Links to what I’ve been reading.
Amongst the flurry of blogosphere content concerning Ron Paul and the infamous newsletters, only Mike Konczal connects the dots between the past and the present:
What I find interesting is how much the discussion is focused on the past-ness of these newsletters. The newsletters stopped with their racist, bigoted and survivalist themes by the mid-1990s, and people are now debating how much they should reflect on both Ron Paul and libertarianism. Whatever the results of that debate, they represent an era now over – Dave Weigel and Julian Sanchez argued that “the best refutation of the old approach is not the absence of race-baiting rhetoric from its progenitors, but the success of the 2008 Ron Paul phenomenon.” But if you strip away the ugliness and just focus on the underlying political strategy and the coalition it hoped to bring into existence, the newsletters have not only survived but they form the core of the Tea Party movement.
As a part of their “Best of FF” end of the year serious, Frum Forum reposts an excellent Kenneth Silber article on Ron Paul and the libertarian movement:
Would America be more vibrant, prosperous and interesting if the small sliver of the federal budget devoted to science were excised by measures such as Rand Paul’s push to eliminate the Energy Department? It’s hard for me to see how terminating research projects that are too large-scale or long-term for the private sector would yield greater choices of technologies and careers. It would produce more freedom only in the sense that a man stranded on a tiny desert island is wonderfully free because he doesn’t have to pay any taxes.
Such qualms about stringent libertarianism have shaped my thinking as a center-right dissenter, a deviationist apostle of the Frumian Heresy. […]
Mike Konczal deserves a twofer on Linked and Loaded for his Best of 2011 Edition. Seriously, this man writes great stuff all year long:
I want to thank all my readers, commenters, people who link, email, tweet and otherwise engaged with this blog in 2011. It’s been a good year, and I’m looking forward to an even better 2012. There will be more posts, more papers, some longer-form writing and a lot more graphs. I hope you stick around!
What posts here were the most read in 2011? They actually group pretty well.
Michael Thomas discusses a different type of Big Lie, this one focused on his time in Wall Street:
[…] It was in May 1961 that a series of circumstances took me from the hushed precincts of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I was working as a curatorial assistant in the European Paintings Department, to Lehman Brothers, to begin what for the next 30 years would be an involvement—I hesitate to call it “a career”—in investment banking. I would promote and execute deals, sit on boards, kiss ass, and lie through my teeth: the whole megillah. In consequence of which, I would wear Savile Row and carry a Hermès briefcase. I had Mme. Claude’s home number in Paris and I frequented the best clubs in a half-dozen cities. But I had a problem: I was unable to develop the anticommunitarian moral opacity that is the key to real success on Wall Street.