Featured

Less Ephemeral: Site vs Blog

Though the big, slick, expensive sites and services offer many of the things, and better, that ten years ago we went to (each other’s) blogs to find, they are inadequate for anyone seeking more than “the literature of a quarter of an hour,” but not involved in, supported by, or satisfied with traditional commercial and academic publishing. A blog might seem to belong to that species of 15-minute literature, but, once the all-consuming desire for passing interest has been stolen away or stolen back, the blog-as-log begins to disappear, revealing a virtual location: the site, marked by the non- or anti-ephemeral durability of logos rather than log.

Posted in Featured, Internet, Meta, notes, Web Design Tagged with:

To Degrade and, Ultimately, To Destroy (1)

The President’s summary of his policy on the Islamic State or on “the group known as ISIL” was not elegantly enunciated: “To degrade and ultimately destroy” is a compound infinitive phrase that is pitched to the demotic or colloquial in

Posted in Featured, Neo-Imperialism, War Tagged with: , ,

Failure of the US-Syrian Rebel Alliance Is Two-Sided

To make war on Assad in the absence of a democratically validated decision for war and in the absence of an international legal justification for war would further undermine foundational American premises. Achieving both would not be impossible, but the Heaven and Earth-moving effort is not something that the United States of America or its President is presently likely to attempt on behalf of the united friends of Al Qaeda.

Posted in Featured, Neo-Imperialism, War Tagged with: , ,

Chastising Their Insolence

It is hard to imagine a world in which acts like the murders of James Foley and Steven Sotloff simply as Americans, in connection with an American decision to rescue others from imminent annihilation, did not produce among Americans a demand for punishment as both practical and moral necessity. Yet there is a tendency even among many would-be supporters of President Obama, or of his plans to “degrade and ultimately destroy” “the group known as ISIL,” to diminish and disdain politically aggravated homicides as actual and compelling bases for a specifically American reaction.

Posted in Featured, The Exception, US History, War Tagged with: , , , , , ,

man-killers

As for our Achilles-Nemesis, what reason is there to believe, along with apparently the professor, that it is our decision alone, or within anyone’s ability, to define the fight in some essentially different way, and still to fight at all?

Posted in Art, Books, Featured, Movies, notes, Political Philosophy, The Exception, War Tagged with: , , , ,

Essential Threat

In light of the ritualized sacrifice of a single man, on the altar of what we cannot help but believe – no possible justification – the many may be revealed to us as allies, as “with us,” perhaps first symbolically, but now also practically. Put simply, Foley’s death marks if it does not itself restore American re-engagement on behalf of those we had all but abandoned in the region.

Posted in Featured, Neo-Imperialism, The Exception, War Tagged with: , , ,

The Egyptian Exception and the Other Islamic State

The alternative resolution or the other Islamic state, the one that avoids the tyrant’s despair – or, put more politically-philosophically, allows for a liberal-Islamic assimilation that would also be integrative or unitary rather than irrecuperably conflictual – would appear to rely on modes of idealization of religion that would evolve simultaneously and bi-conditionally, or, as Fadel or Fadel’s Khaldun puts it, “organically.” Their current impermissibility is a reflection of the same problem.

Posted in Anismism, Featured, Liberalism v Islamism as a Syncretic Problem, On Liberal Democracy in Relation to Islamism, Political Philosophy, Religion, The Exception Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

genomisia

Proposed definition: genomisia- n. – from genos (“race, stock, kin”) + -misia (“hatred of”) : hatred or actualized animus toward any group as characterized by common religion, ethnic or national origin, ideology, customary conduct, or orientation; also misogeny.

Posted in Featured, notes, Philology, Philosophy Tagged with: , , , ,

In the future everybody will be right about Iraq for fifteen minutes

What other than the actual invasion of Iraq under proven-false premises could actually prove those premises false, at least as we articulated them to ourselves while, we believed, safely ignoring the always-wrong and resoundingly re-defeated defeatists?

Posted in Featured, History, Neo-Imperialism, notes, War Tagged with: , ,

Liberals against Liberalism (Chait’s Insanity)

To be a meaningful right, the right to argue must also entail a right to win.

Posted in Featured, History, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics Tagged with: , , , ,

From the Featured Archives

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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