In other words, the Beckert recipe is: start with Marx and “primitive accumulation“, both domestic and international. Marx had gleefully welcomed the imperialists’ destruction of the “semi-barbarian, semi-civilized communities [of Bengal], by blowing up their economical basis, and thus produced the…
“@ViscidKonrad Man, if this doesn’t impress you, you’re *choosing* not to be impressed.” From: Noah Smith on Twitter: “@ViscidKonrad Man, if this doesn’t impress you, you’re *choosing* not to be impressed. https://t.co/RHqXRjU4WI”
Though Robin sometimes seems to intend to incriminate Hayek and others by association, as with the likes of Pinochet, perhaps as a way to emphasize his continued membership in good standing on the political Left, there is nothing in the core of his argument, as opposed to its trivial polemical decorations, that a Hayekian ought to find embarrassing. To the contrary, Robin attributes “profundity and daring” to Hayek and his marginal siblings. Thought through, Robin’s arguments may present at least as many difficulties to a leftist, including one operating from Robin’s own presumptions, as to a conservative or to a libertarian.
The two main alternatives that are put forward and passionately defended by partisans are utopian, not because they are particularly imaginative, but merely because they cannot be implemented. They cannot be implemented, or no one can quite be bothered to implement them, in part because we seem to be heading to where they lead, or to where they fail to lead, to nowhere, anyway.
“A Clash of Models” by James K – latest posting in the League of Ordinary Gentlemen’s virtual symposium under the question “What, if anything, is wrong with inequality?” – resembles previous submissions in that it seems to assume that something called “productivity” is virtually synonymous with “the good,” and furthermore is susceptible to simple quantitative amplification or augmentation – i.e., the more of it the better.
The argument wins out, on the basis of something like the Rawlsean compromise, but remains sustainable only within artificially defined borders without which its appeal to the pure selfishness of an utterly empty self would be exposed not just in its self-insignificance, but in relation to what must be destroyed to keep it materially if not morally alive – at least until the day that the absurdity by whatever unthinkable and therefore totally unexpected way impinges on it as though from the outside, the externality revealing itself as always having been internal after all.
I’d meant to cut this one down, and save it for future reference and re-editing, but instead accidentally published the whole thing at Jonathan Bernstein’s (great) “plain blog about politics.” It’s kind of embarrassing to be caught depositing long, pretentious…
Owen Gray at Northern Reflections and The Moderate Voice takes a cue from Paul Krugman, whom, Gray concludes, “has a right to be pessimistic.” The powerful elites on both sides of the Atlantic suffer from group think. And, instead of…
Am about to disappear into Lakerdom – either a further descent into tedious misery, a temporary revival on the way to even deeper misery, or the Turning Point we’ve been waiting for and falsely identifying this whole desperately non-compelling season…
Should have gone without saying, and have been perfectly obvious to Conor P Williams before he set out, that a closed-comments post (actually now two posts) against blog-commenting could only be taken as aggravated trolling, or trolling with special circumstances.
Pessimism about one's own nation is an all-encompassing and all-defining condition, because everything any of us positively can be or seek as individuals is affected where not wholly determined by our membership in a national community - the state broadly defined. When we refer to an "unhappy childhood," it will usually matter a great deal whether we're referring to our own childhood, and the same is true when we refer to the unhappy conditions of our national upbringing or to a "broken" national home. Yet national pessimism is still not the same as absolute pessimism. We can imagine the failure of any nation, including our own nation, as we have seen great national disasters, that would not equate with the failure of history itself. We could even come to equate the failure of a national idea as essential to some higher good: It would not be the first time for us, just the first time that we were referring to ourselves.
A national pessimist suffers a kind of exile from his own future, but he can still visit happier outcomes, on a kind of spiritual visa. Over time, he may even be accepted by the natives, and find a new home. Americans are particularly well-prepared to make this transition, because our national identity, paradoxically, is already built on the cancellation of nationality, on immigration and nothing else. Our new citizenship may not be full and authentic, of the blood and soil, but neither is the one with which we are born. The American idea at inception had before it a vast national phase to undergo, but what defined the American nation was that it was not and never could be a nation like the others: The idea of a new world had to take on a purpose-fabricated national costume for us to assume and sustain a place within the world of nations, but the realization of our idea could never have been contained in a merely national destiny. For the same reason, the victory of our "Greatest Generation," at our national apogee, was the victory over ultra-nationalism, in favor of a new international system implying the supersession of nations, justifiable as an American national project strictly on that basis. All of our history since that time has been governed by the same paradox of nationalized internationalism, but from the other, declining side, as accompanied by the conversion of American energy into mere mass - the accumulation of material wealth alongside the decay of national institutions.
We can therefore look forward to the completion of our creative self-destruction with greater hope, or at least with greater equanimity, than others in our approximate position have been able to muster. What we stand to lose is everything we never really thought was worth having. What we stand to gain is what we always sought.
The eternal crosses infinitely all the way over to us on the finite cross. Even against the definitional and lethal disagreements within and between the Abrahamic faiths on instantiations of eternity, or finitizations of infinity, or mortalities of the immortal, the structure of the central question, as a dichotomy to be resolved into a unity, from incarnation to crucifixion to resurrection, survives all answering exclusions. We can even begin with the atheistic or heretical counter-narratives that insist that indispensable parts of the greatest story were merely story, that the humanly fallible texts amount to a pre-capitalist commodification for “franchising” purposes. Even the falsehood of the tale would precisely on its own level magnify it, as the greatest lie ever believed, in this the only world the closest a disenchanted perspective can approach to miracle.
[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.
So, does Mitchell make any money on the work, which has been shared so many times? He uploaded a high-res image of the symbol and granted permission for anyone to use it personally for free. But for those who want to support his work or simply want something readymade, you can also buy T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, and journals emblazoned with the symbol through Threadless.“I really just want to spread the image as much as possible and cement it in history,” Mitchell says. “In all honesty, the amount I’ve made from my Threadless shop so far is still less than my hourly rate, so I don’t really see it as a big deal. If you look at my Twitter, half the replies are people wanting to know where they can buy a shirt. Threadless is happy to help them out with that, and so I’m happy to let that happen.”Now that the symbol has flooded our streets and our timelines, Mitchell just has one request: “Impeach this idiot already,” he says.
This is a Waterloo moment for Trump, the tea party and their alliance. They have been stopped in their tracks not only by Democratic opposition but because of a mutiny within their own ranks. Although never particularly liked or respected, it is now clear that they are no longer feared. The bankruptcy of their ideas and their incompetence have been exposed. Their momentum has been dissipated. Their rejection of political norms has itself been scorned. Our long national nightmare may finally be coming to an end.