Sunday, February 06, 2005

Rants

I'm in a foul mood, having just spent the better part of an hour arguing that, whatever the constitutional rights and wrongs of it, a group of less than ten percent of a community ought not to decide to spend significant proportions of that community's budget without consulting the rest of that community. Because, I mean, after all, the point of democratic institutions is to hand over all the power to nutcases like me who like arguing and haven't got anything better to do on a Sunday afternoon, isn't it? It wouldn't be to involve the people whom decisions effect in making those decisions: this is the sort of delusional radical idea entertained by lunatics and revolutionaries, who plot constantly to overthrow the natural order of things, as ordained by God and legislated by our forefathers, that only people who haven't got anything better to do on a Sunday afternoon should get to make decisions. That's a perfectly relevant characteristic for picking out who ought to get political power, isn't it: it's not at all like who are your parents, or are you wealthy, or are you sleeping with a member of the government or friends with someone who's sleeping with a member of the government. Not at all. Giving power to the people rather than some tiny subset of the people, letting them, the dangerous, unwashed, unattending masses, make choices over their money? You must be completely insane. Let me get the kind, gentle men in white coats for you...

Anyway, before I irritate anyone any more than I doubtless already have, and before my publication of largely private arguments reaches a totally unacceptable, rather than quite rude, level, this foul mood has clouded my judgement to the extent that I'm going to link to these two posts: Revolt of the Primitives and the one underneath the aforementioned at This Academic Life (the permalink seems not to be working: I'll try and remember to try and sort it out later). The Ward Churchill thing has been going round the internet for some time, and frankly the Right can just f*ck right off. Unless they want the House Committee for Un-American Activities back, since that was such a great publicity coup last time. Ward Churchill has a point - someone did something to piss off the people who flew planes into the World Trade Centre, and perhaps we ought to be thinking about what that was - and although the way he choose to express that thought is far from ideal, it's a valid point. Even if it wasn't a valid point, it's hardly grounds for firing him, which it seems is what they want. Thinking of un-American activities, Matt Yglesias has an interesting discussion of the important but rather neglected distinction between patriotism and nationalism. Remember, patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel: what does that make nationalism?

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