Monday, June 30, 2008

Good housekeeping


I've added a new section to my blogroll, provisionally entitled "Illiberal", to provide a home for the broadly right of centre blogs that I've been meaning to link to, but couldn't fit them into any of my existing sections. So far, this includes:
I have also (at the risk of incurring Will's wrath) added Liberal Conspiracy to the UK Politricks section - something I've been meaning to do for ages, not just since the recent "brown people" punch-up.

And, in case these additions appear to indicate a right-ward drift, I have finally got around to adding A Very Public Sociologist (under Lefties, Commies and Trots) and Never Get Used to It (under libertarian left). I'm also adding Principia Dialectica to the Adventures in Marxism section.

I'd like to find a place to add the wonderful Thunder and Lightening to the blogroll, but still can't work out which section!

And here's another recent discovery: Solar Plexus.


Here are some recommendations for today:


The Contentious Centrist said...


Dictionary meaning:

Narrow-minded; bigoted.

Archaic. Ungenerous, mean, or stingy.

Lacking liberal culture.
Ill-bred; vulgar.

Is this rally what you think of all those bloggers included in this post?

It sounds like an insult. And the explication as to why this is so, is well put in this snippet from a ilberal blogger:

" Back home in England it has (at least) three meanings: "a member of the Liberal Democrat party", "large or generous" (as in "a liberal helping of roast beef"), and "free and progressive in outlook", as in "liberal democracy" or "liberal arts". In the US, the first of these is irrelevant, the second is rarely used, and the third has been twisted into a pejorative term by those on the political right - so much so that true liberals are nervous about describing themselves as such.
So to all of those that perversely and ahistorically seek to use the term "liberal" as an insult, I offer this challenge: if you despise the term "liberal", then presumably you must embrace its opposite - "illiberal", meaning narrow, mean-spirited, and ungenerous. Can I expect all of you to claim this odious term for yourselves and your political leadership? I hope so. It surely fits...."

Is it really necessary to categorize and label?

BTW, I read the two articles about centrism by Trotsky which you recommended some time ago. My mentioning it IS relevant to my comment here. (In case you thought my thoughts careered out of context). I'll probably write more about it when the right moment comes which I never know when until it is there.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"ilberal blogger"

Sorry. Typo. I meant: liberal (by his own account).

TNC said...

Thanks for the link, Bob. Always appreciated.

CC beat me to it. I was thinking similarly. Stark Tenet, But I am a Liberal! and my blog share quite a lot of common ground. Am I illiberal? Anti-liberal?

I need to add Freebornjohn as well. Thanks for turning me on to his blog. Isn't he a classical liberal?

When people use negative descriptions to identify themselves or others (anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-authoritarian, anti-fascist, anti-communist, etc.) I usually try to get them to provide a positive description instead.

Understanding what they--or the individual, group, political movement, etc. in question--stand *for* rather than what they stand against is much more informative.

I escape this problem by labeling my links blandly and broadly with headings like:

South Asia(n)


Anyway, aren't you supposed to be on vacation, Bob?

Martin Meenagh said...

Many thanks for the link Bob, very appreciated!

Ian_QT said...

Yeah, I'm not sure I think much of being under a heading 'Illiberal'; as a classical liberal, like FreebornJohn.

What I don't like is the more recent use of the world 'liberal', that has come over the Atlantic, to mean 'in favour of more state intervention' (as opposed to conservative).

Peter Risdon said...

Bob, you're very kind. A long-overdue revamp of my sidebar will reciprocate, of course.

bob said...

Wow, what a can of worms I've unintentionally opened. I should start by saying I hate liberalism and hate liberals. The only "liberal" I like is liberal helpings of food. I hate the Liberal Democrats. I hate liberals in the British sense of white people who wear ethnic trousers and dance to horribly cheerful African music and buy Coldplay records. I hate liberals in the American sense of people who listen to Pacifica radio, although I might be one of those people myself if I was American (I hope not). I have some sympathy for classical liberalism, but have many criticisms of it, including some which come from communitarianism, from traditional conservatism, from socialism and from Marxism.

So, all in all, I did not mean illiberal as an insult. I was just struggling with a term that did better work than "conservative blogs" or "blogs to my right". I was toying with "Coalition of the Willing", but thought that might be insulting too. I toyed with "Patriot whigs", "Goo-goos" and "Mugwumps", but decided they were all too obscure... Nominations for an alternative welcome.

Incidentally, I find it much easier to define myself negatively: anti-fascist, anti-Stalinist, anti-colonialist, etc. I find it hard to define myself positively in a catchy one or two word phrase like "centrist" or "libertarian" or "anarcho-marxist"...

And, no, I'm not and have not recently been on vacation: I was working in lots of different places last week, so couldn't blog, and am easing back in this week, both to normal work and normal blogging. Normal, that is, in scare quotes I guess.

The Contentious Centrist said...

I think you are looking for a catch-all term that will define succinctly the many colours of the antithesis of the Indecent Left. But people like to cling to their tiny differences, so your quest is hopeless.

The most important thing is the conversation, and who gets an invitation to participate and sit at the table.

"My idea of good company, Mr Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company."

"You are mistaken," said he gently, "that is not good company; that is the best.

(Jane Austen's Persuasion)

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Capitulation to dogma over the spirit of open inquiry leads to the very catastrophes of totalitarianism that the unconscious proponents of dogmatism most fear--thus we have the book-burners of both left and right joined in common cause."

I once used this quote in full to describe the spirit of my blog. I liked it because it brings up many of the beasts that scare me these days:


bob said...

That's a great quote CC.

I think that a lot of the blogs I link to, from all sorts of political persuasion, represent the antithesis of, the critique of or the escape from the Indecent Left, whether wholly or partially.

Just as there is a virtual alliance between the book-burners of the left and the right, I feel there is also a virtual alliance between the flame-dousers and book-smugglers of the left and the right. So, the blogs I've listed (maybe provisionally!) under "illiberal" represent one type of assualt on book-burning, especially the book-burning of the far left, but the sections "anti-totalitarian left", "libertarian left" and even "commies and trots" include other types of assault on book-burning.

Some of the lefter sites I link to are closer to Indecentism than I like; some of the righter sites I link to are closer to the problems of what we could call the Indecent Right, which is a whole other topic.

TNC said...

"And, no, I'm not and have not recently been on vacation..."

Sorry to hear that. Hope you get one soon...

bob said...

God I hope so too... It's presumably evident in my blog how much I need one (i.e. getting increasingly deranged)? It's looking like September...

TNC said...

"God I hope so too... It's presumably evident in my blog how much I need one..."

Not at all. I know you work a lot and everyone needs a break.

I was hoping to make it to the Caribbean last month but the weather in Puerto Rico took a turn for the worst (lots of rain) so we canceled. Hopefully we'll make it out there this month or next.

Roland Dodds said...

I’m not sure where I stand in so far as I hate all those folks that Bob has described as liberal, and yet I also apply that term to myself. I am for universal liberty and justice, and for standing with folks who are standing up to powers that be: whether they be mindless right wing thugs or lefties willing to support Stalinist type policies.

While I call myself a liberal my politics remain radical in my advocating for the rights of the people over the state.