Yeah, I know Daniel Larison made that claim and then violated it twice. I’m consolidating a bunch of unrelated observations in this one post and there’s only one more day in the year, so I think I’m safe.
I got back yesterday and from the day before through my previous post I did not read, watch, or listen to any news or access the internet. I was surprised on the way home when I saw the headline of a newspaper in an Einstein Bagels (which was playing the worst versions of classic Christmas Carols ever recorded) and exclaimed “Oh shit, Benazhir Bhutto got killed” and was immediately chastised for cursing in front of small children. On that subject, the National Interest has been running a series of online-exclusive articles, with the latest from a favorite realist of mine, Anatol Lieven (see him debate a Wilsonian who comes off looking like a fool here). The unfortunately infrequently updated blog Exit Strategies has yet to say anything about it, nor has The Monkey Cage. Get on it! What are we (not) paying you for! Coming Anarchy has linked to a few news stories but said little themselves, as expected John Robb sees it as confirming his chaotic view of the world. I think Mencius Moldbug came out looking poorly in his response relative to his favorite punching bag Matthew Yglesias here and here. I’ll respond to MM’s post at his blog when I have the time. (UPDATE: Here. I remember being irritated when I first read the post but by the time I wrote my comment that had died down.) Robert Lindsay seems surprisingly knowledgeable on the situation there (how many pundits know what a Mohajir is?) but what makes me unsure of his grasp of the facts is his statement that Karzai’s Pushtun ethnicity is a drawback because Pakistan opposes Pushtun nationalism and therefore supports islamists in Afghanistan. The Taliban’s base of strength is Pushtuns and the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance drew its support form ethnic minorities (it should also be noted that much of the support for the secular left in Pakistan comes from minority Shi’ites). UPDATE: Lindsay responds well to my criticism in his original post and in the comments here.
I am happy to see that Keith Preston did not pop his head up in his last article only to disappear again, as he is in fine form going after Chomsky on Chomsky’s own non-individualist (Preston’s hero, Bakunin, was a collectivist anarchist and Chomsky calls himself an anarcho-syndicalist) left-anarchist terms. I’m surprised someone as radical and open to revolutionary methods as Preston isn’t disinterested in Ron Paul’s candidacy, but I’m glad he wrote it anyway and I hope his output doesn’t decline when Paul’s candidacy inevitably fails. UPDATE: Preston is back again defending Paul from left-libertarians, which oddly enough include contributors to the Austrian Economists blog.
Besides myself, Larison and Preston some other people have made (somewhat) surprising reappearances. Hopefully Anonymous made a comment (which he hasn’t done at Overcoming Bias or his own blog for some time) saying his blog would be back up this weekend, though checking it I don’t see that to be the case thus far. I accidentally outed Chip Smith’s publishing imprint and other things before he wished that to occur, so he’s made the announcement at his blog. He’s also got a new post on Ron Paul, evolution and homos. Smith and Anonymous are great folks to have around to read though they near opposites in many ways. If I didn’t revile Platonic essentialism so much I’d wish I could combine the two in a monster of the internet that kicked away your self-deceptions and entertained you at the same time.
Gene Expression and Steve Sailer have both expressed sympathy for Jared Diamond after reading this terrible article in the NYT (the author discusses it at Bloggingheads here). Though I have criticized Diamond elsewhere (even without having read the book I’m attacking), I think he’s a great writer and in addition to his books he writes short pieces that I find myself constantly linking to because of their broad applicability. Anthropology gets a pretty bad wrap in that post, but GNXP makes nice with the field here, pointing out positive contributions. (UPDATE: At my suggestion Robert Lindsay has a post on the matter, giving an insider’s defense of cultural anthropology) As long as I’m talking science, Chris at Mixing Memory blogs the best… paper… ever here and one of his favorite experiments here. Dennis Mangan says that smoking is good for your IQ (cheers from Udolpho, jeers from Ilkka Kokkarinen). It may be the case that apes are descended from what we might call human (it walked upright, and the apes “progressed” to knuckle-walking and brachiation). I can imagine now an ape classroom in which a student exclaims “I wasn’t descended from some stinking human!”. I’ve also abandoned Charles Murray’s “Human Accomplishment” when I was in the middle of reading it for Steve Pinker’s “The Blank Slate”, which so far has been great, though I have some nitpicks. I think I’m more likely to post a review of that before Jeremy Lott’s “In Defense of Hypocrisy” despite what I had claimed earlier.
Someday I’ll get around to writing my thoughts on a libertarian conception of privacy (which I mentioned briefly here), but until then you’ll have to settle for this from the Distributed Republic and this from Volokh.
Everyone should read IOZ, but I think MM could benefit more than most (despite his “I was raised a Brahmin and don’t need to read them anymore” schtick) and some recent ones up (or at least near) his alley are here and here.
Kevin Carson sometimes talks about “vulgar libertarianism” and this article on the Mises blog, regardless of whether the position it advocates is correct or not, certainly seems guilty of it. Carson appears in the comments to kick ass and take names.
Finally, I’m likely to be busy for a bit. I plan on fixing up my mirrored site of Against Politics and also reading something and writing about it, but not in a half-assed manner like usual.