There may be some repetitions in here. Just trying to get stuff from my notepad onto the web where it's searchable. The very last part is a response to TGGP's latest comment -I tried to post it to comments and it didn't go through, so I'm including it here.
Glad to see more intelligence in the comments than in the original post (this seems to be a trend across blogs, including, probably, my own).
I really want conservatives and republicans to be effective challengers to Obama. The way to do this is to focus on where he's weak on meritocracy/technocracy.
Hint: go after the appointments to Secretary of State and Health and Human Services in particular. Also, I'm not sure about the qualifications for Homeland Security and and Commerce Department appointees for those specific posts. Obama chose governors rather than from the pool of true experts specifically at administrating commerce and homeland security policy, regulation, and granting bureacracies.
And in congress in particular, Republicans could be going after the antimeritocratic seniority system. At least this would be a challenge that would bring positive externalities to the American public.
Conservatives have trouble accepting it, but Obama did not run with a Jackson/Sharpton resume. He's a technocrat shamming as an identity politician (unlike Palin, who was the reverse, or Reagan who didn't feel the need to bother shamming).
For those who don't know you can access my blog by clicking on my name, it's:
statisticians, sociologists, and psychologists seem to have their own blindspot when it comes to discussing statistics and race/phenotype/ethnicity. Not that any other discipline sees more clearly, but I think it's perhaps a stronger mythology that succeeds in turning more of us into stakeholders. Thus obviously messy and incoherent realities about race, phenotype, and ethnicity are force fitted into narratives and the discussion tends to be focused on justifications of the force-fitting without any kind of dissent. I'm thinking about the lack of studies that look specifically at a spectrum of skin color and/or a spectrum of ethnicities without race as a reduced categories proxy.
My neurosurgeon is a creationist?
Although probably not as worrisome as finding out that one's space mission director is an anti-copernican, I wonder how one should rationally react to finding out that a neurosurgeon is a creationist. I imagine the economist Becker would be more likely to get neurosurgery from them -particularly if they were a black lesbian.
TGGP, I'm not enough of a legal historian to know, but I think much of our secular mythology comes out of the "civil rights movement" narrative, and later "reactionary" narratives, and I think what they all have in common is that they distract attention away from empiricism on first principles. Empiricism almost seems to me to be the nontransparent enemy, and maximizing the representational privilege of the protagonists and antagonists seems to be the goal. Also, empiricists seem not particularly motivated to puncture the myths both the protagonists and antogonists uphold In that way it reminds me of a differen magesteria.
How long have elite lawyers been "technocratic mythmakers"? I don't know if the myths of the American 18th century were created by "elite lawyers", I don't know of any celebrity lawyers of that time, but I think the leading critical race theorists (Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado, Lani Guineer, etc.) are rather clearly mythmakers, and so are critical legal theorists generally, and so is Scalia and Alan Dershowitz, and I think they are colluding in a drama that seeks to maximize their representational privilege, and which isn't particularly focused on being empirical social scientists.
Yeah, I think your explanation is too pat TGGP. Race is a huge part of secular mythology. I don't pretend to understand it -religious mythologies like Christianity are easier for me to understand. The power to get millions of people to behave in similarly stylized ways, mostly through the influence of a few hundred celebrity archetypes, and often against self-interest -- that's the power of racial narratives and dialectics in the American secular mythology. And supposed empiricists almost completely subordinate themselves to the first principles of the American racial mythology (I suppose the way scientists used to with regards to Christianity).
One gets a hint of the cracks and inconsistencies through Steve Sailor's blog, not because he tries to escape the mythologizing, but because his countermythologies are often so contrary to even basic principles of the mainstream (almost completely uncontested) discourse.