Archive for June 2007

Bye, Bye, Miss American Empire

June 26, 2007

Bill Kauffman on secession and empire, from Orion. (And a hat tip to LRC.)

I’m blogging on the fly from a Starbucks in New Haven, Connecticut. I’m sure hipsters do this all the time, but it feels pretty strange to me — especially since my connection isn’t very reliable and I expect to get kicked out for not drinking enough coffee.

Keeping Busy

June 24, 2007

Sorry for the lack of updates — posts over the next week or so are going to remain pretty sparse.  The good news is that some larger projects of mine are moving along reasonably well.  Peter Stanlis’s forthcoming Robert Frost: The Poet as Philosopher, which I’ve been editing, is coming out later in the summer, and the next book project I’m editing, a new edition of Carle Zimmerman’s overlooked classic Family and Civilization (with some new critical material from Allan Carlson, James Kurth, and Bryce Christensen) is well underway. Look for that this Fall.

My review of John Lukacs’s short book on George Kennan is in the current issue of The American Conservative.  And the next issue will include my review of Thomas McCraw’s biography of Joseph Schumpeter, Prophet of Innovation.  A couple of other reviews and essays will be showing up in the next month or two as well.

Bacevich: Abolish the Joint Chiefs

June 19, 2007

Powell was too powerful (as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that is), while most of his predecessors and all of his successors have been utterly feckless. So let’s get rid of the JCS, says Andrew Bacevich.

See also Bacevich’s “More Troops, More Troubles,” on the bipartisan folly of super-sizing the Army and Marine Corps. An excerpt:

This bipartisan consensus — which even includes Bush, who recently unveiled his own five-year plan to enlarge the Army and Marine Corps — illustrates the inability or refusal of the political class to grasp the true nature of our post-9/11 foreign policy crisis. Any politician who thinks that the chief lesson to be drawn from the last five years is that we need more Americans toting rifles and carrying rucksacks has learned nothing…

… the great lesson of Iraq (further affirmed in Afghanistan) is that the umma — the Arabic name for the entire Muslim community — is all but impervious to change imposed from the outside. If anything, our ham-handed efforts to inculcate freedom and democracy, even if well-intentioned, have played into the hands of violent Islamic radicals. The Bush administration’s strategy has exacerbated the problem it was designed to solve, while squandering American lives, treasure, moral standing and political influence to little avail.

Given the mess in which we currently find ourselves, increasing the number of men and women under arms makes about as much sense as drinking bourbon to treat depression. In the short term, the antidote might make you feel better, but at a cost of masking the underlying problem and allowing it to fester.

DREAMing About Enlisting Illegals

June 18, 2007

I had to double-check the URL when I read this to make sure it wasn’t the Onion or some kind of spoof site. But no, this really is a Pentagon press release calling for Congress to revive something called the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM — how lovely), which would offer  “a way for high-achieving children of undocumented or illegal residents to join the military and, ultimately, become citizens…” Says acting deputy undersecretary of defense Bill Carr:

 “In other words, if you had come across (the border) with your parents, yet you were a minor child and have been in the U.S. school system for a number of years, then you could be eligible to enlist,” he said. “And at the end of that enlistment, then you would be eligible to become a citizen.” 

Looks like Max Boot might just get his American Foreign Legion. (Hat tip to Tales From the Dark Side.)

The Reagan Diaries

June 18, 2007

I haven’t read ’em yet, but here’s Kevin Phillips’s take from Sunday’s NY Times Book Review.

A Short History of Political Philosophy

June 15, 2007

I spent last week attending David Gordon’s seminar on political philosophy (from Plato to Rawls, Nozick, and Rothbard) at the Mises Institute. You can hear the lectures on-line here. Not only does Dr. Gordon marvelously integrate material appropriate for both neophytes and those already well-versed in the history of political thought, he also successfully untangles the convoluted questions I would put to him after the talks. Well worth a listen.

Russell Kirk, Postmodernist?

June 13, 2007

Gerald Russello’s The Postmodern Imagination of Russell Kirk is out now from the University of Missouri Press.  Don’t let the title dissuade you; Russello’s book isn’t an attempt to make Kirk trendy, it’s a serious look at how Kirk’s thought intersects with such figures as Hans-Georg Gadamer and Jean-Francois Lyotard, as well as others like Bernard Iddings Bell in whose company one is less surprised to find the Sage of Mecosta. I’ll have more to say about it, most likely in a print, in the not-too-distant future.