Philosophy

Keith Spencer: …data shows that a centrist Democrat would be a losing candidate – Salon.com

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

Posted in Noted & Quoted, Political Philosophy, Politics Tagged with:

Eli Zaretsky: Trump’s Charisma – LRB Blog

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

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The Scholar’s Stage: You Do Not Have the People

[T]he Korea issue is but an extreme expression of a tendency that blights the entire field. We are uncomfortable with democratic accountability, unwilling to subject ourselves to public debate, and uninterested in the constraints public opinion and popular politics place

Posted in History, Operation American Greatness, The Exception, War

For the Fourth: Holy American Major League of Nations (Notes on Baseball, Booze, and the Re-De-Nationalization of Americanism)

It welcomed the tests of time/
Like an eternal friend,/
Our country is blessed,/
Our country is such!

Posted in Anismism, Music, Neo-Imperialism, Old Gone Over, Political Philosophy, Sports, US History, War, Yoga Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fintan O’Toole: Britain: The End of a Fantasy – The New York Review of Books

To take power, May had to pretend that she, too, dreams these impossible dreams. And that led her to embrace a phony populism in which the narrow and ambiguous majority who voted for Brexit under false pretences are be reimagined

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Steve Paulson: Roger Penrose On Why Consciousness Does Not Compute – Nautilus

Like many others, Penrose struggled with the weirdness of quantum theory. “As Schrödinger clearly pointed out with his poor cat, which was dead and alive at the same time, he made this point deliberately to show why his own equation

Posted in Noted & Quoted, Philosophy, Science Tagged with: , ,

What Do Top Legal Experts Say About the Syria Strikes? – Just Security

Stephen Pomper, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, National Security Council: Thursday night’s missile strikes have the potential to be enormously consequential, not just for Syria and the other

Posted in International Relations, Noted & Quoted, The Exception, War Tagged with:

American Idealism, American Identity – Thread by @dhnexon, with Brief Comments

“In fact, Trump is the most anti-exceptionalist POUTS since 1945.”

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, Operation American Greatness, The Exception Tagged with: , ,

The Deep State vs the Derp State (OAG #10)

Can a responsible citizen refuse to take a side?

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, Operation American Greatness, The Exception

Shadi Hamid: The End of the End of History – Foreign Policy

We are now condemned to live in exciting times. Boredom is, quite clearly, underrated. At the same time, I must confess that as Trump’s victory settled, my despair was coupled with a rush of blood to the head. I felt

Posted in Noted & Quoted, Operation American Greatness, The Exception

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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