[A]ny visit to an awesome commercial center, teeming with life and full of human diversity, would be palliative. Or maybe it is a visit to a superstore to observe the products, the service, energy, the benevolence, of the commercial space. We can meet people, encounter their humanity, revel in the beauty and bounty of human life. Or it could be your local watering hole with its diverse cast of characters and complicated lives that elude political characterization.
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In this extremely strange election year, escaping the roiling antagonism and duplicity of politics, and finding instead the evidence all around us that we can get along, however imperfectly, might actually be essential for a healthy outlook on life.
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The message that politics beats into our heads hourly is that your neighbor might be your enemy, and that the realization of your values requires the crushing of someone else’s.
That’s a terrible model of human engagement to accept as the only reality.
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What if the whole of life worked like the political sector? It would be unrelenting misery, with no escape, ever. As it is, this is not the case. We should be thankful for it, and remember that the thing that makes life wonderful, beautiful, and loving is not crushing your enemy with a political weapon but rather the gains that come from turning would-be enemies into friends in an environment of freedom.
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A slogan passed around some years ago in academic circles was that “the personal is the political.” That sounds like hell on earth. The slogan should be flipped and serve as a warning to all of us: whatever you politicize will eventually invade your personal life. We should not allow this to happen. The less that life is mediated by political institutions, the more the spontaneous and value-creating impulses in our nature come to the fore.
Mrs. Clinton’s nomination will have a similarly negligible effect on the lives of American women. It isn’t exactly a Muppet News Flash that women can run for high office in these United States: You can be Sarah Palin and be on a major-party ticket and be called a “c**t” by all the nice people who will be urging you to vote for Mrs. Clinton as a show of solidarity with women. You can be a woman and do a hell of a lot better job running PepsiCo than Mrs. Clinton did running the State Department. You can be a woman and be seriously considered for the Republican nomination in spite of a slightly short political curriculum vitae. You can be a woman and be a Marine.
If your daughter didn’t already know that she could grow up and make of her life whatever her dreams and abilities allow, and learned otherwise only upon seeing a dreadful politician take the next step in her dreadful career, that isn’t a failure of a patriarchal society. You’re just a bad father.
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If you think Mrs. Clinton “cares about women,” ask Juanita Broaddrick or Gennifer Flowers.
Maybe one needs to be sick to run for office. [Anthony] Weiner is a disciple of New York senator Chuck Schumer.
Schumer famously said, “I was born to legislate.” This goes to the heart of the political sickness—the need to tell others how to live. As economist Walter Williams puts it, “I respect ordinary thieves more than I respect politicians. Ordinary thieves take my money without pretense. (They don’t) insult my intelligence by proclaiming that they’ll use the money that they steal from me to make my life better.”
In the next weeks, as cameras record every utterance burped up by politicians at the political conventions, I’ll take comfort knowing that when politicians can’t force us to do things, people often ignore them (remember, government is force; this is why politicians are important, and dangerous).
One of the main roles of the Clerisy is to flatter the political class and the tech oligarchs. We must mock the Clerisy, who treat every burble and belch of the political class and tech oligarchs with “Pavlovian flattery.”
Anyway, China’s apparently stifling environment has now produced what investors in the NYSE have determined is the world’s most valuable company. And in Jack Ma, it’s also produced an entrepreneur in the classic mould, whose every babble and belch on mission and personal development and leadership and customer value and the rest of it is treated with Pavlovian flattery.
The Status Quo around the world–from France to China to the U.S.–is optimized to protect its Elites and the sprawling Upper-Caste of academics, managers, think-tank toadies, technocrats, apparatchiks, functionaries, factotums, lackeys and apologists who serve the Elites, and are well-paid for enforcing the Status Quo on the disenfranchised castes below.
Demographer Joel Kotkin, author of the new book The New Class Conflict, has coined the word Clerisy to describe what I have been calling the Upper Caste:America’s new class system.
Spitzer, a Democrat, met with voters in Union Square on Monday to launch his comeback attempt. Candidates for citywide offices like comptroller have to have 3,750 signatures from registered voters in their party by Thursday.
“The happiest years of my life professionally were as attorney general, as governor, as a prosecutor and I’d like to go back to public service,” he told CBS 2′s Weijia Jiang.
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[Ed.: This comment from a passerby sums it up well:] “This is about power. You just want power, man. If you want public service go volunteer somewhere!”
I noticed two anecdotes about the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, both of which were meant to be complimentary but in fact speak volumes about the petty corruption of our political class and how inured to it we’ve become. The first was told by a friend of his who was at a conference of Jewish philanthropists in Israel with Lautenberg on 9/11. Lautenberg “used his pull as a former senator” to get everyone an early flight back to the U.S. so they could rejoin their families. The second, told by Vice-President Biden at Lautenberg’s funeral, related how Biden was once hustling to make an Amtrak train to Delaware, but was told by Amtrak staff, “don’t worry we’re holding the train for Sen. Lautenberg” (who was a big political supporter of Amtrak).
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How much more I would have admired Lautenberg if his friends could relate that “we begged him to use his clout as a former Senator to get us back to our families, but Frank was adamant that his friends and acquaintances were no more important than anyone else trying to get back home, and that he wouldn’t abuse his status as former senator on our behalf.”
When the Obama administration launched the We the People petition initiative—which lets anyone start a petition on the White House website—it set the response threshold at 5,000 signatures. In the digital era you can collect that many signatures for a petition to make navel lint the official textile fiber of the United States. So the White House bumped up the threshold to 25,000. Turns out that’s a pretty easy bar to clear, too. Just look at the Death Star petition. Continue reading ‘Washington, DC = Boomtown’ »