Smart people saying smart things

Sandra M. Schneiders, in Women and the Word Jesus' parable about the father actually constitutes a radical challenge to patriarchy. The divine father, who had been understood as the ultimate justification of human patriarchy, is revealed as one who refuses to own us, demand our submission, or punish our rebellion. Rather, God is one who respects our freedom, mourns our alienation, waits patiently for our return, and accepts our love as pure gift. In the parable God tries to educate the older … [Read more...]

Taylor Branch on how George Wallace invented our current political discourse

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This is pretty terrific, James Fallows has posted a video of his interview with historian Taylor Branch at the Aspen Institute. The excuse for the hour-long conversation is the publication of Branch's latest book, The King Years, which is a distillation or concentration of his massive, and massively important, trilogy on the Civil Rights era: Parting the Waters, Pillar of Fire, and At Canaan's Edge. Fallows asks Branch about the series of important 50-year anniversary milestones we will … [Read more...]

‘Libertarianism is [not] a philosophy of individual freedom’


At Crooked Timber, Chris Bertram, Corey Robin and Alex Gourevitch have collaborated on a post for the ages: "Let It Bleed: Libertarianism and the Workplace." Here is their thesis, succinctly stated in the first paragraph: Libertarianism is a philosophy of individual freedom. Or so its adherents claim. But with their single-minded defense of the rights of property and contract, libertarians cannot come to grips with the systemic denial of freedom in private regimes of power, particularly … [Read more...]

To save money, don’t exclude the poor, exclude the sick

The Republican privilege-principle of Tyler Cowen, Bryan Fischer and Rick Perry isn't just morally monstrous, it's also bad economics. "We need to accept the principle that sometimes poor people will die just because they are poor," says Cowen. "There is simply no way to control the cost of health care if hospitals are obligated to provide healthcare to all regardless of their ability to pay," says Fischer. But they're both wrong. Poor people aren't the source of the runaway cost of … [Read more...]

‘Poor people will die just because they are poor’

That's a feature, not a bug. It's a boast, not an accusation. It is, the speaker says, a "principle" that must be "accepted," not an injustice that must be corrected. It sounds like an accusation -- "You people think we should just accept that poor people will die just because they are poor." That sounds like a really nasty thing to accuse someone of. Jonathan Chait is reluctant to accuse Republicans of anything that viciously cruel. His argument stops short of that, making the case, … [Read more...]

Is Rick Perry a 'sucker,' or was he just lying?

Here's a good catch by Kevin Drum, by one of his readers in Iowa, and then by the Des Moines Register: "Rick Perry Gets Suckered by an Urban Legend." From Kevin's reader: I was at the Iowa State Fair today and caught Rick Perry's speech. He started talking about this stupid new regulation that would require farmers to get commercial drivers licenses if they drive their tractors across the road. I remember reading about this very issue on your blog so I yelled "That's not true" a couple of … [Read more...]

'Aristocrats were always anarchists'

It's been three years since I last quoted this, from G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare. So it's about time I quoted it again. “You’ve got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea … [Read more...]

Subsidiarity and Saddleback

My frustration was showing a couple of weeks ago in a post titled: "Responsibility is differentiated, mutual and complementary, not exclusive, binary and competitive." That post consisted almost entirely of the sentence "Responsibility is differentiated, mutual and complementary; responsibility is not exclusive, binary and competitive," repeated 10 times with each repetition linking to a different longer and deeper discussion of subsidiarity, "sphere sovereignty" or some other framework … [Read more...]