Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Carnival of the Liberals 48

Welcome to my visitors from the USA and a word of explanation to my readers in Britain.

Carnival of the Liberals is a fortnightly round-up of the best in liberal blogging. It usually contains postings from North America, though I have had a couple included myself and I have seen other British bloggers there too.

I volunteered to host it because I wanted to get lots of hits encourage a bit of transatlantic co-operation and to see if liberalism means the same thing on both sides of the pond.

The picture comes from one of my favourite films, A Matter of Life and Death, which is centred around an Anglo-American romance. Except it is known in the US as Stairway to Heaven. This transatlantic stuff is more complicated than I thought.

The convention for this Carnival is that you choose the best 10 of the postings submitted. I received lots of submissions, sorted them into Yes, No and Maybe, found I had about 20 in the Yes folder.

I finally got the list down to the 10 you find below.

It would have been nice to list all the honourable mentions too, but I had already decided that I would include a bonus list of 10 postings from Britain after the usual Carnival.

So thank to everyone who nominated a posting and I am sorry I could not include more of you. Both the quantity and the quantity of submissions were impressive.

Enough explanation already. On with the Carnival.


Let’s start with a posting that rather plays up to British stereotypes of life in America. Tiffany Washko writes on Our Priorities - Big Oil, Junk Food, and Wal-Mart. In fact it is a thoughtful look at the most successful US companies and what they tell you about life there in general.

Here in Britain we have publicly funded healthcare. We are devoted to our National Health Service, even if we think it is too centralised and too bureaucratic. daveawayfromhome shows us that the sort of private insurance-based system you have is just as bureaucratic. Imagine having to ensure yourself with one of a number of compteting police forces.

Then on to Alex Landis and something that affects us all: the threat that commercial exploitation will lead to a two-tier Internet. Enjoy the wonderful near-anarchy of what we have at the moment while it lasts.

Now for some serious American politics. First, The Agonist asks “Can we talk Greenspanism?” and concludes:
Good to Greenspanism, that belief that by back room intransparent manipulation of the system that the great dictatorship of the propertariat can be brought about.
Then Karl Weber writes:

It's becoming increasingly clear that, for the mainstream media, Hillary Clinton scarcely exists in her own right. She is solely an inkblot onto which reporters feel free to project whatever fantasies lurk in the most sordid corners of their unconscious.

We had the reverse problem with Tony Blair over here: people seemed determined to project all the things they liked best on to him. To me he was just an actor - and a bad actor at that - but he got away with it for a decade.

Finally, and more light-heartedly, Mad Kane offers some sound but unsolicited advice to Rudy Giuliani.

Now let’s get all philosophical.

Trust Matters worries about the cancer of short-term thinking. His conclusion:

You can’t fake trust; trust is a paradox; motives matter. The act of justifying trust by its economic value destroys not only trust, but its economic value. The best economic results come as byproducts, not goals.

The Primate Diaries looks at more short-term thinking: the ethical corners scientists can cut in their eagerness to get results.

And Greta Christina’s Blog introduces us to the Galileo Fallacy:

Great thinkers throughout history have had unpopular ideas that everyone disagreed with.

I have an unpopular idea that everyone disagrees with.

Therefore, I must be a great thinker.

Or to put it another way: “They said Galileo was made. They said Einstein was mad. They said my Uncle Albert was mad. (Mind you, he was mad.)"

And to finish off, Jon Swift suggests that we are not tasering half enough people. Between you and me, I think he is being satirical.

And now for that bonus 10 from this side of the Atlantic.


I don't expect the people who write these blogs would all call themselves liberals, but I hope you find them interesting and that they give a picture of political life over here.

My party, the Liberal Democrats, held its annual conference last week. I was there, and so was Geoffrey Payne. Writing at Liberal Democrat Voice he gives out his conference awards. Note in particular his first award - Best Fringe Meeting - because if tells you about Craig Murray and help make sense of the next item.

Craig recently made some serious accusations against the Uzbek magnate Alisher Usmanov, who is currently trying to buy one of London's top soccer clubs. They were repeated by another British political website called Bloggerheads.

Mr Usmanov's lawyers responded by threatening legal action against the company hosting those websites and the company took them offline as a result. Several other websites, which have never mentioned Usmanov, disappeared at the same time.

The result has been an extraordinary act of solidarity by British bloggers. The story is now all over the blogosphere and Mr Usmanov and his record is far better known than it would have been if his lawyers had kept schtum.

The best guide to this developing saga is at Chicken Yoghurt. Now Bloggerheads is back with a temporary blog. To learn more about Craig Murray read his Wikipedia entry. He is one of my heroes.

If you are interested in how the net is used for political campaigning here in Britain. read Sunny Hundal on the Guardian newspaper's Comment is Free Uberblog.

Back at the Lib Dem Conference, the six of us short-listed for the party's Blog of the Year award got to interview the party's leader Sir Menzies Campbell. James Graham, who won the award, wrote up the event on his Quaequam Blog!

One complication of being a Liberal here is that we have the Labour Party to contend with. These days it is pretty right-wing, but Labour ministers are not above playing the class card when it suits them. Hug a Hoodie takes one of them to task.

If you want to understand our new prime minister, Labour's Gordon Brown, journalist blogger Paul Linford will help you.

If you want to understand why we Liberal Democrats oppose him, read Dr Rays Focal Spot on a phoney consultation on health that Brown was involved with.

Stumbling and Mumbling compares political activism to Progressive Rock - and does not think much of either. Me, I have just rediscovered my copy of Genesis's Selling England by the Pound and I think it is great.

Mick Hartley launches a powerful attack on Sigmund Freud for his treatment of his daughter Anna:
It's difficult to conceive of a more thoroughgoing example of the betrayal of a child - of, indeed, child abuse.
Finally, Unmitigated England is not political: it's an attractive blog run by a photographer. Enjoy this atmospheric shot of a country house.

The next Carnival

Will appear at Tangled Up In Blue Guy in two weeks' time. Please make your nominations via the Carnival of the Liberals homepage.

Thanks for visiting Liberal England.

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