Links, 3/6/10

  • Robert Kagan, “Bipartisan Spring” – from the article: On Afghanistan, Iraq, and increasingly on Iran, Republicans have held their fire and offered public support for the president’s decisions. This is partly because Obama has moved closer to their positions. But it is also because Republicans are committed to success in Iraq and Afghanistan, genuinely fear a nuclear Iran, and for the most part are willing to abjure playing politics with those issues. They are so far proving a more loyal opposition in this regard than were many Democrats during Bush’s second term.
  • Mark Bauerlein, “A PMLA Exchange, Graff Once More” – from the article: I’ve heard the argument made before, once on a panel arranged by Donald Lazere in which one panelist said (if I remember correctly) in response to a young man who claimed he was bullied for his conservatism, “Oh please — the Right wing controls every other part of our society, and now they want to control the college classroom, too! Gimme a break.”  It was a perfect case of a high-handed and dismissive professor claiming that he was the victim. (Donald nodded to me to reply, but I just shook my head in dismay — a mistake.)
  • Megan McArdle, “Students Protest University Cutbacks, Reality” – from the article: But while I’m sympathetic to students finding it harder to attend college, I’m not sure what they think is supposed to happen.  There’s no money.  This is not some question of reallocating resources from bad uses to good–everything is being cut because their institutions are under serious financial duress. I want to add something else: if you’re in the liberal arts and worried about making sure you get a solid education, there are plenty of us online who clearly know what we’re doing who will recommend books and exercises and a program of learning. I’m not saying you don’t need to work with professors: you should, and the university should make the liberal arts a priority when it has money. But your education isn’t about the money you put into it. It isn’t even about the number of pages read. And yet the difference between the educated and someone who’s looked at a lot of books or even written a lot is stunning, esp. in this day and age where the loudest voices are some of the crudest.
  • You can say the Pentagon shooter was crazy and unhinged and shouldn’t be considered representative of many conservatives. Fine, and I definitely agree. But to say that the views he professed are left-wing instead of right-wing, to imply that no one on the Right “thinks” the same way he did, is dishonest based on what we know now. LGF is exactly correct on the issue, and Pajamas Media should be ashamed. Yes, in response to Zombie, we should play the political blame game. Conservatism is not extremism and certainly not about giving cover for extremism like the right-wing blogosphere is doing. Ask yourself what the argumentation is meant to accomplish, and you realize people will play games with other people’s lives for partisan ends. Conservatism is not passivity, but the whole reason why one moves toward tradition is so that the lives of others are not taken for granted (similarly: one moves away from tradition when there is far more than can be done). I agree I don’t like that some progressives will use anything to slander or libel conservatives. But that doesn’t mean you just turn a blind eye to the clear increase of extremist rhetoric and actions in the ranks. We’re learning the hard way that the 1st Amendment in some ways is disconnected from reality. You are responsible for what you say, and no amount of earthly declarations of free speech can change that.

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