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March 20, 2007

These People Are Exactly Who You Think They Are (Part 30,254)

From High Weirdness by Mail by Rev. Ivan Stang of the Church of the SubGenius:

There are three kinds of people -- I call them Larrys, Curlys, and Moes...

The Moes are the fanatics, the ranters, the cult gurus, the Uri Gellers AND the Debunkers; they are the Resistance Leaders and the Ruling Class Bankers. They hate each other, but only because they want to control ALL the Larrys and Curlys themselves...Larrys and Curlys die in wars started by rival Moes -- the Larrys willingly, the Curlys with great regret.

From Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire:

At [the University of] Chicago, one pursued the life of the mind. There was nothing higher, there was nothing else...

Albert Wohlstetter belonged to another world: the world of the policymaking coasts: the world of Washington and Rand. He flew between Chicago and Washington, between Chicago and various think tanks...

Wohlstetter invited the class to a reception at his house. He didn't live, as most of the professors did, in Hyde Park, an old, integrated neighborhood of four-flats and apartments. He lived at the edge of Lincoln Park in an elegant and lavish apartment, where we drank champagne and ate strawberries. This wasn't the life of the mind. This was the life of the privileged and powerful. I don't know why Paul Wolfowitz entered it. I do know how and why Zalmay Khalilzad did.

He is a protege of Wolfowitz, who worked with him on the war with Iraq and the occupation...When I knew him, he was an Afghani graduate student and a radical. He boasted of the demonstrations he had organized in Beirut, of the fedayin he knew and had worked with, and of his friends who regularly visited Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi. He went to pro-Palestinian meetings. His room had a poster of Nasser in tears. He and I had taken Wohlstetter's course on nuclear war together. He didn't seem, at the time, particularly interested in the course. He was, however, enthralled by Wohlstetter's party. In the elevator, in the apartment, he kept saying how much it all cost, how expensive it was, how much money Wohlstetter must have. Later, he borrowed my copy of Kojeve's Lectures on Hegel. When he returned it, one sentence was underlined. "The bourgeois intellectual neither fights nor works." The next summer, Wohlstetter got Khalilzad a job at Rand. I don't know what happened to the poster of Nasser.

Khalilzad is now the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. At some point Bush will probably make him Ambassador to the U.N.

Posted at March 20, 2007 06:26 PM | TrackBack

Oh, I suppose it's possible to participate in "the life of the mind" with champaigne and strawberries. Or,only down one level at Chianti Classico and fried calimari? Or, down another, at pork rinds and Gallo? It's the humane or inhumane use of power that counts, and the former could be accompanied by strawberries and...
But our new elite doesn't even have the noblesse oblige of the old, cold comfort that was to most poor and exploited.
But there we are, now, at the mercy of a new breed of robber barons.
And, didn't Richard Perle date Wohlstetter's daughter? That's probably the really real story here for what America is hungry to hear. A neocon sitcom on Fox? To the computers, Harvard Lampoon guys!

Posted by: donescobar at March 20, 2007 10:35 PM

It's not the champagne and strawberries particularly, it's that the champagne and strawberries are what matter--and it's not even what they are that matters, but what they signify.

Posted by: Saheli at March 21, 2007 01:09 AM

I must also say that I am ever so slightly uncomfortable with the tone of this anecdote. . .I'm not entirely sure I trust it, reasonably as it fits into my world view.

Posted by: Saheli at March 21, 2007 01:24 AM


Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 21, 2007 02:14 AM

Ancient Chinese proverb says: Money makes Devil turn the Millstone.

Yeah, I've got friends that would otherwise be progressive, had they not frankly admitted that they sold out to Mammon years ago.

Posted by: En Ming Hee at March 21, 2007 02:00 PM

I'm not sure what the point is? Is Wohlstetter supposed to be a "Moe"? He seems, rather, to be a reasonably well-paid policy wonk who for whatever reason decided to slum it in the academy for a stretch. Strawberries and Champagne -- the horror!

Many of Ann Norton's anecdotes are suspect. She boasts about having had sex in the library stacks at Chicago, but the stacks had almost certainly been closed by the time she got there. She goes on about "Staussian truth squads" running rough-shod over the faculty at Chicago, but no one else who was there at the time remembers such things. One could on....

I know alot of people like the snarky tone of her book, but she's just not reliable.

Posted by: Bob Adams at March 22, 2007 12:08 PM

I find the hip nihilism a little depressing, as it seems calculated (whether by design or not) to lead to inaction that benefits the worst fanatics. Yes, it's terrible that they steal from us, oppress us, spy on us, but it's so -tacky- to take any sort of action. And anyway, all politicians are dirty, just like all lawyers, and we don't want to get our hands dirty. Spoils the flavor of the Cheetos.

Posted by: Kip W at March 24, 2007 12:27 PM