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Prefix Conservatism


I am whole-heartedly with Mark Steyn on this one, though not necessarily because I have anything particularly interesting to say against or in favor of punk rock or because I’m an idolator of Steyn — though both things are true. Rather, my agreement stems from my continuing objection with prefix conservatism. I define this as the tendency to mint new “schools” of conservatism based upon superficial distinctions or tastes. This objection explains some, though not all, of my problems with Rod’s “Crunchy Con” stuff. I like the following things: women’s prison movies, science fiction, comic books (Marvel comics particularly), dogs, TV (ah, TV, you’ll never let me down), Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, meat dishes covered with cheese dishes and so on. I do not think any of this necessarily distinguishes me as, say, a “Couch Conservative.” But I am sure that if I were to ask “Are there any couch conservatives out there?” I would discover that there are legions of us. We could even claim to be the inactivist core of the conservative movement, and that our ideas and sentiments form a distinct school of conservative thought. But this would be stupid.

Why can’t discussions of punk music be about, hmmm I dunno, punk music? If there are conservative points to be made, make them. If you need to talk about the overlap between conservatives and punk music more generally, you could talk about “conservatives who like punk music…” I know, I am making a big deal out of a very little thing. I admit, “Punky cons” is useful shorthand, less clunky than my way of doing things.

But my only point is that there’s no end to this sort of prefix conservatism and it bespeaks a desire to be ideologically pure, something conservatism doesn’t require. As with the crunchy con stuff, the rationale seems to be: I like A. “Typical” conservatives do not like “A.” Therefore I am an “A” conservative; a different species. In other words, prefix conservatism assumes the existence of prixe fixe conservatism; a rigid, set menu of ideas that is immune from debate and reason. Yeah, of course, there are some bedrock values at the core of conservatism. But these values do not translate themselves automatically into a fixed set of policy proposals or personal tastes. Virtually all conservatives believe in a smaller government and fewer taxes. But there’s hardly universal agreement about how to translate those values into programmatic reality. Some conservatives like punk music because they see it as a rebellion to hippydom. Interesting argument. Other conservatives hate punk because it represents villainy and sloth. Good argument there. But neither camp disagress with the other camp’s values. The anti-punk people like rebellion against hippydom and the pro-punk people are not in favor of villainy and sloth. Their disagreement is over how these sentiments are translated or mistranslated into music. Anyway, that’s how I see it.

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Gertz Reports...


Web Briefing: July 24, 2014

North Korea Is Warning Us...



Sci-Fi News of The Day


Christopher Reeve will make an appearance on Smallville. (Read Stuttaford on Smallville here.)

Songs That You Once Thought Were Good...


…that now make you wonder about your observation abilities and judgment. I had an ’80s station on this morning (that and the right dose of caffeine will wake you) and heard “Obsession” by Animotion and it made me think of Jonah’s movie game from yesterday. I swear I never heard the lyrics before. Or, pop music just rots the brain. That could be it, too.

Re: Corner Clash


That only makes me love Mark Steyn all the more.

Don’t Forget


David Frum is on The Today Show this morning, talking about his new book, The Right Man.

Confessions of a Binge Drinker


Last weekend’s post on ‘binge drinking’ has produced the following shocking confession from a reader in Virginia:

“I didn’t realize…until now that, according to the CDC, my wife and I just binged our way through the entire holiday season–from Thanksgiving to the Feast of the Epiphany. There were many days that she and
I barged our way through a pre-dinner cocktail, a bottle of wine, and an
after-dinner drink and there was one stupendously enjoyable day when we
nestled down by the fire, reading, playing games with the children, and
drinking wine.”

Worse, as the following passage reveals, this unrepentant binger has chosen to mock the helpful advice contained in his local newspaper:

“In an article I read yesterday in my local paper, [it was reported that one organization is now recommending] that people over 60
years of age have no more than one drink a day. This was accompanied by the
usual, tiresome questionnaire meant to determine if you “have a problem.” A
quick glance at the questions made me realize that I had no hope of being
classed as anything but a hopeless drunkard.”

The shame, the shame…

Corner Clash With Steyn


Mark Steyn is worried that the British right is going to seed:

“I hardly dare open The Daily Telegraph these days. One morning it’s an appreciation of Joe Strummer that reveals the former Clash punk to have been an “avid reader” of this paper. The next, it’s the old Red Wedgie himself, Billy Bragg, holding forth as a Telegraph columnist. I turn to the leaders opposite only to find yet another call by Charles “Ganja” Moore for the legalisation of drugs…”

Yes, he’s funny, that Steyn. I laughed smugly and then read a little further on:

“It’s no better across the Atlantic. My friends at William F Buckley’s National Review claim to have identified a phenomenon they call “punky-cons”, punk conservatives who understand that the punk movement was a rebellion against the grey torpor of Callaghan’s Britain and thus the advance guard of Thatcherism… “

Oh no, is the Corner in trouble with the sage of New Hampshire?



What is wrong with these guys? Every time I check their site it seems to get more arrogant and less serious. Have they given it to over to the interns? This is an excerpt from their meandering on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand discussion of the draft:

So we think military drafts are legitimate, and luckily constitutional jurisprudence agree with us. But is a draft a good idea at the present time? There are plenty of pros and cons. But ask yourself why conservatives so hate the idea of mandatory national service. (That is, a mandatory service obligation that can be discharged via military or civilian service.) One reason, we’d argue, is that it acts to break down class divisions and foster a sense of genuine community and shared sacrifice that threatens conservative projects and benefits liberal ones. The World War II draft helped integrate vast numbers of recent immigrants into the polity and give them a sense of Americanness. By making millions of returning soldiers eligible for the G.I. Bill and college loans, it helped create the postwar middle class. It was also a vehicle for social cohesion, personal dignity, upward mobility and the best kind of patriotism. As Kevin Drum puts it:

“Mandatory national service would oblige everyone who lives here to give something back to their country. It would allow teenagers to see firsthand what other parts of America are like, and what their fellow Americans are like. It would allow blacks to work alongside whites, rich alongside poor, and natives alongside immigrants. It would provide a large workforce that could be deployed both domestically and internationally. It would provide manpower for our inner cities and ambassadors to the third world. Military service would count, of course, but no one would be forced to serve in the military, and the vast majority of teenagers would serve in non-military areas.”

Imagine a country where every American had this kind of experience under his or her belt. We could become a better, more generous, less class-snobby, more self-aware America. Conservatives are not eager to see it happen.

Now, there are good military reasons to oppose a full-scale military draft…

Come on. Tapped — which refuses to take a stand itself on the draft — is willing to see good arguments on both sides of the issue. But it finds it difficult to imagine that conservatives could have good reasons to be against it. Rather, the only conservative arguments against the draft are that it might disrupt our cushy fat cat lives and might require us to socialize with poor people and immigrants.
This is sophomoric liberal gassbaggery. Since when are conservatives the chief opponents to the draft? And since when are the conservatives opposing the draft caricatures from a Thomas Nast cartoon? Do liberals really believe that “class snobbiness” occurs only on the conservative side of the aisle. Pundits heal thyself.

Guess what? The conservative arguments against the draft are pretty much exactly the liberal arguments against the draft, although conservatives emphasize personal liberty a bit more. Regardless, Tappers, if you want to pat yourselves on the back for your Clintonian ability to be simultaneously for and against something, that’s fine. But do you really have to assume moral superiority to conservative straw men at the same time?



Okay the show is produced out of Chicago (WBEZ). It’s called Odyssey and will be on in Chicago at 12 Noon their time. 1 PM is my time. Where else and when you can catch Odyssey is a mystery to me.

Giants Place-Holder E-Mail


E-mail: “The Giants game ends on a screwball play. Immediately Chris Collinsworth gets after Matt Allen, the Giants holder, for not immediately spiking the ball. Collinsworth exclaimed that this would have stopped the clock and allowed for another field goal attempt. Now because of this moron’s ravings, there are hundreds of news articles, radio & TV stories on the game and every single one parrots Collinsworth idiotic statement as gospel. The fact is under NFL rules Allen spiking the ball would have induced an intentional grounding penalty with a ten second runoff, thus ending the game. Only a quarterback taking a hand-to-hand exchange from the center, then immediately throwing the ball forward to the ground, constitutes a legal spike. Anything else is intentional grounding which results in not only loss of yardage and down, but a ten second runoff to boot. Matt Allen is now being barbequed for not doing something that would have been deemed stupid, once the pundits looked in the rule book, or contacted anyone who has ever refed a game.”

Speaking of Football…


…here’s my NFL-quota column.

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda


My sports-viewing is marred by constant regrets and second-guessing. I can still tell you at great length how the Yankees could have won the 2000 World Series if the Diamondbacks hadn’t pinch-run for Mark Grace in the bottom of the 9th (thus putting a fast-runner on first who interfered with Jeter’s attempt to catch Rivera’s errant throw), or, of course, if Rivera had simply made the throw to second cleanly. Well, anyway….Here are my two regret moments from the weekend: Why couldn’t the Cleveland Browns receiver who caught that pass with about two seconds on the clock tossed the ball out of bounds, instead of trying to run out of bounds, thus stopping the clock for a field-goal attempt? Then, in the Giants game, apparently the place-holder couldn’t have spiked the ball to stop the clock—as the color guy said at the time—because you can only do that after taking a snap under center, but couldn’t he have just thrown a quick incompletion? After the Browns game, I kept asking about five times, “Why couldn’t he have tossed it out of bounds? Why couldn’t he have tossed it out of bounds?” My girlfriend didn’t have an answer. Then, there is my Fiesta Ball regret—if Dorsey just hadn’t over-thrown that wide-open guy on second and goal in the second over-time….I wasn’t rooting for any of these teams in particular—but I just hate the little thing going wrong that costs someone a game, which is why I almost always—unless my team is directly implicated—root for the kicker on last minute field-goals, and was delighted when the Miami kicker tied the game on Friday night after what felt like 8 attempts to “ice” him.



I’ll be on NPR tomorrow from 1 to 2 P.M. in the Chicago market. I don’t know if the show will rebroadcast elsewhere at different times. It doesn’t play here in DC. Anyway, the interesting part is that I will be on with Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago and Tom Palmer of the Cato Institute. The subject? “What the Hell is Jonah doing on this show?” No, actually, it will be on libertarianism in America. Should be fun.

Great Euro Hate Mail.


Okay the English is very bad — almost to the point of seeming deliberately so. Also, the guy says he from Munich but his email address has a “yahoo.Fr” at the end, which I’ve always taken to be a French thing. Anyway, I think it’s genuine in it’s sentiment. Great reading, if by “great” you mean morally, intellectually and factually absurd and offensive.

Hi mister Jonah, good job you bash the french, but keep in mind that more and more people, here in Europe and everywhere else on this planet consider George Bush as a global A.Hitlerlike tyran with one goal, invade and kill all those johnny foreigners who are not like us, the us. Gas them, bomb them, bring big bukes in return, and finally kill this sad planet (which Adolf Bush and Richard Perle Himmler) will eventually do for the sake of their sad ass’o shitty pants.

The more I see the appaling apathy of the us citizens before the horrendous behaviour of the us government against arab minorities (for the sake of terrorism, oh oh, you bet, for the sake of extermination, and by the way, where are the Konzentration Lage, no, not those ones in Gaza and Cisjordany, Adolf Sharon filled them already, I mean those ones in AmeriKKKa?), the more I see before my terrified eye the behaviour of the german population between 1930 and 1939. Are the AmeriKKKans so blind and short sighted?

Bush poor people and poor country are on the brink, like those grim nasdaq, dow jones and standard and poors. Killed they are. No pension funds for poor old Sam. Sad that is. And sad sod o’nazi Bush does not even have a clue of the future he will trigger.

Cheers (from a Munich leftist and his british wife). God Bless AmeriKKKA and its Arabs killers.

(and don’t tell I am an antisemite, my country hosts the biggest jew community in Europe, and none of them (bare a few hundred of orthomoronics) would EVER go to ISRAEL with SHARON in charge and the deadly Perle in Washington).
Cheers (again).

Helen Thomas Should Not Have a White House Press Pass, Con’t


A news analyst at the Media Research Center sends me this, from today’s White House press briefing:

12:37 p.m. EST

Helen Thomas, Hearst Newspapers columnist: “[In your] earlier briefing, Ari, you said that the President deplored the taking of innocent lives. Does that apply to all innocent lives in the world? And I have a follow-up.”

[Ari Fleischer: "Well, Helen, I referred specifically to a horrible terrorist attack in Tel Aviv that killed scores and wounded hundreds. And the President, as he said in a statement yesterday deplores in the strongest terms the taking of those lives and the wounding of those people: innocents in Israel."]

Thomas: “The follow-up is, why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?”

[Fleischer: "Helen, the question is how to protect Americans and our allies and friends."]

Thomas, interrupting: “They’re not attacking. Have they laid a glove on you or on the United States, the Iraqs [sic] in eleven years?”

[Fleischer: "I guess you've forgotten about the Americans who were killed in the first Gulf War as a result of Saddam Hussein's aggression then."]

Thomas: “Is this your revenge? Eleven years of revenge?”

[Fleischer: "Now, Helen, I think you know very well that the President's position is that he wants to avert war and that the President has asked the United Nations to go into Iraq to help for the purpose of averting war."]

Thomas: “Would the President attack innocent Iraqi lives?”

[Fleischer: "The President wants to make certain that he can defend our country, defend our interests, defend the region, and make certain that American lives are not lost."]

Thomas: “Does he think they are a threat to us?”

[Fleischer: "There is no question that the President thinks that Iraq is a threat to the United States."]

Thomas: “The Iraqi people?”

[Fleischer: "The Iraqi people are represented by their government, if there was regime change-"]

Thomas: “So they will be vulnerable-”

[Fleischer: "Actually, the President has made it very clear that he has no dispute with the people of Iraq. That's why the American policy remains a policy of regime change. There's no question the people of Iraq-"]

Thomas: “That’s a decision for them to make, isn’t it? It’s their country?”

[Fleischer: "Uh, Helen, if you think that the people of Iraq are in a position to dictate who their dictator is, I don't think that's been what history has shown. Ron [Fournier of AP]?”]

Thomas: “I think many countries don’t have, people don’t have the decision. Including us.”

The Four “Most Pressing” Civil-Rights Issues


Over the holidays, and in a predictable if ham-handed attempt to capitalize on the Trent Lott fiasco, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights—an umbrella organization for various pillars of the civil rights establishment—sent a letter to President Bush, listing the four “most pressing” items on its “equal justice” agenda. They are (drum roll, please): maintaining racial discrimination in university admissions, opposing some of the president’s better judicial nominations, hate crimes legislation (so that crimes that are already crimes can be prosecuted not only as crimes but also as hate crimes), and making sure Congress spends $3.9 billion—that’s billion, with a “b”—on the recently passed “Help America Vote Act.” Quite an impressive agenda. How are these people able to continue raising money, anyhow?

King Vs. Schumer



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