I clambered over mounds and mounds
Of polystyrene foam
And fell into a swimming pool
Filled with fairy snow
And watched the blogs turn day-glo…
Ted Barlow pens a lengthier response to my “You may not be a liberal anymore if…” post. I’ll probably write about this later, and I’ll also post Matt Welch‘s reply forthwith. For now, go read Ted. Oh, and you can check out Don’t Be A Shamed‘s mini-response to Barlow as well. For now, I’ll just add one thing: The dichotomy is not really between government welfare and private charity. United Way, to my mind (and Marvin Olasky’s–you’ll see why that’s relevant if you read Ted’s post), is almost as unhelpful as AFDC was. The real distinction is, as Shamed implies, between programs that emphasize material needs and programs that emphasize personal change, community, and mutual responsibilities between givers and recipients. That’s much harder, as Olasky notes. But it’s even harder for the US government than for private groups. And government or bureaucratic, distanced private aid is likely to do harm that outweighs the good it can do. (For oh so much more on this, spend some time in the City Journal archives.) You can read an old piece of mine that touches on this here. And don’t get me started on unions!
James Lileks: A really good Bleat. Plus, I thought he said, “Perhaps in 100 years a Brooklyn accent from the Bugs Bunny era will make people think only of pugnacious rabbis,” and I laughed out loud. Uh, that’d be rabbits. That too, I guess…
Charles Murtaugh: Good stuff about that kissin’ cousins study; which risks do we think it’s OK for pregnant women to take, and which do we abhor? This is a great question with major philosophical implications… none of which I have time to get into right now.
Virginia Postrel: Good reply to Norah Vincent’s much-blogged Beam-bash. Postrel makes many good and useful points about what blogs are good for, but I can’t figure out how to link to her individual posts, so you’ll have to scroll and hunt.
Veritas: Excellent summary of Catholic and Protestant understandings of the visible and invisible Church. Anyone following the Great Andrew Sullivan Controversy (like there’s only one…) should read this. And anyone interested in Christian denominational differences. It’s really helpful.