Thursday, February 17, 2011


1)The WSJ on the market for high fashion.

2)Jacob Levy on Sasha Volokh's infamous asteriod post. I particularly like this paragraph:

If we do so, one consequence is that we should view state officials as wielding a great deal of power in our social world that is probably not justified all the way down. States did not come about by individualist contractualist consent; they are not the institutional form of morally foundational nations; religious, hereditary, and customary forms of legitimation may remain sociologically credible in some places but are surely not morally well-grounded accounts of the justifications for the organized use of violence. Yet states are such well-entrenched features of the political landscape that, if can constrains ought at all, we are probably not morally obligated to abolish the state form in favor of some other form of political organization or in favor of anarchy of any description. We must morally make the best of them, making do with what we have.

In a world filled with states, officeholders and officials should view themselves as having political responsibility as analyzed by Weber, which is much like [David] Miller’s remedial responsibility. They wield power that is not morally legitimated by its origins; the power exists because of morally neutral historical and social accidents. What remains is moral responsibility for what is done with the power.

3)A strong entry in the contest for Stupidest Thing Ever Written About Libertarianism. Much of this is obvious, but in case anyone is listening:

a. The guy who called Dick Cheney a war criminal was being kind of a jerk. People who heckle speakers are generally jerks. Although I lack scientific data on this point, most sane libertarians with whom I have corresponded agree on this point. It's unfortunate that some libertarians are jerks. It is equally unfortunate that most other social movements consisting of more than three people usually have at least one person who is kind of a jerk.

b. Re: drugs, some social conservatives are with libertarians on legalization. National Review is the most famous example. Does McCullough wish to eject them from the pantheon of acceptably conservative thought? And, briefly, there are plenty of arguments for legalization that do not turn on one's love of pot. I highly recommend Googling Radley Balko's work highlighting some of the police abuse associated with the drug war and its staggering costs.

c. I've written before on the GoProud controversy. Let me just highlight again, however, that their agenda is not terribly radical. It's actually about as modest for a gay conservative group that one could expect. They are officially silent on the gay marriage issue. Most of their legislative priorities involve limiting domestic government or strong national defense abroad, stuff that is standard fare for conservative groups. The lone exception is their opposition to a federal marriage amendment. In other words, their radical agenda comes down to wanting to leave the constitution the way it is. This is really not all that radical.

Also, to my knowledge, they did not object to the inclusion of socially conservative groups. They didn't want them to boycott the conference and are in no way working to actively silence them. I have not read anything by any GoProud suggesting that they did.

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