Thursday, January 19, 2006

Funniest Thing I've Heard, Too!

Clara, over at Liberty Belles describes a comment in class. Tickled her, and tickled me, too.

I had two profs in grad school, early 1980s, who were big liberals. Every time the unemployment figures came out (1981 was not a good year for workers), Mr. and Mrs. "We Love the People!" would squeal like tenured pigs hip deep in grants.

"Another half percent increase in unemployment! Yippee!"

I was naive; I tried to point out that each 0.5% increase in unemployment was (at that time) about an additional 900 thousand people out of work.

They looked at me as if I didn't understand (they were right). "The sooner unemployment rates go sky high, the quicker we will have "THE REVOLUTION."" (They made quote marks with their fingers; don't blame me).

This belief in the eschaton had become by that time, as for many religions, the focus of the faith. (On the Marxist eschaton, check here; scroll down to p. 159)

We don't need no minority rights; come the revolution, you will all be eating milk and honey.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The (New) World's Shortest Political Quiz

There are many political quizzes, even if one just sticks to the libertarian sort.

There is the Politopia Quiz....where I live somewhere between Drew Carey and Ayn Rand.

There is the (previously) World's Smallest Political Quiz. (I got an 80% on social/personal, and 90% on economic)

There is the Bryan Caplan libertarian quiz (where I got a 54).

Now, it is time for the NEW world's shortest political quiz. It only works for faculty. But it has a very high classification power.

Here is the quiz:

1. When you finish lecturing, do your erase the marks you made off of the blackboard?

a. No, they should hire some poor person to do that. The little people need something to amuse them.
b. No, the state should do that. I'm too busy working on behalf of the people.
c. No, that might put a union janitor out of a job. And it might make me sweat. I only sweat in the gym.
d. Yes, of course, I marked up the blackboard, I should return it to its previous pristine state. We are all in this together. (Do a half-assed job, kind of run the eraser over the board in a desultory way, and then go share more feelings over coffee)
e. Yes, of course, that is the implied contract. And I honor my promises.

and....the results? If you answered
a: You are a conservative
b: You are a social democrat
c. You are a liberal
d. You are a communitarian
e. You are a libertarian

The only error in this test is that Objectivists, who think they are libertarians, secretly all think they are ubermenschen, and answer "a", if they are honest. Nietzsche didn't think real men, like Ayn Rand, should erase blackboards.

Otherwise, it always works.

And, let me say, there are apparently not many other communitarians or libertarians in the world. Why doesn't anyone erase the freakin' blackboard?

Reprise: On the First MLK Day, at Dartmouth

From the past....a piece I wrote about my first MLK day, at the Green.

And then, Monday, January 20, 1986 was MLK day. This was pretty great, because it was the first MLK day. (I differ with a lot of conservatives, I guess, because I favor MLK day, perhaps from growing up in an apartheid system myself, in rural central Florida in the 1950s and 1960s). On this first celebration of that holiday there was a lot of excitement. Lots of us got little candles, and carried them in a long procession across the Green, in front of Baker Library, and then around Webster Hall (yes, THAT Webster. A lot of the fake cutesy stuff at Dartmouth isn’t fake).

I walked back past the Green about midnight, after having cocktails with friends. It was impossibly cold. The shanties stood out on the snow, and the air felt like solid crystal, as if the brittle starlight would break if you walked out of the shadows. Okay, I had had a LOT of cocktails, scotch mixed with a big glass. Feeling like a rake, I made my stumbling progress home.

And woke up in bedlam. On the morning of Tuesday, January 21, 1986, the sunny Green looked like a kicked hornets’ nest, if hornets could fly at five below zero. I was approached, breathlessly, by a wormy student I knew from class. This guy’s boxers were in a permanent clove hitch about the virtues of free speech, at least for everyone he agreed with. But on this Tuesday, worm-boy couldn’t have been happier if his dad had replaced his new Volvo with a Ferrari. He bleated joyfully that there had been an “attack” by “conservatives.” I tried to find another student friend who worked on the Dartmouth Review, the conservative newspaper that spawned the “Review” movement on college campuses.