grilled portobello and onion sandwich, and this:
the sociologist max weber, in his 1919 essay ‘politics as a vocation,’ drew a distinction between ‘the ethic of responsibility’ and ‘the ethic of ultimate ends’ - between those who act from a sense of practical consequence and those who act from higher conviction, regardless of consequences. these ethics are tragically opposed, but the true calling of politics requires a union of the two. on its own, the ethic of responsibility can become a devotion to technically correct procedure, while the ethic of ultimate ends can become fascism. weber’s terms perfectly capture the toxic dynamic between the president, who takes responsibility as an end in itself, and the republicans in congress, who are destructively consumed with their own dogma. neither side can be said to possess what weber calls a ‘leader’s personality.’ responsibility without conviction is weak, but it’s sane. conviction without responsibility, in the current incarnation of the republican party, is raving mad.
president obama, responsibly acceding to the reality of divided government, is now the leading champion of fiscal austerity, and his proposals contain very little in the way of job creation. more important, he no longer uses his office’s most powerful tool, rhetorical suasion, to keep the country focused on the continued need for government activism. his opponents’ approach to job creation is that of a cargo cult - just keep repeating ‘tax cuts’ - even though the economic evidence of the past three decades refutes such magical thinking.
- george packer, the new yorker, july 25, 2011