Tied To The Mast‘s Discursor and I are going the fuck at it.  Why?  Because we have different opinions about Camille Paglia, who’s some person you’ve probably never heard of.

Here’s my latest, in response to his latest.

I’d put this on my homepage, too, but I don’t want to ruin my rep as a smart-ass with nothing of substance to say. [Whoops…]

If you won’t accuse her of intellectual dishonesty, can we at least agree that there’s a staggering display of cognitive dissonance going on? And no, this isn’t an argument, but I don’t really want to think about defenses of Sarah Palin anymore. They just baffle the shit out of me.

Re: your second graf. Agreed. I sometimes do expect too much. But with this, I take issue:

“Every public intellectual (from Greg Mankiw, to Stanley Fish, to Cornell West, to Paul Krugman, to Sullivan, etc. etc.) relies on assertions in their exoteric output to avoid getting their readers stuck in the weeds. Krugman in a piece you lauded states the following:

‘Let me start by pointing out something serious health economists have known all along: on general principles, universal health insurance should be eminently affordable.’

All serious health economists “know” this about universal insurance in America? In fact, many people argue with some plausibility that while Canada’s health system is more affordable than that of the US, in terms of long term prospects, it is far from “eminently” so. And I think that there are plenty of centre right health economists that can and do dispute Krugman’s claims (disputes that I recognize I can only adjudicate ideologically, and that I therefore try not to be lightly dismissive of).”

Er. Not with the whole of it. I think the quote’s a bit cherry-picked, though. That is, in the very next paragraph, Krugman writes:

“After all, every other advanced country offers universal coverage, while spending much less on health care than we do. For example, the French health care system covers everyone, offers excellent care and costs barely more than half as much per person as our system.

And even if we didn’t have this international evidence to reassure us, a look at the U.S. numbers makes it clear that insuring the uninsured shouldn’t cost all that much, for two reasons.”

And then he goes on to list those two reasons. It is, in short, an argument. I can’t speak to the nitty-gritty of the solvency of the Canadian healthcare system, but I think the statement that “universal insurance should be affordable” IS pretty much a given. Krugman expects his readers to have a basic grasp of the facts on the ground, as he’s writing for the NYT, not the Nat’l Enquirer. Every economist I’ve read on the healthcare debate agrees (granted, I read crazy left-wing economists, so what do I know?) But, I don’t know, if you think about the US budget, and where money gets spent, we could slash the shit out of defense, still spend double what the rest of the advanced nations do, and insure the shit out of everybody. I think it’s only if we ignore the reality of where our tax dollars already go that we get stuck on ways to fund “affordable” healthcare.

I’m not feeling the most on point today, so please let me know if that doesn’t fly for you. Plus I have to keep scrolling back and forth to see what I’ve said, and there are these long quotes. My head hurts.

Re: Saussure. I shouldn’t have made the paranthetical comment, you’re right. But I don’t think the snide aside exemplifies the paradox you think it does. I realize that a lot of philosophy is heavy, heavy reading, and that most people aren’t necessarilly going to want to do it. Which is why I yearn for clean, simple language–hopefully well-written prose, to boot. But the principles of good philosophical argument–validity and soundness–remain worthy goals, goals, that is, that needn’t be couched in the discipline of philosophy to have merit. So no, “populism” and “philosophical engagement” aren’t exclusive demands at all (as you admit). It might take a Russell to do ACTUAL philosophy with both rigor and a kick-ass style, but I think a Krugman (or a Froomkin, or a Greenwald) stay pretty close to the ideal of consistency and evidence-based argumentation.

Does that make sense? My head, my head…

The Nazi thing was a joke, to try to lighten the tone a little bit. WWII sucked. Hence existentialism. (Also a joke–the causal relationship need not be examined too thoroughly for the time being).


To read how this whole shit-storm got started (note: patience required), go here.

Jesus Christ, look at you.  You need a LOLCat@!!@1


3 responses to “BLOGWAR 2K9!!!!

  1. I’ll give you a more solid response later, but as a point of trivia, Paglia <3<3<3 the existentialists.

    As a random aside, and while I'm blog commenting: is a blog’s banality in inverse proportion to the interestingness of its comments?

  2. I just tried to comment and nothing showed up, so maybe I pressed the wrong button or something. What I said was that I would give you a more substantive response later, and that, as a point of interest, Paglia <3<3<3 the existentialists—especially Beaudoir's Second Sex, but also Sartre's plays.

  3. Pingback: The blog war rages on… Paglia, Palin, and now Krugman’s in the mix « Tied to the mast

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