Wolfe’s (essay) says that The Lord of the Rings taught him that right and wrong can be absolutes, and that absolute moral equivalency is another piece of Mordor. In addition, it taught him that “progress” is not necessarily progressive, and with change comes inevitable loss.
The difference between knowledge and wisdom is also a feature of Tolkien's greatest work. The "progressives" confuse knowledge with wisdom. This is their great weakness. They believe that intricate and complicated concepts must be correct, because they're hard to understand. Conservatives believe that intricate and complicated concepts are best judged with deep suspicion, and that the basic truths are actually quite simple to comprehend. The "right thing to do" is often difficult to actually do, by we imperfect humans in this imperfect world, but it is often quite simple to understand.
Ex-Moran Campaign Chief Endorses Tiahrt [*2] -- While riding around in the car and listening to the radio, my wife and I suddenly started lampooning the vicious advertising battle between Moran and Tiahrt for the Republican nomination to run for U.S. Senate from Kansas:
"Todd Tiahrt lives in WASHINGTON!
"Jerry Moran said he could WORK WITH OBAMA!
"Todd Tiahrt ran an ad saying that Jerry Moran could WORK WITH OBAMA!
"Jerry Moran sleeps with farm animals!
"Todd Tiahrt is a WEREWOLF!
"Jerry Moran is a VAMPIRE!
"Todd Tiahrt drinks puppies after he grinds them up in blenders!
"Jerry Moran kills and eats his entire family every single night!
"Todd Tiahrt is building a network of secret gas chambers in western Kansas to exterminate moderate Republicans in order to take over the party!
"Jerry Moran is the illegitimate son of Kim Jung Il, has nuclear weapons, and is threatening South Korea and Japan with NU-CU-LAR ANNIHILATION!
For the record, if I lived in Kansas, I'd probably vote for Tiahrt--mainly because it appears to me that Moran started the disingenuous mud-slinging with his slimy insinuation that he lived in Kansas, while Tiahrt "lived in Washington!" Uh, duh, Jerry, he's in the House of Representatives. As are you. Hypocrite.
War is an ugly, nasty, brutal business. War against an utterly amoral enemy is even worse. I'm not particularly shocked by anything that's been released so far. It's a sad commentary on the unreality of the "reality-based community" as well as the population at large that the military leadership thought that so much of this needed to be kept secret. Of course, "loose lips sink ships" and as the JournoList scandal shows, there are lots and lots of people who really don't care who gets hurt as long as they win their own domestic political battles.
That's what this massive leak is about. It's about forcing Obama to get out of Afghanistan, by shaming him into doing it. Any outrage over the actual contents of the leak are a poor second to that overarching political goal. Always remember that when looking at reports stemming from the leaks.
Illegitimi non carborundum [*15] -- As we go forward, we need to be of good cheer. Hey . . . the Cheerful Revolution . . . maybe that will catch on?
Down This Gravel Road: A Look at Contemporary Rural Fantasy [*18] -- I did not know there was such a thing as "contemporary rural fantasy." Urban fantasy, now, that I'm down with--that encompasses the sympathetic/pathetic vampire genre and the Jim Butcher The Dresden Files kind of books. But contemporary rural fantasy? That seems a rather . . . fragmented market slice to me.
It may sound shocking to some, but modern-day America compares "favorably" to fascist Germany of the 1930s with regard to the degree to which the state interferes with and controls economic activity. First of all, government expenditures at all levels of government account for about 40 percent of national income. It differs by a few percentage points, year by year, but it has been in the 40 percent range in the past few years. This doesn't count all of the off-budget government agencies that exist at the federal, state, and local levels of government as James Bennett and I documented in our book, Underground Government: The Off-Budget Public Sector[*27] . If this is included, government expenditures as a percentage of national income would be at least 45 percent, which is not so far from the 53 percent in Nazi Germany that Hayek alluded to.