Monday, May 11, 2009


1)Matt Taibbi on agnosticism. The tone's a little harsh, but I mostly agree.

2) I find this TNR post by Alan Wolfe about how classical and modern liberals are exactly the same bizarre. In order to get the result he wants, he somehow reads Hayek out of the liberal tradition. While Hayek himself rejected the "liberal" label for semantic reasons -- he claimed that left-wingers had distorted the term beyond repair in The Constitution of LIberty -- he saw himself as part of a liberal intellectual tradition stretching back to Smith, IIRC.

Wolfe suggests I've fallen into this trap because people like me think that "the most fundamental question facing mankind is how much government intervenes into the economy." I wouldn't say most fundamental, but figuring out how to respond to scarcity is certainly up there. Insist otherwise too loudly, and you devolve into the kind of nineteen-year-old hipster who insists that he's against all those Big Corporations That Are All Corporation-ey while sitting at a MacBookPro sipping a latte. Also, classical liberals see government as a different kind of threat to human liberty than even the largest corporations can be, because of the awesome powers government has that corporations lack. Wolfe doesn't acknowledge those differences.

In fairness, though, I have not read Wolfe's book. Possibly his argument makes sense if developed at greater length.

3)A good essay on what I dislike about suburbs. N.b. I am less planning-oriented than the authors.

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