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Comments by CK MacLeod

On “On Emulating the TP vs Trump’s GOP

...or was the Republican success in 2010 of the sort that simply never happens without some fog and friction along the way? An upsurge in enthusiasm on one side - or discovery of the resources in a desperate situation - or cornered rats fighting fiercely, etc., etc. - is bound to take multiple forms. Some people will go too far or some unwanted Witches will be swept up in the tornado, and maybe get crushed beneath the house when it finally lands. Just how it goes.

So you don't really completely disagree with Elizabeth, seems to me.

On “All the News that’s Fit to Kill (OAG #8)

Don't know nothing about no Nick Land, but I see that his site has a tab devoted to NeoReaction, so I'll presume that his orientation is anti-democratic or possibly even "dark enlightenment." His statement would seems to belong in the unsympathetic-ironical group.

On “On Emulating the TP vs Trump’s GOP

They will still have to cope with a version of the same conflict at every stage and level. Sooner or later, or constantly, any political actor has to decide when to stop demanding, and start negotiating - or know if "demanding" is really just asking, really a negotiating tactic, or if negotiating is really just demanding nicely. Even in case of victory in whatever particular battle, the victors must decide whether to conduct themselves toward the vanquished with magnanimity or with wrath. Or they may seek to apply measured amounts of each, but only at the risk of dilution and reduced potency.

Other versions of the same conflict are re-produced in every other question: whether it's good for intelligence officials to leak against this president, or whether it threatens to undermine the liberal-democratic concept; whether people of good conscience should work for this administration in key posts, or boycott it, and boycott the people who make the other choice; and so on.

The initial question had to do with how a "resistance" or, a different thing, an "opposition," should speak to rank and file members of the other coalition, and specifically whether "liberals" should or can emulate the Tea Party.

Maybe it's worth noting that for all of the zeal of individual Tea Partiers and for all of the partisan invective against liberals or the Left from the Tea Party and vicinity, the Tea Party did initially seize on patriotic symbols and, from the name down, put them front and center. The TP wrapped itself in the flag and invoked the Holy Founders. An American patriot could disagree with particular Tea Party positions, but couldn't disagree with the idea of the Tea Party, of everyday citizens defying unjust government. Today's Left has problems presenting itself in a similar way, since so many voluble and articulate members of its coalition seem to operate under the motto "Reduce America's Singular Evil" rather than any variation on "Make America Great (Again)."

Obama was different, at least at his peak. He wanted to "do both," too, but in key ways he was unable to do either very effectively. Trying to do both from a position of less than overwhelming strength can sometimes lead to doing neither effectively - as in "leading from behind" - which might have been an appealing notion in one particular context, but which turned into not really leading and becoming unable to lead at all. HRC suffered the same problem. Wanting things both ways also projects diffidence and unclarity.

Which is the reverse side of the other tactical problem for liberals or progressives that I noted in the original twitter discussion: They want to do things with government. They want an adult government doing good things intelligently. Brutal, take-no-prisoners partisanship, incendiary rhetoric, and 50-50 polarization don't serve the purposes of the Party of Government.


That's all interesting and relevant, and good point at the end about the fights within the fights.

However, I see the discussion as taking place more in the vein of traditional questions: Do we attack/defy/destroy? or do we coax/persuade/assuage/etc.? Are "they" enemies or simply opponents/adversaries? Connected to the "it's better for all of us if he succeeds" vs "of course, I hope he fails" discussion.

My point at the end was that in different ways and in different contexts, much depending on definitions and assumptions (not least about what is really under anyone's control anyway), different answers may make sense, and for a range of different reasons.

On “Stephen Walt: Trump Has Already Blown It – Foreign Policy

OK, re-enabled, but subtle-like. Will fancy it up later.


Had to disable the plugin for now. Having website issues.


And I'm not expecting THIS to be the final format...


Still working out some bugs with the whole "suite," as perhaps you may already have noticed.


Not really sure - would depend upon what you checked or didn't and when, and how you logged in, and also whether the emails are getting spaminated again. Will do some investigation later. I know there's already a potential problem for people who "social login" without sharing a real email address.

Not one thing, thousand others.


sorry, bob, if you subscribed to this thread... just need another comment to check out one more little thing


not yet fully molted... but I think it's close


et voila, voici - le snake.


(thanks for this discussion - also gives me a nice at hand basis for implementing the discussion "snake" at this site... in a bit)



Undoubtedly there is a temperamental courage, a warlike blood, which loves a fight, does not feel itself except in a quarrel, as one sees in wasps, or ants, or cocks, or cats.

Very nice bit there by Emerson. Should have been a blogger, though the passage you pick might give the impression he defined courage without reference to that which might be feared.

On “Stephen Walt: Trump Has Already Blown It – Foreign Policy

OK - I think I've got you now, and can see your argument.

I'm unsure about it. If problem or possible problem didn't occur to me before, that might be because I'm so disinclined to attribute any noble purpose or higher virtues to Trump at all. The question of tragedy in the highest sense would never even come up for me, but I can see that you might imagine it an open question for some.

I do think, however, it would be wrong to think of him as utterly devoid of virtues - or, for instance, to call him a "coward" as some do. I do think he possesses courage to some degree. It might be a foolish and inconsistent courage, but he's still "unafraid" in situations where angels fear to tread.

I suspect that a few people I've seen calling him a coward in social media would tremble before the prospect of, say, giving a speech to a room full of friends, much less before taking on all that Trump has taken on. More to the larger point, for better or I think much worse, of all of the individuals who put themselves forward for the presidency last year, he possessed spiritedness (thymos), expressed as machismo (and hard to separate from it), more than any of the others. Among the Rs, he often came across as a man (a deranged one) among boys. Clinton stood up to him, but couldn't overawe him: Perhaps she was calculating where we needed her to be indignant.

But if you're saying that blustering his way to the top of our heap doesn't make him a potentially tragic figure, and no one should be confused about that, I agree.


Well, I guess we disagree then about what Walt seems to be trying to say. I'm not aware of any point where he ever has taken Trump on his own terms seriously enough to speculate about him as a (classically) tragic figure, nor do I see any other evidence that Walt's means us to understand the term in a precise, literary sense.


I think if Walt has any classical definition in mind, then tragedy for him would be in this case on behalf not of Trump and the core Trumpists, who are more the villains in the play, but of foreign policy Realists and everyday Americans who'd staked any hope at all in the Trump disruption delivering a more Realist American strategy. Walt doesn't say whether he ever held such hopes himself, but he does lay out the, from his or his school's point of view, lost potential of the moment. So, if you believe there was such a potential, and if you believe failure to reach it is likely to equate with great waste in American blood and treasure, damage to the American interest, vast human suffering in war, and risks of global cataclysm, then the effect would probably satisfy two definitions of tragedy, and certainly the looser one - of a profoundly bad outcome.

On “The Data That Turned the World Upside Down – Motherboard

Plus another crappy thing about my description: "Near real-time auto-loading" might read like your is going right from you fingers into the void for all to see before you're done with it. All the phrase really means or is meant to mean is that, while you're reading or writing, OTHER people's comments will be loaded without your having to refresh the page.

It's currently set at "polls every 30 seconds." Going any faster imposes a load on the server, especially at a busy site. Alternatives include a message-link that alerts you to, for example, the existence of 3 new comments that you could load. You may have run across that approach elsewhere. Less resource-ravenous, but don't have enough traffic here to worry about it, I don't think.


Since you're an anti-Twitter holdout, I don't expect you to get what the rest of us deal with. Anyway, I should have said "new comment format for some threads."


Aktuelly, my fiendish plan is to keep the normal comments normal, but to continue to look for ways to narrow the gap between Twitter conditions and blog conditions, for a certain type of discussion. I would need a more expensive account than I wish to rent at this time to close it completely in terms of immediate gratification, but the idea is to get close enough for the kind of discussions that break out from time to time in the Twitterzone, but also make them accessible to people like you and me who actually prefer to keep things literary-like and to be able to go over 140 characters at will.


I see you got "moderated" - wondering if it's going to be a one-time thing - veteran commenters having to put up with moderation - or whether it's a bug. What happens if you try commenting again?


Will do a full-fledged post introducing the new commenting format when it's a little more tested and refined, and when I've decided on whether to incorporate two or three additional features. I think the linked article happens to be quite interesting in its own right, however - and from a side perspective follows up on a Twitter Colloquy from a few days ago - which, like most good ones, soon got overwhelmed with name-tags and hard to follow.

This Commenting Beta features Ajaxed (near-real-time self-loading) comments, a standing inducement to keep things brief, comment shareability via Twitter, comment-up/down voting, and commenter ignore button, in-reply-to linking, comment subscriptions, comment-editing, and thread sorting.

In addition to adding some social services, I expect to be integrating comment and commenter highlighting, comment snaking, commenter archives, comment formatting, comments-since-last-visit, and probably some other things I've forgotten.

On ““Human nature only really exists in an achieved community of minds.” – Hegel

NB: A bit of initial research suggests that wissen refers back etymologically to seeing and brightness - "enlightenment" - while "scientia" refers back to "separating," "distinguishing." Though eventually the two are inseparable - since to be seen a thing must be distinguished/separated from what it isn't (Hume devotes significant attention to this) - they do seem to me to suggest two different orientations toward orientation or perspectives on perspective. It is in this sense not possibly a coincidence that Hegel devotes the first section of the Phenomenology to explaining or questioning (Hegel-splaining!) the problems with notions of a simple seeing or sensing of a thing, or the fallacy of immediate mediation of being, or the nonsense of common sense about sensation...


I assume you're joking a bit with the last: Hegel doesn't express any noticeable fear regarding the common sense man, just rejects the significance as philosophy of his statements. They might be categorized as non-philosophic in this sense, and become anti-philosophic or inimical to philosophy only to the extent that anyone insists on treating them otherwise, in particular as a substitute or replacement for philosophy.

Hegel devotes much more time in the Preface to critiquing the precursors or different types of precursor of contemporary "scientific realism" or materialism or scentism, etc., and returns to the subject in the main text and in other works. It qualifies as a if not, understood broadly, the major theme of his work, as to what is authentically "scientific." Even the difference between the English and German words for "science" or "Wissenschaft" point to the division, or struggle for superiority, apparent in your example, since the etymology in the German is so much closer to the surface - a compound of two common words, Wissenschaft suggesting "enterprise/way/art/project/making of knowledge/knowing" vs. the to English speakers more obscure derivation from "scientia" (i.e., a loan word from Latin). You could say the Anglo-American tendency is to idealize (or even spiritualize) materialism, to transubstantiate substance, while the Continental tendency is the reverse. Absolute knowing as grasped by Hegel obviously would encompass both tendencies and the motion from one to the other... and other things and non-things.


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