A Little Something to Fight the Poison

Wednesday, June 04, 2003
VERY BELATED THANKS to Oxblog and my momentary former classmate Josh Chafetz for not just maintaining my candyassed liberal and irregularly updated blog on their roll, but placing it under the category "Franklin Roosevelt," which is about a bazillion times more praise than it deserves.

Oxblog just might be the best hawkish blog out there, because it's tried darned hard to keep its promise to doggedly watch what the Bush Admin is doing after the bigger bombs stopped dropping. I especially like the blogger who has proposed that it should be renamed "Even the Conservative Oxblog."

And there's also Josh's contest for Best Political Theory pick-up lines, in honour of his exams. Characteristically, there's a bias against Rawls because he makes things too easy.

Back to hibernating, maybe...
OH HEY, did I say I'd be taking a break? Maybe I really meant that I would be blogging sporadically. Maybe.

In the meantime, I just couldn't resist commenting on the Canadian political imbroglio that was the federal Progressive Conservative leadership convention.

It turns out that not-so-Golden-Boy Peter MacKay had to cut a 4th ballot deal with "interloper" David Orchard to take the leadership, because even though MacKay had entered as the frontrunner, the rest of the party seemed to be mounting an "anyone-but-Mackay" campaign to keep him from winning the necessary majority.

Orchard is an organic farmer from the Prairies who entered the last leadership race as an independent candidate by using the federal PCs' new rule that anyone could buy a party membership and potentially be a delegate for $10. Because he ran on a nationalist/Greenish platform opposing free trade and supporting environmentalism and more assertive Canadian sovereignty, people dismissed him as a nut. And then he came second to Joe Clark.

Orchard managed to come 3rd this time and leveraged himself into a position in which he could play kingmaker and get MacKay to make a number of promises, including a review of NAFTA and a pledge not to make a deal with the Canadian Alliance.

Mainstream media pundits, especially rightish columnists, have been quick to label the pact "a deal with the devil," calling Orchard's movement "cult-like." Ooh, tradionalist environmentalism and soft-nationalism--so obviously antithetical to conservative principles.

Frankly, I think the amount of abuse the mainstream media has been heaping on this Orchard fellow as a completely alien force is really disturbing and testament of the degree to which the National Post/Canadian Alliance axis has taken over the predominant media storyline. Yeah, the backroom nature of MacKay's deal stunk, especially since the neophyte leader had previously portrayed himself as a bulwark against Orchard.

But maybe someone should actually try to take Orchard's ideas seriously instead of labelling it a "cult" without roots in populist conservatism. Consider that the Prairie provinces, from which Orchard draws his support, have consistently defied the standard neo-con/socialist dichotomy by swinging between giving large amounts of support to both the NDP and Alliance (or Alliance-like "Liberals"). Is there no room left in Canadian conservatism for a conception that views itself in terms of preserving inherited goods, interrogating rapid change (whether, social, technical, or economic), and national sovereignty? (There's a reason we still call it Toryism, remember?) Or have we become convinced that the right can't stand for anything other than free markets, big business, and hooray for America?

Soft-nationalist conservatism did work, after all, for the right wing parties in in France (not that the rest of the world should be happy about that).
IT'S ALL THE RAGE: The Yale Diva follows the latest right wing undergrad fashion and tosses the anti-semite label on a Yale prof.

Let me make sure I have my terms right: I assume that when an Arab intellectual says it, it's anti-semitism, but when a regular Ha'aretz journalist says it, it's...what, self-hate?

(via the smartest bunch of young and thoughtful kinda conservatives around, Oxblog [mainly because they're only kinda conservative])
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
QUASI-FORCED BLOGGING BREAK: I think I'm going to take a break. For starters, it has nothing to do with the slightly worrying phone message I got from the FBI over the weekend (note to you G-Men out there--I'm sure there must be a less scary way to start off your phone messages with "this is Special Agent X from the FBI").

It might have a little bit to do with the amount of stuff that I want to get done this summer...but mostly it has to do with my laptop, which is now shifted from semi-functional to non-responsive hunk of plastic and heavy metals. Be back soon, maybe...
Monday, June 02, 2003
REASONS FOR BEING MISSING: I've been burrowing even further away from the real world and deeper into the amniotic fluid of academia at the annual Canadian Political Science Association conference, which is part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Congress is a mega-conference-of-conferences of every major fuzzy discipline academic association in Canada. So there's a lot of social awkwardness going on in Halifax right now.

I should be back in New Haven today, along with my semi-functioning laptop, now that Air Canada has decided not to collapse before my flight.

Also related: the leaders of the Coalition of the Whatever seem to be in serious need of some reasons for those alleged WMD being missing (remember them?). U.S. media, do your bloody job and wake up and care, damnit.