Posts

"It Tastes like Sawdust"

I recalled reading a mildly right-of-center pundit offering a recipe. When it came to the seasoning, her recipe called for pepper, and she made a point of saying "Freshly ground only! Pre-ground pepper tastes like sawdust!" Of course, pre-ground pepper doesn't taste anything like sawdust. It taste pretty much like freshly ground pepper, only not quite as pungent. So why would she say this? The remark makes perfect sense if you understand it, not as her report on what pre-ground pepper tastes like to her, but as an expression of class solidarity. "Hey, I may be slightly right-of-center... but I, also, am the sort of person who would never use pre-ground pepper!"

It's Good in and of Itself!

Business Insider ranks countries on health . One of the "plus" factors is you get more points the more the government spends on health care. What the hey? If that spending is effective, shouldn't it show up in some other health stat ? And if it doesn't... why is it a positive factor?

BZ: Don't ask me questions in the comments!

As I mentioned, for some messed up Google reason, I am unable to comment on my own blog. And no, I absolutely do NOT wish to spend any more time addressing Block's ridiculous misinterpretations of what I wrote.

BZ: My response to Block

 Apparently, I can't comment at my own blog! I kept trying to post this but it never shows up. So  here is my response  to Block.

Mises vs. Marx

 Ludwig von Mises attempted to dismiss Marx's class analysis based on the fact that capitalists compete with each other for capital, for workers, and for customers. All that is true. And yet it does not refute Marx. Consider: the football players on the Bengals compete with each other for playing minutes. And yet when they go up against the Rams, they will all unite to help defeat this opponent. People can compete within some class, and yet unite as a class when faced with a challenge from a different class.

Would Marx have imagined this?

Faced with the prospect of revolt from the proletariat, the liberal state created a new class: the permanent underclass. Whereas proletarian man was connected to society only as a factor of production, underclass man is not even a factor of production. If proletarian man is like an ox, underclass man is like a rat or pigeon: living a separate existence on the fringes of human society, collecting whatever scraps and refuse come his way. But he serves a purpose: he is the canary in the coal mine for the worker. “Not happy working 40 hours a week in a repetitive, stressful factory job for a barely adequate wage? You better keep showing up for work, or you could wind up in that housing project you drive past in the morning, with your kids getting beat up on the way to school every week.” UPDATE: And of course, Marx saw that liberal reforms would serve to prop-up liberal society, not to genuinely reform it.

Yes, Let's Talk About Sloppiness

UPDATE: Sorry, I just saw I failed to link to Field's essay! Corrected. Laura K. Field, in a five-part essay attempting to trash Patrick Deneen's Why Liberalism Failed , accuses Deneen of sloppiness. For instance, she writes: "Bacon was not merely interested in 'torturing' nature to discover her secrets, as Deneen repeatedly alleges." I just re-checked my copy of Deneen, and: He never says Bacon was "merely" interested in "torturing" nature. This just happens to be the aspect of Bacon's thought he is interested in. The book is not a intellectual biography of Bacon, nor even an intellectual history of liberalism. So why would we expect a full picture of Bacon as a thinker? That itself might take up the whole book, and Deneen would never get around to discussing liberalism! He does mention this notion... just once . Not "repeatedly." Field writes: "I do not know where Deneen got the idea that Francis Bacon had no interest