[So, what are you reading now?]
A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn.
[What is your intention or interest in reading it?]
In a word, to find what lies within the belly of the beast.
[I don’t follow.]
I know, it’s all right. A People’s History is something of a known commodity in political circles—or an unknown commodity, as the case may be. The title has become a byword, the definition of which changes, depending on the ideological camp in which it is mentioned. Among liberals, it is typically held in high regard as one of the most fascinating works of nonfiction you will ever read. However, I don’t want to speak too definitively, or in too much detail, about what the liberals have to say about it, because I haven’t met very many liberals who have read it. I haven’t met very many people who have read it at all, but in college, for example, I don’t think I met a single person who had read it.
Continue reading “The Satanic Bible of the Church of Progressivism, Pages 1-15”
[On Saturday, you discussed your interest in political literature written before the year of 2008. Are you still exploring that field, or have you moved on to something else?]
Well, I was hoping to complete this literary sojourn before the end of August, but it became clear long before then that I had bitten off a lot more than I could chew. We still haven’t cleared all of the books I intended to read, and I can’t imagine I will get through the last two in time for next month’s midterms.
[What are the last two?]
A People’s History of the United States and Mein Kampf. The latter is one I’ve been staring at for a while, even though it never became of serious interest to me until sometime this year. I expect I will be grateful, when it’s all said and done, that I didn’t read it before Trump entered the scene.
[Do you understand that anyone who reads this will assume that you are comparing, and perhaps even equating, Trump and Hitler?]
Let those people think whatever they want. Anybody who is coming here in expectation of more of the same, more of what they write on CNN and American Greatness, is probably not my most studious reader. But, in the interest of explaining myself, I should point that nobody can make a meaningful comparison between Trump and Hitler without having first brushed up on the latter; in which case, I can’t think of a better place to start than Mein Kampf.
Continue reading “Popular Misconceptions, Simplifying Hitler, Romney Contra Rand, Reading Nothing Yet”
[I would like to continue our conversation from Monday, wherein you described your commitment to “older” political literature. Might it behoove you to, in greater detail, explain this recent interest of yours?]
Well, if I’m gonna clarify, then you’re gonna have to be more specific, too: what part of this project would you like me to address?
[In our previous discussion, you said that you did not, for the moment, wish to read any political literature written within the last ten years—meaning, from 2008 to the present day. This implies a fault or deficiency about “recent” literature, yes?]
First, we should define “political literature”. In this instance, we’re referring to books written about political issues. It does not necessarily refer to political tracts, like The Communist Manifesto, the modern counterpart to which I cannot name. In fact, it probably doesn’t refer to much specifically, at all: we might include a book like The Smartest Guys in the Room, even though the Enron scandal is not strictly or exclusively political.
Continue reading “The Supernatural Pass of 2008, Eminem for President, Superhuman Intellect, “In Real Time”, “Russian Roulette”, Million-Dollar Charlatans”
The rain is beating against the windows, as it has been since late last night, long before I climbed out of bed this morning. My associate insists that this has nothing to do with the hurricane that ripped apart the Florida Panhandle a few days ago, but I wonder if they have might have some connection. This is one controversy I cannot resolve; meteorology has never been of especial interest to me, and more generally, science is something I have never wrapped my head around. I don’t think I’ve ever even entered into a scientific debate, except to argue with religious fundamentalists about the theory of evolution.
[Do you do this often, debate Darwinian theories with armchair theologians?]
No, I gave up that fight a long time ago. I’ve realized that I’m really not the one to be speaking on behalf of biologists, or on behalf of any scientists, really. I haven’t studied science since my second year of college, and while I didn’t flunk any of my classes, I can’t say that I ever learned anything. Kind-of like French.
[Or quantitative reasoning?]
No, I think I held on to some of that knowledge. Every once in a while, I think about reaching out to that professor and asking what textbook we used in that class. I’d like to review it, to see how many of those equations I can still follow through.
Continue reading “Bad Weather, Quantitative Reasoning, the Trumpish Age, Nixon, Mental Illness”
[Before we move on, I wanted to revisit something you said in the introduction, something about the present political climate being inundated by people who speak, but who really ought to listen. If this is true, then aren’t you contributing to this infestation of opinion by establishing this blog among countless others?]
First, we have to furnish a better definition of “the problem”, as we understand it. Are we talking about commentary, or are we talking about opinion?
[The difference being?]
The difference is the same as that between observation and argument. In a commentary piece, the author may be, but is not necessarily, making any kind of declarative statement; he may simply be observing, or writing without any intention to advocate for something. An opinion piece, needless to say, is a very different matter: in an opinion piece, the author is trying to argue for something, or against something. In an opinion piece, there is always some kind of practical application to be made, whereas this feature is not a constant in a commentary piece.
Continue reading “The Anti-Blogger”