What a question! The GOP doesn't muzzle people because it doesn't have the authority to, and because as Americans we oppose muzzling people. Lordy!
I'd rather read O'Rourke than watch Beck, as well.
My logic is that in a two-party system, you have no need to cuddle your corner (at least not after you win the primaries anyway). The GOP has the market to the Beck audience covered. Its the book-reading, fiscal conservative liberals I figured they'd be better off courting. In other countries you can't do this. In Canada, the Progressive Conservatives got too progressive and lost their social conservative wing to a newly formed Reform party and the much more socially liberal LPC keeps bleeding its liberals to the socialist NDP party (who in turn have to fend off the Green party for its enviro supporters and a Quebec separatist party for its French vote who are traditionally are rather liberal element in Canadian politics).
In a two-party system I figured he who straddles the middle the best, wins. Yet I keep seeing the GOP leaning further right. What's the point?
Good article Titus. It had a link to this one which I thought was interesting too.
I don't share the leftist's opinion that opinions are bought & paid for, nor do I think that businesses are inherently bad. I think people can get rich off their opinions even when those opinions are correct & the people serious about them. I'm not sure how often that happens, because America is a commercial republic, after all... But the only change I'm looking for is a bit more argument in the political arguments; a bit less stupidity; marginal stuff only... The occasional Salon article I read makes me shake my head...
I suppose there's Mr. Al Gore, Jr., to show some of the worst on the left. Is that guy ever honest? How did he end up with the Oscar, Nobel, & whatever else liberalism can bestow on a man? Not even Mr. Obama has an Oscar! I am not sure what the worst is on the right, because I have a profound dislike of all the hatred that comes out of the right wing these days.
The farthest I go--Ann Coulter & Mark Steyn, who have their own problems with letting anger take a hold. But they have wit to go with the partisanship, which makes me think the right is superior to the left. If the left's wit is Jon Stewart, well, that's not even a contest...
I understand why the right shouts in anger. Their adversaries refuse to concede the country has a spending problem... Whether it's effective--I don't know. I think it's important to remind people that spending, not revenue is the problem. But I think shouting on the right is never as efficient as on the left. The left shouts--& it's always about justice to some disenfranchised group; shame one me for their suffering. The right shouts--it's white racists greedily wanting to steal the country. Basically, being conservate is like being Jewish.
Now, about the article, I have an instinctive distrust of anything leftist, because I've studied enough history & because I've been in college long enough to see what the left has done to pol.sci. But at least broadly speaking, the left has a point. Obviously, people are out to make money. A lot of people do it by dishonest means. More on the right than the left? I don't know; I wouldn't assume it. I'd just be happy if my side did it less; maybe it does it; anyway, do it even less than that.
Isn't the money-for-nothing trade built into the system, though? Consumers are not wise just because they're consumers. I wish the right would consume less hate--it makes us apolitical, throughout the world, not just in the case of the Americans. People find that they rather stop caring & immerse themselves in private stuff, disgusted with the public things; everything wrong with the GOP in Americais blown out of all proportion--there seems to be nothing right left, so the conservatives have to just abandon it! That's dangerous; I don't really think the market helps at all in this respect. The only hope is that popular writers keep close enough to the serious writers & marginalize the worst of the alarmists. For example, I got to read National Review by reading the Claremont Review of Books, probably the best stuff published in America. I know most people go the other way, & mostly indirectly. But if it happens that they pick what some of the most learned people on the right think by reading the more popular writers, that's good enough. National Review is always asking for money; they've never been profitable themselves. Maybe they'll be able to coopt somebody more popular. Clever political talk might not sell, unless you're Mark Steyn or Ann Coulter...
I agree that people should be able to profit off their ideas. Even this one. I agree that if people want to give these fools their money then so be it.
I'm sure Obama will get an Oscar someday for something,
I think Jon Stewart is secretly a conservative. But the conservatives make easier targets and liberals a more willing audience.
I agree with the spending problem. As I mentioned before, I was shocked the GOP lost. Heck they ran a successful industrialist against a...whatever Obama is suppose to be good at (professional opportunist?). The fact we are still talking guns and gays tells me Mr. Joe Average American, liberal or conservative, is still not taking this serious enough. Rome is burning and instead of complaining about Nero fiddling we have one side worrying about whether he will refuse to play spiritual tunes on his fiddle and the other side worrying about whether the fiddle was made with ecologically harvested wood. I know there are other more concerned voices, but the masses seem to be drowning them out.
I think the GOP is forever cursed to seen as racist. Its funny you say white racist. When Kennedy died my parents, teenagers in Newfoundland, got the day off school to mourn (the Catholic school boards in Newfoundland closed). My folks may be Canadians but they are also descendent from Irish Catholic immigrants from one of the other former British North American Colonies and Kennedy becoming President was as important to them as Obama is to black Americans. The GOP in the 1960s was the WASP party (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant). Here we are, just 50 years later, and they are headed by a Mormon and an Irish Catholic and people still call them the racist party.
How did you make it through a pol sci degree? I did three science degrees (biology, pharmacy, medicine) and only did a bit of the Arts in my biology degree. But see if you see a theme. My English comprehension course in first year taught me the feminist perspective to English comp (basically the prof would write "man"made or fire"man" or something on the board and get us to discuss it). I did intro to pol sci where I was taught the feminist perspective to pol sci. I did intro to sociology, also taught by a feminist who wanted us sexist men to learn the social science from a feminist perspective. And of course an abnormal psych course, also from the feminist perspective. You know, my six weeks in obstetrics and gynaecology in medical school was from less of a feminist perspective than any of those courses. In all those courses, the prof would introduce it as if they were the only feminist teaching us in university and needed to reprogram us from all the paternalistic teaching we must have received from the other arts courses. It was utter bullshit.
I have no problem with people making money. I encourage it. Same with spending it. My problem is when the money they spend is my money. Honestly, if I was an American voter, Obama would have lost me (if not before) with that "you didn't build that" speech. My question to him would be, then who the fuck did? You didn't. And last I checked, the gov't isn't a money-generating business so it didn't either. It may have taken some people's cash and build a road. But who's cash? Anyway, actually this sort of thing was something I found interesting in Atlas. The theme occurring throughout the book (ignoring the two-dimensional characters) is the concept of "each according to his ability providing for each according to his need". Basically FDR's new deal taken to the nth degree. I work because I can and you can take because you need. Now, the fact you're lazy and greedy is not something I am allowed to judge. If I can work more, I should want to provide. If you need more, you should be entitled to take.
I think both sides consume hate. The right buys outrage and the left buys passive aggressiveness. I'm guessing they buy it because those selling it (everyone from Coulter to Stewart) are capitalists at heart and therefore going to want to maximize sales.
"The GOP is racist" is an inevitable belief, given two realities: a) Almost everyone, GOP or Democrat or otherwise, is repulsed by racism; and b) the media are overwhelming sympathetic to the D party. If the media were sympathetic to the GOP instead, the party of Jim Crow, KKK, and slavery would be the racist party -- again, whether modern-day Democrats have a trace of racism in them or not. After all, nobody was ever able to pin one trace of racism on the Tea Party, but it didn't stop the media from painting Tea Party as racist too.
When Americans start supporting racism again, or when the media trend Republican, the "GOP is racist" meme will inevitably drop away.
Democracy creates this kind of market. Every consumer is good; the mass or majority of consumers rules. I don't like it; but I have no alternatives.
You are right about pundits: They have to be good economists, they have to look out for their own good, or they would not make it in the long run. It's been fifteen years, Ann Coulter is still a star, her books are still best-sellers. She must be doing something that works.
But on the right, economics & capitalism are not the devil; being good at that sort of thing is a good thing, by & large. The left demonizes capitalism. I agree that capitalism is very greedy, but the fact is that it's the only way to save lives. Capitalism made modern democracy possible because it made widespread wealth possible. It can go away. But on the right, you can align your opinions about wealth--both in your own case & in the case of your country.
When you look to the left, it's a different story. There you have the likes of Mr. Al Gore, Jr., selling out to Big Oil in the name of environmental purity. It gives new meaning to the saying that environmentalists are like watermelons: Green on the outside, red on the inside...
As for Stewart, he does typify the weakness of comedians in democracy. Democrats cannot tell the difference between the Democrat party & democracy. They assume the GOP is the bad guy, conservative Americans, too. It's not that Stewart or anyone else thinks Dems are above reproach, but not enough to turn the guns on them. I do not think comedians have the courage or the art to make fun of democracy.
I agree with you about 'the racist party' problem. I know a few liberals who are clever enough, or have just learned a bit of history, & they know better. But that changes nothing; they make it a point to stay within the liberal bounds. To do otherwise would be risky.
In reality, academia creates prejudices that filter down both through lower schools & the media. I've never met an American who was troubled by racism in his personal life. But I've never met an academic remotely connected to America that did not think the country somehow racist.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into, when I went to pol.sci. I would have gone with philosophy, except that it's for pansies who do not know much about philosophy, or with history, except that it's nerds & jargon, not much war or heroes. So I went with politics, because it's manly. You would think at the end of the 20th century, the study of politics would have a fearful, healthy respect for war... Then it turned out to be full of weaklings hiding behind jargon. But I had a love of classics & also American politics, so the politically correct academia just marginalized me. It's the same now; people take one look at me & they have a knowing smile--I'm unreconstructed. I have professors & students yelling together that science means that there are many views, many possibilities, not one absolute truth. One wonders whether that's so... I had professors--I still have!--who in the middle of a completely unrelated discussion explain how really the American Founders were slavers or hypocrites or whatever like that. As for feminism, some professor had a nervous breakdown, replete with shouting & the strange silence that follows, because I called her ma'am. Maybe Ms. would have been acceptable? I wonder what her husband thinks of that sort of thing, they teach together... There were students who did not understand why the conniption & they all are feminist liberals. The same professor told the class that they really wanted fascism, because they wanted an authoritative professor rather than someone they could talk with, sort of like equals I guess. Maybe they just don't like her... But by & large feminism has won so completely, that it's become relaxed in some places; you provoke contempt, not outrage, if you disagree. I don't much disagree anymore. I look at the few young men around, they go from idealism to hatred pretty quickly. They feel alone & isolated. The only other guys are the mice; there's always a bunch of kids who really should be doing sociology or some other inferior, specialized discipline--nothing bothers them. So it's not pleasant, but it has taught me the origins of democratic prejudices, especially the educated prejudices. There were kids I grew up with--I saw them change in one or two years of college, I was shocked. I'm not shocked anymore...
Stewart is not exclusively liberal. There are many facets within him that lean to the right, while still others that lean left. His biggest beef is that there are just too many people who aren't honest with themselves and that we as a people don't hold those in power(whether in politics or on TV) responsible for the stupid shit that they say and do.
As far as the racism, you don't really have to look much further than Arizona to start seeing the problems with immigration and where they lost the latino vote. The voter ID and anti welfare on where they lost the black vote. Not really sure what they are doing to lose the asian vote, but it is probably based on immigration as well.
My polisci degree was pretty easy, and actually pretty straight forward. There were only two classes that were the Titus type classes and they were electives, Early Political Thought and Modern Political Thought. After that the classes were more geared towards really breaking down how the government actually works, getting into poll making, or the realities of politics with beauracracy, PAC's, capital and so forth. Very little theory.
I do have to say, maybe it is Texas, but now that I am at my second university, or because my first one is so conservative and my masters is in business in a very conservative town, but I have only ever had 2 liberal teachers, one in a lower level english class and one in a single history class. Now, the amount that I have had that have pushed a right view of thinking is way up there.
I second your point about there being very little theory. I've had a few more classes, but that's just luck. Sometimes, it was not even the class, just the luck that a professor gets the sense some theory should be introduced & the syllabus is not all up-to-date practicality... I've also noticed that students don't care. Professors are hardly able to explain about the importance of political theory. Really, kids coming in thinking democracy is the only game in town & end up the same: Any democratic problem can be solved by more democracy. It would be embarrassing to point out their narrowmindedness, even if the professors weren't the same...
So for example when it comes to comparative courses, even among democracies, students understand little, none of it reaching them about why there are differences & what they mean. They're just looking for which is the most democratic, I'll take that one.
Furthest from the mind of the student is foreign affairs, I mean not UN stuff, or EU, but dealing with regimes which are emphatically non-democratic. They have no idea. They should be democracies; but they're not; but they probably want to be; but we're not judging. It's pathetic. When it comes even to suggesting that different democracies might have different & conflicting interests, study just goes far above the heads of most students.
So, to end, war has disappeared from study. Very few courses on war, or none; only one Ivy in America has one course on Grand Strategy, recently created. Courses on political history de-emphasize war in an extraordinary manner--& there are not many of them. History courses anyway are rarely political history. When you wonder how will these graduates ever think a coherent thought about war, or why their education is any improvement on what living in whatever country they live, what can you say?
I cannot believe I am asking this, but what exactly do you mean by studying war vs studying politics in regards to history?
I said two things.
1. That the study of history is rarely political history anymore--you can look to America--look up however many American universities you like, most history courses are not political history. Any other kind of history is better loved.
2. That war is not studied in pol.sci. You'd think there is nothing else that pol.sci does but no other social science (economics, sociology, whatever else), so you'd see it; you'd be wrong. You'd think the 20th century suggests studying war is very important; you'd be wrong nevertheless...