Regions of Mind
Self-assured but self-questioning.
Geitner Simmons is an editorial writer with the Omaha World-Herald.
This weblog expresses his personal views only.
He is also
a husband, a father, a son. And always
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Sunday, June 30
Electing a King
Support from the Club of Growth, a staunchly conservative free-market group, has made a difference in the Republican contest for Iowa’s 5th U.S. House District, which covers 32 counties in the rural, western end of the state. On Saturday, GOP delegates elected state Sen. Steve King, who championed his right-wing bona fides to hold off three conservative challengers as well as State House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a moderate.
Republicans enjoy a large advantage in voter registration in the recently created House district, so King has a considerable edge.
If you’re looking for astute analysis on Iowa politics, check out David Hogberg’s blog, Cornfield Commentary. Dave is on vacation but has been taking occasional breaks from his California respite to post new items.
Alienated and incoherent
The current issue of The National Interest offers loads to ponder. I'm going to address several articles in a set of posts here. (A note about links to The National Interest: It posts only excerpts from its articles.)
Paul Hollander has an article titled “The Resilience of the Adversary Culture,” in which he examines the anti-Americanism of left-liberal academics and activists. Of particular interest:
On the latter point, it’s true that Americans traditionally have displayed optimism about the nation‘s future. It’s a big stretch, though, to think that the founders themselves were spurred by grand visions about human perfectibility. On the contrary, informed by abundant examples from Western history, they were realists more than idealists and tended to voice a sober recognition of the limits of human character. And one of the hallmarks of political wisdom is the recognition that many problems are less soluble than merely manageable -- and often, that’s being optimistic.
The same issue of The National Interest includes a piece by radio talk-show host/movie critic Michael Medved, titled “That’s Entertainment? Hollywood’s Contribution to Anti-Americanism Abroad.” Medved notes that:
Medved is persuasive on several points, although the shallowness of the entertainment biz, like that of the fashion industry, is always an easy target. Which reminds me of a wonderful vignette that Martin Devon recently included at Patio Pundit about a proud-to-be-ignorant comment from an aspiring LA actress.
Just as “Mein Kampf” told us about Hitler’s mindset ...
A review in The National Interest praises the analyses of Islamic radicalism in books by Gilles Kepel and Roland Jacquard. Writes reviewer Martin Kramer: “The terrorism experts, whom the professors hold in such low esteem ... actually have a better track record than any combination of academic Arabists. ... The reason is that they took Islamists at their word.” Indeed.
A world of their own
Nikolas Gvosdev, in the final National Interest essay, describes a fascinating long-time call to create a separate Eurasian identity in Central Asia.
In the early 1920s, Gvosdev writes, a group of Russian emigre intellectuals called for “an Exodus to the East.” Those writers, Gvosdev says
That reminds me a bit of the Southern Agrarians, a group of Depression-era intellectuals who decried the encroachment of modernity in the American South and held up rural traditionalism as a cultural ideal.
The president of Kazkhstan, the Gvosdev essay notes, has named a university in the country’s new capital after Lev Gumilev, a historian and geographer “who propounded the notion of Eurasia as a shared cultural and environmental space uniting Turk and Slav, Orthodox and Muslim.”