Religion

Zionism in the balance…

Hirsch produces the form of an argument that, to whatever extent it is understood on its own terms, as accurately attributing to Zionism an un- or anti-Christian as well as illiberal essence, may make the Zionist position more difficult to sustain politically in a Judeo-Christian and broadly liberal national political culture: Zionism appears in Hirsch’s claims as an affront to the liberal-universalist commitments that define the United States of America aspirationally, and at the same time, for Americans who understand their Americanism as a nationalism, as a geographically concretized proxy ethnicity, as a fatally alien interest, subject to continual re-weighing in whichever balance.

Posted in Books, Featured, History, Neo-Imperialism, Religion Tagged with:

Richard Dawkins’ Ignorance (a theological fact to learn)

The notion of a non-existence of theological fact is the opposite of the atheist thought, which originates in, constitutes, and upholds a position on its own absolute theological facticity. The doubt as to the existence of theological fact at all would be the beginning of the agnostic or possibly the anismic, not the atheist, inquiry.

Posted in Anismism, notes, Philosophy, Religion Tagged with: , ,

Mouth to Mouth (Report from the War on Xmas)

The violence of [the] claim takes revenge upon it

Posted in Anismism, Philosophy, Politics, Religion Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Because “The question ‘what is God?’ is impossible” (amended version of comment at @thinking_reed’s blog)

The inquiry into what we mean when we invoke the name of the deity would both determine and be determined by the result of the inquiry into what we mean when we refer to ourselves. They are nearly the same inquiry, or two different aspects of a single inquiry, which is at the same time an inquiry into inquiry – the possibility of inquiry at all and the point of inquiry at all.

Posted in Anismism, Philosophy, Religion

The Iran Deal Concretely 2

The absolute sentence on the Islamic Republic, like the indictment of the West from within Iran, is based on and designed to justify and reinforce mutual hostility and exclusion. In effect the enemy image is circular and self-validating, hermetically self-sealing. To accept it and at the same time to favor meaningful negotiations would be paradoxical, a seeking of common ground under the presumption of its absence. We have already examined the alternative perspective, which offers no guarantees, but points to the absurdity, or the pathology, of an approach that always ends and must end where it also always begins, at “the worst very much still before us,” re-producing itself perpetually until signifier becomes indistinguishable from signified. If neither the Islamic Republic nor America nor the West nor the alliance of Maccabees and Pilgrims is susceptible to evolution at all, if they are (if there can be) eternally static and unitary entities, perfectly and imperviously self-sufficient, then there is nothing to analyze or discuss – or negotiate – at all, and what is presented as if analytical will amount to the extended recapitulation of non-negotiable and inalterable premises, from the worst to the worst, over and over again, til Kingdom come.

Posted in History, International Relations, Neo-Imperialism, Philosophy, Religion Tagged with: ,

Rosenzweig’s Pre-Emption – Part II

“It wants to be implored with both hands.”

Posted in Philosophy, Religion Tagged with: , ,

Rosenzweig’s Pre-Emption (of Strauss) – Part I

“Divine truth hides from the one who reaches for it with one hand only.”

Posted in Philosophy, Religion Tagged with: ,

This Year in Jerusalems

The new identity replaces the old one, and, where it does not appear as an amalgam of contradictions and imitations, it puts dimly grasped and highly uncertain possibilities next to moral deprivation: self-realization as self-annihilation in the current epoch, which also cannot be understood except as a product – result as well as aftermath – of another equation in a parallel format.

Posted in Anismism, Religion Tagged with: , , ,

too strongly felt by all to be reasonably discussed at all

That a question is easily polemicized is a sure sign that it is too deep for polemics, which never stops anybody, of course.

Posted in History, notes, Religion

Two Onto-Theo-Anthropological Hypotheses

Today we begin with our latest endings.

Posted in Anismism, Philosophy, Religion Tagged with: , , , , ,

From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

(1)

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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(5)

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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(0)

[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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