What I’m reading right now

This is it, the most recent Watcher’s reading stack.  My submission is weak, no doubt about it, a combination of post-vacation writing and the fact that I’m not good at describing train wrecks.  Before an election, I can make arguments, trying to urge a position.  Now, with Obama holding an unbeatable Democratic Congressional majority, I just sit back and watch bad things happen.  I have nothing to add to the better punditry, and just want to cover my eyes.

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

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  • Mike Devx

    “Now, with Obama holding an unbeatable Democratic Congressional majority, I just sit back and watch bad things happen. I have nothing to add to the better punditry, and just want to cover my eyes.”

    My God, do I understand what you’re feeling! Watching a majority of Americans turn their back on what used to be a great country… will it ever be great again?

    Turning their backs on what makes this country great… out of fear? out of greed? out of stupidity? Selling their children and grandchildren into debt… I wish I could understand what they’re thinking, but I can’t.

  • Charles Martel

    Well, the San Francisco Chronicle is bankrupt and may close its doors in a few seeks if no sucker—uh, buyer—can be found to save it.

    RIP, you badly written, formulaically libertine/Marxist piece o’ swill.

    Up next: the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. Halleluiah!

    It will be a hoot to see how our snickering, holier-than-thou journalist betters wind up. I’m sure there’s a huge market for clueless, uninformed writing that pays $2 per word, plus a 401K.

    In no less happy news, sales of “Atlas Shrugged” are at their highest in tears. The book is a perennial, so seeing its always strong sales taking off says that “Who is John Galt” is poised to re-enter the national consciousness.

    Ayn, you were a prickly, arrogant, delusional scold, but, by God, you did good!

  • Danny Lemieux

    MikeD, I too would like to understand what they were thinking. The most depressing thought is that people really didn’t care about their country anymore, taking their freedoms and prosperity for granted and not really having the imagination to realize they could lose it all. There are already signs of buyers’ remorse (Anchoress did a great post above) but it begs the question, so what? The damage has already been done I don’t know if people will be willing to pay the price to do something about it.

  • Mike Devx

    Charles #2:
    >> In no less happy news, sales of “Atlas Shrugged” are at their highest in tears.

    “at their highest in tears”… A slip, Charles? 😉

    I haven’t broken out in tears. Not yet, anyway… Let’s take our cue from Reagan: There is always hope! Let’s remain optimistic about the future. At least, long term.

    >> Ayn, you were a prickly, arrogant, delusional scold, but, by God, you did good!

    I never really thought she was delusional… can you give me some examples, Charles? She was certainly prickly and arrogant! And like Ron Paul, she was a scold indeed!

    The scenes and plot points in ‘Atlas Shrugged’ are so eerily similar to what is happening in the U.S. today. It was stunning to read the book in October and November and recognize all the parallels.

    Ayn Rand truly did have a deep and broad understanding of socialism and statism. She captured perfectly how the bureaucrats who take control ruthlessly seek personal power with ideological blinders on. Corruption and special interest favors that harm the country are the *real* cause of the devastation; and they won’t back down in favor of solutions that would save the country because their ideology will not permit it.

    Ayn Rand was brilliant! Despite the typical all-too-human faults of a member of the intelligentsia.

  • Mike Devx

    Rather than hide my eyes or dwell in my misery… or keep moaning that the social conservatives and libertarian conservatives are not speaking to each other right now… I’m going to hope for the positive.

    It looks as though our socials and libertarians are going to simply have to fight it out in 2010, district by district, for the conservative voters’ favor. And that the compromising and agreements and coalition building will have to occur after they’ve taken their seats, after the election.

    The one problem with that is, that it allows a so-called “moderate conservative” to run against both of them, and split the difference. That would be VERY BAD – if that milquetoast candidate were able to win outright with greater than 50% of the vote.

    But I’ll accept that risk, because a runoff is more likely. And as long as we socials and libertarians can agree to support the winning true conservative, we’d still be OK. As long as we can get the message out to the vast middle to welcome them back to true American values, both social and fiscal… we can turn this around, one more time! FDR and Lyndon baby, get ready to spin in your graves!

  • Charles Martel

    Mike, Ayn insisted to Nathaniel Branden, her brilliant–and happily married–protege that logic and objecitivity decreed that the two of them should have an affair.

    Branden recounts that he resisted, at first hesitantly and solicitously, and finally with ferocity as Rand kept pestering him for some nookie. Eventually it led to their falling apart, with her denouncing him for various unObjectivist sins.

    When anybody thinks he can reason another person into the hay, absent any physical attraction (or weaponry), he is delusional.


    I think that “horror story” has now joined the extensive line of adjectives that trails behind “Atlas Shrugged.” Fortunately, college kids have always been avid buyers of the book, so here’s hoping that her writing can reach and inspire even the current generation of kids, which has been deliberately led into dimwittery.

  • Mike Devx

    Charles (#6)
    Yes, I was aware of the Branden story (and affair). What has always been interesting to me is that Rand never publicly professed embarrassment for her logically-presented self-deceptions. And you’re right. I always considered that episode as representing arrogance, but delusional describes it better.

    Why is it that ivory-tower intellectuals seem to be far more capable of those kinds of deceptions? That blind eye to reality… (It’s the reason your “salt of the earth” common people distrust intellectuals so much – they lay out all these programs and ideas that would NEVER work in the real world, insisting all the while that their programs are the only reasonable solution, if only every one else would be rational about things. And of course, being rational means, agreeing with them.)

    Never put a pie-in-the-sky intellectual in charge of your life. You get a Woodrow Wilson, a Carter… an Obama. They haven’t got a clue about creating a world where life is good for millions… and despite every effort of the liberal media to whitewash their histories they cause so much more harm than good, and leave behind them a snarl of nasty problems that their “rational solutions” have created.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Academic theories are seductive because they function so perfectly in their vacuum of predetermined facts. Reality is messy, and random, and dirty, and ugly. It never occurs to academics to deal in reality. They simply try to force their purified theories on dirty facts.

  • Mike Devx

    The word I was looking for, but couldn’t pull out of my mushy brain, was “rationalization”. It seems that intellectuals are able to rationalize almost anything.

    A lot of you have noticed – as I have – that when you discuss anything with liberals, and it doesn’t match their orthodoxy, their eyes lose focus and they just sort of “go away for a while”, or at least until you stop talking. The only way to get them back is to make a comment like, “We simply must do something about global warming before the Earth dies…” Their eyes snap back into focus, they smile, they’re engaged again.

    Then continue with “… even though none of the current programs will work because global warming isn’t even happening right now, and when it does happen, it is not caused by human activity, but is just a natural part of climatic shifts, sunspot activity cycles, and solar radiation variation cycles…” And watch them glaze out again.

    Conservatives can rationalize too, but we do pay attention to actual facts, rather than dismiss them, so we’re able to overcome it. Facts are like cold water to us; Throw some cold water facts in our face, and it wakes us up, and we’re glad for it.

    Liberals, at least in recent years, can’t seem to accept facts and reality. Hence that dismissive, inward-looking glaze when confronted with facts. … as they wait for that irritating, inconvenient, unwanted sensory input stream of facts to end.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    I actually read Brandon’s auto-biography, and he did not reject Ayn Rand’s advances.

    There are more details, but I would recommend you grab his book and read it for yourself for all of it.