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About

Email: glorfindel@cuivienen.org

My old blog: http://www.cuivienen.org/blog

Glorfindel of Gondolin is Carey Cuprisin’s blog.  It’s been around since late 2003, when I was a first-year law student at the University of Michigan.  Back then, I had plenty of time to blog about all kinds of blogworthy subjects.  Times were good for the blog.

I suppose graduating from law school would have cut down on my blogging time no matter what I did — practically, my choices boiled down to going to work for the law firm Sidley Austin (and thereby to legal fortune and fame), or finishing up what I had started in medical school at the University of Colorado.  Since I wanted to get back to putting big needles in people’s necks (hard to do as a lawyer) I headed off to the University of Chicago (my co- alma mater) to do my residency in emergency medicine, the queen of medical specialties, and the most exciting.

Times were good for me, but bleak for my blog.  Have you ever watched Grey’s Anatomy or Scrubs?  Then you know how absurd it is that I could have had time to post on my blog.  Really, does anyone blog on those shows?  No.  And neither did I!  Instead, I was learning the important things about being an emergency physician: if they aren’t breathing, breathe for them.  If you’re going to put a big needle into their neck, use ultrasound so you can see what you’re doing.  If they’re septic, they gotta have a CVP between 8 and 12.  And when the shit is hitting the fan, no ER doc is worth a crap without good ER nurses.  Which I was grateful to have, even if they did give me so much shit when I did something dumb.  Meanwhile, my blog languished.

But times have changed now that I’m done with residency.  I once more find it possible and necessary to opine at great length on the internet.  So I’ve resurrected my blog and recommitted myself to having an opinion about something several times each week.

Naturally, I’m interested in law and medicine.  But I do not give medical or legal advice.  If you want that, see your doctor or your lawyer.  All opinion here is mine alone, and I caution you that some virtually none of it is based on randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.  It’s all retrospective observational studies, biz-natch.

I’m also interested in solutions to our increasingly f—ed up situation.  No matter what the subject, we are making things worse (except for women’s sports, which keep getting better).  Environmental degredation.  Endless overseas wars.  Mythical wars on concepts (e.g., “drugs”, “terror”).  Greed, fraud, lies, and corruption.

This is all happening without a serious discussion about how to stop.  The old ideological divides that used to motivate solutions and which ruled the twentieth century are so played out.  For example, socialism vs. liberalism.  Even when these are understood in their fullness, and not as the FoxNews-MSNBC caricature which they’ve become, they don’t seem to be generating any really good ideas anymore.  In part, it’s because liberalism has clearly won — there is no ideological heir of Stalin or Mao or Che Guevara to oppose the standard social-democratic consensus in the developed world.  Yet in spite of this, the bitterness of the arguments between the right and left is getting worse, even as it gets more tedious.  Libertarians continue to be mortally afraid of Communism.  Liberals still talk about unions as if they think there’s still a chance that organized labor will save us.  Our House of Representatives is becoming more cartoonish by the month.  Come on, Michelle Bachmann?  But the real problem isn’t the Bachmanns of the world, it’s that the so-called leadership isn’t offering anything better.  Joe Lieberman is allowed to fiddle while Rome burns (and reads Sarah Palin’s book).

In this anemic ideological environment, the most interesting arguments, I think, are being made by people on the fringe like Rick Saenz and Daniel Larison.  Whether they consider themselves “agrarians” or “paleoconservatives” or members of some other out-of-fashion ideological tribe, these folks consistently make good sense.  Without putting anything in any one person’s mouth, the self-styled paleos and agrarians have been saying things like: end the American empire and quit screwing around in Afghanistan.  Stop pretending that our shallow, self-indulgent consumerism can be sustained by abstractions like big business or big government.  These out-of-fashion rightists often most resemble outcast liberals like Glenn Greenwald, who finds himself as big a critic of Obama’s record on civil liberties and the rule of law as he was of the Worst President Ever, George W. Bush.

I’m curious why the most attractive vision for the country is being offered by people whose other opinions I remain very wary of. Consider that agrarianism is frequently represented as much by a religious outlook as it is by a political one.  Does agrarianism have to be Christian?  Consider also that the best-known agrarian writings in this country have been penned by people like Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, and the Southern Agrarians, all of whom called themselves conservatives.  It’s sad, but the southern agrarian tradition is fatally tainted by racism and slavery.  Does agrarianism have to be right-wing?

People who know me already know that I think we ought to be paying more attention to Wendell Berry, a farmer and writer from Kentucky.  How’s that for an outside-the-beltway solution?  I’m wondering whether Berry’s version of agrarianism can save it from religion and slavery.  And yes, I know that Wendell Berry is himself deeply religious.  Does that matter?  I intend to find out.  When I’m not resuscitating little old ladies in septic shock.

So join me on my blog, and you can look forward to a discussion of law, medicine, agrarianism, and of course, cats.  There will be catblogging.  Count on it.