What Glenn Beck Is Doing

Lexington Green:

Beck is attacking the enemy at the foundations of their power, their claim to race as a permanent trump card, their claim to the Civil Rights movement as a permanent model to constantly be transforming a perpetually unjust society.

He is nuking out the foundations of the opposition’s moral preeminence, the very thing I proposed in this post.

Actually, it’s more like the pretense of their moral preeminence.

Health-Care “Reform”

…and the endangered Democrat majority:

It was during the health care debate that the essential building block of the Democratic majority – Independent voters – began to crumble. It was evident in the generic ballot. It was evident in the President’s job approval numbers. It was evident in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

What’s really amazing is the ongoing delusion (notoriously assisted by Bill Clinton) that once they passed it, it would magically become popular.

They used to say that Social Security is the third-rail of American politics, but given 1994 and this year, I think that health-care “reform” (at least democratic socialist style) is. And this time, the donkeys jumped on it with all four feet.

The Double Standards

…for who is and is not a “moderate“:

It isn’t the snarky first part of this statement that is interesting; that’s banal, and while revealing in its own way, it’s de rigeur for the sort of people we’re talking about to on the one hand demand no one reach conclusions on the basis of necessarily limited information when it comes to them and their mascots, but who feel free themselves to rush to entirely unsupported conclusions regarding their opponents and targets, and express them in the snarkiest way possible, all the while holding the self-conception that they’re stalwarts defending civil discourse. Of course, one commenter doesn’t control anything, any more than I “create the narrative” (If only!). But this comment will be a useful example for how those who do set the terms of debate do so, and a facet of the mindset behind it.

Be that as it may, the truly interesting part is the expressed definition of what qualifies as a “moderate Muslim.” Alchemist expressed what I suspect a lot of people on that side of things believe, without fully articulating it even in their own minds: For them a “moderate Muslim” is simply anyone who isn’t trying, either directly or indirectly, to kill them.

This truly does reflect having two standards, however. In normal discourse, this isn’t generally the standard for moderation: David Duke isn’t considered moderate just because he himself never engaged in a lynching and had learned how to express himself in such a way that it’s virtually impossible to find a statement where he openly and clearly encourages violence or terror. Yet people can get in trouble with the widely-respected SPLC for example,simply sharing a stage with him in a debate. We understand he’s not “moderate” in spite of the suit and tie, and the carefully couched statements.

Rauf is no moderate in my book. But then, I think that moderation is overrated. Goldwater had it right when he said that extremism in defense of liberty was no vice.

Space Philosophies

versus political philosophies.

I have some problems:

I very much doubt that anyone in the space community rejects Obama’s position purely out of hate for the man or his other policies or even his political party. Indeed, it often seems as though on the one issue of space Republican and Democrat positions are switched around completely.

This might be due to the fact that there are so few people – and in particular so few Congressmen – who are actually interested in space in general or NASA in particular. Those outliers might be swaying the majority that doesn’t care about space.

Similarly one cannot say that all Boomers are nostalgic for Apollo, nor are the “Homers” simply looking out for their own district at the expense of the country and its future. The categorizations just don’t match reality.

I disagree. Few people fall neatly into one of the three camps, but they do capture the reasons for opposition, at least from conservatives. And as I understand it, “Boomers” and “Homers” are nostalgic and parochial, by the definition being used here (i.e., “boomers” doesn’t mean baby boomers in general, but rather those specific ones with an Apollo nostalgia). And while “Haters” isn’t a very nice label, there are in fact people who are opposed to this policy for no reason other than it was put forth by this administration (just as there were a lot of Democrats who would have cheered the VSE had it been offered by someone other than the evil Buuuuuush). As I wrote in April (where does the time go?):

The so-called conservative opposition to this new direction in space policy seems, at least to me, to come from three motivations: a visceral and intrinsic (and understandable) distaste for any policy that emanates from this White House; a nostalgia for the good old days, when we had a goal and a date and a really big rocket and an unlimited budget (what I’ve described as the “Apollo cargo cult”); and, in the case of such politicians as Senators Shelby, Hutchison, Hatch, et al., pure rent seeking for their states. Of course, these aren’t mutually exclusive: For some, all three apply. But none of these reasons addresses the problems with the status quo or the wisdom of the new policy.

But the bigger problem is trying to map the three space visions onto the two-dimensional Nolan chart (which is itself oversimplified — for example, it doesn’t usefully distinguish between legitimate concerns about national security and jingoism). I don’t know how to do it, myself, though I have to confess that I haven’t tried. But then, it wouldn’t even occur to me to do so. I have in fact written a 4000-word essay on what a conservative space policy might look like, that I’m shopping around right now, though I may just distribute it at the FreedomWorks BlogCon next week in Crystal City, and publish it here. But it’s complicated.

Treasury Bonds

They’re not a bubble — they’re just “frothy:”

How much foam is there on top of this fiscal frappe? Treasury bond yields are down about 40 percent in the past six months, as Gross also notes — a frothy market indeed. But I do not think Gross is showing much guts in his proposed wager: True, the U.S. government probably is not going to default on its debt in the near future. (Probably.) And, sure, he’s right that the values of the bonds will fluctuate but “won’t double, and they won’t go to zero.” But here’s the thing: They don’t have to. The government doesn’t have to default, and the value of the bonds doesn’t have to double or go to zero to cause all sorts of havoc in U.S. finances. Interest rates are very, very low — but even as low as they are, we’re still piling on debt so quickly that any serious uptick in the government’s cost of borrowing — and no, it does not have to double — could send us into a Greek-style fiscal crisis, especially if it should coincide with, say, the second and even more painful decline in a double-dip recession. Or a financial shock caused by an international crisis in, oh, Iran. Those are the kinds of risks that the Leviathan-on-a-leash guys never really account for: “Oh, everything will be fine, so long as everything is fine.”


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