August 07, 2007

Call Me "Lefty"

[Updated below, with an excerpt from the Times item.]

Well, my friends, you can say you knew me when -- before I made it into The New York Times (with a link to this post). Will this ultimately translate into power? Into handsome young men? Or best of all, into money? The last will make everything else possible. (I was mentioned in a Washington Post article several years ago, but I probably wouldn't even be able to find it now.)

The writer describes me as being "[f]urther to the left," compared to Matthew "Iglesias" (sic). Several years ago, that would have bothered me. It doesn't now -- and in fact, I think it's entirely correct, given how such designations as used today. Yes, I am indeed a lefty anarchist. Down with the State! None of that lily-livered, weak-kneed libertarianism for me. I say that for one overriding reason: I am aware of no defense of the State (and trust me, I've searched for one), even a State of the most minimal and strictly delimited kind, that does not finally devolve into self-contradiction and incoherence. I've intended to write about this evolution in my views for some time; I'll try to get to it soon.

I hasten to add, as I occasionally point out to emailers and acquaintances (my close friends have heard it too many times at this point, as they do not hesitate to remind me), that all this is strictly theoretical. The State as the ultimate organizing political principle will not alter for at least several hundred years, if then. The major battle today and into the foreseeable future is to thwart the continuing encroachments of any State on individual liberty, and simultaneously to oppose all States' irresistible drive to war, a drive that increases as the State inevitably becomes more powerful and intrudes more and more into the lives of its citizens. But I think the theoretical arguments are of critical importance, for they establish the guidelines and boundaries for analysis of contemporary problems, and they help to illuminate the broader questions that are implicated.

More on all that in the future. For the moment, I bask in my impending, ah, whatever. Today, the Times -- tomorrow, Hardball! My heart swells odd feeling, which is not entirely pleasant.

Still, a nice mention. :>)

UPDATE: I gather some people can't access the NYT piece. (I don't know why I can, since my subscription expired a couple of months ago. I'll renew it when I have more than a few bucks to my name. I guess their system still thinks it recognizes me. In the meantime, don't tip them off.)

After mentioning Kristol's comment about Hillary Clinton in the Washington Post, and Bruce Bartlett's reaction and that of Kathryn Jean Lopez, the item goes on:
Back in the real world [a reference to Lopez's take], Bartlett’s compatriot Matthew Yglesias [spelling now corrected!], sees this as being less about political gamesmanship than ideology: "One can try to speculate that Kristol is playing some odd angles here, but I think the record indicates that he’s genuinely more committed to war — criticized Republican critics of the Kosovo War, criticized Bill Clinton for not killing enough people during the Kosovo War, backed John McCain in the 2000 primaries — and based on the evidence thinks Clinton will be more sympathetic to his agenda than the alternatives."

Further to the left, however, the approval of the Weekly Standard isn’t considered a mark of distinction. Arthur Silber at Once Upon a Time feels a Democrat will be considered "responsible" only "if you think the United States should still have troops in Iraq at the end of your second term as president, which is to say, at least through the end of 2016 — which is, of course, the view of the entrenched foreign policy establishment that believes in a foreign policy of aggressive, neverending global interventionism maintained by an empire of military bases around the world, all to guarantee American hegemony."

Those on the center-right might laugh at the rhetoric, but it remains to be seen whether scary tales of a thirst for global domination will get serious attention in the Democratic primaries. Let’s just say that we shouldn’t expect to see Kristol’s endorsement prominently displayed on Hillary’s Web site any time soon.
So, there you go.