Wednesday, March 05, 2008

More on Buckley, conservatism, and New Orleans...

Quick post this week, as I'm fighting off what is probably bronchitis:
  • Ian Williams on the death of William F. Buckley:
    During his overlong life Buckley gilded the fungus by casting a gossamer-thin veil of erudition on the brawling mélange of crude bigotry, racism, self-satisfied ignorance and isolationism that characterised American conservatism until the neocons turned up. It takes more than yachting and harpsichord-playing, more even than sense of humour and a belated admission that Iraq was a big mistake, to weigh the balance in his favour.
  • Sue Sturgis:
    Are the following truly the words of a "Great American" -- of an "extraordinarily good man" with a "warming aura"? They appeared in an unsigned National Review editorial, probably penned and undoubtedly published by Buckley, that ran on Aug. 24, 1957, titled "Why the South Must Prevail":

    "The central question that emerges . . . is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes–the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.
  • Naomi Klein:
    Readers of The Shock Doctrine know that one of the most shameless examples of disaster capitalism has been the attempt to exploit the disastrous flooding of New Orleans to close down that city's public housing projects, some of the only affordable units in the city. Most of the buildings sustained minimal flood damage, but they happen to occupy valuable land that make for perfect condo developments and hotels.


    This is just one particular piece of this whole program. Public hospitals are also being shut down and set to be demolished and destroyed in New Orleans. And they've systematically dismantled the public education system and beginning demolition on many of the schools in New Orleans--that's on the agenda right now--and trying to totally turn that system over to a charter and a voucher system, to privatize and just really go forward with a major experiment, which was initially laid out by the Heritage Foundation and other neoconservative think tanks shortly after the storm. So this is just really the fulfillment of this program.


    Post-Katrina New Orleans may be providing the first Western-world image of a new kind of wasted urban landscape: the mould belt, destroyed by the deadly combination of weathered public infrastructure and extreme weather.

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