Monday, February 17, 2014

How old does a book have to be

before it gets my "crappy old book" designation?

Apparently not as old as once I thought.

Those who read along on an even semi-regular basis know I love crappy old books. I have a lot of crappy old books. I get most of them from junk stores and usually shell out one United States Dollar for each. I've got over 1200 volumes. Sure. Included are a complete set of Zane Grey and a bunch of crappy old cookbooks and several sets of encyclopedias. I have preserved a fair amount of Western Culture for a buck a book.

As you know, I am a BIG fan of the philosophical underpinnings of the Declaration of Independence, and of the Constitution of the United States of America.  I get that when one calls oneself a Libertarian with a BIG L one has to be able to argue for the big L. So my library is my resource. And yes, I have books in my library that are antithetical to my view. I do not like WEBDuBoise but I have some of his books. And I think Russel is a blowheart but I have one of his zillion autobiographies AND his history of philosophy. It does take all kinds. These are outweighed in kind and number by the books I have trumpeting the "American experiment", all written before Wilson. 

So it was a little out of character for me to have spent a buck on Bennett's The Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals (1998). 1998 is too new, It's not crappy old.

But I bought it. And then I read it.
In the introduction I wrote that if the arguments made in defense of Bill Clinton become the coin of the public realm, we will have committed an unthinking act of moral and intellectual disarmament. Here is one specific example of what is now becoming a thoroughly mainstream, perfectly respectable point of view: in order to cover up an adulterous relationship between the president and a young White House Intern, acts of perjury and obstruction of justice should be considered inconsequential. That this matter is even a subject of a serious national debate is revealing and alarming. It is the New York Times which offered this eloquent reminder of what was once a common, elementary grade civics lesson:

"Law is the keystone of American society and political culture. If it does not apply to small matters concerning this president, the day will come when the public will be asked to believe that it should be ignored in large matters concerning some other president. Neither Mr. Clinton's political convenience nor Mr. Starr's clumsiness must tempt us into paying so high a price. The rule of law, whether applied to matters trivial or grand, is the central magic of the American governmental experience. To abandon it today will lead to peril tomorrow."

WTF do I care?

WTF do you care?

I do care. Call me a corny old country mouse. I care. I'm not seeing how that end-round suit is going to go very far. But SOMEONE has to do SOMETHING.

And to bring this back down to the real world... the boys were crow hunting. I asked them to pickup their shotgun shells.

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