US History

Still Doing It (the Animated American Way of War)

…highly prescient, from the vantage point of 1943, regarding the American reliance on technological solutions to political and military challenges.

Posted in US History, War Tagged with:

Ordinary Preliminaries to a Deconstruction of Strategic Counter-Revolution Etc.

When blog conversation (or “reading the comments”) works well, I think: The discussion under a very short (“Off the Cuff”) post (written on the occasion of some stray Twitter traffic and unrelated technical or “back-end” work) may have produced the

Posted in Internet, Political Philosophy, US History, War Tagged with: ,

Confederates in Love

“Chris” notes that Civil War monuments are much more common in the South than the North. Throughout much of the South, it is impossible to escape The War. It may be objected at this point, by those of you who

Posted in Featured, notes, Political Philosophy, US History, 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: , , , , , ,

Exceptionality vs Exceptionalism (Comment at S-USIH Blog)

Ben Alpers at the Society for US Intellectual History Blog provides a useful capsule history on American Exceptionalism: For most of the history of the term – which originally emerged in the 1920s in debates between Lovestoneites and Stalinists over

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, notes, US History Tagged with: , ,

Archived Storify dialogue on Cliven Bundy’s alleged racism

Viewable on Storify here.

Posted in Culture & Entertainment, notes, Politics, US History Tagged with: , , ,

The State of the Neo-Empire Is Strong

All the other guys and gals, the losers and the second-raters, the backworldspeople, are the ones who need policy and strategy: The Neo-Empire or Empire of Liberty is its own strategy and is by “being there” already the final determinant of every policy and politics. Hegemony is. It simply “lives hegemonically.” All else on Earth if not necessarily in Heaven (nor necessarily not) is secondary, though perhaps usefully diversionary, since an achieved new consensus, as we occasionally set out to remind ourselves, would be counterproductive compared to the actual, virtually inarticulable but pre-eminently successful one, and possibly the sole true danger to it.

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

Standing athwart themselves

Nothing prevents those with a conservative outlook or temperament from remaining aware of dire and whole wide world-encompassing possibilities, even the possibility or perhaps the certainty of their own, or their community’s, or nation’s, or culture’s, or civilization’s eventual impossibilization, but any sensibly conservative regard for language, or any conservative understanding of the idea of a conservative understanding, does or ought to prevent its advocacy, with or without the yelling.

Posted in Anismism, Philosophy, Politics, US History

American conservatives

The war the fellows in the Minuteman costumes thought they were fighting was already lost generations if not centuries ago.

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, Political Philosophy, Politics, US History Tagged with: , ,

Notes on A Living Originalism

The purpose of this unusually long post is to review and expand upon a discussion under a set of posts by Tim Kowal and Burt Likko, who are practicing attorneys with interest in Constitutional Law, on doctrines of Constitutional interpretation. The perhaps still distant objective is a framework for a “synthetic originalism” or “vital originalism” or “living originalism,” or a Unified Theory or at least Adequate Description of American Constitutionalism…

Posted in Featured, Legal Philosophy, Political Philosophy, The Exception, US History 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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