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Showing posts from April 5, 2020

Love Is

I watched the national nightly news just a bit ago, and there was a story that broke my heart. I want to say it was in North Carolina, but a guy lost his father to the coronavirus. And I noticed he said it a couple of times, "My dad was…" I don't want to beat up on the guy too bad, because he just lost his dad. Yet it's wrong to say, "was". I want to acknowledge the reality of our separations from loved ones in death, without conceding some sort of ultimate reality to death. We can have all the space and time we need to grieve that separation, but I do not talk about my loved ones in the past tense, unless I'm telling a story that happened in the past. My dad is Richard Kettinger; he is a fan of the Dodgers. He is a son, a brother, a father, an uncle, and whatever else. Love in every form--even if imperfect--makes everything present. A friend asked me how I felt some time ago on the anniversary of the death of another friend. I felt like a crazy person

Addendum To the Introduction (Deneen) (V)

I wanted to talk more about the fourth critical area where Deneen says liberalism has impacted the social fabric most negatively: science and technology. To raise a protest about any sort of technology in today's society in a certain sense proves Deneen's point about our universal adoption of what Pope Francis describes as the "technocratic paradigm". Our conveniences and their use Deneen says are actually determining the course of our lives, rather than we as individuals and groups using technology to further some specified goal. Living spaces and economic arrangements which are fitted to human scale often describe a philosophy known as "agrarianism". Deneen certainly offers the modern globalized society as an example of something in general that erodes human society, and its numerous small intimate human connections. He does approvingly mention Wendell Berry in this regard. He seems to argue that we cannot critically examine the use of a particular good, w

Humor: Some Thoughts

I'll probably over-analyze this, as is my way. I think humor is the unexpected juxtaposition of seemingly contrary things, which forms an absurdity. Another aspect of humor is the intentional breaking of taboos, usually coupled with self-mockery or self-parody. Many people are perplexed by various types of crude humor, but I have realized that it's only actually funny as a contrast, perhaps to the way we're expected to behave in most places of our lives. Even the tolerance for that kind of thing is a matter of taste. If we're crude all the time, crude humor doesn't shock or surprise. I think the unexpected is a key ingredient of humor. I still haven't watched a whole lot of the TV show Seinfeld. I know, I need to do that. That comedy works, because we have expectations about how decent people are supposed to conduct themselves. None of the erstwhile protagonists are flagrantly evil, in any sort of historic sense. Still, they consistently miss opportunities t

Why Liberalism Failed (Deneen) Introduction (IV)

Deneen says that the philosophy of liberalism was developed some 500 years ago, and implemented most notably in the United States in the last 250 years. The essential features of liberalism according to Deneen are the individual as a rights-bearer, capitalism is the means to acquire goods and markers of personal identity, and periodic democratic elections, which allegedly ratify the decisions of the set of rights-bearing individuals. Deneen is going to claim that the individual as the fundamental unit of society is a crucial departure from the classical understanding of people and their relations to one another, with their interlocking obligations, many chosen, but some not chosen. Indeed, the biggest promise of liberalism according to Deneen was to liberate individuals from these involuntary obligations, and any identities imposed externally from those obligations. He goes on to argue that in four areas, liberalism faces a crisis of its own self-contradiction. Politics and governmen

Election Update And Campaign Messaging

I basically agree with this analysis . Granted, in some sense, it accords with what I want. On the other hand, it does pretty well explain the data we are seeing now. One interesting measure of the mood before any election is the generic Congressional ballot. You should know that it almost always favors Democrats, if only slightly. It is also the case that a small lead for the Democrats (inside three points, for example) sometimes indicates a Republican victory brewing. Right now, the average of the Congressional ballot--which generally indicates voter mood--at Real Clear Politics shows a Democratic advantage of over eight points. That indicates a wave election, and we just had a wave election. The Republicans don't have House seats to lose. How bad could this get for the GOP? Let's be conservative, and say the Democrats flip 15 seats. That would give the Democrats 262 seats, to the Republican number of 166. Right at this moment, there are also six vacancies in the House. Let&#