Links, 1/5/2010

  • Mark Bauerlein, “The Adjunct Issue Moving Forward” – from the article: The temptation to cut costs by hiring three adjuncts instead of one tenure-track prof is too strong for administrators to resist whether times are tough or times are good, especially if it happens in a department in which prestige matters less and less to the university (that is, just about anything in the humanities).
  • Megan McArdle, “Could Massachusetts Elect a Republican to Kennedy’s Seat?” – from the article: Last night’s Rasmussen poll in Massachussetts found that Republican Scott Brown was only 9% behind the Democratic candidate in the race to replace Ted Kennedy, which will be done by special election later this month.  For Massachussetts, replacing a Kennedy, that’s a pretty remarkable number…
  • Jay Cost, “Could Howard Dean Primary Barack Obama?” – yeah, this almost sounds like Republican porn. From the article: That points to what makes these primary contests so noteworthy: they are more a symptom of failure than a cause. If a President cannot lock down all the major parts of his own party, and instead must slug it out in a primary – it’s a sign that he’s going to have trouble building a majority coalition in the fall. Taft, Carter, and Bush all lost their general election contests after beating back big time challenges for the nomination.
  • Michele Bachmann can add “Opportunist” to her list of titles that include “Deranged” and “Unhinged” and several other unpleasant adjectives…
  • Lauren Weiner, “Where have all the Lefties gone?” – this requires extensive comment; I wish something in political philosophy addressed this directly. The article describes the very close ties and overlap between agents of the Communist party and folk music; it is absolutely true that a free society cannot be completely tolerant, as it can be subverted from the inside out. It’s also true that Communists didn’t emerge from a vacuum, and that Leftist grievance cannot be so simply dismissed. Some people are robbed of the American Dream, and sneering as the author does that liberal elites take pleasure out of feeling guilt about this by watching it on television doesn’t do justice to the world we live in. How does one, then, talk about ideas that were meant initially to be subversive or activist, but now do actually speak to how people live, do define life in the nation in important ways? How does one learn to respect (this also implies the power to dismiss rightfully) voices that are emerging when the moment of emergence seems petty and radical? There may be some disconnect between the origin of a thing and the thing itself in political life: the limits of ideology (it isn’t wisdom, or truth) are also its strength: ideology speaks the present, perhaps. I know I don’t like the author’s conclusion, where she almost dismisses all the music and yet warns that it could replace “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I also know that Communist subversion is a bad thing, whether it succeeds or fails.

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