The American Conservative, 14 July 2008 & 28 July 2008

14 July– A special issue on the causes and consequences of World War Two; the cover asks “How good was the good war?”  Seven contributors disagree on various points, but all concur that the international situation confronting the United States today bears very little resemblance to that which confronted Britain and France at the Munich Conference in 1938.  Several contributors cite Wilhelm II’s Germany on the eve of World War I as the state from which the USA could take the most powerful cautionary lesson.

Right-wing third party presidential candidates Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin get friendly writeups.

Steve Sailer (lefalcon’s least favorite blogger, and for good reason) reviews Richard Florida’s Who’s Your City and slashes Florida’s claims about the “creative class” to bits.   Florida claims that culturally tolerant cities are the places where it is likeliest that creative elites will form and develop new, commercially successful products and systems.  Florida’s favorite example is Silicon Valley, which he says owed its genesis to the wide-open mores of San Francisco.  Sailer points out that Silicon Valley is in Palo Alto, 33 miles from San Francisco.  Sailer finds that Silicon Valley’s location is in fact typical of the geographical centers of innovation in today’s economy: “high tech regions don’t sprout in diverse cities but way out in the suburbs.  Think of Route 128 outside of Boston, the Dulles Corridor in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC, the two Silicon Prairies west of Chicago and north of Dallas, or the biotech office parks next to Torrey Pines golf course in scenic North San Diego County.”  This pattern, Sailer asserts, holds because “Bohemians don’t invent gizmos.  Nerds do.  The geeks and the golf-playing sales guys who peddle their inventions are usually team players who are relatively monogamous and family-oriented.  They soon wind up in the ‘burbs, where they find backyards and good public schools.”  It’s after the inventions are made and the wealth starts coming in that the cultural openness and sophisticated urbanity Florida talks about comes in.

Fred Reed uses the inside back cover to take the USA to task for being a society that is “unrelaxed, therefore uncontemplative.”  Perhaps that’s why he lives in Mexico now.

28 July– Leon Hadar believes that the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001-2002 was a just war, but that it is now long past time to withdraw US troops from the country.  He argues that it is unrealistic to expect a foreign army to bring order to Afghanistan.

Michael Brendan Dougherty reports on the apparently unanimous support that Roman Catholic bishops in the USA have given to the least restrictive immigration policies available.

David Gordon describes the “Rawlsekians,” a group of young libertarian thinkers who want to combine the egalitarian political philosophy of John Rawls with the neoliberal economics of Friedrich Hayek.  He finds the results unsatisfactory.

Ed West provides an hilarious review of a new book about the bin Laden family.  After running through many outlandish anecdotes about the family, he ends thus:

On the whole the bin Ladens seem to be a sympathetic bunch- charming fellows, mostly.  One has to come to the same conclusion as the FBI: there are millions of bin Ladens running around, and “99.999999% of them are of the non-evil variety.”

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