Liberty & Power: Group Blog
Please allow me to extend thanks on behalf of Joan, as well. I have not been contacting her about the matter because of the poor state of her health and my desire not to upset her unduly. Your substitution for the term Lavendar Menace means that no upsetting news is likely to reach her about our exchange. For that, I am also grateful.
Your colleague, Wendy McElroy
Roderick T. Long
In my earlier agitated frame of mind I neglected to say -- I am also sorry to hear about Joan Kennedy Taylor's poor health. My best wishes are with her.
Aeon J. Skoble
Rt hand relatively immobilized for a few days, so I'll be lurking more than posting, but we'll see...
Roderick T. Long
I'm dismayed and mortified to see that our piece is being interpreted as a personal attack and/or accusation of homophobia against Wendy McElroy and Joan Kennedy Taylor, two thinkers for whom Charles and I both have enormous respect. Our criticism of some of their ideas was certainly not intended as a personal attack on either. "Lavender Menace rhetoric" was never intended by us as a code word for homophobia.
The phrase is explictly introduced in our paper to pick out the rhetorical strategy of "[dividing] the feminist world ... into the 'reasonable' (that is, unthreatening) feminists and the feminists who are 'hysterical' or 'man-hating' (so, presumably, not worthy of rational response)." This strategy we chose to call, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the "Lavender Menace" approach. We also said explicitly that McElroy and Taylor show "considerably more understanding of, and sympathy with, classical feminist concerns than the anti-feminists who employ this strategy" -- in other words, we were not atempting to lump them in with anti-feminists or lesbian-baiters, but merely pointing to ways in which we thought their approach made unfortunate concessions to that enemy.
I had been looking forward to seeing Wendy's comments on our piece, and while I expected disagreement, it never occurred to me that she would take it as a personal attack. The culture of personal attack on the internet is one of my chief betes noires, and I would never willingly contribute to it. (In my defense I'll note that of the others who've posted here agreeing or disagreeing, no one else raised such an interpretation either.) Wendy, please believe me that no such attack was intended; I'll make sure the paper is emended or footnoted to forestall any further such interpretation.
See also Charles' comments here.
Robert L. Campbell
Here is how Roderick Long explains the use he and Charles Johnson have made of the phrase"Lavender menace rhetoric":
The phrase is explictly introduced in our paper to pick out the rhetorical strategy of"[dividing] the feminist world ... into the 'reasonable' (that is, unthreatening) feminists and the feminists who are 'hysterical' or 'man-hating' (so, presumably, not worthy of rational response)." This strategy we chose to call, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the"Lavender Menace" approach. We also said explicitly that McElroy and Taylor show" considerably more understanding of, and sympathy with, classical feminist concerns than the anti-feminists who employ this strategy" -- in other words, we were not atempting to lump them in with anti-feminists or lesbian-baiters, but merely pointing to ways in which we thought their approach made unfortunate concessions to that enemy.
I find that Roderick's explanation leaves several questions unanswered:
- Do some feminists, in fact, hate men as a class?
- Should anyone, feminist or otherwise, hate male human beings as a class?
- If some feminists do hate men, and hatred of men as a class is not justified, might those feminists who do not hate men have valid reasons to avoid alliances with those who do?
- Must feminists who do not hate men as a class show solidarity with feminists who do hate men, simply because anti-feminists also dislike feminists who hate men?
- Do lesbians all hate men, and are all women who hate men lesbians?
In regard to the last item, I don't think anyone expects all gay men to hate women, or thinks that all men who hate women are gay.
In his interview with Barbara Walters to be broadcast Friday evening, President Bush says he has no regrets about his administration's decision to wage war in Iraq, despite inspectors' failure to find any weapons of mass destruction in the country — the chief rationale for the March 2003 invasion and toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime. Despite the deaths of more than 1,300 U.S. military personnel and the multibillion-dollar price tag, the ouster of Saddam justified the invasion, he says.
But Iraqis have paid an immense price too, often with their lives, a price that doesn't seem to be included in Bush's calculus. For glimpses of their pain and suffering visit Crisis Pictures and consider what this mendacious mediocrity of a president has wrought.
David T. Beito
If you haven't read, David's book, Only One Place of Redress: African Americans, Labor Regulations, and the Courts from Reconstruction to the New Deal , do so now. It is the single most important book on black history written by a libertarian-oriented scholar. Unlike many law school professors (please take no offense David), Bernstein has devoted much time to mastering the secondary literature written by historians.
"Mises was right [about the socialist-calculation problem]."
“Mathematics has given economics rigor, but alas, also mortis.” (Sounds like Lachmann!)
First, from conservative columnist Michele Malkin, a piece entitled"this Column is Not For Sale." As Malkin states,"There are no shades of gray about this, friends: the Bush Education Department subsidized a prominent minority conservative `journalist' with federal taxpayer dollars to sell black parents on the Teddy Kennedy-inspired No Child Left Behind boondoggle -- a program that represents the largest single expansion in federal education spending since Jimmy Carter created the Education Department." Point of correction: Williams is a commentator, not a journalist. But Malkin's main thrust is correct: Williams has cast a shadow on every conservative media person and, arguably, upon media people in general.
Second, after being dropped by syndicate Tribune Media Services, various papers have also dropped the now self-syndicating Williams.
And, then, there are inappropriate responses: for example, from the White House. This from Blue Lemur,"Armstrong Williams, the columnist paid $240,000 by the Bush Administration to surreptitiously promote Bush's"No Child Left Behind Law" remained listed on the White House website as a member of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships as late as Wednesday, RAW STORY has learned."
For more commentary, please see McBlog.
The statement has been poorly received. For one thing, why is a foreign ambassador announcing to the press what Canadian military policy will be? Especially when the Canadian PM continues to declare to all-and-sundry within hearing range that no decision has been reached? Martin rushed to inform reporters,"No such assurances were given."
It is a particularly sticky issue as Martin promised in his Oct. 5 Throne Speech to open Parliament to debate on the issue before signing on with the States. No such debate has occurred.
Canadian politics is a complex balancing act with at least four players who must constantly watch each other for reactions. The Liberals under Martin are in power but they constitute a minority government, which must look to Quebec for support or risk losing office. The Conservatives generally back the anti-missile defense system but they are bristling at not being consulted...indeed, at not even being shown the terms of an agreement into which Canada has -- perhaps -- already entered. The New Democratic Party (more left than the liberals) is adamantly opposed to the program as is the Bloc Quebecois and most of Quebec itself.
Nevertheless, sneaking the anti-missile program past Parliament at the last minute would probably have worked since the Conservatives would not have blocked it, and they're the only ones with sufficient numbers to act as a brick wall if they joined with other factions. But the prospect of easy, sneaky passage has been rendered more difficult by Celluci's statements. First, everyone is irritated at the US announcing Canadian foreign policy. Second, everyone is suspicious of Martin and his motives. Third, even politicians who agree with the plan are enraged at being kept in ignorance about it.
What on earth was Celluci thinking of? If there is/was a covert deal sliding through, then he's doing the best he can to jeopardize it.
For more commentary, please see McBlog.
In the meantime Newweek carries an interesting piece about the US adopting the Salvador Option.
That stands to reason as Amb. John Negroponte was Reagon's boy back then in the 1980s when the President was already conveniently forgetting about Iran-Contra, etc.
These assassination squad tactics have really never stopped since the Phoenix Squads in Vietnam and before. They are a sign of desperation, and will not"win the hearts and minds" of anyone. We now have 8 guards hovering around each member of the governing council, whatever that rubber stamp group might be.
A Prof. friend of mine reports that one of his former grad students, a former Phoenix guy, was called back in some months ago, to do sniper killings in Afghanistan. He has just returned to again rehabilitate himself to"AMERICAN LIFE." Will the Pentagon count him as a psychological casualty of the war in Asia? Don't count on it!
David T. Beito
Conservatives please note: Schuyler was also an unforgiving opponent of Truman's decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. In his column for the Pittsburgh Courier on August 18, 1945, he had the following reaction to the news:
The atomic bomb has opened new fields of speculation on the future of war, peace and the progress of what we laughingly call civilization. Its effect will be even greater than was the use of firearms in a world of spears, swords, shields and arrows, or the introduction of the steam engine in a world of wagons and sailing ships. It is the characteristic of humanity that the atom's tremendous energy should have been used first in warfare. Not satisfied with being able to kill people by the thousand, we have now achieved the supreme triumph of being able to slaughter whole cities at a time. In this connection it is interesting to note that there is no longer any pretense that only military installations are targets. Skimming through in the skies over Hiroshima, one of our bombing planes dropped the fearsome atomic bomb to murder 200,000 or Japanese mothers, fathers and children indiscriminately. It seems that just yesterday we were bemoaning German barbarism in bombing Warsaw, Rotterdam, London and other industrial centers, and citing as evidence of the Japanese savagery the slaughter of a few thousand innocents in Shanghai. There was also much Christian head-wagging over the mistreatment of some American soldiers by Nipponese gorillas but there is little except praise for the exploits of our airmen in wiping out 200,000 human beings in one blow......
This means the Anglo-Saxons led by the U.S.A will have their way in the world until other people discover and perfect a weapon more devastating that the uranium bomb. That way it must be admitted is that way of white imperialism which firearms enabled them to establish two centuries ago. Controlling this tremendous power for evil are second-rate and small-minded men filled with racial arrogance such as Truman, Tom Connally, Jimmy Byrnes, Stimson, Bilbo and our military-naval officer cliques, who believe in racial segregation and color discrimination with religious fanaticism and have not the slightest intention of lowering the color barriers their forefathers established."
In an earlier blog, I commented on the upcoming movie about Schuyler's daughter , Philippa Schuyler, starring Alicia Keys and produced by Halle Berry. I am pleased to hear from Charles Johnson that Berry may star in a television-made version of Their Eyes Were Watching God, a novel by Zora Neale Hurston.
In 1949, eight years after Rosemary's operation, neurologist Egas Moniz of Portugal won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for inventing lobotomy.
Update: According to Reuters,"Rosemary was the inspiration for sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who founded the Special Olympics for mentally disabled athletes."
A statement issued by the Kennedy family said in part:"From her earliest years, her mental retardation was a continuing inspiration to each of us, and a powerful source of our family's commitment to do all we can to help all persons with disabilities live full and productive lives. Millions of people of all ages have greater hope today because of Rosemary."
My take: It seems that old Joe was worried that his daughter would not permit him to have veto power over her liaisons with men. She apparently thought she shouldn't have to dedicate her life to putting brother Joseph in the White House. Her father did not take kindly to such insolence. So he had her fixed.
(Cross-posted at The Szasz Blog.)
The breaking news from Bloomberg: "Viacom Inc.'s CBS said it fired four employees for a September report by news anchor Dan Rather questioning President George W. Bush's National Guard Service, according to a statement issued on the network's Web site. CBS senior vice president Betsy West, `60 Minutes' executive producer Josh Howard and his deputy, Mary Murphy, were asked to resign along with the producer of the story, Mary Mapes." As an immediate reaction: 1) the word"scapegoat" comes to mind; 2) will anyone ever again discuss the significant question of where Bush actual was during his '72 National Guard stint?; and, 3) this is a prelude to and part of the spin being placed on the much-awaited release of the MemoGate Report (the `independent' investigation into the scandal), which I expect shortly. On his Sunday show, Matt Drudge announced [audio file] that it should be released later today, complete with news of Dan Rather's replacement.
Of course, the CBS spin has been building for a while. The media watchdog site RatherBiased reports, "CBS Hires Liberal Activist to Spin Memogate Report. In the first public move indicating that the network is going to be releasing the report from the `independent' investigation, the network re-hired--according to TV Barn--one of its professional spinmeisters, Donna Dees. But CBS wouldn't be CBS if it were just any pr flack. This Donna Dees is the same woman who organized the anti-gun Million Mom March [MMM] rally in 2000 and was the sister-in-law of a Hillary Clinton advisor, who also organized the event. This comrade-in-no-arms of Rosie O'Donnell, says CBS, `will join our press office next Monday, Jan. 10, as senior press representative responsible for the CBS EVENING NEWS, the CBS EVENING NEWS weekend editions and FACE THE NATION."
When CBS reported on the MMM in 2000, it did not disclose that the event's head organizer had worked for CBS for the past six years. The network is carefully disclosing everything this time probably because - with so many spotlights shining - it can't get away with much.
For more commentary, please see McBlog.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra
I have a brief exchange with Bill Bradford in the letters section of the February 2005 issue of Liberty magazine. Readers of L&P will find the discussion familiar; I argue that the evangelical and conservative Catholic vote in Ohio were crucial components of the Bush victory in that state. Bradford continues to argue that the anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives"actually reduced Bush's margin of victory." I still believe that Bradford is not giving enough credit to GOP strategists for getting out the socially conservative vote, and I don't see how Bush wins in Ohio without that group of voters.
As L&P readers know, I've never denied that other issues, especially the war, had an effect in shoring up Bush's winning coalition. But the point is that it takes coalitions to win votes. In my view, the anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives were promoted by GOP strategists to bolster one aspect of the winning Bush coalition.
Coalition-building among interest groups is the modus operandi in American politics. This is a point that our L&P contributing editor makes very clear in his fine Liberty essay,"Politics vs. Ideology: How Elections Are Won." Cox sees validity in the observation that"[t]here are such things as political 'bases,' communal sources of political identification." There are also"political ideas and social movements, and these can have noticeable effects on elections, occasionally dramatic effects." But, for Cox, most American presidential elections are"won by small margins." Cox maintains that Americans"are people of multiple social identifications." Thus,"[t]he task of the American political party is to exploit as many of these personal identifications as possible. This is not science," he argues,"and it cannot be." Indeed. We can argue over whether or not this group or that group, this bloc or that bloc of voters provided the crucial margin of victory. (I, myself, have not argued that social conservatives were the crucial bloc; but I have argued that Bush could not have possibly won without exploiting what Cox is here calling"personal identifications," in this instance, of a religious sort.)
Still, Cox is right:"Voting behavior is like other forms of human action, as explained by such economic theorists as Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises; it proceeds from individual, variable, nonquantifiable preferences." He continues:
What happens in American elections is that the party that lost the last one looks for a way to win the next one, knowing (if it's smart) that it cannot rely implicitly on any stable bloc of voters. Even the legendary strength of African-Americans' identification with the Democratic Party can easily recede sufficiently to keep most potential voters in that"bloc" away from the polls. The best that each political party can do is to go through its list of possible voters, trying to interest as many as possible, beginning with those most strongly identified with itself (at the moment) and proceeding as far down the list as its funds and energy permit. If the gay vote is sixth on the list, a party that has any possibility of getting it will try to do so, altering its own character and"ideas" when alteration is necessary to optimize its capacity for winning.
Cox argues, however, that
American elections are won not by stable power blocs but by shifts in party identifications among people who used to be in those blocs, until they escaped. Some of the shifts, which go on all the time, in every conceivable direction, coincide with major intellectual or social movements, the kind of movements that change large patterns of intellectual and social history. But electoral politics has its own more intricate, local, and self-adjusting patterns, the patterns of the marginal gains and losses that happen as parties hunt the all-important plurality of votes.
Again: precisely. From my perspective, Karl Rove and other GOP strategists did not take it for granted that socially conservative evangelical voters were a"stable bloc" that would vote for Bush. That's why the anti-gay marriage initiatives were so important to GOP strategy: they were a way of keeping that bloc stable. The GOP also targeted voters at the margins, which would explain how they bolstered the GOP"share" of the traditionally conservative Democratic Catholic and Hispanic-Catholic vote.
We can debate the effectiveness of Rove's strategy in terms of Bush's margin of victory. But I don't think it can be debated that, as Bradford himself puts it,"the Bush campaign followed a strategy that they hoped would exploit the ballot measure and that the ballot measure was quite popular with certain voters."
The major parties work hard to perfect the building and maintaining of winning coalitions of interest groups with which voters personally identify. It offers something to each group. As Cox states:"This is what supporters of minor parties usually do not understand. Almost every minor party is an ideological party, and that explains why such parties either remain minor or cease to exist." They don't learn how to play the game of coalition-building, an expression of what Theodore Lowi once called a system of"interest-group liberalism.""A minor party invariably has a well-disciplined set of ideological positions," Cox writes,"but it lacks the wide array of personal identifications that are necessary to unite a large proportion of American voters over a substantial period of time."
Cox does not believe that this translates into a glowing future for the Libertarian Party, since the major parties are obviously here to stay for the foreseeable future. But he argues that"[t]he libertarian idea really does offer something for rich and poor, black and white, male and female, gay and straight, Christian and atheist." Even if Libertarians can't get elected en masse,"being elected ... isn't the only way to affect the political system."
Roderick T. Long
(Apologies to Chris Sciabarra for this post's title.)
The paper that Charles and I presented at the APA is already stirring up controversy -- even among folks who haven't had a chance to read it yet!
But now the latest draft of Libertarian Feminism: Can This Marriage Be Saved? is available online.
"Back to the 19th century!" doesn't sound promising as a feminist slogan; but for those seeking to close the gap that currently exists between feminism and libertarianism, we argue that the 19th century is the place to look. We also argue that, in many ways, the natural complement to libertarianism is not mainstream liberal feminism but the radical feminism often maligned as"gender feminism." Check it out!
Aeon J. Skoble
Hmm, I see there's lots of heated discussion I need to catch up on below. That'll keep til Monday. Right now I'm going to celebrate the aforementioned holiday by putting on that new live 3-CD set....
“A Puritan is someone who, in a Bear Baiting Contest, always bets on the bear.”
“The Puritans fell, first upon their knees, and then upon the Aborigines.”
I note today at lew rockwell.com that Anthony Gregory, of the Independent Institute, has taken up the Rockwellian notion that libertarians ought to build bridges with those on the Left, citing, among other things, a Maoist friend who admires Congressman Ron Paul.
I recall, based on a common opposition to the war in Vietnam, Murray Rothbard and William Appleman Williams editing a book together on the subject. But what came of that, other than perhaps David Horowitz moving over to become a hard-core Conservative?
I should perhaps mention that my own anarchism is genetic — probably more from my Spanish side (Celtic, Sephardic from the mountains of northern Spain, where they still wear the skirt and dance to the bagpipes) than from my American Celtic, Scot-Irish, side in Alabama.
I began reading the Fabians in high school, and was a friend of William Appleman Williams, based on some common ideas about Imperialism, long before I read, and came to know, Murray Rothbard.
The fundamental methodological assumption I have accepted is taken from Taoism, as also articulated by the historian Carroll Quigley; that virtually everything in nature, science, politics, etc., is best observed as a continuum, rather than some sort of Aristotelian, or Manichean, dualism.
That is certainly true when it comes to notions of Political-Economy within a given State, State System, Empire or Universal Empire.
Thus, one can share some ideas with those across a spectrum of positions; joining those from the left, right or whatever, in criticizing the “globaloney” of the Bushian Neocons, without harboring any illusions that a coalition with our fellow critics, to obtain power, could ever be possible.
That, as Mencken understood, was the problem with the Puritans!
The Puritans were excellent as a minority, out of power, opposing the growing authoritarian, absolute monarchy ideas of the Stuarts, but in power, whether in England, or Massachusetts, they brooked no dissidents to their True Believer views. Just ask Anne Hutchinson, Roger Williams, the Quakers, or the Salem “witches,” among others!
Oliver Cromwell once said, “Consider, in the bowels of Christ, that you might be mistaken.” A noble statement, much better than that my old high school home room teacher (thank God, I never in 5 years, had her for a class), who used to tell us she “might be mistaken, but I am never wrong!”
But that didn’t stop Cromwell from a genocide in Ireland that was much more thorough, although obviously on a smaller scale, than that of Herr Hitler against the Gypsies, Slavs and Jews. In the 1960s (pre-DNA) the great British geneticist, Cyril D. Darlington, estimated there were few, if any, real Celts left in Ireland; most of what were later thought of as Irish, were the off-spring of British soldiers in the service of Cromwellian imperialism. Ah well, so much for any Celtic notion of “limpieza de sangre!”
The enormous deaths from Mother Nature’s recent Tsunami remind us, of the sheer numbers of such genocides, some of which boggle the imagination, along with what imperial butchery has done in the last centuries. American historians, for example, have settled on the estimate of 200-220,000 Filipinos killed a century ago, but no one has done any study, such as has been done in some cases of recent plagiarism and falsification in History, to really refute the work of the Anti-Imperialist League, that closer to 600,000 were killed. The American Army’s figures sound “better,” or more “reasonable,” just as they do today in Iraq.
When Charles II was restored to the Throne, and this was pre-Salem witch trials, he marveled that the Puritans had “killed more people in that God forsaken wilderness (New England), than ever I did to avenge the death of my Father.”
It is worth recalling that Adam Smith’s liberalism grew out of his boyhood experience of seeing witches burned in Scotland, the last country to stop it, and he later noted that his short obituary defense of his friend David Hume brought down more wrath on his head than did his two volume critique of Mercantilism, The Wealth of Nations.
Fanatics throughout history, like George Bush today, have always been people who redouble their efforts, even as they lose sight of their original goal. Apparently Americans admire such determination!
The favorite torture of the Puritans, especially for Quakers, apart from burning people at the stake, was the hot iron pushed through the tongue. Now, that will really shut someone up! Historians are always blathering on about our great heritage from New England, but few — shades of Abu Ghraib — mention some of the seedier history aspects of American history as noted by Mencken above. Borrowing from our relations with the American Indians, the Philippines, the Germans during WWII, Vietnam, and our own extensive domestic prison system, etc., the US is one of the few, perhaps only, nations where the military has written books on the subject of torture and conducts “how-to” Schools in teaching its “practical” application.
William Lind, a Cultural Conservative, and regular columnist for LewRockwell.com and Antiwar.com, has been writing for several years about the mistake, for example, in Iraq, of the US military not adopting methods of what he calls “Fourth Generation Warfare (FGW),” and, who, if I understand him correctly, is now conducting a seminar on same, which when the results are published, and urged on the American military, will also be available on-line at lewrockwell.com. Will that be required reading, on-line, for places like, the now renamed, but formerly School of the Americas, for which we will need a Spanish version?
Now, I challenge Mr. Lind, and his sponsor Lew Rockwell, who has recently challenged us to break free of old assumptions in order to achieve “a new liberty,” to educate me about their emerging vision of FGW, which is really, after all, Lind’s “high falutin” terminology for counter-insurgency warfare., which does not end up with internment camps, torture, and the indiscriminate killing of civilians both by ground forces, and especially from the air, as it sets out to “win the hearts and minds” of the natives. I do not believe that anything short of the above will achieve"Victory,"as the military defines it.
In the case of bombing, I especially like the anonymous observation that “a terrorist is someone with a bomb, but without an air force.”
The British, led by our old friend, Winnie, were among the first to use such bombing on the Iraqis in the 1920s. From there, it was only a natural progression to the Italians in Ethiopia, the Wehrmacht over Guernica and London, “Bomber Harris” over Germany, Curtis LeMay and Robert MacNamara over Japan and Vietnam, the US in Iraq, and now, in particular, Fallujah
That Mr. Lind, the advocate of FGW, as a more efficient version of counter-insurgency warfare, is listed as a columnist for antiwar.com is enough to make one rethink his monthly contribution to that web site.
In Rockwell’s case, and the Mises Institute, this has gone so far as to admire the writings of the Israeli military advisor-historian, Martin “Bulldozer” Van Crevald, who has been an advisor on Iraq, but is now a critic of the emerging quagmire there. I agree with the comments over the years of the Israeli, Ran HaCohen, whose column at antiwar.com has been an on-going indictment of Van Crevald’s notions of FGW as applied to the Palestinians.
If Courts of International Justice had any meaning, then such advisors ought to be in the dock, along with those underlings who have carried out the dirty work.
And, so, Anthony and Lew, while I have no problem in joining in critiques with those across a continuum from the extreme left to the extreme right about what is going on in America and abroad, I just don’t think I want to climb into bed with True Believers with the goal of some kind of misguided, military, FGW, Futile Crusade to make the world safe for American ideas of Liberty.