Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Just in case...

...you have found that the amount of hard-hitting philosophical content of Possumblog has not quite been up to par lately, word just came from Brian Anderson, Senior Editor of City Journal of some hearty fare--I haven't gotten a chance to read any of these articles yet, but they sound really good:
Dear Terry:

Our new issue is out, and there are several pieces that might be of interest
to you, for blogging purposes or just in general:

George F. Will's "Can We Make Iraq Democratic?" explodes the widespread view that all we need to do make Iraq a democracy is remove the tyranny that oppressed the nation and lo! the Iraqis will forthwith become democratic republicans. Though love of liberty may be part of human nature, Will argues, it isn't enough to make a people capable of democracy. Democracy rests on notions like the dignity of the individual, the rule of law, and equality before the law-cultural ideals not inborn but the fruit of the West's long national history. Nothing comparable yet exists in Iraq.
I think it's probably safe to say little exists like this anywhere in the Middle East, not just Iraq.
In "What Makes a Terrorist?", James Q. Wilson answers that it takes a village--even a whole culture. As Wilson shows, most terrorists belong to tightly bonded groups, whose members reinforce one another's delusions: that evil is good, wrong is right, death is life. All this might make rational-if immoral-sense if terrorism actually achieved its political goals; but as Wilson finds, it rarely does. Nevertheless, Wilson soberly concludes, little platoons of nihilistic, death-dealing unreason, cheered on by a culture of rage and resentment, wish to wipe out Western civilization and will plague us for some time to come.
Indeed--simply because your enemy is terminally stupid and pathologically incapable of reason doesn't mean he's not dangerous--in fact, quite the opposite. Sadly, sometimes it's much better for all concerned to just let them take it up with God.
The Winter issue also features two articles on important domestic issues:

Economist Richard Florida's notion that cities must become trendy places that attract gays, bohemians, ethnic minorities, and other "creative" workers in order to compete in the twenty-first century is sweeping the nation. But as Steven Malanga proves in the devastating "The Curse of the Creative Class," Florida's ideas are fatally wrong. Far from being economic powerhouses, many of the cities he identifies as creative-age winners have chronically underperformed the American economy. And some of his top creative cities don't even do a good job at attracting-or keeping-people. It turns out that old-fashioned economic concerns like tax rates and regulatory rules still matter the most.
Hey, go figure.
In "The Illegal-Alien Crime Wave," Heather MacDonald shows that some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens. Yet in cities where the crime these aliens commit is highest-in Los Angeles, for instance, where 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide target illegal aliens--cops cannot use the most obvious tool to catch them: their immigration status. Reasons: fear of offending powerful immigrant lobbies and, even more disturbingly, the non-stop increase of immigration, which is reshaping the law to dissolve any distinction between legal and illegal aliens and, ultimately, the very idea of national borders.
And citizenship, for that matter--it seems that some people are now is perfectly willing to bestow the rights of American citizenship to anyone, including to those who consider themselves our enemies.
Other fascinating stories in the Winter issue include Michael Knox Beran on self-reliance versus self-esteem, Walter Olson on how the ADA has spawned a sleazy lawsuit industry,
Actually, the ADA didn't spawn a sleazy lawsuit industry--it just opened up new feeding grounds for the poor, hungry, emaciated sharks who couldn't find enough ambulances to chase.
Julia Magnet on the films of Whit Stillman,
If you're like me, you can't read that without thinking Wilt the Stilt. It's wrong in so many different ways, but hey...
Richard Brookhiser on DeWitt Clinton, and Theodore Dalrymple on Stefan Zweig.
Thanks much to Brian for the note--all of you go read!

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