#Political Theology

again as to the irrational underestimation by rationalists of the rationality of irrationalism

“The Temporary Name” points1 to a few of a series of embedded presumptions in a comment by “Anarcissie,”2 and, naturally, responds on the basis of a few of his or her own, but, rather than try to establish some sort

Posted in Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics, Religion, The Exception Tagged with: , , , , , ,

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.”

Posted in Anismism, Featured, History, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, The Exception Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Posted in Featured, History, International Relations, Neo-Imperialism, The Exception Tagged with: , , , , ,

Thesis of Theses (re Samuel Goldman on The Religious Origins of Liberalism)

We like to believe we are Lockean, but we suspect we are Machiavellian or on our best days Ciceronian, and we are ever-insecurely deluded about having evaded Hegel and Rousseau.

Posted in History, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics Tagged with: , , , , , ,

comment at ‘The Walking Dead’ Open Thread: We’re The Greater Good

founding the sacrificial state and the incipient civil religion, a system of mutual obligations justifying living, as well as killing and dying,

Posted in notes, Philosophy, Politics, The Exception, TV Tagged with: , , , ,

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.”

Posted in Featured, History, Politics, The Exception Tagged with: , , , , , ,

On Mitt Romney and American Theodemocracy

If Mitt Romney as presidential candidate is driven by a religious – indeed, prophetic and messianic – mission too closely held and too easily misunderstood for public words, then its essential convergence with the politics of the Republican right would be of more than biographical, cultural, or esoteric interest: It amounts to the consolidation of a new theo-political establishment waiting only for a mass-electoral mandate.

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

On “Capturing the God Vote”

It may not be impossible to win over the electorate without invoking the deity by name, just as it may not be impossible to please a lover without saying “I love you,” or to work magic without a spell, or to meditate without a mantra, but the strain will tend to be evident, will tend to awaken suspicions, and may generally increase the likelihood of failure.

Posted in Philosophy, Politics, Religion 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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