hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Was reading a blog post today that reminded me of this passage from The Magician's Nephew:

". . .She gave it to me and made me promise that as soon as she was dead I would burn it, unopened, with certain ceremonies. That promise I did not keep."

"Well, then, it was jolly rotten of you," said Digory.

"Rotten?", said Uncle Andrew with a puzzled look. "Oh, I see. You mean that little boys ought to keep their promises. Very true: most right and proper, I'm sure, and I'm very glad you have been taught to do it. But of course you must understand that rules of that sort, however excellent they may be for little boys - and servants - and women - and even people in general, can't possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages. No, Digory. Men like me, who posess hidden wisdom, are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny."

As he said this he sighed and looked so grave and noble and mysterious that for a second Digory really thought he was saying something rather fine. But then he remembered the ugly look he had seen on his Uncle's face the moment before Polly had vanished: and all at once he saw through Uncle Andrew's grand words. "All it means", he said to himself, "is that he thinks he can do anything he likes to get anything he wants."

. . ."I am the great scholar, the magician, the adept, who is doing the experiment. Of course I need subjects to do it on. . .the idea of going myself is ridiculous. It's like asking a general to fight as a common soldier."

. . .Some of the actions of the more vehement anti-Dem protestors call to mind this December 2000 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette column by Gene Lyons:

". . .In many ways, the dispute between Al Gore and George W. Bush supporters has come to resemble the desperate tension inside what therapists call a "dysfunctional family" dominated by the whims of an alcoholic husband. From Nov. 7 until quite recently, Democrats have been acting like the classic "enabler"of therapeutic literature: tiptoeing around, speaking quietly of fairness, democratic process and law, and trying hard not to give GOP hard-liners an excuse to get drunk, pitch the TV through a window, beat the children and set fire to the family cat."