Selected

All the News that's Fit to Kill (OAG #8)

The Post appears to be promising to narrate the death of democracy - or, if unconsciously, to be revealing an intention to embody it.

Thesis on the Great Trumpian Victory (OAG #6)

... that the great victory of the Trumpists would be in the destruction of faith in the American system, now approaching the consensus position.

Si Vis Bellum, Part 1: "Militarism" and "Interventionism"

The un-clarity or confusion, or confusion of confusions, regarding the meaning of these two terms is typical of this historical moment, which in one sense can be thought to have simply befallen us, having never been willed into existence by anyone, but in another sense can be viewed as the predictable and desired product of choices made over the course of at least two or now three presidential elections, in as self-conscious a manner as a mass democratic system is able to undertake.

Operation American Greatness

Ironic how Trump apologists, especially certain types of "American Conservative" paleo-cons, self-styled republican constitutionalists, and diverse fellow travelers all the way extending to everyday "Deplorables" drunkenly hurling foul epithets at campaign reporters, have adopted a main strategic rationale of the despised Neocons and Globalists.

An Alliance of Digital Artists (Art and Work in the Age of Instant Reproducibility)

If the Digital Artists Alliance never amounts to more than a temporary reference point, the basis for a gesture of respect by some site operators toward an ideal, then that will be enough for me, but I invite anyone interested in exploring larger possibilities to join me.

Subtweet (American Conservative Eschaton)

With less and less semblance of temperamental conservatism, ever more self-destructively, nominally conservative Americans have sought in vain to immanentize as eschaton the non-immanentization of eschaton.

Subtweet

The absolute evil for politics as politics is the introduction of the question of absolute evil into politics, as the dissolution of politics. This rule is of the same form as the prejudice of philosophy against the entrance of prejudice into philosophy.

Comment Elsewhere: To @BurtLikko under "How to Fix a Broken Elephant: Prologue"

Every other re-othered, just like we like it.

Conservative Neo-Imperialism vs Jacksonian Neo-Isolationism

As for Trumpism vs. Bushism, one will be no less dependent on "populist nationalism" than the other, to whatever extent it is also successful: In a mass electoralist national system under popular sovereignty, the winner will always be the truest national populist, by definition, if not necessarily the purest national populist according to some external or merely intellectual standard.

Comment at American Creation on Strauss and the Problem of Belief

A remark about philosophers is not the same thing as a philosophical remark, and considering it philosophically is different from considering it in terms of, say, intellectual history.

Mattis: Not Ike, but the Right Shape

It is perfectly normal, and beyond that it is natural and altogether archetypical, for human communities in times of crisis to look for and seek to rally behind a commanding figure. The American electoral process is in many ways already the institutionalization of crisis even in the normal course of events, and this year, with one of the two major parties struggling to fight off a hostile takeover by a crypto-fascist and his movement, has had more of that character than usual.

The Egological: Notes on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit by Martin Heidegger

"The essence of the universe, at first hidden and concealed, has no power to offer resistance to the courageous search for knowledge; it must open itself up before the seeker, set its riches and its depths before his eyes to give him pleasure."

The Party Deconstructs

In times such as these, party loyalty raises the question of what a party is at all in America 2016 - or at least what it means to be a Republican, if Trump is one, and potentially the standard-bearer.

Star Wars VII and the Ultra-Real

The cinematic rather than merely narrative objective of Star Wars VII is to persuade by being overwhelmingly Star Wars VII.

In This Galaxy, Now

The Alt-Right is criticizeable in many ways, and is undoubtedly full of unpleasant people given to saying repugnant things and taking pleasure in doing so, but the Alt-Right is not wrong to point to a transformation whose existence is obvious, but whose significance is difficult to discuss. The denial their statements receive may in turn reflect a determination on the part of a type of true believer to accept the narrative as a kind of sacred truth, rather than as an even conceivably debatable proposition.

Voegelin's Gnosis, Part 3: Anismism

The point at which the insight or observation of or insistence upon an "anism" or anti-gnosis converts into just another gnosis would be the central problem of anismism, the problem of anismism to itself, already foretold in the paradox of its name and the temptation to start tacking additional "isms" onto it: Anismismism would be very bad anismism as well as a bad joke, the false idol of the return to anism or the image of that return or the discourse of images of that return, and so on, rather than as the actual return to the anismic real.

Notes on America in the Philosophy of World History: Ronald Reagan's 'A Time for Choosing'

The critique of neo-conservatism and of Reaganism, especially the right-libertarian critique from within conservatism, amounts to a critique of their shared Hegelianism.

Will's Affront (An Untimely Post)

An American conservative attitude toward the nature of crime, as committed by individuals against individuals, and as naming specific acts - not "rape is rape" and "no is no," but "only real rape is rape" and "only a real no is no" - may prevent conservatives from saying what they really mean: that in fact they agree about the existence of a rape culture, but disagree as to who the real perpetrators have been and are.

The Ephemeral Sublime vs The Triumph of Death

"The Triumph of Death," Pieter Bruegel, The Elder To treat the past as nothing because it is or seems inaccessible to us is to imply the nothingness of every present destined to fall into it next - to make the substance of life the triumph of death... and therefore it is not thus.

Less Ephemeral: Site vs Blog

Though the big, slick, expensive sites and services offer many of the things, and better, that ten years ago we went to (each other’s) blogs to find, they are inadequate for anyone seeking more than “the literature of a quarter of an hour,” but not involved in, supported by, or satisfied with traditional commercial and academic publishing. A blog might seem to belong to that species of 15-minute literature, but, once the all-consuming desire for passing interest has been stolen away or stolen back, the blog-as-log begins to disappear, revealing a virtual location: the site, marked by the non- or anti-ephemeral durability of logos rather than log.

Failure of the US-Syrian Rebel Alliance Is Two-Sided

To make war on Assad in the absence of a democratically validated decision for war and in the absence of an international legal justification for war would further undermine foundational American premises. Achieving both would not be impossible, but the Heaven and Earth-moving effort is not something that the United States of America or its President is presently likely to attempt on behalf of the united friends of Al Qaeda.

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.

man-killers

As for our Achilles-Nemesis, what reason is there to believe, along with apparently the professor, that it is our decision alone, or within anyone’s ability, to define the fight in some essentially different way, and still to fight at all?

Essential Threat

In light of the ritualized sacrifice of a single man, on the altar of what we cannot help but believe - no possible justification - the many may be revealed to us as allies, as "with us," perhaps first symbolically, but now also practically. Put simply, Foley's death marks if it does not itself restore American re-engagement on behalf of those we had all but abandoned in the region.

The Egyptian Exception and the Other Islamic State

The alternative resolution or the other Islamic state, the one that avoids the tyrant’s despair – or, put more politically-philosophically, allows for a liberal-Islamic assimilation that would also be integrative or unitary rather than irrecuperably conflictual – would appear to rely on modes of idealization of religion that would evolve simultaneously and bi-conditionally, or, as Fadel or Fadel’s Khaldun puts it, “organically.” Their current impermissibility is a reflection of the same problem.

genomisia

Proposed definition: genomisia- n. - from genos ("race, stock, kin") + -misia ("hatred of") : hatred or actualized animus toward any group as characterized by common religion, ethnic or national origin, ideology, customary conduct, or orientation; also misogeny.

In the future everybody will be right about Iraq for fifteen minutes

What other than the actual invasion of Iraq under proven-false premises could actually prove those premises false, at least as we articulated them to ourselves while, we believed, safely ignoring the always-wrong and resoundingly re-defeated defeatists?

Liberals against Liberalism (Chait's Insanity)

To be a meaningful right, the right to argue must also entail a right to win.

David Bentley Hart as Atheist (On Creative Principle and Creator Principal)

Simply to assert, as Hart very much seems to, that the truth of a religious tradition is utterly severable from every particular element of that tradition, that it is essentially irrelevant to the inquiry into religion what the mass of believers believe or say they believe or are asked to believe, is, for the atheist, bad faith: a mere changing of the subject if not a deception.

The Hebraic Heidegger (Another Discussion Not To Be Held)

As for Heidegger, Schmitt, their defenders, and all those suspected of actual or parallel "sympathies," they will, of course, be denied the protection we extend to the last great and very German, very Jewish philosopher-theologians of the pre-Zionist or Diasporetic Age. The thought of identifying oneself with the Nazis and fellow travelers will be the thought of leaving normal life in liberal-democratic societies behind. We remain defined morally - to ourselves, concretely - by the justice of the physical and ideological destruction of the perverted culture-state that Heidegger and Schmitt literally stood up for in public, and that privately they supported more in spirit than post-war apologetic exercises led some to hope.

Theologically Anti-Theological (a/theology 2)

"...the odd paradox whereby Bakunin, the greatest anarchist of the nineteenth century, had to become in theory the theologian of the anti-theological and in practice the dictator of an anti-dictatorship."

Economic and Special Warfare Are Also the Health of the State

The Roosevelt-Marshall welfare-warfare state and the global regime it fought and worked into existence remain intact but under pressure. They still depend on an ability to project beyond themselves, both economically as well as militarily, and both morally as well as practically.

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.

state-nation as nation-state

Its notion turns the whole world upside down, since the ideal state-nation is the universal homogeneous state, the world state or the democracy whose demos would be all of humankind, not any particular state within history but the action of history itself under a declared progressively "federative concept."

The United States of Melissa Harris-Perry

A difficulty with the question of the public intellectual at this time, a sense of a non-integral and irrelevant public discourse or discourse of discourses seems to typify the present conjuncture or global moment of the disappearance of a political-cultural concept in its own hyper-extension.

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.

Repealing Godwin's Law

As a matter of history, the administrative state, the FDR state, that the Tea Partiers are glad to shut down temporarily, and that some would like to shut down permanently, is the same state that arose contemporaneously with the fall of the Weimar Republic, in relation to common and overlapping challenges, and that was consolidated in political competition and eventually at war with its immediate successor (which technically still functioned under the Weimar constitution). A serious discussion of an actual or potential crisis of liberal democracy in the leading liberal democratic nation-state, and on the system level – the level of basic responsibilities and assumptions of government – cannot help but take into account prior, concretely related crises, even if particular circumstances initially appear vastly different.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A Last Word

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

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.

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…

How dare you call Hayek profound?

Though Robin sometimes seems to intend to incriminate Hayek and others by association, as with the likes of Pinochet, perhaps as a way to emphasize his continued membership in good standing on the political Left, there is nothing in the core of his argument, as opposed to its trivial polemical decorations, that a Hayekian ought to find embarrassing. To the contrary, Robin attributes "profundity and daring" to Hayek and his marginal siblings. Thought through, Robin's arguments may present at least as many difficulties to a leftist, including one operating from Robin's own presumptions, as to a conservative or to a libertarian.

Libertarianism as Core-Extreme Ideology of the Liberal Democratic State

Libertarianism is infant liberal-democracy, the arrested development of the polity fixated at the level of the pre-socialized or socialization-resistant individual - the pre-dialogical, self-sufficient, natural "I-atheist."

The Abuse of Counterfactual History (10 Years After, Cont'd)

If finding WMDs had not mattered, how much would finding them have mattered?

Foundations of the Founding (Legitimizing Legitimacy 2)

What Slaughter wants to say but cannot quite say is that, whether or not Western civilization and its deeply embedded egalitarian ideal might have survived a Mongol victory at Vienna in 1241, or perhaps have arisen in quasi-reptilian form among evolved dinosaurs in the absence of the Yucatán asteroid, the 4th of July can be thought to commemorate a true inflection point in human history as a meaningful history. The American Founding as symbolized by whichever of its most important days may or may not qualify as history's single most course-altering event, but it still invites comparison, without any hint of vulgar "exceptionalism," to a small handful of other singular moments - as in the Hegelian world-historical concept, but with point of origin transferred to the New World from the Old: perhaps not as the biggest day in the natural history of one damn thing after another from Big Bang to Heat Death, but as a or the day after which history itself, as human history, must be thought of as truly changed.

Identifying Our Identity and Legitimizing Our Legitimacy

A political identity and a position on political identity may in the final analysis be indistinguishable from each other, and I cannot legitimize my own concept of legitimacy or of political identity without referring to the same to be legitimized, identity-creating or -affirming or -confirming concepts.

Further on Pathos v The Drones: Conventionalizing the Unconventionalizable

The overall dysfunctionality of a political discussion can be the product of countless such lesser dysfunctionalities, though the overall dysfunctionality of that discourse may in turn be what makes it manageable, or manageable enough. We dislike things the way they dysfunctionally are, and that is how we like things.

Torture as Individualized War, War as Socialized Torture

In an “objective” if not necessarily “morally clear” accounting, the thousands killed and thousands more disfigured and terrified would receive many thousands of times greater concern. The child dismembered by a bomb blast, the soldier buried alive in a bunker, the prisoner merely sent off to some conventional Hell, and on and on, precisely as they become multiplied by thousands or millions and turned into numbers, all seem to command less outrage and concern than the captive in manacles.

Terminator Antichrist (drone as symbol)

The Drones as symbol refer us to a tyrannical, imperial, not merely mechanical but super-biological or super-organic, invulnerable, temporally and geographically unbounded, and most of all cruelly lethal power that has already annihilated the human being ideally before it sends its "Hellfire" missile at him to finish the job, while also morally annihilating the distant human pilots and their masters, the latter group eventually including all of us who benefit or who possess a moral share in the program as citizens of a democratic republic.

Voegelin's Gnosis, Part 2: Crossing

The eternal crosses infinitely all the way over to us on the finite cross. Even against the definitional and lethal disagreements within and between the Abrahamic faiths on instantiations of eternity, or finitizations of infinity, or mortalities of the immortal, the structure of the central question, as a dichotomy to be resolved into a unity, from incarnation to crucifixion to resurrection, survives all answering exclusions. We can even begin with the atheistic or heretical counter-narratives that insist that indispensable parts of the greatest story were merely story, that the humanly fallible texts amount to a pre-capitalist commodification for “franchising” purposes. Even the falsehood of the tale would precisely on its own level magnify it, as the greatest lie ever believed, in this the only world the closest a disenchanted perspective can approach to miracle.

Django, Josey, and the Left

To say that Edwards, Cogburn, and Wales are all in this sense Western figures more than they are Civil War figures is not to deny their connection to the South. It is a reminder of competing and complex themes or ideas of justice: Put simply, if we are in a retroactively judgmental mood, or, perhaps like the makers of The Outlaw Josey Wales and their audience, in a 1976 post-Vietnam state of despair about all official narratives and the full history of "the Union," we can define all Union soldiers, and even the sainted Abraham, as "fighting for genocidal imperialism."

Theses on Contradictions within Liberal Democracy, in Relation to Islamism

1. The conflict between liberalism and Islamism is a creedal as well as cultural, social, political, and economic conflict.2. As an ideological articulation of an Islamic concept in relation to and within an expansionary global political-economic system dominated by liberal-democratic regime forms, Islamism will absorb and re-express contradictions internal to the liberal democratic concept.3. The "Great Separation" of religion from politics is a paradoxical mythic-fictive foundation of liberal democracy whose necessary concealment cannot be continuously maintained in the encounter with unitary political alternatives as under typical forms of Islamism.4. The generally occluded, intermittently exposed theological (Christian-soteriological) origin of the Great Separation and therefore of liberal democracy conforms to the instruction of the Qur'an on the political realization of revealed truth.5. The radical coercive potential of the modern nation-state will be turned irresistibly against those who would accept and implement this instruction, except under adaptive integration of an effectively liberal-democratic concept.

You know who else used to oversimplify history?

"Counterfactual certitude fallacy" would be a corollary of historical fallacy, as in any claim of certainty that a simple alteration of a particular fatal decision would have necessarily led to an on-balance better course of subsequent events.

Cairo and Philadelphia: Statement of the Subject

I am thinking about the confrontation between "liberalism" - in the form of "liberal democracy" - and Islamism, but with a focus, in response to current events but perhaps also to larger necessity, on Egypt.

Chairman Mao and the Cosmopirates

If I could stand above the heavens, I would draw my sword And cut you in three parts: One piece for Europe, One piece for America, One piece left for China. Then peace would rule the world.

stable state

Liberal presumptions re Egypt offer "textbook" examples of logocentrism, but in this world one book bounces against another.

Schmitt in Cairo (cc @ibishblog)

One could easily - the liberalist Twitterati have shown little hesitation on this one - compare Morsi's assumption of the right to rule by decree with acts by Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, or a wide range of autocrats including Morsi's immediate predecessor. If inclined, however, to support or excuse Morsi, one might instead invoke Franklin Roosevelt after or even before the 1941 American Declarations of War, or Abraham Lincoln suspending the Constitution to save constitutional order: Each was called tyrant, traitor, dictator by his political enemies, even amidst undoubted states of emergency. Now they are, generally but not universally, called "great."

Genocidal Eros

It must be serious business, this empty escapism.

Rooting for the Zombies

The zombie is a perhaps only slightly exaggerated version of the slave or other member of the lower orders from the perspective of the privileged. Like the hungry poor, the zombies confront the responsible citizen as insatiably ravenous mouths to feed, the "unreasoning mob" itself, human as less than human, pure destructive appetite. At the same time, the terrifying joy of the zombie movie, like the terrifying joy both of other apocalyptic genres and of the slave revolt, lies in the destruction of one form of inhumanity by the other that it has produced, or is produced from it. We witness or continually re-experience the liberating annihilation of the whole constricted, compromised, and evil world, all of its inequities, and all of its false values.

Occupy Nothing

Ecologism comes as close to dialectical materialism as positive or bourgeois science can while still remaining positive science, somewhat in the same manner as cognitive science and physics approach each other at their limits, but on the level of lived history. Nature itself, including human nature, the working world itself, turns out always to have already filled the revolutionary opening that we workers of the world have never quite managed to occupy. The Earth is the true proletarian.

It's the War, Intellectuals (not the Drones)

Regardless of where we come down in the end on the wisdom and justifiability of the administration’s war policies, criticism that does not take the full debate and its real subject into consideration, that merely repeats what we already know - that war is awful and morally, culturally, and politically deforming; that it exceeds the terms of normal, lawful policy; that it makes us act like "barbarians" all on the way to Hell - does not deserve to be and likely will not be taken seriously.

What they do not want to know about American democracy

The social contract is signed in blood.

For Better or Worse America Is Progress

America is global progressivism up to the transformation of progress itself into new forms adequate to the world that progress has made, against the main alternative outcome of progress: extinction.

foreign policy is theology by proxy

Foreign policy is theology by proxy, not merely because all important modern theories of the state are secularized theological concepts, nor merely because the relationship of the citizen to the modern nation-state is a sacrificial commitment, but because a stance implicitly on the fate of all humankind, on the world state of states and its possible purposes, and on the right relationship of each and all of us to each and all of us, is divined before it can be analyzed or expressed.

The Brady Bunch Annihilated

What could better capture the nihilistic impetus of philosophical liberalism - individualized instrumental reason - than its discovery of the moral impossibility of human reproduction itself?

the included, the excluded, and the difference

Any opinion we form on the exception is an opinion we form about and for ourselves, of and in our own interest. Non-dialectical political science is purely pseudo-science on this matter that would be most important to it, if only it could ever remove itself from the inquiry, but every attempted movement away from the center of discussion converts necessarily and immediately into a new problem for the selfsame discussion, a new proposition of the included, the excluded, and the difference. The discussion is the tracking of this motion: We continue it for the sake of putting our prejudices to tests for them to fail. Suspicion or resistance on the part of the reader must also vary with his or her own also inextricably compromised position.

Iran and the Re-Legalization of War

We seem to be moving gradually toward a more sustainable spheres of influence structure, an uneven geopolitical web to be intermittently traversed by ad hoc coalitions acting on interpretations of their own particular and joint interests, or regional interests, or global economic or ecological or humanitarian interests. In some ways, this result is what conservative opponents of American internationalism (whether liberal idealist, hegemonist, or just imperialist) have always wanted, but, as those same internationalists have often warned their critics, escaping global-governance idealism may not equate with more conservative outcomes. Less political globalism does not necessarily mean less global activism, least of all for a maritime military-economic power like the USA.

Victory Boulevard

Eventually ANY earlier aesthetic will strike us “at face value” as superior to our own, since all will by definition imply a future that we, the latest latecomers, lack.

Unger's meaningless betrayal

Unger still wants to answer the young Marx's call upon philosophers not just to understand the world, but to change it. Wills wants to walk the same path that Unger, with impressive clarity, has marked out - for instance in the six minutes of the YouTube that few even of the mediating intellectuals will consider - but Wills wants to walk it more slowly and carefully, lest America take a detour into Rick Perry's Texas, perhaps never to emerge, perhaps to dwell there needlessly long at needless cost. The President... has appointments.

The Mediocracy vs. Leo Strauss

Expressed as mere opinion, as mediocritism strongly asserted, what Strauss or any honest human being has to say about certain not-possibly-true possible truths may become effectively indistinguishable from the views of cranks, lunatics, provocateurs, and traitors. To approach such not-possibly-true possible truths at all may mean asking to be counted a Nazi, for example - or even, if not worse than as a clearer and more nearly present danger, a "neo-conservative."

On Vampires, Zombies, and Supreme Court Justices

West Wing becomes Veep. Obamessiah turns into the psychopathic janitor-in-chief. A figure like Mitt Romney – open fraud, an ambulatory non sequitur whose nonsensical emptiness is his main redeeming quality – becomes theoretically electable as Head of State and Government. The words “citizens united” come to mean “citizenship annihilated,” we wait for the economy to vote for or against itself to no known purpose, and at every crisis the mask slips away further, revealing nothing at all in the foreground, beyond it a coven of vampires ("them") amidst a mass of zombies ("us"). To continue functioning at all, the system will have to finish discarding itself, likely to the applause of those few who even notice.

Chris Hayes and American Heroism

The word "hero" in contemporary usage is an unambiguously affirmative, but anodyne, secular-sounding term for the conversion of the "fallen" from tragic victims into celebrated martyrs within a long tradition, indeed within a trans-generational chain of sacrifices all the way back to the founding of the nation in revolutionary war. To deny access to this form of transcendence, as Hayes and many like him seem to want to do - are in a sense ideologically compelled to do - is to reduce whatever act of war into killing and mayhem merely, the conduct of a state possibly unworthy of allegiance at all, much less of even one individual's life, liberty, and happiness. It is to convert the martyr symbolically into the pitiful dupe at best, the murderer or war criminal at worst.

Monastic Temptation

If the subject of democracy - the demos, the mob - has proven itself, as always expected by those not taken in by the hustle, unworthy of respect or responsibility, then what basis do Berman, Scialabba, or any of the rest of us have for deeming whatever "Fahrenheit 451- or Blade Runner-style" authoritarian oligarchy to be "catastrophic"? Catastrophe becomes just another name for life on Earth as ever, and authoritarian oligarchy, with space set aside for the New Monks, looks like the best anyone ever could have expected. How else are we supposed to keep billions of ignorant, violent, etc., people from destroying themselves?

The Marriage of Equality and Inequality - 3: Brave New Worlds

The civilization-level question may point toward a technologically enabled defeat of organic kinship or, alternatively, its resurgence amidst the collapse of the Western or liberal-progressive model, but it may take a very long time for such a deep-going process - a matter of "generations" in more ways than one - to work itself out. At our moment, marriage equality remains a peculiar twilight phenomenon, part revision, part eclipse.

The Marriage of Equality and Inequality - 2: Unsympathetic

The traditionalists do not believe that the word "marriage" merely should be taken to refer to the union of a man and a woman, and they do not admit of a distinction between a popular or common usage and a legal one: They insist, over and over if rarely with explanation, likely under instruction by pollsters and spin-sters, that marriage simply is between a man and a woman - period. State and the law, they believe, should reflect this primary denotation, not merely because a one-to-one correspondence between common or traditional usage and the law is preferable in the abstract, but because the heterosexual union is biologically and organically the basis of human life, making any attitude towards it other than reverence both inhuman and morbid, all the more ominous as a principle of the state.

The Marriage of Equality and Inequality - 1: Bigotry

The bigot is the individual whose beliefs are so contrary to the fundamental commitments of an egalitarian culture that they are not and cannot be worthy of serious discussion, but only of scorn and ridicule - or, for those whose political sensibilities are still impaired by remnant sympathies, of mandatory confession, self-criticism, and disassociation.

Ghost Machine

self(-)consumption

Extra ordinary fragments never to be read, understood, or thought

you may think you understand but you do not understand you will never understand understanding of this kind is beyond you

Derbyshire's Children

Since John Derbyshire brought his family into it, I feel free to imagine a response on the part of his child - in effect to mark the transition via adolescent resistance on the way to autonomous adulthood. "Why should I follow what you advise, father? So I can grow up to live a life as morally impoverished, as safe from the risky vitality of others, as immune to hope, as yours?"

Holy American Major League of Nations (Notes on Baseball 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!

Commodity of Commodities

Avoiding climate catastrophe requires of democratic capitalism that it embrace its own absolute contradiction - catastrophically.

It Can Never Never Be

https://player.vimeo.com/video/29392846

And many nations shall join themselves to the Eternal in that day

There is no Christian, there is no Muslim, there is no American, there is no atheist, there is no Buddhist, there is no Hindu, there is no Sikh, there is no nihilist, there is no anyone else.

Revolutionary Messianic Thought for the Day

That it goes back to the sources of monotheism is important not because the sources automatically validate it, or even less because the recognition might boost Jewish pride (almost a contradiction in terms given the status of humility in Judaism), or American patriotism (whose proper object is an idea, not a land or a dead history), but because the prophetic sources of Judaism and Americanism are also the prophetic sources of Christianity and Islam, and make the same logic available, as it is grasped, to all Jews, all Christians, all Muslims, and to all those who, like the first recipients of the prophecy, come into contact with it from non-monotheistic orientations.

Inventing the World

Though information technology now pervades both the most advanced "military estate" via the so-called "Revolution in Military Affairs," as well as every sphere of political and cultural life, it maintains within itself the same original principles of self-sabotage and self-superannuation.

On Loughnerism

A reflexive and all-embracing hostility to the state/statism leads the far right toward the ultra-right (and ultra-left): It’s a self-contradictory and philosophically untenable position for anyone who aspires to be accepted within the mainstream of politics - which is a long way of saying that it is irrational, and, when pressed, must manifest as insanity.

Almost Everyone vs. The Whole Thing

From Schopenhauer through Strauss and beyond, the rebels fail to grasp Hegel's thought on its own terms, or, if they grasp it at all, they soon discard or conceal it. This claim may also seem like a large one, but the most ambitious and unlikely claim of all, it turns out, is not the claim of a complete or comprehensive philosophy, but the claim that the Hegelian is precluded from making: to have created a new philosophy, to have stepped philosophy beyond philosophy's own shadow.

Notes on the Invention of the World

The plural-realist or perspectivist thought (or anti-thought) can never be understood as generally valid except by reference to a standard that would govern the truth and consistency of all such assertions. This problem has always stood in the way of taking the "post-modernist insight" seriously: If it means what it is meant to mean, then it is at best provisional, and otherwise meaningless.

Sought/found

Any attempt to expose the crucifixion as mere fiction repeats what is supposed to be erased. To proclaim the falseness or the mere historicity, merely human reality of the crucifixion is to seek the death of Jesus Christ all over again, to re-crucify [h]im in stripping [h]im of divinity. Yet the same must be true of any attempt to take possession of His sacrifice, as a mere precious object to be defended against the comfort, however distorted by agony, the dying might take in it. …and so the tableau repeats itself again, and again, forever…

State of the Discussion

+ BTW, I recently upgraded some this and that on the back end of the blog, and it does seem to make comments post much faster [. . .]
Gutenberg: The Invention of the Printing Press, the Destruction of WordPress

For WordPress self-hosted people, there is already a "restore legacy editor" plugin, even though Gutenberg hasn't been installed yet as the default.

Gutenberg: The Invention of the Printing Press, the Destruction of WordPress
+ I thought you were on WordPress.com, not self-hosted WordPress. I can't find any info on WordPress.com and Gutenberg or Gutenbergerish editing, so I don't know [. . .]
Gutenberg: The Invention of the Printing Press, the Destruction of WordPress

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