First Monday 2014

Same cast, brand new season! Burt Likko offers a look at some of the high points of the Supreme Court’s docket for the 2014-2015 Term.


Casus Contendentes (Now With Update)

Burt Likko wonders whether, despite the unmitigated human rights awfulness that is the nascent would-be state forming in northern Iraq, swallowing our idealism and adopting a strategy of economic containment wouldn’t be a more practical alternative to making war against ISIS.

UPDATE: Reaction to President Obama’s address of September 10.


Nazism is Dead, Long Live Marx

I recently wrote about how radical intellectuals are treated as ipso facto irresponsible or abhorrent in middlebrow American ideas magazines where little comprehension of their thought is even attempted. I was talking about the liberal-ish ones like the New Republic and the New York Review of Books. If we expanded that out to include conservative magazines;…

Triaxial Epistemology

By way of Popehat, Arnold Kling on a root problem with contemporary political discourse, summarized in the Wall Street Journal: Mr. Kling’s three “languages” are ways of talking about politics and government, and they align roughly with the progressive, conservative and libertarian viewpoints. Progressives, Mr. Kling thinks, typically express opinions using an “oppressed-oppressor axis”: societal…

“You don’t ‘seize’ the center, you create the center”

When I learned it, I thought the motion for this month’s Intelligence Squared U.S. debate – “The GOP Must Seize the Center or Die” – was simply dreadful.  How could the opposing case possibly be made without fighting a losing battle with the proposition itself?  Of course the GOP needs to win more votes from the center; of course they’ve been successfully characterized as out-of-touch with centrists.  And indeed, the pre-debate poll showed a staggering 65% in favor of the […]

Irregular Constitutional Order

I’ve seldom agreed with Hugh Hewitt so strongly—and readers know I agree with him a lot—as I do on repealing the medical device tax through regular constitutional order and not the usual rendering of pig lips and cow parts.  Hewitt has a post today on the issue at his blog.  Here’s a key exchange from Hewitt’s interview yesterday with Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the Ways and Means health subcommittee, who agrees with Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp on […]

Sketching Out States in Fantasy: Two Cases from Avlis

As promised here are two cases from Avlis of magic equipped societies. I will begin with a (moderately) short description of each state, then compare the place of magic and its political economy. This post is meant as a sketch, with further development and detail to be presented based on comments received. If there are…

Nassau County is Not an Obama Love-fest

I have heard it suggested, in our own backyard and countless times on Twitter, that Obama had a homefield advantage because the debate was in New York. Thus, he got softball questions. Please set conspiracy theories to rest. The debate was not just in New York. It was in Nassau County, New York. The accent so many…

Sketching a National Security State Saner Than Today

As my isolation from the chattering classes continues, I’m inclined to go into hypotheticals and counter-factuals. One such hypothetical I returned to over the past few days is the following: What would a saner (but necessarily flawed) national security state look like? A handful of disclaimers before I provide my ruminations. First, this exercise is…

Was Jim Lehrer a Replacement Moderator?

As televised Presidential debates go, it’s pretty clear that Romney trounced Obama. If you disagree, listen to Chris Mathews and the rest of the liberal MSNBC fan club. He and the rest of the Obama groupies were fuming after the debate. Choking back tears of frustration, Mathews demolished the President’s performance with a ferocity beyond…

There Was No Civil Liberties Mandate

Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic has a widely read explanation of why he cannot, on moral grounds, do as he did in 2008 and vote for Barack Obama. It’s a long piece and it’s not structured as an essay so much as a series of interrelated but independent criticisms; in general, Friedersdorf is outraged by…

Sarah Silverman explains voter ID laws and Jon Stewart explains Fox News

She says it better than I could. Though hers is a NSFW version. “No photo. No voto.” Then again, at this point Romney is doing a wonderful job losing this election all on his own with just a tiny bit of help from Paul Ryan.

The Alpha-Alpha Male Strategy

Of all the tactics available to the Republican party to overcome the 12-point gender gap,* this would be… one of them. UPDATE: A tweet from Ross Douthat suggests that it was supposed to be a joke, or at least retconned that way. NRO took the article down. (Good move.) * A Fox News poll published August 9, 2012…

What (New) Documentaries Should People Watch?

I haven’t watched one in a while, and though I lean towards the political type, or those documentaries which depict the worst kinds of social injustice, I’m willing to take a spin outside my wheel house this time. So I thought I’d put a call out for great documentaries I and everyone else around these parts…

The Symbolism of Batman and Where We Put Our Faith

(Spoilers: This post will be rife with them. Do not read unless you’ve already seen the movie or couldn’t care less about the story. And, borrowed from Jaybird because he already covered all the bases: “Since we’ll have spoilers after the cut, I imagine we’ll also discuss spoilers in the comments. I’d ask that we…