Thursday, 28 February 2008

In Passing

William F. Buckley, Jr.

The preventive-shutting-off-of-comments at sites like Huffington Post was unsurprising; neither was the range of tributes at The Corner and elsewhere.

But I was unprepared for the reaction of some commenters in this thread (at Tam’s) and this one (at Ace’s). Comments with the sort of the bemused solemnity that prevails when you’re ten years old and are told that your eccentric great uncle from Montana has died:

“Well, yes, I’m sorry he’s dead, but I really didn’t know him all that well, and, gee, he was awfully old, wasn’t he, and he sure talked funny (what was up with that, anyway?), but folks say he did great things (but I never saw him do them; all I ever saw was when he’d come to visit; he’d sit on the porch and chat with his old buddies, and use all these words that nobody had ever even heard of), and now everyone’s sad that he’s died, and though I didn’t really know him (not like gram’pa!), I suppose I should be sad too.”

Perhaps it's because we no longer know our own history.  At the close of the second world war, informed opinion was that Roosevelt’s alphabet agencies had saved America from the failure of capitalism that was the great depression, that the only way to prevent future wars was to exchange American sovereignty for “international cooperation” (and that the Soviet penetration of America’s nuclear program had actually been a good thing, because a nuclear Russia created a countervailing force against future American hegemony), and that the bureaucracy, with the advice of academically-certified experts in white coats, would regulate the future for all the rest of us.  Market economics?  Not after Baron Keynes and his disciples had repaired broken economies and then bent that revived power toward winning the war.  (And the U.K. would require only a few more years of rationing, just to be sure that resources would be allocated sensibly.  Be patient...)  No, it was democratic socialism that was the inevitable next stage of development, and if there were countries that imposed their socialism without doing it democratically, well, that was just a bug.

“Conservative” voices were discredited and fragmented:  Aside from the occasional congressman or academic who hadn’t gotten the message, “conservatives,” to most, were America-firsters like the John Birch Society, racist-populists like the KKK, or the cranks who campaigned against fluoridation of drinking water.[1]

This is the world into which National Review was born.

Others will write (and have. written) about the influence of Buckley, and of National Review.  This, by Reason’s Robert Poole, makes a good beginning:
By creating National Review in 1955 as a serious, intellectually respectable conservative voice (challenging the New Deal consensus among thinking people), Buckley created space for the development of our movement.  He kicked out the racists and conspiracy-mongers from conservatism and embraced Chicago and Austrian economists, introducing a new generation to Hayek, Mises, and Friedman.  And thanks to the efforts of NR's Frank Meyer to promote a "fusion" between economic (free-market) conservatives and social conservatives, Buckley and National Review fostered the growth of a large enough conservative movement to nominate Goldwater for president and ultimately to elect Ronald Reagan.
No small achievements, any one of them.

I would suggest that if you were born after 1960, Buckley’s influence is as much a part of your political awareness as the air you breathe:  Sometimes obvious, often unnoticed, but inevitably there.  Buckley may have seemed quaint, or old-fashioned, or irrelevant - but only because so many of the positions he espoused are now the axioms of informed opinion, and so many of his achievements are part of the landscape.

But we must remember that American politics, and American attitudes, and therefore America (and therefore the world), would be much different had William F. Buckley, Jr. not decided to start a little magazine back in 1955.

[1] As today's cranks campaign against vaccination, but on the other side of the spectrum. What goes around comes around.
[2] via “Oedipus” at Ace.

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Monday, 25 February 2008

In Passing

And more bloggery...

Bill Quick says he (may) take some time off to cope with the side effects from his anti-cholesterol regimen. With five co-bloggers (along with some emeriti who might be persuaded to reappear), Daily Pundit shouldn't lack for posts, but Bill is and always has been the reason his site is what it is. Here's hoping he won't be away too long.

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In Passing

New quarters for the captain

Joining forces.
From Hot Air:

Hot Air is proud to welcome blogger extraordinaire Ed Morrissey of Captain’s Quarters to the staff.  He’ll start cross-posting here today and we’re opening up comment registration to help bring CQ members into the fold.  (Go here to register.)  In the next few weeks, Ed will close down CQ and make Hot Air his exclusive home...

Ed began blogging at Captain’s Quarters in 2003.  During the past five years, his work has been published in the Washington Post, New York Post, New York Times, Weekly Standard, and other national publications.  In 2007, Ed made the leap to full-time employment in New Media when he became political director for Blog Talk Radio.  You can see all of his past work in the archives at Captain’s Quarters.
From Ed:
Michelle and I have different voices, and sometimes different points of view. Rest assured that Michelle respects these differences and wants them as part of Hot Air. My writing and my viewpoints will continue, and find even more encouragement than before.  In fact, we look forward to debating on some of these points between her personal blog and Hot Air, much as we have between her personal blog and CapQ – with respect, affection, and the absolute belief that we have it right!
Ed has been an important voice in the blogosphere since day one, and CapQ has been linked in the o.g. sidebar (it's the "Master and Commander" one) since I started putting this blog together. This combination looks like a winner.  Best wishes to all.

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Sunday, 24 February 2008

In Passing

Just like a bad case of acid reflux

It keeps coming back!

First, we find out that Obama has been hanging around with Weathermen bombers William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

Now, Ralph has announced that he's running for president. Again.

I'm going to be really glad when we finally get the 60s over with.

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Saturday, 23 February 2008

In Passing

As expected...

From today's Wall Street Journal:

The government yesterday unveiled its $20 million “virtual fence,” touted for months as one of the most effective ways to secure America’s leaky U.S.-Mexico border.

But the problems that have plagued the high-tech barrier mean that the fence’s first 28 miles will also likely be its last.  The Department of Homeland Security now says it doesn’t plan to replicate the Boeing Co. initiative anywhere else.
Anyone who is surprised by this hasn’t· been· paying· attention.  Our political class has made up its mind; average citizens should shut up and take it.

The only “surprise” is that they didn’t wait until after the election to make the announcement.

RELATED:   Another immigration proposal (HT: Dustbury):
We stop guarding the US/Mexican border immediately.  Any Mexican who wants to come to America may do so, no questions asked.  If the number of Mexicans living in the US exceeds the number living in Mexico, then we get Mexico.

Effectively, the Mexican people will have voted with their feet, deciding they want to be Americans, not Mexicans.  As we are a country that believes in majority rule, if most of them want it, we give it to all of them.  Boom, instant citizenship for everybody, and land annexation for us.  At which point they start earning minimum wage and paying taxes.  And we get their cacti, tequila factories, and offshore oil fields.
And we could turn our rapacious trial lawyers loose on the corrupt Mexican government (which should keep them busy- and out of our hair- for a few years). Sounds like a win-win!

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The Press

A stealth McCain campaign?

Two items from this morning’s Instapundit:

The New York Times says John McCain received a major boost in fundraising and support thanks to another New York Times article about his alleged affair with a lobbyist. - Michael Totten
I'm related to the Swing Voter, aka my mother.  Her vote is an infallible indicator of who will win the general election.  We had dinner last night, and somewhat to my surprise, The Swing Voter is completely outraged by the New York Times story-- she vows to no longer take the Times, nay, not even for the Sunday crossword.  She is also now thinking seriously about voting for McCain just to spite the New York Times.
- Megan McArdle
Naw, The Pinch Gang couldn’t be that smart, could they?

(RELATED 080224 19:21:  Buzzmachine link added to last sentence.)

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Tuesday, 19 February 2008

In Passing

Anybody know where Al is?

A raging snow storm that blanketed most of Greece over the weekend also continued into the early morning hours on Monday, plunging the country into sub-zero temperatures. Public transport buses were at a standstill on Monday in the wider Athens area, while ships remained in ports, public services remained closed, and schools and courthouses in the more severely-stricken prefectures were also closed. - ANA/MPA

Reference: Gore Effect

Via: IP

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Sunday, 17 February 2008

In Passing

Are we sure that his name's not Dr. EVIL?

Barack Obama’s weirdly Messianic campaign could conceivably turn out to be useful in the War on Terror.  Why not start a rumor that he’s the Twelfth Imam?  That should freak out Ahmadinejad and his millennarian terrorist buddies.  How better to be a ‘Hidden’ Imam than to arrange to be born in Hawaii, insist that you are not a Muslim, and run for presidency of the Great Satan?  An imam can’t get much more hidden than that. - “Psychological Warfare”
I like the way this guy thinks.

LATER:  C.G. Hill points out that the rumors are already being denied.

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In Passing

This is *not* the do-over I'd had in mind

Eleanor Clift predicts “Al Gore on the second ballot.


Via: IP

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Friday, 15 February 2008

In Passing

It's about time someone revisited this

A plan introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Ross [D-Arkansas] to encourage alternative and renewable energy relies on oil drilling in Arctic wildlife lands and the Gulf of Mexico to meet its goals.

Ross’ bill, the “American-Made Energy Act of 2008,” also would create tax credits to build new nuclear power plants throughout the United States, with an aim of having 40 percent of the nation's power come from nuclear sources.

Ross, a leader of a group of fiscally conservative Democrats known as the Blue Dog Coalition, is a co-sponsor on the bill with Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.  Ross told reporters on a conference call Thursday that technology would allow companies to drill for oil without endangering the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alaska. - “Ross bill calls for energy ‘independence’ on back of oil drilling” by Jon Gambrell

It’s unfortunate that Democrats invariably want to micromanage:  According to the article,[1] the bill includes taxes on the produced oil, accompanied by a bunch of “behaviour modification” tax credits fight global warming, encourage renewable energy operations and help consumers buy plug-in electric and flex-fuel cars.
Oh yes, and
...subsidies to encourage liquid fuel production of [from?] coal.[2]

Still, it’s always fun when somebody maneuvers the environmentalist Luddites in Congress into a put-up-or-shut-up position. Back in 2005, the Congressional Democrat + R.I.N.O. coalition defeated a bill that would have expanded drilling in Alaska.  With gasoline above $3 and diesel hovering in the $3.25 region, will they dare to do it again?

AFTERTHOUGHT:  Where's George?

HR. 5437 at THOMAS:

Via: IP

[1] The complete text of the bill is not available yet.
[2] Arkansas has a bunch of unexploited coal.  Surprise!

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