Tedenski izbor

Today the French celebrate the 226th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, the date usually recognized as the beginning of the French Revolution. What should libertarians (or classical liberals) think of the French Revolution?

The Chinese premier Zhou Enlai is famously (but apparently inaccurately) quoted as saying, “It is too soon to tell.” I like to draw on the wisdom of another mid-20th-century thinker, Henny Youngman, who when asked “How’s your wife?” answered, “Compared to what?” Compared to the American Revolution, the French Revolution is very disappointing to libertarians. Compared to the Russian Revolution, it looks pretty good. And it also looks good, at least in the long view, compared to the ancien regime that preceded it.

The French Revolution and Modern Liberty – David Boaz, Cato at Liberty

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Če nam ekonomija ne more napovedati, kaj se bo zgodilo, zakaj pa je potem sploh dobra?
“Ekonomija je dobra za modrost, ampak modrost bolj grobe vrste. Ekonomija daje grobe nasvete. Denimo na ravni makroekonomije, da ni dobro ustvariti takšnega poslovnega okolja, kjer bo vse nepredvidljivo. Ali pa da ne sprejemajmo delovnih zakonov, zaradi katerih je za mlade nemogoče, da bi dobili službo neverjetno, koliko ljudem to še zmeraj ni jasno. Tako pa po vsej Evropi zakoni, ki ščitijo starejše, onemogočajo mlajše. A ne nazadnje so starejši tisti, ki hodijo na volitve, mladi pa ne. Francoski klasični ekonomist Frédéric Bastiat je govoril o vidnem in o nevidnem. Naloga nas ekonomistov je, da ljudi opozarjamo na nevidno. Žal pa obstaja veliko ekonomistov, ki ekonomije ne poznajo prav dobro.”

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We have evolved a political debate where essentially nationalistic concerns have been hiding behind the gentler cloak of egalitarianism. To clear up this confusion, one recommendation would be to preface all discussions of inequality with a reminder that global inequality has been falling and that, in this regard, the world is headed in a fundamentally better direction.

Income Inequality is Not Rising Globally, It’s Falling. – Tyler Cowen, The New York Times

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The Greek crisis provides a look into what awaits us unless we stop overspending on warfare and welfare and restore a sound monetary system. While most commentators have focused on Greece’s welfare state, much of Greece’s deficit was caused by excessive military spending. Even as its economy collapses and the government makes (minor) cuts in welfare spending, Greece’s military budget remains among the largest in the European Union.

Greece Today, America Tomorrow? – Ron Paul, The Ron Paul Institute

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V Atenah sem že peti dan in priznam, še zmeraj nisem našel ta trenutek najbolj razvpitega mitološkega bitja – “lenega Grka”.

Dnevnik iz Aten: Mitološko bitje – leni Grk – Jure Stojan, Večer

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Poverty-Porn is the tactic of media and charities that uses sympathy as a catalyst for monetary gain, exploiting the poor and uneducated, to showcase desperate conditions for an emotional response. And while the tactic may be effective at heightening profits—by misrepresenting an entire continent as slum—the fate of an entire continent is stamped with pity. What this means is that outside of Africa, Africans are expected to look up.

Africans are fighting media poverty-porn by tweeting beautiful images of their real lives – Tyler Fyfe, The Plaid Zebra

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Interest rates that once were high and promised stable, good future returns tumble down and stop very close to the zero mark. The rate of inflation, which is being used to show how much more expensive daily life will be in the future, is at the moment even higher than average bank account interest rates. In Germany in February 2015 the average inflation rate was 2,2 %, while interest rates were only a measly 0,8 %. This basically means that your bank money is not going generate enough returns to compensate for the rising costs of living.

How the EU punishes savers – Fabian Sauter, European Students for Liberty

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Those who love liberty and economic growth and opportunity have been for many years seeking private solutions to get around the abuses by government of its monopoly money. The most promising technology for the individual to free himself from the government monetary shackles has been the development of bitcoin, which allows largely anonymous transactions from peer to peer, without going through the banking system. Those in government hate the idea of bitcoin and its newer competitors because it largely destroys their global power to monitor and extract tribute from transfers of goods and services, and wealth.

Immutable money – Richard W. Rahn, The Washington Times

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Interestingly, Mussolini found much of John Maynard Keynes’seconomic theories consistent with fascism, writing: “Fascism entirely agrees with Mr. Maynard Keynes, despite the latter’s prominent position as a Liberal. In fact, Mr. Keynes’ excellent little book, The End of Laissez-Faire (l926) might, so far as it goes, serve as a useful introduction to fascist economics. There is scarcely anything to object to in it and there is much to applaud.”

The Socialist Economics of Italian Fascism – Lawrence K. Samuels, Library of Economics and Liberty

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Since the post-World War II era, movement conservatives have focused so much on an intrusive state that they have overlooked the other side of the coin. Early twentieth-century Catholic thinkers such as G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc clearly recognized the danger to mediating institutions such as the church and the family posed by the intrusions of both the state and vast impersonal corporations.

Corporate America: A Friend of the Family? – Gillis Harp, Crisis Magazine

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Until the Second World War, Russia had never really managed to dominate the area behind the Carpathian Mountains. Thus aside from the Cold War period it is difficult to find much in common among the Visegrad nations in their historical experience with Russia. Clearly the S4 format, with its common Habsburgian past, could serve as a potential integrating factor, especially taking into account that Austria has long ago ceased to be an imperial power.

What Makes the Visegrad Group so Geopolitically Fragile? – Adam Klus, New Eastern Europe

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Mnogi bi sicer trdili, da je Slovenija še premalo centralizirana, saj v njej deluje nepregledno število občin, ki upravljajo z denarjem in območjem brez kakršnekoli kontrole. To, da imajo občine v Sloveniji pri marsičem daleč prevelika pooblastila – predvsem na področju prostorske politike –, je jasno. Vendar je reševanje tega problema s še večjo državno centralizacijo popolnoma napačen pristop. Dejstvo je namreč, da sta trenutna oblika in funkcija občin ravno posledica centralizacije.

Živeti tam nekje – Miha Kosovel, Novi glas

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Danes vsako omenjanje razlik med posamezniki, narodi, rasami, kulturami velja za politično nekorektno. V bistvu gre za hinavščino, kamufliranje resničnosti, siromašenje jezika in s tem tudi misli. Zakaj beseda belec ni žaljiva, črnec pa je? Črnec, ki ga v ZDA imenujejo z menda politično nevtralno besedo Afroameričan, ni zato nič manj črn in segregiran. Da je paradoks še večji, ima za mnoge beseda Afroameričan isti pomen kot črnec.

Teror politične korektnosti – Jožica Grgič, Delo

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Es sind nicht viele Studenten, die den Mut aufbringen, das zu hinterfragen, was ihre Dozenten als herrschende Lehre vorsetzen, wo eigentlich Freiheit der Lehre herrschen soll. Nicht nur an der TU Berlin auch an anderen Universitäten wollen Lehrkräfte ihren Studenten Gendern als Doktrin verordnen.

Studenten dürfen nicht zum Gendern gezwungen werden – Die Freie Welt

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Ko mi danes kak anketar natrosi, da so študentje in izobraženci večinoma levo (beri: neo-marksistično) usmerjeni, ter namiguje, da je leva opcija tista prava, že zato, ker ima intelektualce na svoji strani, se kot kak balkanski čiča namrdnem in rečem: „Ima pametnih, ima glupih, a ima i intelektualaca.“

Marksizem ali razkošje, da me ni (več) zraven – Branko Cestnik, Časnik

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Professional race hustlers have no incentive to see our current civil war end. They see in this shooting only an opportunity to escalate their demands.

Now there are rumblings of demands that statues of Robert E. Lee and other Southern leaders be destroyed — and if that is done, it will only lead to new demands, perhaps to destroy the Jefferson Memorial because Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. And if that is done, no doubt there will be demands that the city of Washington be renamed, for the same reason.

Is the Civil War Over? – Thomas Sowell, The New American

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Barks created a wealth of economic lessons through fables that are still enjoyed around the globe today.

(…)

Donald and the rest of the country quit their jobs and set off to “see the world.” Meanwhile, Scrooge and the boys continue to labor on their farm. With no one else working and nothing being produced, Donald and the rest of the world come straggling back. Scrooge is happy to feed them — at new market prices. Eggs are a million dollars apiece, cabbage is two million, and ham is a bargain at a cool trillion. With each purchase, the money from Scrooge’s corn crib trickles back and he becomes, yet again, the richest duck in the world.

With another “helicopter” scenario, we see the inflationary effects of a massive injection of money. We also get a glimpse into many aspects of wealth — how it is created, how it is maintained, and what happens when we redistribute in ways that are not related to market performance. Barks knew he was creating a morality tale of capitalism, admitting, “I’m sure the lesson I preached in this story of easy riches will get me in a cell in a Siberian gulag someday.”

Lessons from the Richest Duck in the World – Robert Anthony Peters, the Freeman

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Tedenski izbor

branje15

V danih razmerah je tako edino upanje za zlom demagoške koalicije to, da se SMC, SDS in NSi naučijo delati skupaj. NSi je s predlogom »ukrepov za nižje davke« (o katerih kakšno več rečem v prihodnje) podala roko za vsebinsko sodelovanje. To je lahko prvi korak, da te stranke pokažejo, ali premorejo zrelost in državotvornost za antidemagoško koalicijo.

Za normalizacijo potrebujemo antidemagoško koalicijo – Rok Novak, Finance

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Pazite to: samo v Sloveniji je mogoče, da so mediji, ki so utemeljeni na uredniških hiperintelektualnih komentarjih o demokratičnem socializmu, polni pa jih denar iz davčnih oaz, sprejeti kot kredibilni levičarski mediji.

(…)

Lastniki, ki se vdajajo paradržavnim bankam, razumejo davčne oaze kot bistveni element poslovanja, sklepajo kravje kupčije in so vsi po vrsti pod drobnogledom preiskovalnih organov. To so danes Delo, Dnevnik in Mladina, vir resnice za naše borce proti kapitalizmu.

Celoten “bulšit” slovenskih mainstream tiskanih medijev na enem mestu! – Kizo, Portal Plus

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This procedure represented a major transference of wealth. The losers were savers, people living on salaries, creditors of private dollarized contracts like mortgages, and many more. All of them saw their income and savings liquefied by an imposed exchange rate and the eroding power of inflation.

(…)

The prestigious economist Carlos Rodríguez Braun says that if devaluations were the way to economic success, Argentina would be rich and Switzerland would be poor. Leaving the common currency will definitely bring to the Greek population most, if not all, of the problems that leaving convertibility brought to Argentinian citizens. As to the advantages, they remain to be seen.

Argentina 2001, Greece 2015? – Federico N. Fernández, Free Market Diaries

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Like many Germans, Guardini loved to vacation in Italy, and he took particular delight in the lake region around Milan. He was enchanted (…) by the physical beauty of the area, but what intrigued him above all was the manner in which human beings, through their architecture and craftsmanship, interacted non-invasively and respectfully with nature. When he first came to the region, he noticed, for example, how the homes along Lake Como imitated the lines and rhythms of the landscape and how the boats that plied the lake did so in response to the swelling and falling of the waves. But by the 1920’s, he had begun to notice a change. The homes being built were not only larger, but more “aggressive,” indifferent to the surrounding environment, no longer accommodating themselves to the natural setting.

(…)

It is only against this Guardinian background that we can properly read the Pope’s latest encyclical. Whatever his views on global warming, they are situated within the far greater context of a theology of nature that stands athwart the typically modern point of view. (…) In the spirit of the author of the book of Genesis, the Biblical prophets, Irenaeus, Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi—indeed of any great pre-modern figure—Pope Francis wants to recover a properly cosmological sensibility, whereby the human being and her projects are in vibrant, integrated relation with the world that surrounds her.

Laudato Si’ and Romano Guardini – Robert Barron, Word on Fire

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Perhaps our immediate future fits neither the dynamist nor the catastrophist framework.

We might have entered a kind of stagnationist position, a sustainable decadence, in which the issues Pope Francis identifies percolate without reaching a world-altering boil.

In that case, the deep critique our civilization deserves will have to be advanced without the threat of imminent destruction. The arguments in “Laudato Si’ ” will still resonate, but they will have to be structured around a different peril: Not a fear that the particular evils of our age can’t last, but the fear that actually, they can.

Pope Francis’ Call to Action Goes Beyond the Environment – Ross Douthat, The New York Times

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I can think of no better education of the eyes than Eucharistic adoration. By stretching the eye to its utmost, demanding that it see in an appearance the real presence of God, we are taught to see the person in and through any appearance. If I see God in bread, how can I not see the person in the prostitute? If I see the God-man in the tabernacle, how can I not see the man in the doorway? If I see the person of Christ lifted up in the hands of the priest, how can I can I not see the person of the newborn as she is lifted to her mothers breast? The most difficult task of the eye is completed at church — it makes seeing-in-the-world like walking after a sprint.

Eucharistic Eyes – Marc Barnes, Bad Catholic

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Dogajanje z begunci zahteva poglobljeno debato in pošten pogled na prihodnost naše celine. Begunci, ki prihajajo k nam, pripadajo popolnoma drugačnim kulturam. S svojim prihodom in visoko nataliteto počasi, a vztrajno versko, vrednostno in nasploh civilizacijsko spreminjajo Evropo in jo nekako prilagajajo sebi. To ni vrednostna sodba, to je dejstvo, vsem na očeh. Vprašanje za nas ni, ali se tega bojimo; pravo vprašanje je, ali si tega spreminjanja želimo.

Enotni smo si v tem, da je treba beguncem pomagati, vendar na način, ki bo za njih koristen in za nas vzdržen.

O beguncih malo drugače – Federico V. Potočnik, Nova Slovenija

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Die autochthonen Europäer sollen offensichtlich auf jegliche nationale,kulturelle, religiöse sowie letztlich auch auf eine traditionelle sexuelle Identität verzichten. Selbst die radikalsten kommunistischen Intellektuellen gingen seinerzeit in ihren Forderungen nicht so weit. Die Diskussionen nehmen geradezu groteske Formen an. Die Eliten der Gesellschaft werden nicht müde, große Teile der eigenen Bevölkerung des Rassismus und der Xenophobie zu bezichtigen, während große Teile der Bevölkerung längst das Vertrauen in die vermeintlichen politischen und medialen Vordenker verloren haben.

(…)

Kollektive Verirrungen wie der Kommunismus, der Faschismus oder der Nationalsozialismus waren reversibel: Nach ihrem Scheitern konnte auf das kulturelle und religiöse Erbe Europas zurückgegriffen werden, und neue zivilisierte, demokratische Gemeinwesen entstanden. Werden jedoch die einheimischen Bevölkerungen zur Minderheit, dann ist dieser Weg der zivilisatorischen Regeneration versperrt

Islamisierung Europas: Nein, ich habe keine Visionen – Michael Ley, Die Presse

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In Deutschland werden im Jahr 2050 nur noch rund 70 Millionen Einwohner leben. Jeder zehnte Bürger wird dann muslimischen Glaubens sein, also sieben Millionen deutsche Muslime. Für ganz Europa wird gelten: Jeder zehnte Bürger ist muslimischen Glaubens. Zum Vergleich: 2010 war es nur jeder 17. Europa ist den Forschern zufolge der einzige Kontinent, dessen Bevölkerung schrumpfen wird – und zwar um 100 Millionen Menschen auf 454 Millionen Bürger im Jahr 2050. Fast ein Viertel der Europäer (23 Prozent) werden dann keine Religionszugehörigkeit mehr haben.

Muslime – die Gewinner des demographischen Wandels – Dietrich Alexander, Die Welt

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The fundamental reason for the Left’s unpopularity is that it still hasn’t answered the biggest question it has faced since the second world war: what does it mean to be left-wing when the money has run out? Left-wing parties used to keep their rainbow coalitions together by showering money on different interest groups.

The left’s great global downturn – Tim Montgomerie, CapX

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Ampakliberalizem je pač edini liberalizem, ki ga naši politiki poznajo, in ni čudno, da se človekove pravice že skoraj četrt stoletja predvsem prilagajajo razmerjem moči v slovenskem parlamentu in da četrt stoletja različne družbene skupine čakajo, kdaj bodo njim naklonjene stranke tvorile parlamentarno večino in bodo lahko pravice, ki jim po ustavi pripadajo, tudi uveljavile.

Et tu, Luka? – Goran Vojnović, Dnevnik

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Vseeno sem ga povprašal še, kaj bi naredil s socialnimi transferji in na moje skorajda presenečenje je odgovoril: “če bi nas država ne naredila odvisnih od nje, bi z ljudje z veseljem pomagali. Tako pa ne. Distancirani so od realnosti. Češ ‘država bo rešila’ in gredo naprej. Prelagajo, prelagamo odgovornost za sočloveka. To ni prav.

Slovenija je država sužnjev – Matic Jelovčan

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At the heart of the original American ideal is the deep distrust and suspicion the founders of our nation had for Congress, distrust and suspicion not shared as much by today’s Americans. Some of the founders’ distrust is seen in our Constitution’s language, such as Congress shall not abridge, infringe, deny, disparage, violate or deny. If the founders did not believe Congress would abuse our God-given rights, they would not have provided those protections.

Maybe there are Americans who would argue that we are moving toward greater liberty and less government control over our lives and no longer need to remain an armed citizenry. I’d like to see their evidence.

Constitutional Ignorance and Dereliction – Walter E. Williams, The New American

 

Tedenski izbor

Še enkrat poudarjamo: absurdno poigravanje z mislijo, da je bil Balantič, da so bili številni drugi uporniki zoper revolucijo sokrivi in celo sostorilci zlasti nemškega kulturnega pogroma nad Slovenci, ki se je med drugim odrazil v barbarskem uničenju velikanskega števila knjig, nima nič opraviti z razmerami na Slovenskem med drugo svetovno vojno, pač pa služi samo podaljševanju neke, za razmeroma ozek krog rentnikov zelo donosne iluzije.

France Balantič sodi v javni spomin slovenskega naroda – Skupina podpisnikov

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Po ocenah strokovnjakov je bilo pobitih nekaj sto tisoč ljudi, ki so bili krivi le tega, da so bili ideološki in vojaško nasprotni komunizmu in njegovi revoluciji. Regularna okupirana država se je borila proti boljševiški revoluciji in ostalim, ki so čakali, da bodo to državo lahko dokončno uničili (ustaši, balisti, separatisti in vsi nasprotniki Kraljevine).

Poslednji dom sinov Črne gore – Uroš Šušterič, Časnik

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Skratka, Resolucija 1096 je dve desetletji po sprejemu nujno branje za vsakdanjo slovensko rabo. Svet Evrope nam ne ukazuje, z resolucijo le prijazno svetuje, kaj nam je treba narediti, da bi se skobacali iz teh smrdljivih cunj preteklosti. Tega v dveh desetletjih nismo uspeli in vse bolj se zdi, da tudi prihodnjih dvajset let ne bo dovolj.

Lustracija ob predpostavki – Miro Petek, Slomedia.it

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Dokler bomo imeli tako politiko, v najširšem smislu, vključno s tisto v pravu, nimamo pogojev za ustvarjanje pravne države. Dokler bomo imeli to isto politiko, vključno s tisto v gospodarstvu, ni nikakršnih obetov za bolj konkurenčno ekonomijo, s katero lahko preživimo v globalni tekmi. Dokler bomo imeli tako politiko v najširšem možnem smislu bo ta država umirala na obroke in večina bo živela slabše. 

Dovolj je bilo – Matej Avbelj, IUS-INFO

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Koalicija Združena levica je v nedavni javnomnenjski anketi, skupaj s SDS, dosegla prvo mesto na lestvici podpore slovenske javnosti. To je bil zagotovo velik uspeh za koalicijo, ki združuje politično levico, a tudi trenutek za premislek in zaskrbljenost tistih sil, ki se zavzemajo za demokratični razvoj države. Luka Mesec in njegovi namreč žalujejo za propadlo Jugoslavijo, poveličujejo njene simbole in domnevne vrednote, hvalijo Tita, socializem in se zavzemajo za obnovitev močne države. Vanjo naj bi se vrnili Slovenci, saj bi po zatrjevanju Združene levice samo močna država lahko odpravila slovenske težave in z vrednotami ter simboli iz preteklosti upravljala z državljani in njihovim življenjem.

V Sloveniji skrajna levica za izhod iz težav ponuja socializem – Marijan Drobež, Novi glas

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To figure out whether a policy is good or bad, you have to first figure out what effects it would have. And while ideologues like to treat this as obvious, it rarely is.

Consider the minimum wage, one of the topics covered in the survey Roberts cites. Much of the debate over the minimum wage focuses on the empirical question of how a higher minimum wage would affect low-wage workers. Some economists believe a higher minimum wage will eliminate low-wage jobs; others believe this effect is negligible.

And crucially, this depends on the details. It’s plausible that today’s relatively low federal minimum wage costs few jobs, and that higher minimum wages in wealthy urban areas won’t cause much unemployment. But in areas where wages are lower, minimum wages can cause a lot of harm.

Sorry, liberals, liking free markets doesn’t make someone a jerk – Timothy B. Lee, Vox

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Conservatives, for their part, wanted to know why we are now expected to accept, if not celebrate, those who choose their own gender identities, in defiance of hard chromosomal and anatomical facts, but are forbidden from extending an equally tolerant welcome to those who choose their own racial identities. After all, liberals tend to be the ones who insist that race is a “social construction”. So why not roll out the red carpet for Ms Dolezal?

Rachel Dolezal and race: Blurred lines – The Economist

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The current definitions advanced by social liberalism do not make individual autonomy the measure ofall things; they do not simply instantiate a will to power or self-fulfillment. But they do treat adult autonomy as a morally-elevated good, and rate other possible rights and harm claims considerably lower as a consequence. Linker is right that today’s social liberalism does not simply preach an individualism unbound. But it preaches an individualism in which many bonds and rules and constraints are thinned to filaments, and waiting for the knife.

The Liberalism of Adult Autonomy – Ross Douthat, The New York Times

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The concept of “micro-aggression” is just one of many tactics used to stifle differences of opinion by declaring some opinions to be “hate speech,” instead of debating those differences in a marketplace of ideas. To accuse people of aggression for not marching in lockstep with political correctness is to set the stage for justifying real aggression against them.

Micro-totalitarianism – Thomas Sowell, The New American

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Hyperbole is part of politics. But there seems to be a fairly large disconnect between the criticism of Laudato Si (much of it made prior to the release of the actual text) and the encyclical itself. Theactual document is a more measured affair. For one thing, it’s not even really accurate to call it a “climate encyclical.” Most of the document is devoted to other environmental issues (ranging from clean drinking water to biodiversity) or to the proper Christian perspective on the environment generally. Only a small portion of the lengthy encyclical is devoted to climate change per se, and much of what the encyclical does say about climate change is in keeping with the prior statements of John Paul II and Benedict XVI on the issue.

(…)

It’s not progress but “irrational faith in progress” that he opposes; not technology but “blind confidence in technical solutions.” And Francis elsewhere praises specific new technologies that are going to be needed if we are going to reduce carbon emissions without hurting the poor.

Let’s Listen to the Pope on Climate – Josiah Neeley, First Things

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Although Levin acclaims the thinking of the 18th-century Anglo-Irish statesman Burke with fewer reservations than Fisichella approaches his more controversial object of study, both authors believe that their subjects have much to teach the present age. They try to make their ideas relevant to the present, although in the case of the second figure in Levin’s book—Thomas Paine, who was a critic of Burke, an enthusiast for the French Revolution, and an advocate of the “rights of man”—we are given a counterexample to what Levin considers to be sound political and social views.

Inventing the Right – Paul Gottfried, The American Conservative

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Like Alexis de Tocqueville, Hayek is more quoted than read. Despite being on the short list of leading intellectual heroes for the American right, few conservatives or libertarians are all that familiar with his actual views on classical liberalism and free-market capitalism. Instead, as Thompson notes in his post, the rhetoric of the right reveals that we are more influenced by Ayn Rand than Hayek.

(…)

Today, the common enemy is liberalism and the fusionism occurs not between disparate groups butwithin an individual. People who would laugh at the absurdity of a “Christian Muslim” seem not to recognize the similar incongruity between being a follower of Christ and an acolyte of Ayn Rand.

Has Modern Conservatism Become a Cult? – Joe Carter, First Things

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Crucially, given worries about investment and political instability, “In countries where inequality was generally thought to be high, more people supported government redistribution. But demand for redistribution bore no relation to the actual level of inequality.”

There’s too much in the paper to cover in one blogpost, but the results are extremely clear: people’s perceptions of inequality are really, really inaccurate – that holds globally and in all but a handful of Scandinavian countries.

(…)

Redistributive policies that reduce actual inequality are costly, and because actual inequality is barely related to perceptions of inequality they may do little to make the country more stable or market-friendly. If these are important problems, we can only solve them by making people feel less unequal – not by making them less unequal in fact. In short: even if people’s perceptions of inequality matter, the reality does not.

 The case against caring about inequality at all – Sam Bowman, Adam Smith Institute

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Tedenski izbor

branje11

The rise of dogmatic liberalism is the American left-wing expression of the broader trend that Mark Lilla identified in a recent blockbuster essay for The New Republic. The reigning dogma of our time, according to Lilla, is libertarianism — by which he means far more than the anti-tax, anti-regulation ideology that Americans identify with the post-Reagan Republican Party, and that the rest of the world calls “neoliberalism.”

At its deepest level, libertarianism is “a mentality, a mood, a presumption… a prejudice” in favor of the liberation of the autonomous individual from all constraints originating from received habits, traditions, authorities, or institutions. Libertarianism in this sense fuels the American right’s anti-government furies, but it also animates the left’s push for same-sex marriage — and has prepared the way for its stunningly rapid acceptance — in countries throughout the West.

What makes libertarianism a dogma is the inability or unwillingness of those who espouse it to accept that some people might choose, for morally legitimate reasons, to dissent from it. On a range of issues, liberals seem not only increasingly incapable of comprehending how or why someone would affirm a more traditional vision of the human good, but inclined to relegate dissenters to the category of moral monsters who deserve to be excommunicated from civilized life — and sometimes coerced into compliance by the government.

The latter tendency shows how, paradoxically, the rise of libertarian dogma can have the practical effect of increasing government power and expanding its scope.

How liberalism became an intolerant dogma – Damon Linker, The Week

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Many churches have sought to lure millennials back by focusing on style points: cooler bands, hipper worship, edgier programming, impressive technology. Yet while these aren’t inherently bad ideas and might in some cases be effective, they are not the key to drawing millennials back to God in a lasting and meaningful way. Young people don’t simply want a better show. And trying to be cool might be making things worse.

(…)

What finally brought me back, after years of running away, wasn’t lattes or skinny jeans; it was the sacraments. Baptism, confession, Communion, preaching the Word, anointing the sick — you know, those strange rituals and traditions Christians have been practicing for the past 2,000 years. The sacraments are what make the church relevant, no matter the culture or era. They don’t need to be repackaged or rebranded; they just need to be practiced, offered and explained in the context of a loving, authentic and inclusive community.

Want millenials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool’ – Rachel Held Evans, The Washington Post

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Venezuela: med mitom in realnostjo

Pred kratkim je BBC objavil kratek dokumentarni feljton o kroničnem pomanjkanju osnovnih potrošnih dobrin v Venezueli.

Simpatični prispevek je pri mnogih navdušencih bolivarske republike na Zahodu vzbudil zmrdovanje, češ da skuša omalovaževati »dosežke revolucije« z izpostavljanjem izključno potrošniškega vidika venezuelskega vsakdana, ki – to morajo priznati še tako zagreti chavistični navijači iz domačih logov – zelo spominja na zadnja desetletja socializma, kot smo ga poznali v vzhodni Evropi.

Različni odzivi na sicer zelo nazorni prispevek so razumljivi. Kadarkoli začnemo diskusijo o Venezueli, stopimo v svet zakoreninjenih predstav, ki ne dopušča nians. V tem črno-belem svetu se spopadata dva diametralno nasprotna pogleda: na eni strani zagovorniki venezuelske poti v socializem, na drugi njeni neoliberalni kritiki. Razprava o venezuelski stvarnosti se zato praviloma sprevrže v obmetavanje z readymade argumenti. Podobno kot pri palestinskem vprašanju se zdi, kot da racionalna debata ni mogoča, saj takoj pademo nazaj v svet pred padcem Berlinskega zidu. Nedvomno je prav zaradi tega tema tako priljubljena na levi in na desni: navijačem z obeh strani omogoča, da se z varne razdalje igrajo hladno vojno.

Tu bom poskušal nekaj drugega: na venezuelsko realnost pogledati z zornega kota dejstev in številk.

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Meja na Šentilju

Odkar je leta 2007 Slovenija vstopila v schengensko območje, meje z Avstrijo ni več. Natančneje to pomeni, da je prehod meje prost in nenadzorovan. Kar ne pomeni, da meje kot takšne ni več. Še zlasti, če sežemo onkraj ozko administrativno-politične rabe besede „meja.“ Države in politične meje se menjajo. Tisto, kar traja in zagotavlja kontinuiteto ljudskega sobivanja, je kultura.

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Dan odraslosti. Dva vidika zgodovinske pozabe na Slovenskem

Pričujoči članek je bil napisan novembra 2012 ter objavljen v 10. številki Razpotij, reviji humanistov Goriške (jesen-zima 2012). Ker v njem razgrnjeno razmišljanje danes (žal) ni prav nič manj aktualno, kot je bilo v času svojega nastanka, ga ob 96. obletnici prevrata objavljamo tudi na našem portalu.

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Devetindvajsetega oktobra Slovenija beleži zelo pomembno obletnico, ki pa gre še vsako leto mimo skoraj popolnoma neopažena. Tega dne pred 96. leti je bila na veliki narodni manifestaciji na Kongresnem trgu v Ljubljani razglašena odcepitev Slovenskih dežel od avstrijske monarhije. Z izdvojitvijo iz šeststoletnega okvira habsburških dednih dežel je Slovenija prvič v zgodovini postala državnopravni pojem in državna enota v okviru konfederalne Države Slovencev, Hrvatov in Srbov. Dna dneva zatem je bila imenovana tudi slovenska Narodna vlada, prva v zgodovini. Kako to, da je ta, za narodno zgodovino tako pomemben datum prav vsako leto znova in znova prezrt? Kje se skrivajo razlogi za žalostno dejstvo, da je v javnih občilih omenjen kvečjemu v rubrikah vrste “Zgodilo se je na ta dan” skupaj denimo z obletnico dne, ko je z Revozovega tekočega traku prišla prva katrca?

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O apologetih liberalizma

Moj esej z naslovom Zakaj nisem liberalec? je sprožil kar nekaj odzivov pripadnikov desne miselne struje na raznoraznih spletnih omrežjih. Glavna kritika moje malenkosti se je seveda glasila, da sem pripadnik »črnega (to se pravi, krščanskega) socializma«. Pravzaprav sem iz odzivov dobil vtis, da živimo v manihejski stvarnosti, kjer sta možni le dve opredelitvi – liberalizem ali socializem.

apologetics

Iz manihejskega stališča gre torej za princip: vsakdo, ki ni z nami, je proti nam – se pravi, je socialist. Tovrstni apologeti, ne glede na količino znanja, ki ga premorejo, vedno razmišljajo znotraj dualnosti. Poglavitni način njihove argumentacije bi lahko poimenovali kot reductio ad Marxum, če si lahko dovolim parafrazirati sloviti izrek Lea Straussa reductio ad Hitlerum. Leo Strauss je svojo hudomušno frazo skoval za ljudi, ki stališča argumentirajo tako, da pogledajo odnos Hitlerja do njih in se opredelijo nasprotno. Na primer: nacionalna država je slaba, ker jo je podpiral Hitler, varstvo okolja je slabo iz istega razloga itd. Pri odzivih na moj esej šlo za podobno vrsto argumentacije, in sicer: ker je Marx nasprotoval liberalizmu, sem sam nujno nekakšne vrste socialist. Vse razlike, ki obstajajo med konservativnim mišljenjem in socializmom, jih pravzaprav ne zanimajo. Liberalizem je pač iznad kritike; vsaj na desnici, kjer postaja nova dogma.

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Konservativna demonologija

demonologyPo Binsfeldovi klasifikaciji demonov poznamo 7 princev pekla, ki ustrezajo sedmim smrtnim pregreham. Te pa so sledeče:

1) Lucifer – ponos
2) Mammon – pohlep
3) Asmodeus – pohota
4) Leviathan – zavist
5) Beelzebub – požrešnost
6) Aamon – srd
7) Belphegor – lenoba

Sedaj pa poglejmo, kaj bi lahko rekli o demonologiji konservativca. Kateri so tisti pojavi, ki si zaslužijo primerjavo z njimi, in zakaj:

1) Utopije. Utopija, ta velika kreacija sv. Thomasa Mora, je skozi tok zgodovine pridobila popolnoma drugačno konotacijo. Ustvarjanje utopij je povezano s človeškim ponosom, grehom Luciferja, in teži k ustvarjanju nebes na zemlji. Takšen proces, ki zanika človekovo nepopolnost in sprevrže njegova čustva do najvišjih zadev, pa je do zdaj še vedno vodil do prelivanja rek krvi, saj najvišji cilj posvečuje vsa sredstva, mar ne?

2) Potrošništvo. Človeški pohlep nima meja in se posebej negativno manifestira znotraj pojava, potrošništva – zlasti sodobnega. Gre za željo imeti vse in takoj. Želja imeti čim več s čim manjšim trudom pa skozi procese, namenjene zadovoljitvi vseh želja, neusmiljeno trga družbene vezi in sili človeka k nemoralnosti v njegovih postopanjih do drugih, njihove lastnine in narave.

3) Hedonizem. Iskanje užitka, in še toliko bolj izogibanje bolečini, je naravno za vsa čuteča bitja, a le človek je uspel to postaviti med najvišje smotre svojega življenja. Sodobni hedonizem nadaljuje duh potrošništva v želji človeka, da takoj doseže svoje želje. Duh hedonizma še globlje razjeda človeško družbo in posebej njeno temeljno celico, družino, saj je slednja popolno nasprotje hedonizma. Če ustvarjanje družine terja ”ukrotitev” nagona za življenje v skladu z vrlino, pa hedonizem nagone sprosti in njunihovo brzdanje šteje za greh.

4) Socializem. Lepa je vrlina pomoč sočloveku, nekaj drugega pa je socializem. Če je socialna skrb, v različnih oblikah, pozitivna, pa je socializem, posebej v marksistični obliki, popolna negacija tega. Njegov cilj ni pomoč pomočí potrebnim in izboljšanje njihovega položaja, temveč uničenje tistih, ki imajo več. Ideologija razrednega boja je popolna manifestacija greha zavisti.

5) Ideologije. Kakšno povezavo ima duh ideologij s požrešnostjo, grehom Beelzebuba? Veliko. Ideologije, ta človeška kreacija, težijo k zajetju vsega v en svetovni nazor. Požrešnost po celotnem stvarstvu. Ideologije, ki se ustvarjajo skozi tok zgodovine, namreč skušajo podrejati in požreti vse. Od Boga do družine, družbe, države, narave in posameznika. Svoj temačen obraz razkrivajo vedno znova in človek jim vedno znova nasede.

6) Militarizem. Srd je še kako utelešen v duhu militarizma, čaščenju nasilja za vsako ceno. Nasilje, ki je samo sebi namen in ustvarja božanstvo Države in njenih organov. Nadaljuje duh ideologije in tepta oziroma uničuje vse, kar mu pride na pot.

7) Pacifizem. Vsem je jasno, kako si je militarizem prislužil mesto znotraj demonologije. Kako pa to pripada pacifizmu, želji po miru, eni izmed najvišjih vrednot? Problem pacifizma je, da izhaja iz greha lenobe. Želja po miru za vsako ceno je zgolj lenoba, poročena s strahopetnostjo. Višje vrednote, kot sta npr. življenje in odrešenje, ne smejo biti žrtvovane na oltarju miru. Pravzaprav je mir posledica višjih vrednot in ne obratno.

Konservativna negacija

Sedaj pa se še vprašajmo: v čem se konservatizem razlikuje od duha zgoraj opisanih demonov? Predvsem v tem, da ni ne ideologija niti ne verjame v utopije. Je previdnost in zdrava pamet. Je nasprotovanje spremembi zavoljo spremembe in cilju zavoljo cilja. Priznava nepopolnost in grešnost človeka in ju poskuša brzdati. Zlasti na področju javnega. Ker pa zanikamo možnost tuzemske odrešitve, so naša sredstva omejena. In zavoljo previdnosti je tako tudi prav.

Tedenski izbor

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Vprašanje položaja humanističnih ved v izobrazbi je precej aktualno. Če levičarski del javnosti razume pomen, čeprav znotraj svojih ideoloških okvirjev, pa je na desnici pogosto nerazumeljena, in občasno celo zaničevana. A vendar je ravno konzervativna misel tista, katera lahko humanistiki, da smisel obstoja, kateri ni pogojen z njeno koristnostjo in uporabnostjo. Levica pogosto opozarja na nujnost humanistike in družboslovja s potrebo po družbeni kritiki, ki je ne moremo zanikati. A vendar se je potrebno vprašati, kakšno funkcijo bi lahko imela humanistika, ali pa celo katerakoli bazična znanost v brezrazredni družbi, ko bi bil cilj celotne zgodovine izpolnjen.

Apologija humanistike – Andraž Kovač, Časnik

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His /Tocqueville’s/ ultimate fear was that this tendency toward privatism—especially the “restless” pursuit of thing after thing—and disinterest in the banal activities of self-government would result in an apathetic and disconnected citizenry whose main interest would be security and comfort amid the unpredictability of their economic lives. /…/

In contrast to democracy understood as a discipline of shared self-governance—leading to self-command and an inclination to obey laws made by oneself—Tocqueville describes here instead a people altogether infantalized by their private materialist obsessions and civic indifference. Rather than making them into men and women, this form of democracy creates perpetual adolescents: “[Democratic despotism] would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood.”

The answer to this threat, then, isn’t simply “more democracy.” Tocqueville, rather, pointed to certain arrangements in which active self-rule was more likely to occur—especially local, small-scale settings in which people would develop a strong sense of investment and care in the outcome of decisions.

How Democracy Dies – Patrick J. Deneen, The American Conservative

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Tako kot nekateri Italijani prvo svetovno enačijo zgolj z italijanskimi žrtvami in zmago, počnejo to tudi nekateri Primorci. Natančneje, borci. Takoimenovani borci. V njihovi zvezi je namreč večina ljudi, ki druge svetovne vojne niso doživeli niti kot dojenčki. Oni drugo svetovno vojno enačijo zgolj z levičarsko mitologijo o partizanstvu.

Za ene je prva svetovna vojna samo trikolora. Za druge je druga svetovna vojna samo rdeča zvezda.

In to je velika škoda. Oboji namreč pozabljajo na preproste ljudi, ki so se borili prisilno ali za svoje ideale in mnogi tudi zato umrli. Je moj nono s partizanske strani hotel, da bo po vojni zavladala diktatura? Prepričan sem, da ne. Takoimenovani sodobni borci zato nimajo pravice, da govorijo v njegovem imenu.

Vojna je tragedija, ki se je moramo spominjati, saj tako preprečujemo nove. Zato bi bilo dobro, če se takoimenovani borci usmerili v prihodnost in nehali politiki vsiljevati svoje zvezde.

Mi pa verujemo v našo pomlad! (O Primorcih in t. i. borcih) – Tino Mamić, Časnik

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Kakšno uro ali dve po premieri se je nedaleč stran, v zakulisju informativnega teatra zavrtel še en, neznatnejši, a pozornosti vreden dramski prizor. Besedilo, ki ga je napisala poročevalka STA (Slovenske tiskovne agencije) Jasmina Vodeb, se je uredništvu zazdelo neustrezno ali kar napačno. Zato je bil del poročila črtan in slavnostni govorec je ostal brez besed oziroma brez citata.

Kaj je bilo predmet spora? Dogajanje leta 1939/40. Po besedah Ljuba Sirca se je usodni preobrat v življenju te angažirane ženske zgodil z avgustom 1939, ko sta nemški zunanji minister Ribbentrop in sovjetski zunanji minister Molotov sklenila pakt o nenapadanju (in delitvi Evrope), imenovan tudi pakt med Hitlerjem in Stalinom. Angela Vode, ki je bila tedaj članica komunistične partije, se je nad povezovanjem komunistov z nacisti zgrozila. To je tudi jasno povedala in delovala naprej, kot da pakt ne velja oziroma da nje ne zavezuje ukaz, da se čez naciste ne sme reči žal besede. Zaradi kljubovanja so jo iz partije izključili, za nameček pa sprožili hudournik raznih oblik kaznovanja, tudi dolga leta zapora.

In zakaj se o tem še aprila 2009 ne bi smelo govoriti? Po informacijah, ki so s STA prišle do mene, zato, ker baje jugoslovanska partija ni imela nič s paktom med Hitlerjem in Stalinom. Tudi je menda izmišljotina, da bi koga kaznovali, če je temu nasprotoval. Kaj šele, da bi koga izključili in maltretirali! Saj je vendar splošno znano, da je bil Tito proti Stalinu…! – Tako so torej Ljuba Sirca črtali iz poročila o premieri. Besede, s katerimi je označil Angelin spor s partijo in odnos do nacizma, so izpuhtele, stavek o izključitvi pa je bil zmehčan v »se je s partijo razšla«. Ta verzija – tako rekoč uradna, saj jo je razširila državna tiskovna agencija – je potem zasedla večino informacijskega prostora.

Ob ognju iz polen, vrženih pod noge – Alenka Puhar, Časnik

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Po podatkih finančnega ministrstva je zadolženost Ljubljane 31. decembra 2006 znašala 29,7 milijona evrov, zadolženost njenih pravnih oseb (mestnih podjetij, zavodov…) še dodatnih 26,2 milijona. Skupno torej 55,9 milijona ali 202,3 evra na Ljubljančana. Podatkov za letos še ni, konec leta 2013 pa je dolg Ljubljane znašal 120,5 milijona evrov, dolg njenih pravnih oseb pa 84 milijonov. Skupaj torej 204 milijone oziroma 758 evrov na Ljubljančana. Dolg Ljubljane je bil konec prejš­njega leta torej skoraj štirikrat večji kot v času, ko je Janković začel županovati.

Grdi obrazi najlepšega mesta na svetu – ni jih malo – Jurij Šimac, Novica Mihajlović, Finance

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Vprašanja, ki bi morala plavati po javnem prostoru, so sledeča: kakšen je bil Mramorjev odnos do managerskih prevzemov s pomočjo denarja iz državnih bank? Kakšen je Mramorjev pogled na dajanje garancij, koncesij in subvencij? V kakšni relaciji je Mramor z ljudmi, ki so kronični in masivni odvisniki od koncesij, subvencij in garancij? Kdo so ljudje, ki lahko vplivajo na Mramorjevo mnenje pri javnofinančni konsolidaciji? Kakšne so relacije med Mramorjem in posamezniki, ki upravljajo s paradržavnimi podjetji in paradržavnimi skladi?

Vse to bi morali vedeti in analizirati v kontekstu njegovih preteklih dejanj in interesnega kroga iz katerega prihaja in je tisto, o čemer bi morali razpravljati že od prvega dne, ko je iz SMC prišla informacija, da je Mramor njihov ministrski kandidat.

Razumel bi, da je danes gospodarska rast okoli 5 odstotna, da dolg ne presega 20 odstotkov BDP in da imamo proračunski presežek, ampak temu ni tako, zato skorajda popolna odsotnost debate o svetovnem nazoru in interesni grupaciji tega človeka kažeta, da kljub šestletni ali recesiji ali stagnaciji v tej državi še vedno nihče ni sposoben razprave o realnih problemih in načinih reševanja teh problemov.

Dušan Mramor, računovodja, ki je postal finančni minister – Kizo, Portal Plus

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In your chapter on “The Truth in Socialism”, you say that what conservatives, in your sense, and socialists share is a recognition of the “truth of mutual dependence”. Where, then, does the conflict between socialists and conservatives arise? Over the distribution of the benefits of that mutual dependence?

Partly that. But it also has to do with control. Socialists, when they see a problem, they want a centralised answer to it. Whereas conservatives are more open to the thought that if a problem arises locally, it must be solved locally—to the extent that it can be solved at all. Also, conservatives are open to the thought that most [political] problems are not soluble.

How to be a conservative: a conversation with Roger Scruton – Jonathan Derbyshire, Prospect

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In reality, as the German economist Walter Eucken observed, actually existing economies involve a web of various market forms, with up to 100 different possible combinations of various types of supply and demand (competitive, semi-oligopolistic, oligopolistic, semi-monopolistic, and monopolistic), each of which can be either open or closed. And market forms, of course, are only one of many aspects of an economy. Reality doesn’t often give us easy choices between good and evil but requires a high level of prudence and discernment. In other words, it requires hard work.

My point is not that every time a person advocates capitalism, socialism, or any other economic “-ism” that she must, therefore, be scapegoating. Rather the goal is to encourage my coreligionists (and myself) to get beyond the abstract.

Do you support capitalism? Socialism? Distributism? Something else? Wonderful. What does that look like among the mess of market forms that actually constitute the economy you participate in every day? Rather than criticizing those policies that fall short of your saintly ideal or align too closely with your Hitler, what ones constitute a first step in the right direction for you? And why? And what are the actual consequences, intended or otherwise, that may come about?

Scapegoats of Christian Social Thought – Dylan Pahman, Ethika Politika

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Zaradi vnetega zagovarjanja državnih investicij kot vzvoda gospodarske rasti vas večkrat primerjajo z Jožetom Mencingerjem. Vas ta primerjava moti?

Za te stvari mi je vseeno, včasih so me zmerjali kot neoliberalca, zdaj kot keynesijanca ali mencingerjanca, če hočete. Pomembno je, da znaš v pravem času najti prave recepte za konkretne težave. Najhuje je, če vztrajaš pri istih stališčih vse življenje. Mencinger je nekoč o mojih stališčih dejal nekaj v smislu, končno je ugotovil, jaz to vem že vse življenje. Ampak težava je ravno v tem, da je keynesianec že vse življenje. Keynesijanec moraš biti, kadar je čas za to, torej ko imaš težave s povpraševanjem. Hudič je, če želiš vse bolezni zdraviti z istim zdravilom.

Kam je šel liberalec v meni? – Jože P. Damijan, intervju za Manager

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Begin with the disease. At the core of America’s problems with health care is a great delusion: it likes to think it has a vibrant private marketplace. In fact the country has long had a subsidy-laden system that is the most expensive and complicated in the world, with much of the government cash going to the rich, millions of people left out and little individual responsibility.

/…/

Obamacare’s effects will not be fully understood for years; but it will never be the core of the problem. If America wants to stick to the idea that it has a health-care market, then it should focus on trying to make it more like a market—with prices, competitors and some form of choice.

How to fix Obamacare – The Economist

Tedenski izbor

1960s-ladies-reading

No, leta 1991, ko je Slovenija stopala na pot – žal le navidezne, ampak to je že druga tema –, demokracije, je bila sramotna sodba iz leta 1947, ki je uničila življenje Angele Vode in večine drugih udeležencev čarovniškega Nagodetovega procesa, končno uradno razveljavljena, Angela pa je bila posthumno oprana vseh krivd in sramote. A tudi to nikoli ne bo spremenilo dejstva, da je ta oseba morala celo življenje strahotno trpeti in na koncu ponižujoče umreti. Od lakote. Ja, od lakote. V Jugoslaviji, kjer ste vi imeli vse, kajne? Ah, verjamem, seveda ste imeli vse. Tam, čez mejo, ste res imeli vse. Tudi referenco … današnje združene levice. Ah da, ravno maja prihodnje leto bo minilo natanko 30 let, ko je Angela Vode umrla od lakote. Gospica sodnica Roblek, ki jo citiram na začetku tega sestavka, naj se malo zamisli, koliko je bilo pred 30 leti torej vredno zaupanje slovenskega sodstva!

V Jugoslaviji so ljudje umirali od lakote – Ana Jud, Časnik

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Short of reaching the Moon, today’s Russia does not have the option of new territories elsewhere. Striking back in its habitual sphere of domination only wastes resources that should go into starting afresh. Like pre-WWI Ottoman Empire (and the Austrian), Russia is stuck in the stage of half-hearted reforms alternating with retrenchment, all the while trying to recover past glory.

Like during the Ottoman decay, no external power wishes to promote a collapse of Russia – the result would be too messy and unpredictable.

Like during the Ottoman decay, no external power wishes to promote a collapse of Russia – the result would be too messy and unpredictable. Short of outside jolts, such empires can last. But external jolts do occur. Sometimes the decaying empire unintentionally triggers them by trying to strike back. Germany did not unleash the First World War; Austria did – technologically third class, poorly organized, inept but pugnacious Austria. This was akin to today’s Russia, apart from nuclear weapons, another feature Russia inherited from better days.

This is the broader framework for viewing Russia’s recent actions. We have here another case of a socio-economically decaying society, still mired in nostalgia, still waiting for its Atatürk or de Gaulle. This decaying structure is still capable of considerable mischief.

The Second Crimean War: When Decaying Empires Strike Back – Rein Taagepera, University of Tartu blog

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In sacred architecture, the building and the spaces within serve  to connect users to a deeper reality that transcends its walls. They function as a gateway from the material world to a spiritual realm–the focus is on the eternal, not the object that portends to represent it. In a secular context like Modernism, the object is the thing itself, and all meaning is tied directly to that object.

Art & Religion Need Each Other – Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

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Naj vas ne preseneti, če bo Evropa poizkuse Židana, Erjavca in vseh ostalih razumela na način, da je v dolini Šentflorjanski normalno, da revidiramo sezname, v kolikor niso iz njega izbrani kandidati, ki so po volji najmočnejšim političnim komolčarjem.

Nas moti, da se to tako dela, da je v tem najboljša ravno ona ali da nam odpira oči s pogledom v politično kloako? – Boris Meglič, Portalplus

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Ambiciozna vlada, ki bi želela delati v dobro ljudi, bi si za cilj postavila, da bo v štiriletnem mandatu davčno breme na delo zmanjšala z zdajšnjih 42,5 odstotka pod povprečje OECD (ki je 35,9 odstotka). To bi bilo najprej solidarno, saj bi vsaka odstotna točka davčne razbremenitve povprečnemu zaposlenemu prinesla 208 evrov več letnega dohodka, dobro pa bi bilo tudi za gospodarstvo, ki bi tako lažje motiviralo zaposlene in privabilo naložbe iz tujine, ki jih krvavo potrebujemo, saj razvojnega kapitala trenutno v Sloveniji pač ni dovolj. Politiki bi lahko nabirali celo javnomnenjske točke, sklepali dogovore s socialnimi partnerji o tem, koliko prihranka od sproščenih dajatev naj gre delavcem, koliko delodajalcem in kar je podobne maškarade (čeprav je trapasto, da eno in drugo sploh birokratsko delimo, saj gre tako oboje iz iste vreče tistega, kar zaposleni zasluži). Za priboljšek bi bil zadovoljen še Bruselj, ki bi opazil, da se je Slovenija končno odločila celo preseči kakšno od priporočil, ki izražajo zgolj najbolj nujno.

Državne finance: sodobnim tlačanom, 2. del – Rok Novak, Finance

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A far more serious person, the dissident Russian analyst Andrei Piontkovsky, has recently published an article arguing, along lines that echo Zhirinovsky’s threats, that Putin really is weighing the possibility of limited nuclear strikes — perhaps against one of the Baltic capitals, perhaps a Polish city — to prove that NATO is a hollow, meaningless entity that won’t dare strike back for fear of a greater catastrophe. Indeed, in military exercises in 2009 and 2013, the Russian army openly “practiced” a nuclear attack on Warsaw.

War in Europe is Not a Hysterical Idea – , The Washigton Post

Tedenski izbor

The-young-student-Ozias-Leduc

Can you guess which books the wannabe jihadists Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed ordered online from Amazon before they set out from Birmingham to fight in Syria last May? A copy of Milestones by the Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb? No. How about Messages to the World: the Statements of Osama Bin Laden? Guess again. Wait, The Anarchist Cookbook, right? Wrong.

Sarwar and Ahmed, both of whom pleaded guilty to terrorism offences last month, purchased Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies. You could not ask for better evidence to bolster the argument that the 1,400-year-old Islamic faith has little to do with the modern jihadist movement. The swivel-eyed young men who take sadistic pleasure in bombings and beheadings may try to justify their violence with recourse to religious rhetoric think the killers of Lee Rigby screaming “Allahu Akbar” at their trial; think of Islamic State beheading the photojournalist James Foley as part of its “holy war”but religious fervour isn’t what motivates most of them.

This Is What Wannabe Jihadists Order on Amazon Before Leaving for Syria – Mehdi Hasan, The New Republic

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If Mr Valls wanted to send a message with his new government, Mr Macron is it. Mr Montebourg, who was ousted the previous day, had a knack of irking foreign investors, once telling Mittal, a steel company, that it was “not welcome” in France. Mr Macron, by contrast, spent much time privately picking up the pieces, arguing to investors that France was in fact open for business. Of Mr Hollande’s election-campaign promise in 2012 to set a sky-high top income-tax rate of 75%, Mr Macron once said scathingly, “it’s Cuba without the sun!”.

By itself, of course, Mr Macron’s appointment will not make it any easier for Mr Valls to press ahead with the politically daunting job of sorting out France’s squeezed public finances and trying to revive the stagnant economy. Nor will it put an end to the debate, led by Mr Montebourg and other fellow anti-austerity Socialist deputies outside government, over the pace of fiscal consolidation. But it does at least suggest that the Valls government is serious about pursuing a more business-friendly approach, and about starting to bring the largely unreconstructed left into line with the rest of Europe’s social democrats.

No more Cuban-style policies? – Charlemagne, The Economist

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Hearing students cite Marcuse while decrying bourgeois society, Novak thought it a good idea to bring Marcuse to campus for a day of discussion and lecturing. But the admiring conversation he expected to witness didn’t occur. Instead, Novak recounts in his 2013 memoir Writing from Left to Right,

After mingling with the students, he was affronted and disgusted. At his lecture he set aside his prepared notes and instead described the severe Prussian discipline of his own education: the classics he had to master; the languages he had to learn by exercises and constant tests. His theme was that no one had any standing on which to rebel against the past—or dare to call himself a revolutionary—who had not registered the tradition of the West. (p. 107)

We can imagine how the students felt hearing this denunciation, but what could they say? Here was a prophet of youth rebellion endorsing utterly disreputable ideas—classics, discipline, mastery, tradition, the West—and telling students fully convinced of their own supremacy that they had nostanding to overturn anything.

The Enemies, and Friends, of the Humanities – Mark Bauerlein, First Things

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Dear Dr. Dawkins,

Earlier this week, on Twitter, you drew attention to a troubling fact unknown to most people. You pointed out that in the United States and Europe, most children conceived with Down syndrome are aborted.

/…/

You’ve traditionally held a position of moral neutrality regarding abortion. You’ve asserted that killing animals, with the capacity to experience pain, fear, and suffering, is of greater moral significance than killing fetuses: nascently human, you assert, but without the kind of sentience that gives them moral significance. You’ve suggested that no carnivore can reasonably hold a position in opposition to abortion. You’re not alone in that position, it’s become de rigueur among most contemporary analytic ethicists.

disagree with your position. I’ve long ago concluded that the fetus, the embryo, and in fact, the zygote are human beings—undeveloped, certainly, but possessing the dignity and the rights of sentient adults.

Despite my disagreement, I recognize that you’ve tried to apply your viewpoint with consistency across a variety of ethical situations.

Until this week. This week, you moved from presenting abortion as a morally neutral act to asserting that the abortion of some people—genetically disabled people—is a moral good. A moral imperative, in fact.

An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins – J. D. Flynn, First Things

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Ni ogrožena samo otrokova neodvisnost. Spremembe v strukturi prostega časa in odnosov v družini , ki na podoben način potekajo v večini razvitih držav, lahko po mnenju nekaterih strokovnjakov ogrozijo tudi zdravje otrok. Ameriški psiholog dr. Peter Gray z univerze Boston College trend upadanja količine proste igre povezuje s hkratnim trendom naraščanja psihopatologije med otroci – povečane pojavnosti depresije, anksioznosti in narcisoidnosti. Kot opaža, so intristične dejavnosti (tiste, ki nas veselijo in si jih izberemo prostovoljno) začele upadati na račun ekstrističnih ciljev (tistih, ki nam jih narekujejo od zunaj). »V šoli si otroci prizadevajo za čim boljše ocene in pohvale, v organiziranih športih si prizadevajo za pohvale in pokale. Vse temeljijo na presoji drugih. V prosti igri pa otroci počno, kar hočejo, učenje in duševni razvoj sta stranska produkta, ne pa zavestno postavljena cilja aktivnosti.« Ta premik k potrebi po zadovoljevanju zunanjih pričakovanj je po Grayevem mnenju idealen recept za povečanje depresije in anksioznosti. Če temu dodamo še upadanje občutka samostojnosti, nadzora nad svojim življenjem, ki je povezan s povečanim nadzorom staršev, je recept še prepričljivejši.

Ni časa za igro – Staš Zgonik, Mladina

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5. Marriage must be color-blind, but it cannot be gender-blind. The melanin content of two people’s skin has nothing to do with their capacity to unite in the bond of marriage as a comprehensive union naturally ordered to procreation. The sexual difference between a man and a woman, however, is central to what marriage is. Men and women regardless of their race can unite in marriage, and children regardless of their race deserve moms and dads. To acknowledge such facts requires an understanding of what marriage is.

/…/

While Americans are free to live as they choose, no one should demand that government coerce others into celebrating their relationships.Whatever one believes about marriage and however government defines it, there is no compelling state interest in forcing every citizen to treat a same-sex relationship as a marriage when this would violate their religious or other conscientious beliefs.

7 Reasons Why the Current Marriage Debate Is Nothing Like the Debate on Interracial Marriage – Ryan T. Anderson, The Daily Signal

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Joj, kako me je o stanju slovenskih političnih medijev, se pravi, medijev, ki pomagajo razmišljati o človeku in družbi, poučil letošnji žled! Četrtek v žlednem tednu (6. februar): Demokracija ima na naslovnici udbovca Janeza Zemljariča. Slučajno se slišiva s prijateljem J. C., ki profesionalno dela v visoki politiki. Rečem mu, da sem razočaran, da Demokracija ni zmogla na naslovnico dati žleda. Da pa bom počakal še dan, da vidim, če ga bo na svojo naslovnico dala Mladina. Z J. C. sva bila prepričana, da ga tudi Mladina ne bo dala. In res. Mladina (7. februar) je izšla, verjetno že tisočič, s popačenim obrazom Janeza Janše na naslovnici. Če ni Janše, Mladina nima družbene teorije.

To je bil slovenski žledni teden, ki se zgodi na vsakih sto let. To je bil teden, ko so gasilci, prizadeti vaščani, drugi prostovoljci in razne službe dali najboljše od sebe ter pravzaprav razkazali solidarnostni in demokratični potencial slovenskega naroda. In glej: eminentni politični tisk, ki naj bi imel nos za „demokracijo od spodaj“, je ostal v svojih fiksacijah, v svojem negativizmu. Ubožci – sem dejal – še ko vsi trpimo, oni demonizirajo drug drugega. In bil jezen.

Čakajoč na repo iz ušes- Branko Cestnik, Časnik

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Če zdaj to situacijo vseeno na hitro prenesemo v politični prostor in pogledamo rezultate letošnjih volitev, bomo ugotovili, da bi se pomladna politika iz tega medgeneracijskega razkoraka in prekinitve stika lahko kaj naučila. Tudi v pomladni politični drži namreč mladi nimajo pravih sogovornikov in nič ne pomaga, če se zgražamo, kako na drugi stani mlade nekakšni navidezni sogovorniki in šarlatani vedno zavedejo. Pravi sogovornik mladih je nekdo, ki se približa njihovemu doživljanju, kar sploh ni enostavno, in jih poskuša razumeti in sprejeti, kar je še težje. Tak sogovornik ni žrtev, zato ni zagrenjen in se ne posmehuje zgroženo niti najbolj čudnim idejam, ker so samo ideje. Stoji na svojih nogah, svoje potrebe rešuje drugod, ali pa jih začasno odloži ali skrije, vsekakor pa od mladih nič ne zahteva, se jim ne dobrika in jih ne krivi za njihovo kratkovidnost in obrnjenost vase. Ker vsega tega v našem političnem prostoru ni, me ne čudi, da so nekateri mladi volivci pripravljeni podpreti celo tako absurdno idejo, kot je ideja demokratičnega socializma. Če so bili pred leti zadovoljni samo s stranko mladih, je kriza očitno prinesla zaostritev retorike in, zanimivo, naslonitev na neke čudaške politične zglede pri starejši generaciji. Kot bi se povezali dedki in vnuki, in sicer dedki, ki so zamudili svoj čas, ter vnuki, ki jim nihče ne pokaže, kako vstopiti v tok časa.

Zakaj (travmatične) zgodbe dedkov vnukov ne zanimajo? – Tomaž Erzar, Časnik

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Še nekaj za tiste, ki berete italijansko:

Nessuno dei quattro grandi paesi che adottano l’euro è davvero a posto, nessuno può alzare il ditino o indossare l’aureola del santo. Ma chi è in grado di convincerli a seguire la retta via? È questo il dilemma che Draghi ha posto indirettamente, ma con chiarezza. E si è scontrato contro un muro, perché nessuno oggi ha il potere di farlo, certo non la Ue che è ridotta sempre più a un club di nazioni chiassose e litigiose, ma nemmeno la Bce che pure è l’unica istituzione federale dotata di veri strumenti d’intervento. I cambiamenti principali finora sono stati compiuti sotto la pressione degli eventi, davanti a rischi drammatici come la crisi bancaria del 2008, il crack della Grecia nel 2010 o il collasso dell’euro nel 2012. E sono comunque rimasti cambiamenti a metà, accettati di mal grado dalla Germania che pure vanta il proprio europeismo federalista.

Draghi ha chiesto un’ulteriore cessione di sovranità e vuole un patto per le riforme da accompagnare al patto fiscale. Se si vuole dare all’euro una intelaiatura più solida è un passaggio inevitabile. Ma oggi non c’è consenso né tra i paesi del sud né in quelli del nord Europa. Dunque, la politica economica europea è in un cul de sac. La Bce alla fine sarà costretta a fare come la Fed se arriverà davvero una nuova tempesta finanziaria. Ma senza dietro un paracadute politico, nessuno può garantire che sia davvero efficace. Draghi lo sa e lo ha detto. Anche la sua diventerà una predica inutile?

Mario Draghi e l’Europa irriformabile – Stefano Cingolani, Linkiesta

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Za konec pa še zgodba, ki daje dober vpogled na način, kako se dela kadrovska politika v Sloveniji – ali drugače, na poniglavost, s katero je odhajajoča vlada v vse pore družbenega življenja skušala nastaviti svoje mediokritetne kadre. Bo v prihodnje kaj boljše? Gotovo ne, če bomo še naprej skomigali z rameni in s tem dopuščali tako prakso.

The Judicial Council of the Republic of Slovenia prepared a ranking of candidates and proposed to President of Slovenia to send the names of three highest-ranking candidates to the Parliament, which has to vote on the list of three candidates in order to be sent to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. However, Mr Pahor, the incumbent President of Republic of Slovenia, last week refused to send the list of three high ranking candidates to the Parliament and requested that the Ministry of Justice repeats the call for applications. It is not entirely clear why Mr Pahor rejected the list approved by the Judicial Council, but it appears that the merits of the candidates did not impress him. Surprisingly, the Ministry of Justice at this point does not plan to repeat the call for application.  It seems we are witnessing situation so often seen in the Central and Eastern European countries where the merits of the candidates play only side role in the nomination process and where the nomination of the candidates to the European Court of Human Rights comes down to brutal power politics.

Problem-Ridden Nomination Process for Judge on behalf of Slovenia at the European Court of Human Rights – Esohap