#The Exception

Josh Marshall: Extremely Dangerous Ground – TPM

We are on numerous fronts in an unprecedented and perilous situation. No government likes leaks. Sometimes leaks are illegal. This is something that can be addressed on its own. The key here is the substance of what we’re learning. It

Posted in Noted & Quoted, Operation American Greatness Tagged with: , ,

Robert Bateman: The James Mattis I Saw Behind Closed Doors – Esquire

I think I know what Mattis is trying to do by accepting this position, and it is not because he supports Mr. Trump: Mattis is sacrificing himself. He knows that this will not end well, but he’s doing it in

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

Heckling Baby Hitler (Notes on a Twitter Discussion)

Would-be proponents of a liberal society would cease being liberals at all at the moment they ceased their opposition to “shutting down” discussion, and to the precise extent they did so.

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

Short Bibliography/Postography on the Problem of Libertarian Praxis

Preliminary list supplementing a set of posts at Ordinary Times, whose publication I expect to occur shortly, and which began as a comment on the question of a “libertarian moment” in American politics – whether it ever occurred at all and whether

Posted in Political Philosophy Tagged with: , ,

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?

Posted in Art, Books, Featured, Movies, notes, Political Philosophy, The Exception, War Tagged with: , , , ,

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: , , , , , ,

2nd Comment on “David Brooks: Better in the original German” (Schmitt and the neo-imperial moment)

(proofread version of comment at Crooked Timber) Mr. Timberman @125 [Italics in original comment], “converting freedom into political [or any kind of] obligation” appears to translate as “converting freedom into its opposite.” If I’m obligated to you and yours at

Posted in History, Neo-Imperialism, Philosophy, War Tagged with: , , , , ,

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.

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

Respecting an Establishment of Religion

Every nation gets the religion that it believes in.

Posted in Anismism, Philosophy, Politics, US History 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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