Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Have You No Decency, Sir?

McCarthyism is alive and well.

or perhaps this is a version of the, Rousseau led to the camps argument.

the idea of something being "impeccably researched" which claims that political correctness of some systematic oppression on all college campuses -- are conservatives still bemoaning the fact that they weren't popular at Dad's alma mater?

of course, at this point there is probably nothing that is not fascist, so perhaps the aim is to undo the argument, or rather assertion ... fascism is not collectivism or planned economies, fascism is nothing to individual, everything to the state. its the resacralization of the state and the sacredness of the state (Burke's lament for Marie Antoinette and the age of chivalry) is what the first modern version of conservatism (rhetorically) held up as an ideal. without regulation, you live in Russia, which apparently is quite hospitable to strong men and authoritarians still. yet Britain & France which for years operated under existing socialism with active communist and socialist parties have never flirted with authoritarianism.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Pastures Green and New

This blog takes its name from an idea that Henry David Thoreau returned to time and again: that of having a "wide margin." Broadly speaking, having a wide margin is the aim of Thoreau's philosophy in two senses. As ascetic as Thoreau may seem--what with his principled disobedience and his year in the woods--his notion of work was not that of his puritan forebears: “The really efficient laborer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure. There will be a wide margin of relaxation to his day. He is only earnest to secure the kernels of time, and does not exaggerate the value of the husk.” Idle hands were far from the devil's workshop for Thoreau. At the same time, writing in notebooks with wide margins provides room for revision (indeed, room for error). Such margins in published books provide room for dialogue, thereby opening debates rather closing them.

A blog so titled then with evince two traits (the blog lords willing): 1) strenuousness in argument will not come at the expense of ease or wit; 2) posts here will open up questions rather than close them. The latter, especially, is not an easy task in online writing, the sine qua non of which is getting attention, and attention is usually gotten by being loud in some fashion. There will not be a total absence of snark here -- we all have our snap judgments. Nevertheless, the credo of a wide margin will hover over, from varying distances, everything that is written here (again, the blog lords willing).