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Watcher of Weasels–First Nominations of March 2013

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:45 pm - March 7, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Conservative Ideas

Council Submissions

“Mr. Paul Goes to Washingon” – the ending

Rand Paul’s filibuster ended yesterday, after 13 hours. Neither Bruce nor I were clear on how to turn off GP’s post that was counting it, so…it’s gone. We executed it (so to speak). But where did America end up?

  • Before: A poll showed that fully 41% of Democrats think the president should be able to order pre-emptive drone strikes on American soil without review or oversight (that is, “on his own” in the poll’s wording).
  • After: The Democrat-led Senate has refused to pass this resolution, “Expressing the sense of the Senate against the use of drones to execute Americans on American soil”.

I think that means: according to the Senate, if Obama decides that you are a “suspected terrorist”, he could execute you and your family in a drone strike on your home. At least, the question is open. Obama’s America, Forward!

UPDATE (from the comments): heliotrope informs us that Senator Paul has just received a letter from Attorney General Holder, writing that the president does NOT “have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on an American soil.” That’s better.

UPDATE: Republican senators McCain and Graham are clueless as ever, while liberal comedian Jon Stewart praises Rand Paul, sort of.

Social Liberalism: The Wealth Gap

When I put up my first post on social liberalism several weeks ago, I envisioned a series of posts that would discuss many of the implications of the fact that modern liberalism is more a social phenomenon than an intellectual one.  I’ve done that in part, but have until now neglected to mention one of the largest implications of all, namely that most modern liberals make easy targets for propagandists of all stripes because their political identity is driven more by their feelings than by the facts, and so they rarely exert critical judgement over the memes and narratives of the moment.

Quite to the contrary:  to exert critical judgement is automatically to invite suspicion, because it means asking difficult questions, seeking facts, pointing out fallacies, noting inconsistencies, all of which make modern liberals profoundly uncomfortable because those sorts of activities advertise the questioner’s willingness to dissent from the orthodoxy.

Neo-Neocon wrote a great post many years ago where she quoted Milan Kundera’s Book of Laughter and Forgetting on the power of “Circle Dancing”:

Circle dancing is magic. It speaks to us through the millennia from the depths of human memory. Madame Raphael had cut the picture out of the magazine and would stare at it and dream. She too longed to dance in a ring. All her life she had looked for a group of people she could hold hands with and dance with in a ring. First she looked for them in the Methodist Church (her father was a religious fanatic), then in the Communist Party, then among the Trotskyites, then in the anti-abortion movement (A child has a right to life!), then in the pro-abortion movement (A woman has a right to her body!); she looked for them among the Marxists, the psychoanalysts, and the structuralists; she looked for them in Lenin, Zen Buddhism, Mao Tse-tung, yogis, the nouveau roman, Brechtian theater, the theater of panic; and finally she hoped she could at least become one with her students, which meant she always forced them to think and say exactly what she thought and said, and together they formed a single body and a single soul, a single ring and a single dance.

To question is to step outside the  circle, to resist the lure of the dance.  And so the memes and narratives proliferate, pushed on by those who “feel moved” by them and are too afraid to question them.

Among the many liberals I know, this week’s meme is a viral video about “the wealth gap.”  I first noticed a college acquaintance (and an enthusiastic Elizabeth Warren supporter) mention it on Facebook on Sunday, and have noticed at least three other references to it by others since then.  The video is only 6 minutes and 24 seconds long, but if you’re like me, after about three minutes, it will seem like it is going on forever.

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I’ve recorded some of my thoughts below the fold.

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