Comments: First Ever Open Thread!

I don't understand your project. Are you involved in the fundraising side, or the engineering side?

Posted by A Different Matt at July 23, 2008 11:11 AM

And what ever happened to that girl on your vestibule? Did you get a backstory? What sign of the time did she represent?

Posted by A Different Matt at July 23, 2008 11:14 AM

Are you involved in the fundraising side, or the engineering side?

I'm afraid you'll have to wait and see. And I can say is that it will really get everyone's attention, at least until they lose consciousness.

And what ever happened to that girl on your vestibule? Did you get a backstory?

No, I tried to ask if she needed help, etc. But she took off. She seemed to have just been sleeping, not passed out.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at July 23, 2008 11:20 AM

Probably wondered if that was a plasma cannon in your pocket.

Posted by Donald Johnson at July 23, 2008 11:24 AM

Probably wondered if that was a plasma cannon in your pocket.

Ha ha! But seriously, no, that was the quantum disintegration ray.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at July 23, 2008 11:41 AM

So you are building a plasma cannon, Mankiw is posting nothing but links, and Brad DeLong has been reading a lot of science fiction lately...

If you guys are building a new planet for economists, can you please take Howard Beales with you?

Thanks.

Posted by Dave at July 23, 2008 12:02 PM

"a thoughtful response to every comment..."
Come on, even Voltaire or Goethe couldn't do that, or even the titan of thoughtful comments in our time, Rush.
So, it's a mind-altering project you're on. And it's working. Onward and upward.

Posted by donescobar at July 23, 2008 02:11 PM

I really hope you're working on iterating the sun. Or maybe even reiterating it.

Posted by ethan at July 23, 2008 02:38 PM

If you guys are building a new planet for economists, can you please take Howard Beales with you?

Yes, but we're cloning him before we leave, so the net number of Howard Beales will end up being +50 million.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at July 23, 2008 02:39 PM

Come on, even Voltaire or Goethe couldn't do that

Fortunately, I am the combined reincarnation of them, and with our combined powers I/we can do EXACTLY THAT.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at July 23, 2008 02:46 PM

I really hope you're working on iterating the sun.

Is causing billions to die in a fiery conflagration the same thing as iterating the sun?

Because if so, then yes.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at July 23, 2008 02:49 PM

Is it doofuses or doofi? (I always have trouble with the Latin plurals.) I'm trying to write a blog post about recent Republican presidents and the mysterious basis of their electoral appeal.

Posted by cervantes at July 23, 2008 03:12 PM

Is it doofuses or doofi?

It's actually doofae. What can I tell you, Latin is weird.

Next question!

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at July 23, 2008 03:16 PM

I thought every thread was an open thread.

My bad.

Posted by Labiche at July 23, 2008 03:47 PM

Folks -

I can also obliterate the sun, and I will do it for just $1mm cash! Cut out the Jon-middleman! Of course, you will have to wait 8 billion years..... But you seem like discerning, patient gentlepeople. Who recognize a bargain when they see one!

Posted by Aaron Datesman at July 23, 2008 03:47 PM

Oh good! I'm grateful for this opportunity, Mr. Schwarz.

1) What parts of the "anti-war movement" are not joined at the hip to the democratic party? How do I make this constituency matter?

2) Can American capitalism be reformed (à la Nader) into something resembling social justice, or is social democracy really just a pathetic half-measure?

3) Do you know any good examples of large-scale democratic socialism?

4) Is the violence of the oppressed against their oppressed an acceptable way of levelling inequality, or just another regrettable example of people seeking power over other people (still a question in the anarchist movement, I believe)?

5) Why is the "intellectual class" in the Anglosphere so whipped as compared to about a century ago?

6) Can meaningful change still arise in universities when they exist primarily to provide credentials for white-collar workers and "thinkers" for the government?

7) To what degree is reality consensual?

8) How do you get up every day to face a world where the "bad guys" have won?

9) When the sun is obliterated... net plus for neighboring solar systems?


Sorry there are so many (and I think I have more), but I couldn't resist the opportunity for a thoughtful response to all these.

Posted by Save the Oocytes at July 23, 2008 03:53 PM

uh, johnathan, it's been fifteen minutes ....

we are waiting for your considered responses?

Posted by dewar at July 23, 2008 04:10 PM

uh, johnathan, it's been fifteen minutes ....

Busy with the plasma turbine. Will check back later.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at July 23, 2008 04:26 PM

3) Do you know any good examples of large-scale democratic socialism?

Scandinavia.

Posted by cervantes at July 23, 2008 04:33 PM

cervantes, I assume you're referring mostly to Sweden and Norway? Why do you chalk them into the democratic socialist column and not the social democrat column?

Posted by Save the Oocytes at July 23, 2008 04:57 PM

Here's an excerpt from a letter recently published in the Financial Times.

>>The American militarism that brought us war with Vietnam when I was young, and war with Iraq today, is not a flaw of our socioeconomic system, but a feature. I recommend to your writer, and to all interested readers, Eugene Jarecki’s documentary film, Why We Fight, which includes President Eisenhower’s warning about the influence of the “military-industrial complex”.

Until our political leaders lead the fight against these “masters of war” (in Bob Dylan’s phrase), instead of speaking of US soldiers occupying foreign lands as “defending our freedom”, we can expect more war and ruinously expensive preparations for war. --end of quote from Financial Times letter.

Here's a catchy term for this - the MICFiC - the


M ilitary
I ndustrial
C ongressional
Fi nancial
C orporate Media Complex -

a conspiracy to use, abuse, and confuse the people - speaking metaphorically, to "milk, shear, and slaughter the sheeple" - except the slaughter is literal.

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at July 23, 2008 05:06 PM

mistah charley, ph.d: EXACTLY.

Posted by Mike Meyer at July 23, 2008 05:37 PM

I think the corporate media is downplayed in MICFiC. And probably Congressional is overplayed. I think we could get rid of them entirely now. They don't seem to matter.

Posted by Susan at July 23, 2008 08:00 PM

"To what degree is reality consensual?"
To what degree is reality reality? That is, the word reality vs the reality of reality. And who's consensus? Our thinky-talky egos or the living embodiment of the universal consciousness?
In any event, the answer is "I don't know".

Posted by Monkay at July 23, 2008 08:20 PM

>> you'd need to raise $_0,000 billion to build a plasma cannon to totally ____terate the sun

If you accept Zimbabwean dollars, I think we're OK.
One British pound is worth Z$1,300,000,000,000,000.

Posted by Bernard Chazelle at July 23, 2008 08:27 PM

My Nigerian bankers ( Goth and Chenowith) advise me to buy in. I've already deposited 75 M Reichsmark in their uncle's account in Rotterdam. Should I continue? Faithfully in Every American Can Be A Rich Man Yours, Dutch.

Posted by donescobar at July 23, 2008 10:30 PM

Is it true that you have finally snapped, and have built a giant re-education camp for everyone who insists on adding a "t" to your last name, and that you are currently rounding up all guilty parties to be imprisoned there?

Posted by Upside Down Flag at July 24, 2008 08:33 AM

Is it doofuses or doofi?
If it's 4th declension, the plural is actually doofus.

Good news - a doofus won't know or care.

What can I tell you, Latin is weird

Yeah, I much prefer the simplicity of English. Though I thought I would cough through the night, it was a hiccough which brought me upright as rough winds soughed in the moonlight.

BTW, how 'bout that i before e rule, that's weird.

Posted by cavjam at July 24, 2008 09:08 AM

Is it true that you have finally snapped, and have built a giant re-education camp for everyone who insists on adding a "t" to your last name, and that you are currently rounding up all guilty parties to be imprisoned there?

Dude, where have you been? That happened in, like, 1990.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at July 24, 2008 09:27 AM

FORCE CONGRESS TO IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH AND DICK CHENEY, call Pelosi @1-202-225-0100 and DEMAND IMPEACHMENT. I called today, now its YOUR turn.

Posted by Mike Meyer at July 24, 2008 12:25 PM

It's true, Jon's head snapped in 1990. I heard it happen.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at July 24, 2008 02:23 PM


1) What parts of the "anti-war movement" are not joined at the hip to the democratic party? How do I make this constituency matter?

Independents? Well first you need a proper republic, to ensure protection against the majority. Then you need a healthy, non-reactive culture to listen to all sides of a debate and react in wisdom. Sorry if that isn't the easy answer you were looking for.


2) Can American capitalism be reformed (à la Nader) into something resembling social justice, or is social democracy really just a pathetic half-measure?

Follow the laws of a proper republic. Social
democracy is the full measure of evil.


3) Do you know any good examples of large-scale democratic socialism?

Yup, Mao, Stalin, etc, etc. The final destination of socialism is always the same,
some are just more honest about it. And democracy, well my goodness, democracy is usually even worse than dictatorship. So you wanna combine them? wth?


4) Is the violence of the oppressed against their oppressed an acceptable way of levelling inequality, or just another regrettable example of people seeking power over other people (still a question in the anarchist movement, I believe)?

What is an appropriate response to oppression of your natural rights? I don't think they mean anything at all if you won't kill and die for them. But remember, the point of law is to prevent the necessity of that.



5) Why is the "intellectual class" in the Anglosphere so whipped as compared to about a century ago?

Follow the money, i'd say. Lack of an honest culture helps too.



6) Can meaningful change still arise in universities when they exist primarily to provide credentials for white-collar workers and "thinkers" for the government?

Groupthink seems to be a natural fit for human personality. Never underestimate the power of youth, though. They can be a bomb waiting for a match. I say bomb, because idealism can lead to Great Leap Forward as easily (or more) than to a We The People


7) To what degree is reality consensual?

50/50? You are limited by physics and such, but
in your own mind and actions you can change it a good bit, right?

8) How do you get up every day to face a world where the "bad guys" have won?

Two choices: pretend/believe it isn't true, or adopt a mindset of war.


9) When the sun is obliterated... net plus for neighboring solar systems?

Only thing I care about is if I get there in time.

Posted by tlm at July 24, 2008 03:04 PM

Open thread? Then the subject I introduce is "raw gratitude."

Gratitude Cubed. And cubed again. "Thank you, gentlemen."

"Thank you, big time."

My day would be vastly diminished if you were not here to visit. You're like having John Zerzan (Against Civilization, Running on Emptiness), James Loewen (Lies My Teacher Told Me), Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States), Jimmy Carter, and Al Gore living next door and across the street or right around the block.

I have no idea what it costs you to do what you do here, but I am deeply grateful. The words "Thank you" are just too stupidly small.

I follow every link you give me, and double check everything you write. I accept you as a homework assignment in American Citizenship, and I want an "A," not just from you, but from them. It seems the only way to honor you and your work here.

Posted by /ehj2 at July 24, 2008 04:39 PM