Archive | November, 2007

Burkes Semi-serious Anarchism, Part 2

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

In a recent post I described the problem posed, for the prevailing interpretation of Burke’s Vindication of Natural Society as satirical, by similarly radical passages occurring in Burke’s nonsatirical writings.

Edmund Burke Most of the writings I cited in that post are on the web (and I provided the relevant links), but one – a brief editorial on Irish poverty from Burke’s 1748 journal The Reformer – has not thus far been available online. Now it is.

As you’ll see, there’s nothing anarchistic on offer here; and real radicals will find Burke’s explanations of poverty too vague and his proposed remedies too modest, especially by comparison with, say, Spooner’s Revolution the Only Remedy for the Oppressed Classes of Ireland.

Nevertheless, in its sympathy for the poor, indignation against the rich, and affirmation of the “natural equality of mankind,” Burke’s editorial certainly resembles the Vindication more than it does the Reflections on the Revolution in France. The same applies to the editorial’s endorsement of such classical liberal doctrines as that the function of government is to “secure the lives and properties of those who live under it” (which had been a central theme of Locke’s Second Treatise) and that the “riches of a nation” consist in the “uniform plenty diffused through a people” rather than in the “luxurious lives of its gentry” (which was to be a central theme of Smith’s Wealth of Nations).

In short, the existence of this early editorial is indeed awkward for those who insist that the radicalism of the Vindication could only have been intended ironically.

Red Prophet

Jack Kirby once wrote a comic book story about the “face on Mars.”

Okay. But he wrote it in 1958:

Jack Kirby - The Face on Mars

Plus, don’t these “screaming ships,” from the same story, look a lot like Babylon 5’s screaming Shadow vessels (which as it happens were first dug up on Mars ….)?:

Jack Kirby & Babylon 5 - screaming spacecraft on Mars

Read the whole story.


[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

Crispin Sartwell - Against the State Click here to see Doug Den Uyl’s blurb for the forthcoming anthology Anarchism/Minarchism that I edited with Tibor Machan. Click here to see an anonymous blurb for Aeon Skoble’s forthcoming book Deleting the State. Click here to see my own blurb for Crispin Sartwell’s forthcoming book Against the State. And click here for an advance preview (as opposed to, um, some other kind of preview) of Sartwell’s manuscript itself.

Bionic Idiocy

Live-blogging tonight’s episode ….

So the Bionic Woman is a Rules Girl? How totally lame. Bring back Sarah Corvus!

At least we’re seeing some pretty stock footage of Paris.


Well, things just took an upturn – Leoben walked in!

Addendum 2:

Not enough Leoben! Too much boring subplot with Jaime’s kid sister!

Addendum 3:

Good, more Leoben. (Though when he hit whatsisface it looked wretchedly fake.)

Addendum 4:

Hey, whatsisface references actual obscure comic book and superhero! Geek point!

Addendum 5:

It was cool to see Leoben, but he didn’t get to do anything especially distinctive. (Ditto for appearances in previous episodes by Tyrol and Lampkin.) And there weren’t enough scenes of Paris. And they can’t seem to decide whether this spy outfit is dark/creepy/edgy or kinder/gentler/touchy/feely.

Bionic Woman is the show I watch because I can’t watch Galactica ….

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