Ireland’s Lisbon Vote

by Henry Farrell on June 14, 2008

As many of you likely know already, Ireland has voted down the Lisbon Treaty 53.4% to 46.6%. This was a slightly higher margin than I had anticipated (in a private email, I had laid my money down on a 52-48 split). As I noted in my previous post on the topic, the Yes campaign was tired and soporific. I’m trying to place an op-ed on the issue (if I don’t succeed, I will probably just bung it up on CT), so will have more to say about this later. But for the nonce, let me just note how appalling some of the responses from politicians in “other EU member states”: – not so much ‘the people have spoken, the bastards,’ as a Brechtian ‘let us elect a new people.’ In particular, German parliamentarian Axel Schäfer’s comment that “With all respect for the Irish vote, we cannot allow the huge majority of Europe to be duped by a minority of a minority of a minority,” would have a bit more credibility if, you know, the majority of the majority of the majority had been given a chance to vote on the Treaty themselves.


by John Holbo on June 14, 2008

In Plato’s Symposium, Alcibiades compares Socrates to ‘those busts of Silenus you’ll find in any shop in town’. You ‘split them down the middle’ and figures of gods are inside.

Obviously this is going to be something like a Russian nesting doll. Maybe exactly like one. I have seen a lot of Greek art and artifacts. I’ve seen, for example, drinking cups that are ugly Silenus on one side, beautiful Dionysus on the other. But I’ve never seen an ancient Greek Silenus nesting doll. Have you? What, exactly, were they like? Which gods were inside? Surely just Dionysus. If they were available in every shop, at least a few should have survived. Popular craft forms don’t usually just blink out of existence. They evolve down the centuries So where can I see one?

Defending Rachel Carson: the last word

by John Q on June 14, 2008

The Prospect article defending Rachel Carson I wrote with Tim Lambert kicked off a lengthy round of blast and counterblast in the blogosphere. Some of the response did little more than illustrate the continuing gullibility of the RWDB segment of the blogosphere, notably including Glenn Reynolds (start here). The more serious discussion began with links from Andrew Leonard at Salon and Brad Plumer at TNR, and a reply from Roger Bate, claiming that we had greatly overstated his links with the tobacco industry (Tim Lambert responded here and Andrew Leonard here and here, with plenty more evidence on this point). A further piece makes the claim (which I have no reason to dispute) that British American Tobacco has now switched sides and is arguing against DDT use in Uganda.

Through all this sound and fury, some progress was made. No one even attempted to defend the claim that the use of DDT against malaria had been banned, or the outrageous lies of Steven Milloy (still employed by Fox News and CEI, despite his exposure as a tobacco industry shill) who blames Rachel Carson for every malaria death since 1972. It even turned out that the much-denounced decision of South Africa to abandon DDT use (reversed when malaria cases increased because of resistance to the pyrethroids used as alternatives) was not primarily due to environmentalist pressure. As Bate noted in his reply, the main factor behind the decision was the unpleasant look and small of DDT sprayed on hut walls, which often led to repainting or replastering. A minor, but still striking point, is that DDT continued to be used for public health purposes in the US (against plague-bearing fleas) even after the 1972 ban on general use of the chemical, and is still available for these purposes if needed.

Update:Absolutely the last word Via Ed Darrell a quiet victory for friends of Rachel Carson with the abandonment by Senator Tom Coburn of a block on the naming, in her honor, of the post office in her birthplace. It appears that the campaign of denigration against Carson (and, by implication, the environmental movement as a whole) has become untenable.

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