Friday Blogroll!

1)  In a not so surprising move by the anarchy that is the internet, some of the Sochi pictures are fake.  This is important, because Putin.

2)  Theological reflections on  the coca-cola ad.

3)  Rwanda’s former intel chief is currently on trial in France.

4)  An interesting piece on Francisco Franco’s cult of personality:  “To be sure, Franco, unlike Cosimo, made lots of public speeches during his life and said many well-documented things to ambassadors, ministers, and other political leaders. But one point that Preston’s biography brings out well is that it is very difficult to construct a coherent position for Franco from his public statements (though Preston tries valiantly). For one thing, he seems to have had no problems disregarding the truth when it was convenient for him to deny it, and he was alarmingly willing to change his position as circumstances or audiences changed. He could say anything with apparently complete conviction: he could be a monarchist one minute, a Falangista the next, and then assert his claim to being a true Spanish democrat. Yet Preston never quite succeeds in establishing that there was one thing Franco “really believed” underneath all the bullshitting and incoherence, some ideological commitment or fundamental interest beyond his maintenance in power that could account for the many different things he said. His key political talent, Preston notes more than once, was for “shroud[ing] his intentions in a cloud of nebulous vagueness” (Kindle Location 14849-14850). Since no one could be quite sure about his real commitments, these could be “read” in a variety of different ways at the time – as fundamentally sympathetic to the Falange, or fundamentally conservative and Catholic, or as those of an anti-communist warrior.”

5)  Economic reconstruction in Afghanistan is, of course, failing.

6)  House member renew call for Snowden to be tried as traitor:  “Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) read a statement that “Ed Snowden isn’t a whistleblower; he’s a traitor.” McKeon demanded that Snowden be “brought to justice.” Of course, the ultimate punishment for the crimes described by Thornberry and McKeon would be death.”

7)  The Rise of Libertarians:  This is an important piece from Max Borders, and it, true to form for Borders, is highly optimistic.  There are parts of it that I would challenge, of course, but the thrust of the argument is true:  libertarians are here, they are spontaneous and unpredictable within politics, even when their political identity is properly and sturdily defined.  They transcend party; which, Borders thinks, will dismiss party in the future (at least that seems to be his argument – and I’m skeptical of this), and that the coupling of highly decentralized (and democratic) form of technology with libertarianism (or something like it) is sparking political drifts and trends that the two clunky, major parties and their entrenched worldviews, are not agile enough to adapt to.  Thus – libertarians are here and they are here to stay.

Enjoy the weekend, boys and girls.



Stop watching the State of the Union, Citizen! Here’s your Evening Blogroll!

Short and Sweet

1)  At the Volokh Conspiracy, an overview by Professor Nicholas Johnson over his book, Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms.  “The Resistance at Christiana is especially notable not just because an entire armed black community rallied to defeated slave catchers. It is particularly evocative because of the detail provided in the written account by the central black hero, William Parker and by Fredrick Douglass who facilitated the final leg of the escape and later wrote this: “I could not look upon them as murderers. To me, they were heroic defenders of the just rights of man against man stealers and murderers.” When they parted ways at the border of Canada, Douglass reports, “I shook hands with my friends, and received from Parker the revolver that fell from the hand of the slaver Gorsuch when he died, presented now as a token of gratitude and a memento of the battle for liberty at Christiana.

Nineteenth century black men participated in the ultimate act of political violence, fighting bravely in the civil war. Many of them walked out of war into freedom carrying their service weapons and war prizes. They would need them.

Almost as soon as the shooting war stopped, Southern governments moved to reinstitute slavery through a variety of state and local laws, restricting every aspect of Negro life. Gun prohibition was a common theme of these “Black Codes.” 

Related though older link from Bleeding Heart Libertarians:

2)  Barry Stocker continues to post excerpts from his new book on Kierkegaard.  Read. Them “Kierkegaard’s liking for original simplicity connects him with both the monarchism of Humboldt and the republicanism of Montesquieu and Rousseau.  As we have already seen, in The Limits of State Action (1993, 39-40), Humboldt states a preference for the simplicity of royal government, the choice of early free people which avoids the multitude of demands for state action which follow from other governmental regimes, as the monarchy clearly only serves in the functions of army commander and chief judge. For  Montesquieu, simple democratic republics in which there is little inequality, and laws are indistinguishable from customs, have an elevated role, though that is certainly not the end of his discussion of liberty (The Spirit of the Laws, Part 1). For Rousseau, the ideal republic will be simple, poor and equal, and laws will be accepted as part of customs (Social Contract, II.12). Rousseau accepts that modern states are mostly larger in territory, and more complex in function. Hume had argued that the original contract completely disappears in history, so we are constrained by general respect for laws and political institutions and the recognition that they are generally beneficial (‘Of the Original Contract’ in Hume 1987). Applying Kierkegaard’s argument in context, we can say that political systems which have more laws and more representation are worse than pure kingship, but necessary as more functional in the face of human limitations.”

3)  Monday was International Holocaust remembrance Day.  Here’s a reading list from Oxford University Press.

Have a fantastic evening.