Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A dumb name for a drink

From a good reporter, Juliet Eilperin, a less-than-earthshaking piece about Takoma Park (Md.) and (among other things) its connections to the upper reaches of the Obama admin. A brief excerpt:
The elevation of this community of fewer than 18,000 residents to the highest echelons of government speaks to the influence of progressives in the administration — a bent that will become more pronounced during Obama’s final two years in office, even if Republicans make major gains in next week’s elections. But it also underscores how, for all of its radical leanings, the city has moved closer to the mainstream than one might think. Its residents are no longer fighting the power; they are the power.

A decade ago, Takoma Park’s downtown economic anchors included a yoga studio, a pet food store that sponsored animal rescues and a music store. Those businesses have survived, but that strip now has two coffee shops, three restaurants that serve alcohol and a hardware store. Where Murphy’s Auto Parts once stood is now the upscale restaurant Republic, which offers not just a duck confit Cubano sandwich but a “Fascist Killer” specialty cocktail that features Old Scout bourbon, Amaro Averna, basil and lemon peel.
Bourbon, basil, and lemon peel = yuk. And "fascist killer" is a stupid name for a drink.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"To be a citizen is to have an ideology"

One of the commenters at Crooked Timber has been on a crusade lately against "ideology," not against any particular ideology but against some phantom in his head that he sees as bad and to which he attaches this word. I've never read Karl Mannheim or done any deep study of the notion of ideology, but the word has no negative connotations for me. I think virtually everyone has, in some sense, an ideology, whether it's conscious or not, sophisticated or not, elaborate or not.

I'm reminded of something Judith Shklar wrote in a festschrift for Stanley Hoffmann, describing the latter's attitude toward ideology and ideologies:
He sees [ideologies] not only as inevitable, but as necessary functions of democratization and of democratic public life once it has been institutionalized.... Ideology [in Hoffmann's view] is as positive as it is a necessary part of political action. To be a citizen is to have an ideology. Without ideology there would have been no resistance to Nazism, no heroism of the few who had a faith that led them to risk their lives to save the persecuted, and no will to defend human rights.
(Judith N. Shklar, "Teaching Ideologies with Stanley," in Ideas and Ideals: Essays on Politics in Honor of Stanley Hoffmann, ed. L. B. Miller and M. J. Smith, Westview Press, 1993, p.62)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Quote of the day (pre-election division)

I take it as proved that those who consider universal suffrage as a guarantee of the excellence of the resulting choice suffer under a complete delusion. Universal suffrage has other advantages, but not that one.
-- Tocqueville, Democracy in America, vol.1, pt.2, ch.5 (quoted in the G. Lawrence trans.)

P.s. This is not to say Republican attacks on voting rights don't matter; they do, obvs.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Comment of the day

One of the angles in a WaPo story about Justices Thomas, Sotomayor, and Alito returning to Yale Law School to receive awards was that Thomas seems to have "made his peace" with the law school. To which a commenter, one "Publius38," remarked:
To really, really make peace with Yale, Thomas should resign as soon as possible from his current job and go teach there.