Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday links

55 free literature courses online from Open Culture.

Glenn Greenwald says this is "The NSA story we did with the biggest gap between significance & attention." Justin Raimondo's related column.

A history of pranksters.  One of the chapters in the book is "Meet the Illuminati."

Bill Drummond in the news. I've been puzzled by all the references to UKIP in my Twitter stream; they seem a bit different. I'm puzzled by their self-description as "libertarian"; in the U.S., "libertarians" do not oppose immigration, favor increased defense spending or promote monarchical government. Maybe UKIP is some whacky performance art and I'm not getting the joke?

Interview with Ira Glass of This American Life (my favorite radio show/podcast). It's going to start broadcasting in the UK.

All of Bach for free.


Tristan said...

There's a lot of self-described libertarians in UK who are really Thatcherite-esque conservatives (or worse).

For such people, libertarianism seems to be about government only doing things they approve of... UKIP is basically the angry old white man party - racist and xenophobic and wants to wind the clock back to some mythical halcyon day of limited government, people who know their own place and pullman trains with silver service...

michael said...

Corey Doctorow got an excerpt of Kembrew McLeod's Pranks book into BoingBoing on April 2:

I'm about 1/3 of the way in, and highly recommend this book.

55 free lit courses and all that Bach for free!

Tristan: there's a similar problem in the US with sombunall "libertarians." I suggest bloggers and other writers and talkers make it a point to delineate the varieties of libertarianism; it seems like good work that needs to be done. There seems a void here. Just look at how Alternet and Salon spin "libertarians" for Unistat readers. Tom Jackson has pointed out there are libertarians who are trying to make people notice they're not the sorts that you describe above; some of them refer to themselves as "liberaltarians."

Noam Chomsky has long self-referred as a "libertarian socialist." Robert Anton Wilson called himself a libertarian, but did some important (and now neglected) work by showing the diachronic semantic changes in use: a variety of what we'd call "anarchists" from c.1870 - 1960 or so, in Unistat, called themselves or were referred to by others as "libertarian."

There's the word. Then there are actual political philosophies. (This is where the interest resides, for me.) Then there are those who SAY they're libertarian and yet their policies seem to stretch the term to an absurd degree. But a lot of it's on particular issues. For example, in Unistat, Rand Paul runs as a Republican, although his father was a well-known type of Libertarian. And Rand himself has allied with libertarian types. But a few months ago he sounded off against cannabis legalization/decriminalization, with rationales that were embarrassingly naive, even stupid, to my eyes. How much further from "libertarian" can you get than suggesting the State should still persecute/prosecute people who want to get high on flowers?