BEARS IN HIBERNATION
No, not Jim Chanos’s famous annual short-sellers get-together. (With the market at an all-time high, are they back in hibernation? or just about to come growling out?) I mean literally — bears in hibernation. One of you sent this last night, and in the spirit of, “isn’t the world around us endlessly fascinating?,” I pass it on. (Thanks, Stewart.)
CONSERVATIVE — OR RADICAL RIGHT?
Nate Black: “I enjoyed Maddow’s seven minutes on the filibuster, and I also enjoyed this clip from that same episode titled ‘America is a Liberal Country.’ Maddow’s thesis is that even though Americans describe themselves as ‘conservative’ they support ‘liberal’ positions. I agree with the sentiment, but I think we have a problem of terminology. . . . I am and have been throughout my adulthood extremely conservative. After some early piercings and other typical early indiscretions there has been basically nothing about my life that would have seemed strange to the fictional families of 1950s television. I married young and exactly once. I go to work from 9 to 5 every day in middle management. I attend church regularly if not religiously. My politics are also conservative, but not ‘conservative’ by the peculiar definition of the word that we use only in politics. . . . In the rest of our lives ‘conservative’ means cautious, moderate and traditional; but for whatever reason we have decided that the most radical bomb-throwers on the right can call themselves ‘conservative’ even though it defies all natural use of the word. What is conservative about protecting criminals’ access to guns specifically designed to kill large numbers of people? What is conservative about rolling back the social safety net 60 years? What is conservative about denying evolution and science? Sure, some opposition to those things could have been called conservative 50, or 100, or 200 years ago, but now that we have decades of evidence to their efficacy, and they are enmeshed in the fabric of our society, how can it be called anything but ‘radical’? Isn’t it conservative to support the type of mixed economy where government and private markets both play important roles that has spelled success for not just this but every other modern country for the last hundred years? . . . For the last decade or so the Republican party has ceased to be the party of conservatism but, because they claim to be conservative, and the media is used to calling them conservative, we have decided that whatever radical notions the Republicans support is de-facto conservative. This is wrong, and somehow it needs to be addressed. America is a conservative country, but today the more conservative political party is the Democratic party.”
☞ I doubt the terminology will change any time soon, but Nate makes an interesting point. If sticking with the mindset of one’s parents generation is “conservative,” then surely the phrase, “this is not your father’s G.O.P.” tells you something. The synonym for Republican these days should perhaps be not “conservative” but “right-wing.”
AN EVEN CHEAPER STROP
Smith: “Even cheaper, use this method to sharpen your razors. Just need a pair of jeans.”