Comments and observations on social and political trends and events.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Obama's "American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan"

The World Tribune has an article titled “In the propaganda department, Obama's linguists are leaving Republicans in the dust” that is written by Cliff Kincaid, of Accuracy in Media (a conservative media watchdog group). Buried in this article is a short quote from Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital who offers a warning and a nice, concise explanation of the folly of government spending our way out of the current recession.

[He] warns that a proposal of this kind is comparable to an individual trying to “forestall a personal recession by taking out newer, bigger loans when the old loans can’t be repaid.”

He explains, “Governments cannot create but merely redirect. When the government spends, the money has to come from somewhere. If the government doesn’t have a surplus, then it must come from taxes. If taxes don’t go up, then it must come from increased borrowing. If lenders won’t lend, then it must come from the printing press, which is where all these bailouts are headed. But each additional dollar printed diminishes the value of those already in circulation. Something cannot be effortlessly created from nothing.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thinking objectively - applied

I’ve provided suggestions in earlier posts about thinking objectively. Here are two more examples or resources. The first is a web page that features a series of debates on various topics in many different subjects, not politics. It is Intelligence Squared.

The other isn’t so much a resource as an example: Camille Paglia. She also writes a regular column on If you’re not familiar with Camille she is University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and a feisty author who, according to Wikipedia, “is an intellectual of many seeming contradictions: an atheist who respects religion and a classicist who champions art both high and low, with a view that human nature has an inherently dangerous Dionysian aspect, especially the wilder, darker sides of human sexuality. She favors a curriculum grounded in comparative religion, art history and the literary canon, with a greater emphasis on facts in the teaching of history. She came to public attention in 1990, with the publication of her first book, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson.”

To me the inability to pigeonhole Paglia into neat political or ideological cubbies suggests that she thinks independently and maybe objectively as well. I say this because Paglia is willing to give credit, where she thinks it is due, to those on the other side of the political fence from her rather than dismissing opposing viewpoints with a knee jerk reaction that is all too typical and prevalent on both sides. Even when I don’t agree with Paglia I nonetheless love reading her entertaining, vivid writing style. I wish I were half the writer she is. Check her out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Postmodernism Explained

I've been meaning to write something on postmodernism and its role in our current political landscape (and still will, one of these days). One of my sources is Stephen Hick's Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault. In the meantime here is a good summary from Quadrant Online.