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Bloggingheads
01-24-2008, 01:58 PM
This is Part II of John and Glenn's discussion. Part I, posted on January 17, can be found here (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8136).

thprop
01-24-2008, 02:39 PM
John McWhorter continues to repeat the lies and propaganda (http://brainwaveweb.com/diavlogs/8261?in=00:09:28&out=00:11:00)being put out by Israel with regard to the failed negotiations at Camp David in 2000. For some reason, the version put out by Dennis Ross has been accepted as the truth in this country.

If this were such a good deal for the Palestinians, why would Shlomo Ben-Ami, the Israeli Foreign Minister in 2000, say:
“If I were a Palestinian, I Would Have Rejected Camp David” (http://www.democracynow.org/2006/2/14/fmr_israeli_foreign_minister_if_i)

Norman Finkelstein completely destroys (http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=989) Ross' version of events. Here is an interesting debate (http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=140)between Ben Ami and Finkelstein.

Walt and Mearsheimer also give an accurate account of the Camp David negotiations in The Israel Lobby (ppg. 103-107, Camp David Myths). The Palestinians were never offered anything formally - informally they were offered nothing like that described by McWhorter.

Remember that the talks between the Israelis and Palestinians continued until January 2001 in Taba, Egypt. Ehud Barak broke off those talks. Shortly thereafter, Ariel Sharon came to power and there was no chance of talks restarting.

Anyuser
01-24-2008, 03:27 PM
These guys are great.

threep
01-24-2008, 04:39 PM
I mostly have looked down on the boosterism surrounding this match-up, since I was wary (and sometimes rightly) that there would be Colin-Powell-speaks-so-well syndrome, but I have to say that I am continuously, repeatedly impressed. Not by the depth of material or the clarity of presentation, even, but by the fact that one or the other will disagree incisively and therefore, naturally, confrontationally, and though I brace myself for the outbreak of hostility, against all my conditioning and instincts it doesn't come. Somehow the focus never leaves the incisiveness when so many others of us would lose our way in the confrontation. It's almost shaming.

gwlaw99
01-24-2008, 04:52 PM
"Glenn holds Israelis to a higher standard"

So does most of the world outside the US which exactly the problem. One standard for jews and one for everyone else is antisemetism.

Glenn's igornance of basic facts make it rediculous for him to be commenting on the situation. Calling the people in Hebron "settlers" when jews lived there for over 2000 years until they were ethnically clensed in 1948 is absurd.

His ignorance of what happened in the Israel Hezbollah war is simply appaling.

Not understanding that the majority of Israeli jews until the late 80's were refugess from ARAB countries and not Europe. (now it's 40% because of the influx of Russian Jews)

Bill Clinton and Dennis Ross were there. Jimmy Carter, Norman Finkelstein and Walt and Mersheimer were not. I believe Bill Clinton.

Glenn, some advice. Don't say another word about the Israel/Palestine conflict unless you actually decided to learn about it. You are a very smart man who ends up sounding foolish.

joe_mask
01-24-2008, 04:56 PM
Long time, first time.

Just a quick note to congratulate Mr. Loury and Mr. McWhorter on another wonderful edition of bloggingheads. I love the tone and thoughtfulness of their conversation and hope for many more episodes.

I of course appreciate all the content on this site very much and want to thank Robert Wright and Mickey Kaus for their hard work.

Yes, yes, it's kinda kissass. I'll at least begin like a gentleman.

Wonderment
01-24-2008, 05:03 PM
I found some interesting connections between the first part of the dialogue and the second. John and Glenn discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which revolves around two groups who base their self-consciousness, political organizing and aspirations around core concepts of victimization. The Jews are the historic victims of Euro-Christianity culminating in the Holocaust, and the Palestinians are the dispossessed victims of Zionism.

The great debate in the US -- both within the Latino and African American communities -- is between the Bill Cosbys who insist on individual responsibility and a refusal to overplay the victim card, and those who, like Glenn, insist it would be a mistake to downplay how society and institutional racism limit individual opportunity.

The tricky thing is that "victimhood" is often politically empowering and individually debilitating. Putting individual suffering in historical context has helped further the cause of Jews, Palestinians, African Americans and many other minority groups. But getting stuck in the mindset that everything can simply be blamed on the Exploiter is deeply counterproductive, whether it's Jews seeing an anti-Semite behind every criticism of Israel, Palestinians blaming every failure on a Zionist conspiracy or African Americans blaming the White Man for a teenager's failure to get a job.

The way out of this dilemma is -- as Glenn suggests -- to integrate both individual and collective responsibility: to have high expectations of the individual and to have equally high expectations that the collective can come to understand social and economic injustice. I see this working often -- not always -- in our Latino communities. Young gangbangers with a little mentoring or counseling will understand that they are individually responsible for their crimes; while crime victims can often see through their pain and anger to understand the sociopolitical context. Such societal education and reconciliation can lead to the programs of intervention, prevention, and education that we so desperately need.

Wonderment
01-24-2008, 05:28 PM
John McWhorter continues to repeat the lies and propaganda being put out by Israel with regard to the failed negotiations at Camp David in 2000. For some reason, the version put out by Dennis Ross has been accepted as the truth in this country. If this were such a good deal for the Palestinians, why would Shlomo Ben-Ami, the Israeli Foreign Minister in 2000, say:
“If I were a Palestinian, I Would Have Rejected Camp David”

I didn't interpret John as saying it was a good deal for the Palestinians. It was indeed a shitty deal. I think what he was saying is that they might have been wise to try to close an imperfect deal rather than get no deal at all.

The easy problem of the conflict is developing a peace plan. The hard problem is implementing it. Everyone knows that at the end of the day there has to be a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank with a contiguous strip connecting them. J-lem has to have some kind of shared sovereignty, and refugee grievances must be addressed through a combination of "return," reparations and aid to the Palestinian state.

You have to get there though. There's a map but there are no roads.

Palestinians DO need to do more to reduce violence. There's no other way to get the Israelis to negotiate seriously.

It is hard, however, to hold the Israelis to the "higher standard" that Glenn expects of them. Yes, they should behave in an enlightened and civilized manner, but it's obvious from the past 40 years of Apartheid occupation, settlement and denial of Palestinian human rights that Israeli militarism is extremely brutal, and that in crunch time, the IDF and the Israeli right resort to disproportionate violence and unspeakable barbarity.

theis
01-24-2008, 06:00 PM
It seems plain as the nose on my face that individual and societal responsibility are both important factors in people's success. Take as evidence the ne'er-do-well from a good family. I don't understand why Glenn seems to believe there's only room for activism on one of these fronts. They don't contradict each other. Rather, I imagine that our society's efforts to help disadvantaged people would be tremendously more successful if the people being helped were taking a more proactive stance toward improving their situation. Leaving aside moralizing and blame, which seem to terrify Glenn, doesn't he want to see some people actually start to succeed?

thprop
01-24-2008, 07:00 PM
Palestinians DO need to do more to reduce violence. There's no other way to get the Israelis to negotiate seriously.

It is hard, however, to hold the Israelis to the "higher standard" that Glenn expects of them. Yes, they should behave in an enlightened and civilized manner, but it's obvious from the past 40 years of Apartheid occupation, settlement and denial of Palestinian human rights that Israeli militarism is extremely brutal, and that in crunch time, the IDF and the Israeli right resort to disproportionate violence and unspeakable barbarity.

Why are there all these things that the Palestinians have to DO? Israel does not have to do anything - except to continue its violations of international law by colonizing the West Bank.

If Israel wants the support of the West, it must meet a higher standard. If Israel is just an exclusive religious/ethnic state with colonial and expansionist aspirations, why should we support it?

I guess The Israel Lobby sees to that. Barack Obama obediently bowed down before it and sent a letter (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/rosnerBlog.jhtml?itemNo=865078) to the US Ambassador to the UN - saying that poor little Israel was forced to shut down Gaza and ruin the lives of over a million people:
Dear Ambassador Khalilzad,

I understand that today the UN Security Council met regarding the situation in Gaza, and that a resolution or statement could be forthcoming from the Council in short order.

I urge you to ensure that the Security Council issue no statement and pass no resolution on this matter that does not fully condenm the rocket assault Hamas has been conducting on civilians in southern Israel...

All of us are concerned about the impact of closed border crossings on Palestinian families. However, we have to understand why Israel is forced to do this... Israel has the right to respond while seeking to minimize any impact on civilians.

The Security Council should clearly and unequivocally condemn the rocket attacks... If it cannot bring itself to make these common sense points, I urge you to ensure that it does not speak at all.

Sincerely,
Barack Obama
United States Senator

I wonder if all AIPAC had to say to Obama was, "Hey boy - come over here. We got a letter for you to sign."

I suggest people read:
Lords of the Land: The War for Israel's Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007 (http://www.amazon.com/Lords-Land-Settlements-Territories-1967-2007/dp/1568583702)by Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar

I now look at Israel as an immoral state. I am now in favor of a one state solution. Let everyone in Palestine vote - END THE APARTHEID!

thprop
01-24-2008, 07:04 PM
I believe Bill Clinton.



I have a bridge for sale in New York City - let's talk. You sound like the perfect buyer.

thprop
01-24-2008, 07:09 PM
Bill Clinton and Dennis Ross were there.

So was Shlomo Ben Ami - I believe he was the Israeli foreign minister. He has written and said a lot. Why don't you read "The Rise and Fall of the Oslo Process". (http://www.mec.utah.edu/Lectures/2004%20lecture%20pages/ben-ami.html)

Wonderment
01-24-2008, 07:32 PM
Why are there all these things that the Palestinians have to DO? Israel does not have to do anything - except to continue its violations of international law by colonizing the West Bank.

There are not "all these things" that Palestinians have to do. They simply have to stop trying to kill civilians. And no one said "Israel does not have to do anything." On the contrary, I agree that Israel is a serial human rights and international law violator.


I wonder if all AIPAC had to say to Obama was, "Hey boy - come over here. We got a letter for you to sign."


The racial innuendo of "boy" does not further dialogue.


I now look at Israel as an immoral state. I am now in favor of a one state solution. Let everyone in Palestine vote - END THE APARTHEID!

Great. You can favor anything you want. The trick is how to achieve it. One state is a very unlikely outcome, in my view.

garbagecowboy
01-24-2008, 07:54 PM
Loury's quite literal drift to left continues: his face was completely out of the frame by this point in the conversation (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8261?in=00:01:32).

TwinSwords
01-24-2008, 08:21 PM
Loury's quite literal drift to left continues: his face was completely out of the frame by this point in the conversation (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8261?in=00:01:32).

LOL! He's so far left, he's off the scale!

Intractable
01-24-2008, 08:38 PM
It is inspiring to hear intelligent people having a spirited, respectful and passionate conversation such as this one.

bjkeefe
01-24-2008, 11:58 PM
Yes, yes, it's kinda kissass. I'll at least begin like a gentleman.

We look forward to the bitterness and vitriol, now that you're signed up. ;^)

Welcome aboard!

fedorovingtonboop
01-25-2008, 12:01 AM
glenn, you're so predictably left wing it's boring! you're at risk of becoming a left wing robot!

bjkeefe
01-25-2008, 12:04 AM
gwlaw99:

"Glenn holds Israelis to a higher standard"

So does most of the world outside the US which exactly the problem. One standard for jews and one for everyone else is antisemetism.

That's an interesting reaction. I myself hold the Israelis to a higher standard, too, for a variety of reasons, but the worry I sometimes have is that I am thereby implicitly dissing the Palestinians, in a sort of "well, one can't expect those people to behave."

I strongly reject the idea that my holding Israel to a higher standard is anti-Semitic, though. One should always oblige one's friends to be fully what they are.

bjkeefe
01-25-2008, 12:06 AM
Wonderment:

The tricky thing is that "victimhood" is often politically empowering and individually debilitating.

Excellent observation, and bonus points for succinctness.

bjkeefe
01-25-2008, 12:07 AM
It was funny how John brought the conversation to a close, by comparing Glenn to Barack Obama, because at that point, I was asking myself, "How do I vote for Glenn Loury for President?"

Of course, I'd want John to be one of his senior advisors. It never fails to amaze me how often these two can come at something from different sides and arrive at something that sounds like a step forward.

Keep 'em coming back.

piscivorous
01-25-2008, 12:31 AM
I sort of had the opposite reaction in that the comment has sort seriously diminished my interest in Senator Obama.

bjkeefe
01-25-2008, 12:53 AM
Inspirational speeches don't do it for you? Or was it something else?

bjkeefe
01-25-2008, 02:06 AM
Bear in mind: he's leaning to his right.

basman
01-25-2008, 02:59 AM
1. I don't feel any collective responsibility when other people do bad things. I feel personal responsibilty when I do bad things.

2. The amount of condescension that both these guys but especially Loury shower on the non-intellectuals, which includes me, is breath taking in its audacity.

3. I see no less wisdom, no less good judgment and no less moral sensibility in the non-intellectuals these guys heap scorn upon than in the pointy headed folks I have met in my life and times.

bjkeefe
01-25-2008, 03:05 AM
basman:

That pretty well sums up the difference between conservatives and liberals, I'd say. I feel collective responsibility (as well as personal responsibility) and I definitely think intellectuals (on average) make better decisions.

Wonderment
01-25-2008, 03:54 AM
It was funny how John brought the conversation to a close, by comparing Glenn to Barack Obama, because at that point, I was asking myself, "How do I vote for Glenn Loury for President?"

I had the same thought: What a great statesman Glenn would be.

So last time around John convinced me to support Obama (now that Kucinich is out of the race I can do so without hesitation), and this time Glenn convinced me that he (Glenn) would be a much more inspirational leader than the woman he is supporting.

When I think about it a little more, however, I'm convinced that Glenn made the right career choice by becoming a teacher. I hope his students realize what a treasure they have.

Wonderment
01-25-2008, 04:10 AM
and knowing how strongly you, Brendan, are anti-theist, what do you make of this BO quote from his "Christianity Today" interview:

I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life.

bjkeefe
01-25-2008, 06:08 AM
Wonderment:

When I think about it a little more, however, I'm convinced that Glenn made the right career choice by becoming a teacher. I hope his students realize what a treasure they have.

Yes indeed. I've often thought how nice it would be to take classes from him. I even used to live in the same town where he teaches. Stitch in time. (As if I ever would have been able to get accepted at Brown!)

bjkeefe
01-25-2008, 06:16 AM
and knowing how strongly you, Brendan, are anti-theist, what do you make of this BO quote from his "Christianity Today" interview:

I don't love that aspect of Obama, to be sure.

On the other hand, I don't have a huge problem with people who are religious as long as they keep that part of their life separate from day-to-day decision-making. Obama seems to have good compartmentalization, he's certainly far less bad than any Republican in this regard, and I like a lot of other things about him that carry more weight. Nobody's perfect, especially not when contemplating viable political candidates, so I have to choose from what's available.

I also tend to think that Obama is inflating, or at least emphasizing to the stretching point, his religious beliefs for political reasons, partly in response to the viral "Obama is a secret Muslim" campaigns, and partly just because that's what you have to do to get elected in this damned country. I don't much like this, either, but it is reality. And you can't govern if you don't win.

piscivorous
01-25-2008, 08:09 AM
Because of Professor Loury's overemphasis on the collective responsibility over personal responsibility.

piscivorous
01-25-2008, 09:20 AM
I returned to college latter in life and was amazed at just how ignorant many of the professors were of life's realities. I would like to know how an individual removed from the vicissitudes and trials of real life, sheltered in their protective cocoon of campus group think and utopianism, can "(on average) make better decisions?"

garbagecowboy
01-25-2008, 10:29 AM
Brendan: if that really is a fault line that divides conservatives from liberals, then you guys are in trouble.

"Shame and blame for everyone!" Might work as an ungrad thesis title in the Queer Studies department at Penn (I swear I picked that name out of a hat that contains... 2 others) but not as a public policy you're trying to sell people, with regard to anything from why black people don't do better in school to why people are mean to other people sometimes. Hasn't shouting "It's society's fault!" gotten a little tiresome for the people doing it? I know hearing Loury explain how it's society's fault in a particularly elegant way must warm the cockles of your heart and fill you with renewed vigor, but still... for those of us on the receiving end, I don't think any real revolution is going to take pleace in our consciousnesses.

Loury has said in a completely different context that people "can't be talked out of poverty." I'd like to flip that around on him and say that people can't be talked out of their life experiences with regard to race. All the high-falutin', low-falutin' and meddium-fallutin' prattling in the world will not convince anybody who doesn't already believe it that the 15 year old drug dealer who had a gun in his hand when he got popped is anything but in a bed he made and now has to sleep in.

As far as your beloved intellectuals and their infallibility of judgment: think________I count as an intellectual. I know it's a small sample size... but the idea that I and we are the ones who should run society? I'll take a pass on living in that world. The meetings alone would last weeks.

bjkeefe
01-25-2008, 11:19 AM
pisc and Adam:

The two of you have exaggerated and oversimplified my position, and have ignored qualifiers that I gave.

I believe that society can alleviate or aggravate environments that make bad outcomes more likely, and if society makes choices that contribute to the latter outcome, there is some shared responsibility. However, I do not absolve the individual of responsibility. I am saying that we all can make things better, or worse, depending upon how we act, what policies we support, and how we allocate resources. If we do the right things often enough, there will be fewer individuals who need to be held accountable for their misdeeds. Safe neighborhoods and a belief in opportunity go a long way to helping a kid stay on track.

You're also both guilty of arguing from anecdote, especially in thinking a few college professors you didn't like represents the full spectrum of intellectuals. First, I did say "on average." Second, I don't care how many woolly-headed ivory tower types you want to bring up; I could match them a thousand-fold by emptying out a few trailer parks. Tell me you'd rather have the latter group be The Deciders.

Oops. That was a little uncalled for.

piscivorous
01-25-2008, 11:36 AM
Oh so you think the poor shouldn't have a vote? How egalitarian.

bjkeefe
01-25-2008, 11:40 AM
Oh so you think the poor shouldn't have a vote? How egalitarian.

Again, you're caricaturing my position. Of course I don't think this.

I think the dumb shouldn't have a vote.

uncle ebeneezer
01-25-2008, 11:43 AM
Garbage, I think Glenn pre-responded to your premise a few diavlogs ago when he asked John "what has the message 'be better' gotten us lately?" Your premise that personal responsibility is the "fault" of whatever unfortunate situation we imagine (the 15 year old with the gun) denies the complexity of factors that caused it to be. While personal responsibility based on our decisions is certainly a big factor, it is not the only one. And Glenn is suggesting that to bury our heads in the sand and say that it is all simply a matter of choice and personal responsibility, is foolish.

The biggest difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals acknowledge the fact that various elements of society DO play a role in why some kid ends up as a gangsta. And more importantly, they believe that the government (as imperfect as it may be) has the potential to tweak various elements of society to try to minimize these occurences in the future. Our personal motivations and decisions are ultimately the biggest factor in the choices we make. But there's two things to remember: sometimes our choices are beyond the reach of direct government influence. IE- people often do what they want to, regardless of what the government says. So "be better" is completely useless in those situations whether it's coming from the govt., Newt Gingrich or Bill Cosby. The other thing to remember is that our desires and choices etc., are effected by society. Peer pressure, status, financial security etc., all involve society at large and are thus subject to change depending on the state of society. This is the glimmer of hope that liberals see as the possibility for making positive change through government policies.

So in summation: personal responsibilty and society both play a role in it all. Both should be considered as avenues for improving the world, and anyone who denies either one is looking through binoculars with one eye closed. I think that was what Glenn was trying to say.

I would vote for Glenn (or John) in a heartbeat. I'd rather have the world run by people who put alot of thought into it, than those who do not.

By the way, I found your "meeting" line funny. Too true. I have sat through countless "business meetings" in the corporate world that totally demolished the notion that somehow free-market/capitalism breeds higher efficiency.

piscivorous
01-25-2008, 11:45 AM
You profess prescribe to the general philosophy that it is not the fault of the downtrodden that the are poor it is the fault of society except for the pisc and Adam:
... I could match them a thousand-fold by emptying out a few trailer parks. Tell me you'd rather have the latter group be The Deciders. Its because they are dumb.

I think the dumb shouldn't have a vote.

basman
01-25-2008, 11:48 AM
Brendan:

Not to get into a whole thing with you, but three quick points:

1. If you have not, look at Paul Johnson's book The Intellectuals;

2. Yes indeed, the intellectuals in Germany, for instance, were quite the bulwark against Hitler's rise to power and his maintaining it--especially that moral stalwart Heidegger;

3. I consider myself a liberal and if in the states would vote Democratic, either for Hillary or Obama, but preferring the former.

piscivorous
01-25-2008, 11:53 AM
While I agree that there is both a a personal and societal responsibility it is a matter of which to stress in importance. Nealy every ethnic and national (Polish, German, Mexican) immigrant group, to America, put greater emphasis on personal responsibility as the ticket out of poverty as opposed to societal responsibility as the magic ticket. Strange how well these other groups better themselves; while many blacks still wallow in self pity and blame after trillions of dollars and exceptions to rules of equality have been thrown their way in the past 3 decades.

harkin
01-25-2008, 12:04 PM
Lourey shows how trapped he is in New Society gobbledeegook when he states that the only way to improve schools is to address how they are 'financed'.

Schools in Utah run achievement rings around schools in Wash DC which spend three times the amount per student (even adjusted for cost-of-living/region) because home life is stable, drug/alcohol use much lower and the environment is learning-friendly, study habits not only nurtured but enforced.

Without a cultural belief in education, strong parenting and personal responsibility, pouring dollars into these schools (and communities) is a futile gesture.

I am still grappling with the fact that someone as obviously intelligent as Mr Lourey has no faith in the black community's ability to help itself. You have to wonder if people like this, respected I'm sure throughout much of their community, are aware they are poisoning an already-tainted well.

harkin
01-25-2008, 12:11 PM
I was working on a project recently in my hometown of Los Angeles.

One Saturday, I was working in the city of Monterey Park, an immigrant Chinese community. Since that day was the occasion of the Kentucky Derby, I scheduled my work that day to make time in the mid-afternoon to catch the race.

The only problem was come post time I could not locate a bar in the entire city. There were restaurants galore and small schools for english and trade-specific needs, but not a bar or tavern anywhere...........

Just the month before I had been working near Crenshaw and I had my choice of bars on every corner.

IMO this is a perfect illustration of the differences in a community's mindset.

piscivorous
01-25-2008, 12:26 PM
I think that hits the nail on the head!

garbagecowboy
01-25-2008, 12:33 PM
Again, you're caricaturing my position. Of course I don't think this.

I think the dumb shouldn't have a vote.

Oh, well, that's very egalitarian.

IQ tests for everyone!

And do you think that perhaps being poor correlates highly with being dumb? So, in practice you'd be banning lots of poor people from having any impact on public policy.

I think you're doing a good enough job caricaturing your own position, I don't need to help it along.

piscivorous
01-25-2008, 12:36 PM
I know but I couldn't resist as I've seen him use it so "cleverly" so often.

bjkeefe
01-25-2008, 12:53 PM
Well said, Uncle Eb.

bjkeefe
01-25-2008, 12:55 PM
You profess prescribe to the general philosophy that it is not the fault of the downtrodden that the are poor it is the fault of society except for the Its because they are dumb.

Sorry, Pisc. I just don't understand what you're trying to say here.

garbagecowboy
01-25-2008, 12:58 PM
The worst thing about all this is, that as McWhorter said (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8261?in=00:28:43), that anyone who says these kinds of things is (if black) is "pushing the envelope or punitive and preachy." I'd also add that if you mention these things as a white person you're at best butting in where your advice isn't wanted and possibly a racist, fascist, bigot. You're blaming the victim.

I really don't understand how Loury can admit that agency matters but still have his main policy thrust be that we need to throw money at the problem. He doesn't seem to remember how badly awry the last attempt to use money to fulfill "our mutual obligations" to poor black people went, or for some reason thinks that the programs this time will not just be bigger or better, but of a completely different nature. It is inarguable that the Great Society programs failed to help black people reach anywhere near a similar standard of living or other measures of human capital relative to white Americans. I would contend, further, that the programs actually harmed the people they intended to help instead of just not helping as intended.

Giving the poor money seems to be something that lefty wonk types thought would be a positive good and would certainly do no harm. It turns out that giving free money to people who are not highly self-motivated saints (e.g. virtually every single human being alive) tends to be a strong disincentive to work, education, and and, frankly, taking personal responsibility. It seems to me that given how many fewer people are on welfare sine welfare reform that a large fraction of the people who were on the dole could have actually gone out and made a living, had they chosen to. Housing people who could not afford to live in a city otherwise was an idea that the lefty wonk types thought would be a positive good and certainly wouldn't hurt anybody. That movement certainly had plenty of very very smart intellectuals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Corbusier) behind it. As others have noted (http://www.defensiblespace.com/book/pages/page2.htm), the plan was good (http://www.defensiblespace.com/images/cds/chap1/slide-i-2.gif), but it didn't work out according to plan (http://www.defensiblespace.com/images/cds/chap1/slide-i-3.jpg). They've torn down a lot of the projects and yet cities don't see a spike in homelessness when they did that. A lot of them ended up being nearly empty or severely depopulated eventually. It all points to the fact that lots of the people who moved into the projects in the 60's and 70's probably would have gotten housing somehow and not simply been on the street without their government handout.

So where was the problem? Maybe this time we just need to get smarter intellectuals to fix the problem for black people? Given how the indicators of human capital, the strength of the family, etc. have trended since the great society and with a great waning of institutional and personal racism, I think we should spare all people, black and white, from the Great Society 2.0.

Wonderment
01-25-2008, 02:52 PM
(As if I ever would have been able to get accepted at Brown!)

Brown's loss, Brendan.

TwinSwords
01-26-2008, 12:24 AM
The biggest difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals acknowledge the fact that various elements of society DO play a role in why some kid ends up as a gangsta. And more importantly, they believe that the government (as imperfect as it may be) has the potential to tweak various elements of society to try to minimize these occurences in the future.
I agree completely. Furthermore, conservatives also believe both of these things, but towards different aims — usually as they advocate repressive and theocratic state policies designed to constrain choice and limit the range of human freedom.

— "various elements of society DO play a role" in shaping children

The conservative war on free speech and commerce where it concerns music, art, video games, movies, books (fiction and non-fiction), etc., is entirely based on a belief that various elements of society shape children. At the extreme end, they don't even want their children going out trick or treating because the Halloween rituals are demonic. The conservatives are at war with science and education because these dangerous elements of society undermine their religious teachings. You can't let your kid go to government schools, not at least without a lot of counter-programming, because he will be indoctrinated into the secular religions of "Darwinianism" and "the church of global warming," to say nothing of sex ed, access to birth control, and rational thought in general.

At the most moderate end of the spectrum, this results in conservatives who want to undermine or replace "government schools" with private (ideally religious) education. At the most extreme end of the spectrum, it results in conservatives who home school their children for fear that any exposure to life outside the cult will poison their children's minds.

— "they believe that the government ... has the potential to tweak various elements of society"

In the same vein, conservatives believe government plays a role in shaping elements of society. See, e.g.:

George F. Will, "Statecraft is Soulcraft."
Bush's Office of Faith Based Initiatives
Bush père's Thousand Points of Light

This is affirmative action to advance a moral agenda and "tweak" society for the better.

On the other side of the coin, conservatives believe government tweaks society in negative ways: the aforementioned hazards of public school, or their resentment of welfare programs because they deny churches access they might otherwise have to desperate souls in search of food or shelter. The churches liked it better when the poor went to them for charity. This gave them the opportunity to proselytize and set conditions: "We'll give you food, but you must attend church services on Sunday, and volunteer your services to our mission."

This just scratches the surface.

{QUOTE=uncle ebeneezer;69353}
By the way, I found your "meeting" line funny. Too true. I have sat through countless "business meetings" in the corporate world that totally demolished the notion that somehow free-market/capitalism breeds higher efficiency.{/QUOTE}

Precisely correct. What a lot of right wing blowhards don't get is that corporations are bureaucracies and exhibit many of the same inefficiencies as any public sector.

At the Fortune 50 company where I work (total workforce > 50,000), we are constantly being moved from office to office, building to building. It's a constant bureaucratic churn, and a hell of a waste of money. My team and I have moved no fewer than twice a year for over a decade. The last time we moved was September, 2007. Our next move is scheduled for February, 2008. Wherever we go next, we won't be there long.

The best example was the day I watched a guy with an office near mine spend the morning packing up his office and loading his belongings into a cart. When he was all finished, he went to lunch. After lunch, he pushed his cart 3 feet and unloaded everything into the adjacent office -- directly next door to the one he spent the morning vacating.

This is the kind of centralized planning that makes sense to a bureaucrat looking at a spreadsheet, but no one else. And as you said, corporate America loves its meetings.

TwinSwords
01-26-2008, 12:31 AM
Brown's loss, Brendan.

Seconded...

bjkeefe
01-26-2008, 12:57 AM
Thanks, y'all.

TwinSwords
01-26-2008, 01:12 AM
But we ought not ignore that Hezbollah fired 4000 Katyusha rockets into civilian areas in Israel (with no pretense of aiming at military targets), many laced with ball bearings (http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MzY2ZTY5OGY5ZDc1YWJlZTUyNjk3YTc3ODA0MTQ1MDE=)th at could kill people up to 600 meters away. And Israel was absolutely powerless to do anything about it.
In a sense; they were unable to find and destroy the rocker launchers. But I don't think it's true they were "absolutely powerless" to stop the war. It did end, after all, and didn't inflicting massive damage to Lebanon's infrastructure, while killing so many civilians, have something to do with it? Isn't Nasrallah politically constrained from doing anything that would cause further Israeli devastation of Lebanon for fear of another round of Israeli attacks?



(Katyushas, by the way, are hardly “slingshots.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFMGMNaSjoM)True, they’re not very accurate. But that’s part of the terror
If I had to choose between terror and death, I'd take terror. And my understanding is that Israel suffered about 44 dead civilians, while Lebanon suffered around 850. Israel may be "absolutely powerless" to do anything except inflict 20 times as many casualties and obliterate a lot of Lebanese infrastructure.



In any future war with missiles fired into Israel from various sources, or where missiles with greater range are used, leaving will likely be out of the question.
Right. Honestly, I don't know how Israel is going to survive the next fifty years unless they work very hard at coming to some kind of accomodation with their neighbors. While I am firmly on Israel's side of this conflict, the apartheid state and refusal to accommodate the Palestinians will, I fear, doom the nation to eventual obliteration.

If Nat Turner had a nuke or WMD, he would have probably killed a lot more than 57 white men, women, and children. Systems of oppression that have worked for thousands or years may not survive in an age of cheap and readily available weapons of mass destruction — though it looks like Israel intends to test the propostion. The threat of mutually assured destruction may protect them, but I doubt it.



Israel’s advanced weaponry is obviously useful for carrying out pinpoint operations
But Israel's weapons are also useful as instruments of blunt force designed to inflict massive, indiscriminate destruction, which is what they did in the war of 2006. And ultimately, wasn't that blunt force what ended the war?

I thought Glenn's Paean to Israeli Exceptionalism (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8261?in=00:07:50&out=00:09:29) was moving and precisely correct. But at some point, you have to take your boot off the back of the neck of your neighbors. White South Africa was terrified of "mob rule" (democracy), too. White Americans in the South were afraid of freedom for blacks. But at the end of the day, the brutal systems of apartheid enforced through violence simply had to end. Israel must end the police state and the slaughter if only to save its own soul.

dudeman
01-26-2008, 10:17 AM
There wouldn't be any conflict between Israelis & Arabs if the Arabs had not been stupid enough to reject Israel's creation. Ever seen just how small Israel would be if the Arabs hadn't stupidly rejected Israel? It's miniscule, and it was still too big for the Arabs. Well, where did their rejection of Israel get them? Israel is now the most powerful state in the region, and it's going nowhere.

Now after many lost wars, the Arabs make fools of themselves by demanding the losing side get all its land back and the right to live in the winner's country. These demands are insane. Did we offer the Germans all their land back and the right to live in the US, UK & USSR after WWII?

The conflict has one source: Arab rejectionism of Israel's existence. Once they accept it, the conflict ends.

Trevor
01-26-2008, 02:37 PM
Well the circumstances by which those groups came to America were markedly different, to put it mildly.

uncle ebeneezer
01-26-2008, 03:22 PM
Thank you Trevor, for bringing that up. I meant to mention that.

In an effort to rty to explain why certain phenomena seem to exist in one ethnic group (Blacks) rather than others (Asian, Irish, Jew etc.) it would be foolish not to consider the experience that a group has endured specifically that may be a factor. The "well the Irish/Korean/Polish (whatever) managed to not have these problems so what's the matter with the Blacks?" argument, seems very short-sighted to me. For as much prejudice as any of those groups undoubtedly faced, none of them were specifically the targets of terrorism (lynchings), cultural segregation, and legislative discrimination on the level that blacks were. America put a whole lot of effort for years into treating Blacks as "different" than everybody else. Water fountains, lunch counters, back of the bus, voting rights etc., to say nothing of the fact that they were once "property" and viewed as animals. Is it really any wonder that some of the ramifications of this story may still manifest in negative ways within the black culture? Ask a jew about the Holocaust and whether that still affects them today. Ask an Irish person about the bloddy conflicts from their past. Look at the Middle East for crying out loud. "Get over it" may be excellent advice, but Blacks are hardly the only ethnicity who are having a tough time putting it into practice.

Koreans, Chinese, Polish etc. all came to this country specifically because they had the desire to achieve. So it makes sense that a bunch of achievers would foster a culture that places high emphasis on such a virtue. Blacks were dragged here on slave ships and have been shunned by America far more often than they have been embraced. Given that history (and the generations of poverty), I don't find many of their cultural problems all that surprising. The question is how we can try to fix them. I don't think "be better" is the solution. And I don't think it's a matter of genetic differences that can't be overcome by the right combination of policy, family, personal responsibility. I don't think that slavery or anything else from the past is an excuse, but it is certainly in part, an explanation and should be considered as we try to formulate a solution. I think a solution is out there. We may not reach a perfect one, but we can at least try to make baby steps in the right direction. I have hope that this is something government can do (or at least assist in.) I'm not ready to write off 13% of our population as a lost cause. I think we can fix things but the answer won't be simple or obvious. I think we just need to keep trying.

Sorry, Obama's speech style is begining to rub off on me. Cheers! --UE

Wonderment
01-26-2008, 03:35 PM
Now after many lost wars, the Arabs make fools of themselves by demanding the losing side get all its land back and the right to live in the winner's country. These demands are insane.

Why is it insane to demand that your stolen property be returned to you? What do you think you'd do if a foreign army invaded your town, kicked you out and sent you to live in a refugee camp on the other side of the Mexican border?

The refugee issue is about people who were dispossessed and expelled from their country, or who fled under terroristic threat and other forms of duress.

piscivorous
01-26-2008, 11:57 PM
I suppose those memories of hangings and such were handed down genetically. They would have to be for the vast majority of those living today know of these events through reading about them in text books, old newspaper clippings and specials on the TV not through any direct exposure or even indirectly through stories told to them my their grand parents. I guess that one could be traumatized by reading old issues of Time Magazine and Newsweek but I don't find it very likely.

David_PA
01-27-2008, 06:06 AM
basman:

That pretty well sums up the difference between conservatives and liberals, I'd say. I feel collective responsibility (as well as personal responsibility) and I definitely think intellectuals (on average) make better decisions.

Chiming in a little late ...

Academics and intellectuals make excellent analysts and they can be very good developers of policy. But, I wouldn't, in general, rate intellectuals as having excellent decision making skills or say that they see clearly directions in which we 'should head'. Rather, intellectuals are trained to see clearly all, or almost all, the directions in which we 'could' head.

Good decisions are borne out of knowing all of the possible ways to head, and as much as possible about the consequences of each possibility. So, intellectuals can play a crucial role in good decision-making, because thoroughly researching before making certain critical decisions is essential to making good ones.

The right often positions itself as the anti-intellectual or anti-academia party. At it's worst, that translates into the non-thinking party. Though, to be more fair, neither the left nor the right has lately brought forward front-line leaders who make good decisions. However, I think the left is the more thoughtful party and that the country would be more sound if either of their top leaders-in-the-making get elected as president.

uncle ebeneezer
01-27-2008, 04:22 PM
Pisc, these memories are handed down CULTURALLY. Genes have nothing to do with it. Nor does reading about it in Time magazine. Example: Great great grandfather was slave. Great grandfather was freed but denied the right to vote had limited property ownership rights etc.. Grandfather wasn't allowed into certain schools, had to drink from separate water fountain, Father faced discrimination in college, business world etc., Son lives in ghetto is routinely harrassed by police receives harsher sentence than white friend. etc. The details of the story change from one generation to the next but the overall theme which is reinforced via personal experience as well as annecdotal family history, remains the same. Conclusion: person from one culture (in this case black) has entirely different outlook and experience than someone else (white). I'm sure your relatives have told you stories that directly relate to your culture. And if you told me them I'm certain that some of it would be as alien to me as another culture is to you (unless you happen to share my ethnic combination.) These are the things that define our cultures. These are also the things that make it so hard to understand other cultures.

piscivorous
01-27-2008, 08:15 PM
I don't have a problem with this but to continue to use this these third and fourth hand "experience" as an excuse or reason for the continued under-performance of many blacks seems to me; to paraphrase one of my favorite Senators, "... require the willing suspension of disbelief."

Dee Sharp
01-31-2008, 06:29 PM
...given how many fewer people are on welfare sine welfare reform...

A nice post, but sine means without, not after.

Sorry, that can't be right. I live in a trailer park. Since the mean intelligence of trailer dwellers is so low that most shouldn't vote, the chance that even one knows a smattering of Latin is too small to consider.

Suppose that some dwellings increase the intelligence of their occupants. That would explain the Flynn Effect: as the housing stock improves, intelligence follows. After research identifies the smartest housing, our Great Housing programs will achieve what the Great Society attempted, but failed to accomplish.

Dee Sharp
01-31-2008, 06:38 PM
Why is it insane to demand that your stolen property be returned to you? What do you think you'd do if a foreign army invaded your town, kicked you out and sent you to live in a refugee camp on the other side of the Mexican border?


It would depend on the circumstances. If the invading army was part of the Islamic or Spanish conquests, I'd accept their claims to the land. I'd consider any later conquest to be illegitimate.