Saturday, December 30, 2006

Kontorovich-Shalizi love-fest

Since Cosma doesn't have comments enabled, I have no choice but to respond to his posts here! As always, he's far too kind to me, and since I also hold him in very high esteem, this could easily degenerate into the kind of echo chamber for which we even have a Russian saying: "За что кукушка хвалит петуха? За то, что он кукушку хвалит." [If anyone knows the English/Hebrew analogue, please let me know!]

On a tad more serious note, the statement "Leo and I regard each other's politics as unsound" is inaccurate -- at least in one direction. I actually find Cosma's politics to be rather reasonable -- refreshingly so, given some of the hair-raising monstrosities I've encountered in the pristine halls of academia. (No, you'll get nothing concrete out of me here -- I'll have to start a different blog, under a different name, to be able to repeat what I've heard come out of otherwise sane people's mouths.) The difference between politics and faith is that reasonable people can persuade each other through intellectual arguments, and recognize that there are issues where disagreement is perfectly acceptable. (Eating babies? No way. Gay marriage? Let's discuss.) I have no patience for people who confuse politics with religious faith, considering their opponents not simply mistaken, but truly evil. I've encountered my share of such folks (if your office door sports a poster equating Bush with Hitler, chances are, you're one of them). But I'm happy to report that Cosma is a well-read, erudite, easy-going fellow who it's been my pleasure to shoot the breeze with over beer and coffee. We may not agree on everything, but I wouldn't call his politics unsound.

5 comments:

Anand said...

My source says "Why does the cuckoo bird praise the rooster? Because the rooster praises her."

Note : I know no Russian, but I do know Russians.

Anand said...

The English idiom is "a mutual admiration society."

Leo said...

Thanks, Anand! Glad to see that I'm in good company with comrade Lenin and whatnot...

Anonymous said...

I agree, it's ridiculous to equate Bush and Hitler. Bush doesn't have the work ethic, the originality or the strength of character to be Hitler. And all the better for that -- if Hitler had somehow been given the advantage of being born into the Bush family, I'm sure the 22nd Amendment would already have been rescinded, and Mexicans would be getting transported to "resettlement" camps in American-occupied Alberta.

Leo said...

Bravo, anonymous. If Bush is so incompetent, how do you explain his ability to engineer both 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina?