aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
We’re in the city of brotherly love, and home to my alphabetical neighbor. Awards (and arrival of parents) tomorrow; graduation Thursday. Yesterday we did our Sideways-style tour of vineyards, not what it once was for me as my love of wine has been trumped by my propensity for migraines. But I did note that our tour took place on the day the Supreme Court freed vineyards to sell directly to out-of-state buyers.
I expected more comment on the unusual alliances; Thomas and Scalia on different sides? The majority sure sounds reasonable to me:
Justice Kennedy wrote today that the real object of the Michigan and New York statutes was not protection of minors but rather to give in-state wineries a competitive advantage over those in other states. Justice Kennedy, who was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, said New York and Michigan “provide little evidence for their claim that purchasing wine over the Internet by minors is a problem.”
Justice Stevens conceded that the New York and Michigan laws would be “patently invalid” if they regulated sales of “an ordinary article of commerce,” not wine. “But ever since the adoption of the 18th Amendment and the 21st Amendment, our Constitution has placed commerce in alcoholic beverages in a special category,” Justice Stevens wrote. (The 18th Amendment ushered in the era of Prohibition and, some social historians have said, the bootleggers and speak-easies that accompanied it.)
So what’s that “special category” all about? Digby again, from the same must read post, commenting on the roots of prohibition:
Most people assume that when it was enacted in 1920, it was the result of do-gooderism, stemming from the tireless work by progressives who saw drink as a scourge for the family, and women in particular. But the truth is that Prohibition was mostly supported by rural southerners and midwesterners who were persuaded that alcohol was the province of immigrants in the big cities who were polluting the culture with their foreign ways. And progressives did nothing to dispell that myth --- indeed they perpetuated it...This was an issue, in its day, that was as important as gay marriage is today. The country divided itself into “wets” and “drys” and many a political alliance was made or broken by taking one side of the issue or another...And prohibition turned out to be one of the most costly and silly diversions in American history.
Guest post by Jen.
In 2000, I gave a lecture on evolution to my junior college biology students (in another southern state). When I announced the day’s topic, a fifth of the students left in protest. Here, no one has questioned me (directly) until today.
Student X asked me what topics were covered in BIOL 1XXX. When I told him that half of the semester’s lectures would be about evolution, he balked, refusing to “learn about how we came from monkeys”. When I calmly explained that the hominid (Homo) lineage diverged from other primates more than 2 million years ago, he dismissed me, saying that the world was not even around until ~6,000 years ago. I was too stunned to respond.
But what can you expect from a student whose high school textbook had a sticker stating that evolution is a theory, not a fact?
Where is famous paleoanthropologist (and friend of Joe’s friend) Don Johanson when I need him?
Why they hate us II
From Digby in an absolutely must read post, quoting J.M. Balkin’s Populism and Progressivism as Constitutional Categories:
Indeed, both populism and progressivism have symmetrical failings, each of which is more easily recognized from the opposite perspective. History teaches us that populism has recurring pathologies; it is especially important to recognize and counteract them. These dangers are particularly obvious to academics and other intellectual elites: They include fascism, nativism, anti-intellectualism, persecution of unpopular minorities, exaltation of the mediocre, and romantic exaggeration of the wisdom and virtue of the masses. What is more difficult for many academics to recognize is that progressivism has its own distinctive dangers and defects. Unfortunately, these tend to be less visible from within a progressivist sensibility. They include elitism, paternalism, authoritarianism, naivete, excessive and misplaced respect for the “best and brightest,” isolation from the concerns of ordinary people, an inflated sense of superiority over ordinary people, disdain for popular values, fear of popular rule, confusion of factual and moral expertise, and meritocratic hubris.
And there you see the basis for right wing populist hatred of liberals. And it’s not altogether untrue, is it? Certainly, those of us who argue from that perspective should be able to recognise and deal with the fact that this is how we are perceived by many people and try to find ways to allay those concerns. The problem is that it’s quite difficult to do.
This I agree with wholeheartedly. I’ll want to read more, but it hints at the direction I want to take in my efforts as a liberal in rural Georgia who intends to, one by one, turn this Red state Blue!