppose Jesus as a dangerous idol, and that Allah was the One True God and any that didn’t believe that were tools of the Great Satan, would you still feel the same way? ‘Expressions of personal faith’ are one thing, an orchestrated and extensive tour by a senior government official using his position of authority to preach hate to thousands is quite another.

  4. Susan Hales says:

    James Carroll’s newest book, CRUSADE, is an excellent antidote…I highly recommend it so far – am halfway through it– it’s a collection of his essays since Bush uttered his famous words on Sept. 11, 2001 about this war being a crusade.

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Susan: How do you avoid punching holes in the wall?

  6. Susan Hales says:

    I never, never ever turn on the TV, and that saves my sanity. I don’t read the local papers, and am waiting for the fanatics to self-destruct. They will, it’s only a question of when, and how much damage will be done before the big wakeup call…

  7. AW says:

    “Preach hate”? Where? Did you actually *read* the articles? And assuming your assertion is a fact, what he says and does outside the office is still none of anyone else’s business.

  8. Susan Hales says:

    Dave, thanks for the article link. When I have time to digest all of it, I’m going to check out more of the learned professor’s works, like those on the Internet and Community. From the looks of it, this one ought to be good:

  9. Dave Pollard says:

    AW: If you want to defend free speech, you’d be best not to use a wack-job who wears his army uniform when he preaches fire and brimstone to extreme evangelicals as your poster boy. CBS reports that during his speeches, not only does he make it clear he sees the war on Islamic terrorists as a Christian crusade against Satan, but shows blown-up pictures taken in Somalia with weird black slashes on them, which he describes to his audiences as the “demonic spirit” over the skies of the Islamic world. The real danger that this guy represents isn’t the increase in hate crimes against Muslims that follows his speeches, but the fact that pictures of this guy, a senior Defense Department official, are shown on Arab TV, where he’s decked out in his military uniform, to all appearances in his official capacity as a government spokeman, spouting his nonsense, and Islamic extremists couldn’t hope for a better recruiting tool.Susan: Agre’s an interesting thinker — a fierce egalitarian who sees the roots of the problems of elitism as (a) unwarranted ‘habits of deference’ to others, and (b) the unscalability of participative democracy. Let me know what you learn as you wade deeper.

  10. Don Dwiggins says:

    Agre’s definition of conservative bothers me. While he’s clearly describing a particular worldview, it doesn’t square with the mindset I’ve detected from many self-described conservative people I’ve encountered (most of whom are ordinary folks who’d explode if you accused them of being in favor of “the domination of society by an aristocracy”). I don’t think Agre has the authority to tell these people that they’re not really conservative, or that they’re not being honest, or that they’re dupes. (By the way, this works in the mirror as well — nobody has the right to tell a self-described liberal what he must therefore believe, or that his professed beliefs aren’t really liberal.)For an interesting insight into the mind of a conservative, I recommend Run Suskind’s book “The Price of Loyalty”, about the truncated career of W’s first Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill. It’s gotten a lot of press for its revelations of the inner workings of the administration, but what I found fascinating was seeing the world, to some extent, through O’Neill’s eyes. I found myself frequently thinking “this is a conservative I could talk to, and would love to spend an evening in dialogue with”. I won’t attempt to summarize the O’Neill shown in the book. If you’re interested, read it; if not, avoid judgment. (Caveat: I’ve just read the book, so this is coming from my first impressions.)Finally, I’m bothered by the implication that conservatism is inherently wrong, and that therefore must be defeated. This sounds to me like the mirror image of the way Limbaugh, Coulter, et al. talk about liberalism. More importantly, it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to create the respectful, mutually beneficial dialogue among those of differing opinions that our democracy so desparately needs (from what I read, I think that O’Neill would wholeheartedly agree). (Another caveat: this comes from a quick scan of the article; I do plan to read it in more depth, and will let you know if I’ve misjudged him.)

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