comment at ‘The Walking Dead’ Open Thread: We’re The Greater Good

merle-300x225Responding to Zack Beauchamp’s post:

Though I think you’re too hard on “Prey,” [last week’s episode of The Walking Dead] I agree that this episode [“This Sorrowful Life”] gives us more to discuss, and that it is about the birth or advancement of “the state” as against the state of nature, but I’m not convinced Rawls can explain how Merle’s “life plan,” which is a life plan precisely to the extent it’s also a death plan, emerges. I think you need to go elsewhere, to political theology, for the same reason that liberal democracy is different from pure liberalism: Rick and the others are founding the sacrificial state and the incipient civil religion, a system of mutual obligations justifying living, as well as killing and dying, for a higher, sanctified collective purpose embodied in the “we” who will be “sticking together,” and will be taking its content not from behind a Rawlsian veil of ignorance in a state of radical freedom, but from the elements of belief as they discover or re-discover them: including a form of traditional marriage, and Biblical monotheism as interpreted by Hershel. Glenn also expresses his commitment to Maggie as a sacrificial commitment – that he cares more about her than about himself – another “death plan.” Of course, giving up Michonne was also a death plan, but a different kind, since, as Rick’s speech explains, it would have been a sacrifice not to the infant polis and its collective or popular sovereign, but to tyranny: the governor’s, and his own.

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6 comments on “comment at ‘The Walking Dead’ Open Thread: We’re The Greater Good

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  1. Has Milton found out, what is creating the walkers, more to the point, now that we know that they will all go walkers, what is the point, ‘the Stand’ was able to pull this off in 6 episodes, in part because Sinise
    is more affable then Lincoln, whereas the Governor is a derivation of the Sheriff that Randall Flagg installed,

    • Milton was never going to find out much of anything, I don’t think. You still have to die first in order to get undead, so in the meantime you can get married, sing songs, read the Bible, and improve your marksmanship and other skills. Neither Stephen King nor Robert Kirkman (author of the TWD comic books, which include the Governor) invented the figure of the Mad Tyrant, though Flagg was a much more grandiose as well as supernatural conception.

  2. Well I’m speaking of the demands of the story, it may be that the walking dead, is the only representation of Hell that can be brooked in this culture, there isn’t the isolation, or the extremes in temperature, but otherwise, one has to consider the despair that the main characters indulge in, btw
    what happened to Andrea?

  3. All right, the new World War Z Trailer, is a little more comprehensible, but it still resembles the backstory to ‘I am Legend’

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TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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