1. Well, I’m back from Alaska. Here’s what I learned: As far as I could see with my own eyes, there are no moose in Alaska, and I did get around. Anchorage is a very sophisticated city with plenty of amenities, but there’s no effective way to drive from there to another such city. Anchorage is not as cold as even Chicago or Detroit. When I left Atlanta last Wednesday afternoon, it was 25 degrees. It was 28 when I landed in Anchorage at midnight. The rest of Alaska is marked by incredible natural beauty and almost uniformly ugly or merely functional human additions. People in Alaska--unlike, say, people in Akron--mostly love it there and think in term of their state’s and their own bright future.
2. It’s possible that Obama has peaked in the lower 48 states, but not in Alaska. I had lunch with an excellent "postmodernism rightly understood"-type philosophy professor and a very erudite history professor. The philosophy guy said that he almost always votes for Republican, but he’s for Obama this time, although he can’t quite explain why. His hope is that Obama will govern like a Republican. The history guy originally hoped to be a Hillary delegate to the national convention, but decided to vote for Obama at the last minute. He was inspired by the all of Barack’s young people and went with his heart, not his head. I will go as far as to speculate that McCain’s moralism about oil drilling has made him unpopular enough in Alaska that Obama might even have a shot there, if the election were tomorrow.
3. I still think Obama will win the two big primaries tomorrow, but I will add that all the excitment over the alleged close races is fake. Hillary would have to win them big to have a chance. Of course, I really do hope she does win them big, and I’m happy to keep hope alive.
4. Economic pessismism is rapidly becoming more pervasive, and people want to believe it when Obama says that the recession is due to bad policies that he can readily fix. Anyone who can save the planet and repair souls should find economic growth and jobs easy. Again, McCain needs to become credible on domestic policies.
5. Does the idea of historicism depend on the Rousseauean/Darwinian view of nature as impersonal mechanism with no support for anything distinctively human (or social/linguistic)--a view that has been thoroughly discredited? Or to put it differently: Nobody really believes Rousseau’s description of non-human man in the state of nature, precisely because it is an unempirical radicalization of Locke’s already unempirical individualistic premises.