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Reason I'm Not A Federalist #37,987. . .

. . . the frequent (though not universal) "us and them" mentality within that part of the conservative movement. Take, for instance, Prof. Bainbridge today writing on political affiliation and hybrid vehicles:

Do "crunchy cons" drive Priuses? Probably. Personally, "I think that cars today are almost the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals: I mean the supreme creation of an era, conceived with passion by unknown artists, and consumed in image if not in usage by a whole population which appropriates them as a purely magical object." Roland Barthes (1915–1980), French semiologist. “The New Citroën” (1957). In the language of that wonderful metaphor, the decision to buy a Prius is not unlike an agnostic choosing to visit one of the great Gothic cathedrals. You have chosen to be in but not of the experience.

Bollocks to that. I'm about as uncrunchy a conservative as you can get, and yet if it's at all practical I intend to buy a hybrid after graduation for use during my clerkship. I'm not trying to save the earth, and I suspect that the increased cost of the vehicle will vastly outweigh any potential fuel savings (especially since I wouldn't be buying an SUV).

I want to buy a hybrid so that I can take it apart. It's a new technology, and just as I like opening up a server and looking at the guts or going through Moveabletype's code and seeing what makes it tick, I want to get my hands dirty searching through the pieces. [1] I drove a hybrid over spring break, and it performed like a fairly funky small car that happened to be much more quiet in city driving.

Of course, a curiousity about the construction of an automobile means that folks like Bainbridge will feel free to question my political views. Conservatives like that are happy to fit people into little boxes. It's that mindset that makes me unwilling to join the Federalist Society: conservatism not as a philosophy, but a minority lifestyle choice. (One of my liberal friends once joked, "Sort of like emo kids in high school?")

I was reminded of this at the 2006 Student Symposium, when the banquet's keynote speaker, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, stood up and announced that the crowning achievement of the Society for the last few months, the sign of its influence, was the defeat of the Miers nomination. If there had been any debate in the Federalist Society on Miers, Fund didn't recognize it.

Ironically, diversity actually is one of the strengths of the conservative movement (and in theory, of the FedSoc), as well as one of the things that makes it the most interesting. The litany of authors and speakers with 'you can't be a real conservative if . . .' pieces is pretty depressing.

[1]: Speaking of trendy products that are fun to take apart, if you've got an old iPod you're not using, they're fairly fun to disassemble. (See link for images.) Of course, such things lead to iPod chargers in Altoids tins. . .

(A few small updates made a few minutes after publication, mostly to get the link to Volokh's piece)


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That is a very strange story about the Student Symposium given the fact that Miers was at the Lawyers Convention. She specifically attended the keynote speech made by Rove. Talk about a bunch of boring rhetoric. As a libertarian, I think I help bring diversity to an organization that is quickly losing it's roots.
http://www.wacotrib.com/news/content/news/stories/2006/04/23/04232006waclawparty.html Baylor law school closes library during finals so dean's kid can use library for prom dinner.

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