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Miscellaneous Rambling

Man, for some reason, that Trump dance video really cracked me up yesterday. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but I think I watched it ten times.


Matt Taibbi, far from a conservative the last I checked, breaks down the farce that was RussiaGate. It's official: Russiagate is this generation's WMD. Possibly the best piece I've read, especially since it comes from a Rolling Stone guy.


From the Notebooks:

Robert Nisbet (1913-1996) was a conservative sociologist whose lifework resolved around one grand theme: the importance of communities, those “human groups that spring up to fill perennial human needs and solve problems,” such as families, voluntary associations, and churches.

People need community. Community, Nisbet once wrote, “springs from some of the powerful needs of human nature.” If communities are attacked or undermined, individuals will be harmed.

This firmly-held belief animated one of the main “sub-themes” of Nisbet's work: To the extent the centralized state becomes more powerful, communities atrophy.

This, of course, makes sense, if we keep in mind Nisbet's primary definition of “community” as groups that solve problems. To the extent the omnicompetent state attempts to solve our problems, the role of community diminishes, weakens and eventually disappears–to the detriment of individuals. This has been the readily-discernible path in America's recent past, as the national government's attempt to solve problems on a national scale has crippled families (e.g., by providing economic incentives for women not to marry) and charitable organizations (e.g., by national-scale welfare programs replacing the need for local organizations and churches to care for their poor).

The rise of the powerful state has resulted in harm to individuals, Nisbet believed. He said the contemporary individual is “metaphysically beleaguered.” He said modern man is alienated. Instead of being connected to others and higher realities through communities, he is tossed about in “vast institutions and organizations” that fragment him and leave him “existentially missing in action.”