Well, a sort of busy weekend, and the muse isn’t striking quickly with ideas to write (or at least ideas that won’t take more work than I’m ready to put into it tonight) so … links + extended remarks is on the docket for tonight.

  1. Now this is just stupid, and on something called “science blogs” to boot. Yet, right up there with the “depends on what the definition of is is” kind of pendantic doublespeak. Now Mr Brayton’s grandfather might have been a aboriginal hunter/gatherer or from an migratory herding culture … but for most of us these days traditional harks back all the way to the 50s or even further back to the Victorian era … or even stretching it to the mid-19th century. And guess what, monogamy was in fact traditional in those times.
  2. On Russia’s relationship with the past, especially Stalin. It seems to me, from a somewhat casual view … so I’m not really going to defend it very vigorously against someone who argues that they are actually speaking with some authority on the subject, but Russians really do know all about the bad things Stalin did. It’s not news to them (and speaking on that particular subject, I just finished reading Lydia Chukovskaya’s Sofia Petrovna this afternoon. Highly recommended.). On the other hand, one of the thing Stalin did do, irrespective of his methods, was to recast Russia from an large resource rich but still a poor agrarian nation into an industrial and military power which for some time in the latter 20th century, was regarded as one of the two super-powers. This remolding, in part required to survive Hitler’s aggression, is the source it seems to me of the reluctance to utterly condemn everything Stalin did or stood for. And I have no clue where this guy fits in the picture.
  3. Here’s a post on immigration that exemplifies the right way to go about discussions on this sort of politically charged topics
  4. Today I went to church with my parents, a Lutheran church. For the last few years almost all the church I’ve been to has been Eastern rite Orthodox … so (as a convert) the contrasts are getting more and more evident. One thing I missed was this, well not the “video presentation” but the beatitudes are sung every (ordinary) Sunday at the beginning of the service in the Eastern rite. I think centering liturgy on that is something that the West would do well to recover. Of course it was less penitential, but that I expected.
  5. Praise from the right for Mr Obama’s administration. I’ll offer another, connected with #3 above. Mr Obama’s highly celebrated, before the fact) and not so much after, trip to plead at the Olympic committee on behalf of Chicago suffered from what I in the past have termed a lack of epistemic humility, an overconfidence by the Administration in their smartness, their cleverness, and their rhetorical skills. Long time Olympic watchers had noted the “Byzantine” complexities of the Olympic committees movements, ways and politics. Yet the Admin thought they were smart enough to waft in casually at the last moment, offer a few touches, a little pomp and save the day … and they came in last place, not first. Their Mideast policy smacks of this too, assuming that their cleverness will succeed where so much has failed in the past. So, where is my praise? I’ll praise the Obama administration for not touching immigration.

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  1. Boonton says:

    “lack of epistemic humility”….

    Ok not for nothing but I think you’re taking a perfectly fine $5 philosophical phrase David Brooks coined and now marking it down to the $0.99 clearence rack. “Epistemic humility” does not require one to do nothing nor does it require one to follow through on one’s decisions without confidence.

    The Olympic selection process may be complex but at the end of the day it’s about various cities making a pitch to be selected. Obama was not the only head of state to show up and previously his wife had been spearheading the process. As far as anyone can tell, Chicago lost on fair grounds, not because anyone was pissed off at Obama for now respecting a Byzantine process.

    Your evaluation of his Middle East policies is even more amusing considering we are coming off an administration who casually invaded two nations on the assumption that Democracy could be created from the ground up. Perhaps I’d be willing to take your cirticism more seriously if you actually provided some evidence that you even know what Obama’s ME policy is and why its arrogant.

  2. Boonton says:

    Now Mr Brayton’s grandfather might have been a aboriginal hunter/gatherer or from an migratory herding culture … but for most of us these days traditional harks back all the way to the 50s or even further back to the Victorian era …

    And as the right becomes more and more ignorant they get to substitute history for illusion. Why not ‘hark back’ to sit-coms about the 1950’s if you’re going to be ignorant of actual tradition? Even better, use the Flintstones for your anthropologic research.

  3. Mark says:

    Uhm, let’s see examine how you use the word traditional. Traditional holiday dinner, which refers to a family tradition typically harking back less than a generation. Traditional holiday parade, for a community perhaps decades or possibly even a dozen or more decades old. Traditional dress, which varies by person and might stretch back even a hundred or more years. Traditional mores and marriage? Hmm, oh that necessarily goes back 3000 years and not a decade less.

    Is it that the left substitutes pedantry and insult for argument and discussion as it becomes more and more ignorant?

  4. Boonton says:

    So traditional marriage means essentially marriage as it was in the 1950’s….or possibly marriage as it was imagined by popular culture to exist in the 1950’s (either 1950’s pop culture or modern pop culture reflecting on the 50’s). OK, so why is that of special importance? Those opposed to gay marriage talk like they have thousands of years of history on their side. Now you tell us they have a few Honeymooner’s rereuns combined with some episodes of Mad Men?

  5. Mark says:

    No, all I’m saying, is that common usage of the word “traditional” does not normally mean what was done 3000 years ago in aboriginal cultures … unless you’re being overly pedantic.

    Y’all on the left are all for multiculturalism and holding to one’s own traditions … until those traditions run counter to your agenda.

    I can’t speak to Mad Men which I think is on cable and therefore beyond my reach ( 😀 ), and I don’t think I’ve ever actually watched Honeymooners. Surely you don’t have to be an ass about what tradition means to make your point. Why are the various European tradition important to those of Europeans descent? Hmm. Let me think about that.

    Those opposed to gay marriage talk like they have thousands of years of history on their side.

    Try two thousand … certainly since Constantine. But that in turn is not precisely what people mean in the vernacular when they speak of tradition.

  6. Boonton says:

    Well let’s back up, the argument was about polygamy vs ‘traditional’ marriage. Those advocating traditional marriage have not been shy about invoking the Bible so one would expect a bit larger historical focus from such people than the 1950’s or even the Victorian era (and it’s not as if polygamy was so unheard of, the Mormon’s caused a major debate about it in the mid 1800’s US).

    So it seems like traditional marriage means the lst 2K+ years if we are talking about gay marriage but if we are talking about polygamy it means…well…1950. Or perhaps the real rule here is whenever conservatives act stupid or ignorant you’ll rush in with some ‘clarrification’ of the rules to vindicate them or at least help them save face. You seem a bit like an over protective parent who Google’s Old English dictionaries in a sad effort to prove that their kid who took 2nd place in the spelling bee really did have the world correct…