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Don’t Feed the Bloggers!

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.

Posted in Featured, Internet

After East Ghouta 4: Inconvenient Empathies

Soon, in whatever state or state of states or unstate we are found, today’s neo-isolationists of left and right may find themselves exposed to ironies mirroring those now felt by the neo-conservatives of just the other day, who thought they were advancing a needed heightening, deepening, and expansion of engagement, but instead reinforced an older impulse to wash one’s hands of it all.

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

After East Ghouta 3: Indicting the Law

To the extent we cannot construct or re-construct the principles for a collective right to life in the age of weapons of destruction of the masses and disruption of global-ecological homeostasis, those principles may be expected to construct or re-construct themselves for us, and through us.

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

After East Ghouta 2: Nowhere To Be Found

The mass annihilation of civilians in war, the conversion of citizens or subjects into eradicable vermin, ought to refer us to events at the inception of the American-centric international order as we know it, its immediate predicate in a shared experience of total war and a victory both in and against it, and its older predicate in the longer movements of history.

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

After East Ghouta 1: Minimum Leader

If at this moment the President appears less than he was, he is the image of our own self-diminution reflected back at us: His state is our state.

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

No Center at the Center

The world’s chieftain cannot serve the general interest effectively and reliably unless convinced that serving the general interest also serves “his” self-interest – that the two interests are finally the same or non-severable. When the chieftain falls into a depressive state – of apathy, or aboulia, or neurasthenia; doubting all, negating itself to negate all – the system fails, and the will to stasis is realized, or hypostatized, as crisis.

Posted in Featured, History, International Relations, Neo-Imperialism, The Exception Tagged with: , , , , ,

Government by Other Means

In the libertarian imagination or, as Professor Hanley prefers, the libertarian psyche, the reduction in the power of government (or “government”) means an increase in power for each libertarian or for the individual, which latter, as individuality, is presented as an ideal, but which each individual knows exclusively and therefore universally only through and as him- or herself. The libertarians do not recognize popularly sovereign liberal-democratic government as an extension of themselves, or, put more precisely, of this self. They may exploit or even admire democratic impulses and particular constitutional traditions, but their views are in this sense profoundly anti-democratic and constitutionally anti-constitutional.

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

Syria and the Neo-Imperial Interest

If we agree that we want a world in which nation-states do not use chemical weapons against their peoples, or a world in which chemical and other WMD use does not spread in interstate or other conflict situations, and the only way to ensure that worthy goal is to assert and enforce a transnational imperative, then we are neo-imperialists, and the only reason we do not confess as much is that we have inherited an ideological-terminological allergy.

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

A Last Word

gottalotta nothing to do right about now, too much to do to write about right about right about now

Posted in Featured, Meta, Own Stuff Tagged with:

not discussing a conservative understanding of the sexual division of labor

To go much further would require a willingness to suspend judgment and start as though at a beginning, yet from closer to an end, on the part of all participants. Yet that requirement, even if the one thing needful, will always be too much to demand of the citizens of a democratic republic, CKM included.

Posted in Featured, History, 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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