Fascism, Fascism, Fascism

by Kieran Healy on December 17, 2007

Via Fascist Sadly, No!, a fascist look inside fascist Jonah Goldberg’s fascist forthcoming fascist book. Fascist.

The fascist jacket copy suggests that “The quintessential liberal fascist isn’t an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.” I, for one, welcome our Fascist Swarthmore Obergruppenführer.

Political ignorance

by Henry Farrell on December 17, 2007

The new issue of _Perspectives on Politics_ has an interesting back-and-forth between Larry Bartels and Skip_Lupia_et_al. on Bartels’ “2005 article”:http://www.princeton.edu/~bartels/homer.pdf about voter ignorance and the Bush tax cuts. Unfortunately the dialogue is behind the paywall (Bartels usually posts his papers on his website but hasn’t done so with this one yet), but this bit jumped out from his riposte:

Well-informed people are sometimes quite wrong about things—even when it comes to straightforward factual matters. For example, well-informed conservatives in the 2002 and 2004 NES surveys were significantly more likely than less-informed conservatives to _deny_ that differences in income between rich people and poor people in the United States had increased over the past 20 years—a denial “grossly out of kilter with available evidence.” Here, as in many other instances, better-informed people seem mostly to have grasped the biased world-view of “their” political elites rather than an accurate perception of real social conditions.

“Alan Reynolds”:https://crookedtimber.org/2006/12/18/bloggingheads-and-lampposts/ should be “taking a bow”:http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/12/intellectual_ga.html sometime around now. Bartels appears to be giving us a preview of one of the findings of his forthcoming book, _Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age_, which is coming out from Russell Sage/Princeton next year and sounds very interesting.

Update: This “response”:http://rossdouthat.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/12/populism_elitism_and_bs.php by Ross Douthat to David Frum’s “much vaunted”:http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/061154.php attack on conservative anti-intellectualism also seems sort-of on topic

Huckabee’s Fair Tax zeal and Paul’s anti-Fed enthusiasm are genuinely foolish; there is a touch of Miers-ish identity politics in the evangelical community’s Huckaphilia, and Frum’s larger worry about anti-intellectualism in the contemporary Right is one I share in spades. But if you’re going to be hard on the current crop of Republican candidates for making bogus claims about public policy, it seems awfully unfair to leave out the candidate given to running ads in which he announces: “I know that reducing taxes produces more revenue. The Democrats don’t know that. They don’t believe that.” (They don’t believe it, of course, because in the current fiscal landscape you can’t find a serious conservative economist who thinks it’s true.) … If you’re looking for cases where the Right’s anti-elitism has shaded into outright anti-intellectualism – for cases where, in Frum’s words, a GOP politician has deliberately failed to “study the problem, master the evidence, and face criticism” – Giuliani’s frequent channeling of Larry Kudlow seems like at least as telling an example as anything Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are peddling.

(the point being, although Douthat doesn’t spell it out explicitly, that Frum is one of Giuliani’s senior policy advisers).

Facebook Friends

by Kieran Healy on December 17, 2007

Not one but _two_ former office mates of mine are quoted on the front page of the Times today in a story about Facebook. Jason Kaufman talks about his work with Nicholas Christakis on patterns of affiliation amongst Facebook users. Our own Eszter Hargittai talks about her research on comparative adoption of Facebook and MySpace. And my brilliant colleague Ron Breiger will doubtless be pleased to see that Georg Simmel gets a shoutout too, for the idea of triadic social closure.