preliminary to a consideration of “agapasticism” and “logicality”

Says Vikram Bath:

Moral rights exist to give the intellectual proletariat a way to participate in debates.

Thought through carefully, the above statement, which is I think intended to deflate, provides a basis for understanding what we (cannot help but) mean by the moral and the right, in other words what we cannot help but pre-suppose or must always already have pre-supposed in order to commence – or, to be more precise, to re-commence – the or any inquiry into the moral and the right, or any inquiry at all.

In recent years there have been several efforts to think through the moral and the right along these lines, though Peirce in the 19th Century, at almost the precise moment of the dissolution of Christian Republicanism into Progressivism, performed the operation in as pure a form as I have seen – except possibly for the Apostle John or the Prophet Muḥammad. For Peirce, logic at all or logicality presumes faith, hope, and charity, or a necessarily pro-social and transmortal concept. For John, as we have noted, it was easier but not exactly simpler to say that in the beginning was the Word. In Islam and in Judaism, the giving and receiving of words as The Word likewise, or in a certain literal sense even more clearly or purely, occupies the mythopoetic center point. In diverse traditions, the sacred texts must be stolen from gods or demons at the beginning of what can then become human time, and all religion, as “setting down” of the moral and the right, is the replication of that same or its own format, which, if it is universal, must be considered not simply myth but a true telling:  that, to (be said to) believe at all, we must be able to speak and understand, and that, to (be said to) speak and understand, we must believe.

In other words, “giving the intellectual proletariat a way to participate in debates” would be no small accomplishment or frivolous consideration, unless one considers civilization to be a small accomplishment, or considers distinguishing between the good and the bad or progress and regress or moral and immoral or right and wrong to be frivolous or impossible – positions that are subsidiaries of the same position of the non-position of perfect nihilism, which everyone enjoys imagining someone might hold, but no one does hold because no one can. In the meantime, to discredit the inquiry into the moral and the right, while pursuing it, is not just self-effacing, but self-disfiguring, for any ordinary blogger especially.

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Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

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Noted & Quoted

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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