"The Red Queen hypothesis for sex is simple: Sex is needed to fight disease," according to PBS's "The Advantage of Sex," we captioned this image of "Alice and the Red Queen" by Sir John Tenniel (1930s) in our October 2005 post "Is democracy like sex," the provocative title of a 1995 Glenn Harlan Reynolds scholarly legal essay.
"We are not responsible for our commenters' opinions, but they may open windows for debate," we twittered Dave Weigel this morning. The Slate/Washington Post [He's BACK!] political reporter was not too happy about our previous post headlining one of his readers' distasteful and profoundly uninformed opinions about black Republicans who don't buy the politically correct "victim mentality/government savior narrative" [Michelle Malkin's words in a broader tea party context]. Our twitter response to Weigel re his reader's comments:
More information, not less. Exposing toxic, Pauline-Kael-bubble notions to the disinfectant light of day.
Now comes a fresh new voice in our own comments, LNSmithee of L.N. Smithee's Reactor blog. We may not be responsible for our commenters' opinions, but we'd be happy to take credit for providing the soapbox:
As one of those rare "African Americans [who DO] know who these Black Conservatives are and what they represent," I say without hesitation that I would rather be represented by them than the idiots at the NAACP who needed to find something to whine about so badly, they claimed a greeting card was racist for making reference to "black holes"!
Oh. About that blogpost title. As suggested in the caption above, it's a play on Glenn Reynolds's 1995 scholarly essay "Is democracy like sex?" An excerpt from our own blogpost on the subject five years back gives the gist:
Reynolds's metaphor [actually, an analogy, come to think of it] comes from Darwinian biologists' attempts to account for sexual reproduction vs. the much easier (at first glance) asexual reproduction alternative:
"To explore this idea, I have chosen as an analogy or metaphor another widely criticized and misunderstood institution — sex. In short, some discoveries resulting from the application of complexity theory to the question of evolutionary fitness among biological systems have important implications for our discussion of the fitness of the body politic. Both kinds of systems face a similar problem — maintaining a balance between adaptability and stability on the one hand, while resisting parasitism on the other. In essence, democracy can be viewed as serving the same function in political systems that sex serves for biological systems — enhancing resistance to parasites."
The argument resonates in the Darwinian struggle out here in cyberspace and on the ground for survival of the "fittest" narrative. We'll leave it to our readers to ferret out the parasites. BradnMS in the comments gets it just about right, and Juliette Akinyi, AKA Baldilocks, has some important things to say about "the narrative" in her "The Herding" series. Part Two now up. Here's a taste:
If the Left has been successful at keeping racial grievance in the forefront of the black American agenda — in indoctrinating black Americans to believe that retaining racial anger at whites is inherent in being black and essential for black survival — it has also been successful in later years of producing a certain mindset in white Americans. Actually this seems to be two mindsets, but it is really a singular one — a two-headed beast. The first is guilt-fear and the second is unproductive anger.
Update: This just in on Twitter as we're about to go to print: Dave Weigel's Slate blog launches today. A taste of "This lame duck will destroy us all":
A general slack in the trust people have in government is at play here — it's not hard to convince people that Congress is being gamed.
Indeed. Sounds downright Darwinian. Related: "Bloggers are 'cracking, popping, drilling and peeling their victims open.'"
Update: Michelle Malkin "Buzzworthy" link!
Update II: Trending on Memeorandum.
Update III: Oh boy. Instalanche!