Tuesday, July 11, 2017

After the German historian Rolf Peter Sieferle took his own life last September at age 67, Süddeutsche Zeitung, the country’s progressive paper of record, called his erudition “breathtaking.” For three decades Mr. Sieferle had applied the old traditions of German social science to new preoccupations, from ecological sustainability to social capital. He was among the pioneers of German environmental history. He wrote on Marx, German conservatism around World War I and the end of Communism. He advised Angela Merkel’s government on climate change.

But last month, a posthumous collection of Mr. Sieferle’s observations on Germany’s political culture, “Finis Germania” (the title plays on a phrase meaning “the end of Germany”), hit No. 9 on the prestigious Nonfiction Book of the Month list — and a scandal erupted. Certain passages on Germany’s way of dealing with the Holocaust horrified reviewers. Die Zeit called it a book of “brazen obscenity.” The Berliner Zeitung wrote of Mr. Sieferle’s “intellectual decline.” Süddeutsche Zeitung retracted its earlier praise. The Nonfiction Book of the Month list was suspended until further notice.

The book-buying public reacted otherwise. As critical anger rose, so did sales. Soon the book was selling 250 copies an hour, according to its publisher, and ranked No. 1 on Amazon’s German best-seller list, a position it held for almost two weeks, until the publisher ran out of copies.

What exactly had Mr. Sieferle said? Was this a betrayal of his intellectual legacy, as critics claimed? A vindication of it, as his sales suggested? Or had he simply gone off the rails at a time when public opinion was doing the same?

...Mr. Sieferle neither denies nor minimizes the Holocaust. He describes it as a “Verbrechen,” or “crime.” Nor does he traffic in any obvious kind of anti-Semitism. In a letter he wrote three weeks before his death to the blogger-novelist Michael Klonovsky, who is close to the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party, he warned the party to keep its distance from the anti-Semites (“a delusional, irrational and ignorant ideology”) who would inevitably gravitate to it.

But Mr. Sieferle is critical of Germany’s postwar culture of Holocaust memory, which he argues has taken on the traits of a religion. The country’s sins are held to be unique and absolute, beyond either redemption or comparison. “The First Commandment,” he writes, “is ‘Thou shalt have no Holocausts before me.’ ” Hitler, in retrospect, turns out to have done a paradoxical thing: He bound Germans and Jews together in a narrative for all time. In an otherwise relativistic and disenchanted world, Mr. Sieferle writes, Germans appear in this narrative as the absolute enemies of our common humanity, as a scapegoat people. The role is hereditary. There are Germans whose grandparents were not born when the war ended, yet they, too, must take on the role.
Snyder's speech is almost unbearable. Lecturing people about their responsibility, trying to make them understand. It proves Sieferle's point, or marks it as the obviously predictable reaction.

"Deutschland ist kein Einwanderungsland" Germans are racist, but they're not going to get over it being lectured by earnest moralists. So earnest: Snyder loves Germans. He wants them to be more than they are. Everything he's done has just delayed the change that's needed.

Back to Sebald and Grass, On the Natural History of Destruction and Crabwalk.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Every so often along 99 between Bakersfield and Sacramento there is a town: Delano, Tulare, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Modesto, Stockton. Some of these towns are pretty big now, but they are all the same at heart, one- and two- and three-story buildings artlessly arranged, so that what appears to be the good dress shop stands beside a W.T. Grant store, so that the big Bank of America faces a Mexican movie house. Dos Peliculas, Bingo Bingo Bingo. Beyond the downtown (pronounced downtown, with the Okie accent that now pervades Valley speech patterns) lie blocks of old frame houses—paint peeling, sidewalks cracking, their occasional leaded amber windows overlooking a Foster's Freeze or a five-minute car wash or a State Farm Insurance office; beyond those spread the shopping centers and the miles of tract houses, pastel with redwood siding, the unmistakable signs of cheap building already blossoming on those houses which have survived the first rain. To a stranger driving 99 in an air-conditioned car (he would be on business, I suppose, any stranger driving 99, for 99 would never get a tourist to Big Sur or San Simeon, never get him to the California he came to see), these towns must seem so flat, to impoverished, as to drain the imagination. They hint at evenings spent hanging around gas stations, and suicide pacts sealed in drive-ins. 
By the time I get to the last line I'm almost on the floor, laughing.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

distinctions without differences LLC

John Quiggin,  professor of agnotology  (etc.), speaks out forcefully against epistocracy (ditto).

And then a followup.

The last two paragraphs.
I just saw this review of The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters by Tom Nichols which is obviously relevant. A crucial requirement for a successful defence of expertise is that we avoid defending authority based on mere punditry.

I’ll leave it to readers to discuss which areas of public policy discussions are dominated by expertise, which by punditry, and which by conflict between the two.
You can't make this shit up

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The frat boy, the liberal, and the actual existing Africans

A memoir is an opportunity for a writer to put his or her life on trial, but few follow through and condemn themselves too. Jeffrey Gettleman, this newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning East Africa correspondent, fell in love with Africa while still a self-described frat boy; at Cornell he met his other great love, Courtenay, an alluring sorority girl. The twisted road that eventually allows him to unite these two conflicting passions takes the reader through a melodrama that squats uncomfortably between “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Heart of Darkness.”

Africa. That vast swell of nations, languages, landscapes and histories has always had a peculiar impact on foreigners, but Gettleman seems to have been hit harder than most. The continent is described as his “imaginary friend,” a place that his fraternity brothers cannot possibly understand: basically a high-five-happy Shangri-La where the people are poor but rarely resentful. 
...I have perceived in many works on Somalia by Western journalists some of the wild-eyed joy you see in photos of youths running with the bulls in Pamplona — a macho thrill that life there is supposed to be short and cheap, an almost sensual delight in, say, the “dark, unblinking eyes” and “chains of bullets.” “Love, Africa” follows in that tradition, but it does a useful thing too: It shows just how impervious that gaze is to the work of African writers, and how the call of the tribe — the media tribe — cuts through whatever good intentions are put before it.

By the end of the memoir, ensconced in comfort in Nairobi, Gettleman strikes a conflicted figure. He is still in love with Africa, though the postelection violence in Kenya as well as the Westgate Mall attack by Al Shabab have torn away some of his illusions. Both he and Courtenay have accepted the wisdom of their predecessors, ruefully recalling what a Zimbabwean farmer told them once at a truck stop near the South African border: “These people can survive on very little. They’re not like us whites. They don’t need a hamburger or an apple. They’ll be fine for a month with a slab of rancid donkey meat.”

After spending years living in Africa, after questioning the inequality he sees around him, and after conversing with numerous politicians, activists and ordinary men and women, Gettleman allows the embittered white farmer to get in a parting shot, which he and his wife seem to take as brutal honesty. This unintentionally amusing scene fits what is a bewildering memoir. The whole narrative reminds me of those books written by colonial adventurers such as Sir Richard Burton, aimed at readers interested in Africa mainly as a site for their dreams and nightmares.
Review by Nadifa Mohamed

the liberal, played by Elon Green

I've never read Gettleman. It should be shocking that he'd ever be hired by the NYT, shocking to defenders of reason and enlightenment. It should be shocking that the NYT defends Zionism. It took an outsider to point out the obvious, a change made possible only because she was given the opportunity to publish in the Times.

I'm tagging this under Freedom of Speech, because it ties so closely to recent posts on censorship and race, Nadifa Mohamed alongside Jordan Peele.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

In all my comments on this I talked around the obvious. I've said it elsewhere dozens of times but it's so front and center here it just slipped by.

Schutz and Neel are called artists. Jordan Peele is a comedian. Neel's success is still the success of the observer, the success of the philosophical, collaborative model associated with fine art and academia, but of an older aristocratic tradition (Hilton Als is no leftist). Neel succeeds in observing the other through sympathy and friendship, not ideas. Smith should have written about her. Peele's comedic adversarialism says "fuck you" to the laziness of white bourgeois assumption, not to Neel and to elite, leisurely, openness and curiosity. True bohemians model themselves aristocrats. That solves none of the problems of aristocratic art, of which Neel remains a practitioner. But Neel is from an older tradition and she's dead.

Get Out is the answer to Hannah Black's self-rightous bourgeois moralizing. Get Out is the necessary criticism of Open Casket.


Cultural appropriation, continuing

The difference between the US and the UK. Zadie Smith misses badly.
We have been warned not to get under one another’s skin, to keep our distance. But Jordan Peele’s horror-fantasy—in which we are inside one another’s skin and intimately involved in one another’s suffering—is neither a horror nor a fantasy. It is a fact of our experience. The real fantasy is that we can get out of one another’s way, make a clean cut between black and white, a final cathartic separation between us and them. For the many of us in loving, mixed families, this is the true impossibility. There are people online who seem astounded that Get Out was written and directed by a man with a white wife and a white mother, a man who may soon have—depending on how the unpredictable phenotype lottery goes—a white-appearing child. But this is the history of race in America. Families can become black, then white, then black again within a few generations. And even when Americans are not genetically mixed, they live in a mixed society at the national level if no other. There is no getting out of our intertwined history.
The RootGet Out Proves That ‘Nice Racism’ and White Liberalism Are Never to Be Trusted
National Review: Fear of a White Village
Breitbart: Jordan Peele’s Horror Movie ‘Get Out’ Casts ‘Liberal Elite’ as the Monster
NYMag: Jordan Peele’s Genius New Horror Movie Shows the Terror of Being Black in World Full of White People

Breitbart and NYM use the same quote quote from Peele.
“It was very important to me for this not to be about a black guy going to the South and going to this red state where the presumption for a lot of people is everybody’s racist there,” Peele told the audience after the film’s midnight screening. “This was meant to take a stab at the liberal elite that tends to believe that ‘We’re above these things.'”
Can a film be too inflammatory for its own good, or are there times, and places, when only fire will suffice? In an interview with the Times, Peele, whose mother is white, admitted that the movie was originally intended “to combat the lie that America had become post-racial,” and the result is like an all-out attack on a rainbow. Short of making us listen to “Ebony and Ivory” over the closing credits, “Get Out” could hardly be more provocative. There’s a scene with a head-stamping, a scene with an exposed brain, and a truly creepy scene with a bowl of Froot Loops. And yet, despite all that, what makes this horror film horrific is the response that it gives to the well-meaning and problem-solving question “Can’t we just learn to live together?” To which the movie answers, loud and clear, “No.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Written in March, and left to sit,  now reworked and up.

Hannah Black
To the curators and staff of the Whitney biennial:
I am writing to ask you to remove Dana Schutz’s painting “Open Casket” and with the urgent recommendation that the painting be destroyed and not entered into any market or museum.
Antwaun Sargent
Last Thursday evening, the Whitney Museum held a private reception for members to celebrate the opening of its 78th biennial. As the party ensued, images of the biennial’s artworks surfaced on social media sites, and the 24-year-old, emerging black artist Parker Bright came across a painting by the white artist Dana Schutz....

As the 2017 Whitney Biennial opened to the public the day after the reception, Parker walked into the museum’s fifth-floor galleries wearing a shirt that read, “Black Death Spectacle,” and stood in front of Schutz’s painting, blocking it from view for several hours.

“It is very important to keep in mind…that there is a divide between what the public perceives and what the curation intends to be perceived by the public,” wrote Bright in a letter after his protest.
The words on the t-shirt:"black death spectacle"
It's not an interesting painting, and it's also a cheap gesture.

"[T]here is a divide between what the public perceives and what the curation intends..."  The curators followed Schutz, taking her intention as their own.

Adam Shatz
Schutz’s critics accuse her, first, of aestheticising atrocity in an offensive and insensitive way. ‘Where the photographs stood for a plain and universal photographic truth,’ Josephine Livingstone and Lovia Gyarkye argue in the New Republic, ‘Schutz has blurred the reality of Till’s death, infusing it with subjectivity.’ But ‘aestheticise’ is precisely what painters can’t help but do when they paint from photographs; think of Gerhard Richter’s paintings of the Baader-Meinhof terrorists who died in police custody, or of Picasso’s Guernica. It may be impossible for a painting of an atrocity not to ‘aestheticise’ horror. The charge could be levelled at a painting of another racist atrocity at the Whitney Biennial, Henry Taylor’s depiction of the death of Philando Castile, who was killed in his car by a Minnesota police officer last July. But Taylor, unlike Schutz, is black.
...Seldom has the charge of cultural appropriation stung so sharply in liberal circles. White fascination with black culture turns to gruesome intellectual property theft in Jordan Peele’s brilliant new horror film, Get Out, whose villains kidnap black people to steal their brains. ‘I want your eyes, man,’ one of the perpetrators, a seeming liberal, says to a young black man. ‘I want those things you see through.’

Schutz makes no claim to see Till through black eyes. In her response to the protest letter, she said plainly that she has no way of understanding ‘what it is like to be black in America’, which can be read either as a disarming expression of humility, or (less charitably) as a failure of imagination. But she has otherwise deferred to the terms of the debate set by the protesters, who argue that experience, if not identity itself, confers the right of representation. As a mother, Schutz says, she can imagine the pain of Mamie Till Mobley, who lost her 14-year-old son, and is therefore qualified to use this image to create a ‘space for empathy’. The effect of her comment was to assert a right to represent rooted in personal experience, and to further particularise suffering. But black history – as W.E.B. Du Bois and James Baldwin, among others, always stressed – is American history; confronting it a common burden.

...What is most troubling about the call to remove Schutz’s painting is not the censoriousness, but the implicit disavowal that acts of radical sympathy, and imaginative identification, are possible across racial lines. 
The original, shocking, political gesture was Mamie Till's decision, and only hers to make. That's the role of intimacy in politics, the role liberal universalists don't understand. Taylor's painting is much more direct. It fits the model of "political art", telegraphing a point where the sympathies are obvious.  It doesn't play games across contested territory, at least not contested among liberal followers of the arts. Shatz refers to Richter's October 18, 1977, but Richter is a German facing Germans. And Picasso was a Spaniard doing the same. The parallel to Schutz could be seen as Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader, and the film that was made from it.

Gerhard Richter, Confrontation 2, and 3, both 1988
Again, this has nothing to do with appropriation or art as such. The issue is the art of assumption, of well-meaning appropriation. Artists who steal and don't give a shit are more respectful of their sources than those who pander.  Artists who steal, steal what they love, for their own reasons and without apology. In considering failure, we're back to the Salon Painters.

Picasso's disfigurements of women were honest depictions of his own fears, the misogyny described as much as indulged. The description makes them interesting. Schutz' painting, stripped of context -again a context she simply indulges- is more a formal exercise than a depiction of a human being.  Shatz refers to Schutz' painting as an act of "radical sympathy", but that's a judgment, not a fact. And it's a judgement that's not only his to make. "Some of my best friends are Jews!" Do not those who are being offered sympathy have the right to judge? Liberals are horrified to think that Get Out refers to them.

Shatz also discusses John Ahearn, but the issues aren't the same. Ahearn's mistake was to transform private art, for and about friendship, into public monuments. That's a much more complex issue.

For now the obvious answer to Schutz, and to Shatz, obvious because her work is on view at the same time, is Alice Neel at Zwirner, curated by Hilton Als.
Alice Neel, Ballet Dancer, 1950, Oil on canvas 20 1/8 x 42 1/8 inches
From the start Alice Neel's artistry made life different for me, or not so much different as more enlightened. I grew up in Brooklyn, East New York, and Crown Heights during the 1970s when Neel, after years of obscurity, was finally getting her due. I recall first seeing her work in a book, and what shocked me more than her outrageous and accurate sense of color and form—did we really look like that? We did!—was the realization that her subject was my humanity. There was a quality I shared with her subjects, all of whom were seen through the lens of Neel's interest, and compassion. What did it matter that I grew up in a world that was different than that which Linda Nochlin, and Andy Warhol, and Jackie Curtis, inhabited? We were all as strong and fragile and present as life allowed. And Neel saw.

In the years since her death, viewers young and old have experienced the kind of thrill I feel, still, whenever I look at Neel’s work, which, like all great art, reveals itself all at once while remaining mysterious. In recent years, I have been particularly intrigued by Neel’s portraits of artists, writers, everyday people, thinkers, and upstarts of color. When she moved to East Harlem during the 1930s Depression, Neel was one of the few whites living uptown. She was attracted to a world of difference and painted that. Still, her work was not marred by ideological concerns; what fascinated her was the breadth of humanity that she encountered in her studio, on canvas. 
But by painting Latinos, blacks, and Asians, Neel was breaking away from the canon of Western art. She was not, in short, limiting her view to people who looked like herself. Rather, she was opening portraiture up to include those persons who were not generally seen in its history. Alice Neel, Uptown, the first comprehensive look at Neel’s portraits of people of color, is an attempt to honor not only what Neel saw, but the generosity behind her seeing.
The scientific study of the present is too close to the scientific study of oneself. Self-awareness is an art.

Tossed off responding to a historian on twitter. I wasn't arguing  He retweeted it. It's a keeper.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Just posting it to laugh at it
TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 2017

Why Didn't Obama Voters Vote For Hillary Clinton?
To me this is the fundamental question of the 2016 election.

For some reason this is a sensitive question. I'm not sure why. Maybe Robby Mook sucked. Maybe misogyny as a voting influence is deeper than racism as a voting influence. Maybe voters weren't happy with the results of 8 years of Obama. Maybe 25 years of media attacks on Clinton did their job. Maybe Clinton was a horrible campaigner. Maybe her proposed policies sucked. Maybe the media didn't talk about policy (they never do, so of course). Maybe CNN becoming "The Donald Trump" show for 10 months or so did it. Maybe Clinton's ad campaigns sucked. I actually don't have any answer, and of course one can invoke any and all of these things to throw the necessary couple of hundred thousand voters in the right places to Clinton.

Whatever the reasons, Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in part because people who voted for Obama once or twice didn't vote for her. Figuring out why matters if Democrats want to win.
by Atrios at 17:00

Monday, June 19, 2017

Kenan Malik in the NYT. The paragraphs below reposted on his blog.
The accusation of cultural appropriation is a secular version of the charge of blasphemy. It is the insistence that certain beliefs and images are so important to particular cultures that they may not appropriated by others. This is most clearly seen in the debate about Ms Schutz’s painting, Open Casket. 
In 1955, Emmett Till’s mother urged the publication of photographs of her son’s mutilated body as it lay in its coffin. Mr Till’s murder, and the photographs, played a major role in shaping the civil rights movement and have acquired an almost sacred quality. It was from those photos that Ms Schutz began her painting. 
To suggest that she, as a white painter, should not depict images of black suffering is as troubling as the demand by some Muslims that Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses should be censored because of supposed blasphemies in its depiction of Islam. In fact, it is more troubling because, as the critic Adam Shatz has observed, the campaign against Ms Schutz’s work contains an ‘implicit disavowal that acts of radical sympathy, and imaginative identification, are possible across racial lines’.
I have a longer post on this [now up], but in the meantime a comment which may or may not appear.
[He accepted it] The two links below are to a post by Malik from last year, with my comments, and to my earlier post on Shriver.
We've been here before

Your arguments as usual depend on the idea of appropriation, not specific acts itself. A Jewish joke told by a Jew is not the same as the same joke being told by a gentile. The meaning is the context. Your universalism renders context irrelevant; like most philosophy yours is rendered less apolitical than anti-political.

You defend Dana Schutz' painting as intent, as if reception were or should be irrelevant. The painting is shallow, as politics and as art. Without knowing the reference you'd never know what it was about. The face becomes an excuse for a sort of bad abstraction. It's not an argument for censorship to say it should never have been in the show. It's in. It's up. And the pretense that art objects, commodities in a luxury market should have some sort of leftist cred is as absurd as it is ubiquitous. But the painting itself is crap, as intent and as art.

Context: It was Mamie Till's decision to have an open casket. If a political operative had made the choice in her absence and without her permission would she have had the right to be angry at the "appropriation" of her son's body and her own tragedy for vulgar political ends? The obvious answer is yes, and you'd admit it. But this is the sort of thing you don't bother to think about.

The best response to the shallow liberalism of Schutz and the defenders of her work as interesting or serious or valuable is the exhibition of Alice Neel curated by Hilton Als, and up at the same time, though few seemed to notice the relation.

Good art can be offensive; good art can be racist, but it can't be shallow. You defend Schutz as you defended Shriver's racist gesture, as an "idea", which therefore was not racist. In fact Shriver is a nativist and the gesture was offending on purpose. It's her right to do so. I defend her right, not her ideas.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

I'm going to keep adding names to this list as I find them. I'm a little amazed.
"I don't always agree with @BretStephensNYT, but when I do, I really really do." Daniel Drezner, WaPo, The Fletcher School, et al.

"Brilliant and compelling." Anthony Blinken. Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy National Security Advisor under Obama.

"Good column by good columnist; very worth a read. (Don't @ me; I already know that you feel sad about this.)" Jennifer Steinhauer. NYT Congressional reporter.

"A smart column." Steven Greenhouse, former NYT Labor Reporter. Author of “The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker.”
It's takes a conservative ironist, a comedian, to make liberals acknowledge tacitly what they've never had the courage to admit. And they don't seem to realize they've done it.

Stephens explains Trump, and Brexit if you look at the details.

Bret Stephens for mass deportation, and not in Israel this time.
...On point after point, America’s nonimmigrants are failing our country. Crime? A study by the Cato Institute notes that nonimmigrants are incarcerated at nearly twice the rate of illegal immigrants, and at more than three times the rate of legal ones.

Educational achievement? Just 17 percent of the finalists in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search — often called the “Junior Nobel Prize” — were the children of United States-born parents. At the Rochester Institute of Technology, just 9.5 percent of graduate students in electrical engineering were nonimmigrants.

Religious piety — especially of the Christian variety? More illegal immigrants identify as Christian (83 percent) than do Americans (70.6 percent), a fact right-wing immigration restrictionists might ponder as they bemoan declines in church attendance.

Business creation? Nonimmigrants start businesses at half the rate of immigrants, and accounted for fewer than half the companies started in Silicon Valley between 1995 and 2005. Overall, the share of nonimmigrant entrepreneurs fell by more than 10 percentage points between 1995 and 2008, according to a Harvard Business Review study.

Nor does the case against nonimmigrants end there. The rate of out-of-wedlock births for United States-born mothers exceeds the rate for foreign-born moms, 42 percent to 33 percent. The rate of delinquency and criminality among nonimmigrant teens considerably exceeds that of their immigrant peers. A recent report by the Sentencing Project also finds evidence that the fewer immigrants there are in a neighborhood, the likelier it is to be unsafe.

And then there’s the all-important issue of demographics. The race for the future is ultimately a race for people — healthy, working-age, fertile people — and our nonimmigrants fail us here, too. “The increase in the overall number of U.S. births, from 3.74 million in 1970 to 4.0 million in 2014, is due entirely to births to foreign-born mothers,” reports the Pew Research Center. Without these immigrant moms, the United States would be faced with the same demographic death spiral that now confronts Japan.

Bottom line: So-called real Americans are screwing up America. Maybe they should leave, so that we can replace them with new and better ones: newcomers who are more appreciative of what the United States has to offer, more ambitious for themselves and their children, and more willing to sacrifice for the future. In other words, just the kind of people we used to be — when “we” had just come off the boat. 
The politics of educated liberalism is the politics of reassurance, of protecting your own interests while wanting to be liked. If you're a leftist, even the bourgeois variety, you need to make the hard choices. This country feeds off the energy of new arrivals, who trample its exhausted native underclass. But I love these new people, who live a double life of greed and community, a double life Americans of any class seem unable to understand. Of the immigrants I know who've been both here and Europe, most would live there if they could. They don't love the American dream, but they need American money.  I'm rewriting this on June 17, 2005, softening the tone, but I'll leave the original punch line just for laughs. After American workers gain the imagination and the pride that immigrant tradesman bring with them, I'll move back to this country; because once they close the borders, I'm leaving. 

New tag for Immigration

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The main question remains: how does a programme which is so clearly pro-rich and anti-social succeed in appealing to a majority of Americans as it did in 1980 and again in 2016? The classical answer is that globalisation and cut-throat competition between countries leads to the reign of each man for himself. But that is not sufficient: we have to add the skill of the Republicans in using nationalist rhetoric, in cultivating a degree of anti-intellectualism and, above all, in dividing the working classes by exacerbating ethnic, cultural and religious divisions.

As early as the 1960s, the Republicans began to benefit from the gradual transfer of part of the vote of the white and southern working classes, unhappy with the civil rights movement and the social policies, accused of benefitting primarily the Black population. This long and in-depth movement continued with the crucial victory of Nixon in 1972 (faced with the Democrat, McGovern, who suggested implementing a universal basic income at federal level, financed by a new increase in estate duties: this was the summit of the Roosevelt Programme), Reagan in 1980, and finally Trump in 2016 (who had no hesitation in racially stigmatising Obamacare, as Nixon and Reagan had done previously).

In the meantime, the Democrat electorate focussed increasingly on the most highly educated and the minorities, and in the end, in some ways resembled the Republican electorate at the end of the 19th century (upscale Whites and Blacks emancipated), as if the wheel had turned full circle and the Roosevelt coalition uniting the working classes over and above racial differences had ultimately only been a parenthesis.

Let’s hope that Europe, which in some ways is threatened by a similar development with the working classes having greater faith for their defence in the anti-immigrant forces, than in those who describe themselves as progressive – will be capable of learning the lessons of history. And that the inevitable social failure of Trumpism will not lead our “Donald” into a headlong nationalist and military rush, as it has done others before him.
one [or here]
two [or here]

Slavoj The Bear defends Corbyn and bourgeois decency against petty bourgeois moralism (left and right).
Unfortunately, the leftist-liberal public space is also more and more dominated by the rules of tweet culture: short snaps, retorts, sarcastic or outraged remarks, with no space for multiple steps of a line of argumentation. One passage (a sentence, even part of it) is cut out and reacted to. The stance that sustains these tweet rejoinders is a mixture of self-righteousness, political correctness and brutal sarcasm: the moment anything that sounds problematic is perceived, a reply is automatically triggered, usually a PC commonplace.

Although critics like to emphasise how they reject normativity (“the imposed heterosexual norm”, and so on), their stance is one of ruthless normativity, denouncing every minimal deviation from the PC dogma as “transphobia” or “fascism” or whatsoever. Such a tweet culture which combines official tolerance and openness with extreme intolerance towards actually different views simply renders critical thinking impossible. It is a true mirror image of the blind populist rage à la Donald Trump, and it is simultaneously one of the reasons why the left is so often inefficient in confronting rightist populism, especially in today's Europe. If one just mentions that this populism draws a good part of its energy from the popular discontent of the exploited, one is immediately accused of “class essentialism”.

It is against this background that one should compare the Conservative and the Labour electoral campaigns. The Conservative campaign has reached a new low for the political battled in the UK: scaremongering attacks about Corbyn as a terrorist sympathiser, of the Labour party as a hive of anti-Semitism, and all of this culminating in Theresa May joyously promising to rip off human rights – a politics of fear if there ever was one. No wonder Ukip disappeared from the scene: there is no need for it, since May and Johnson have taken over its job.

Corbyn refused to get caught in these dirty games: with an outspoken naivety, he simply addressed the main issues and concerns of ordinary people, from economic woes to terrorist threat, proposing clear countermeasures. There was no rage and resentment in his statements, no cheap populist rabble-rousing, but also no politically correct self-righteousness. Just addressing ordinary people’s actual concerns with a common decency.

The fact that such an approach amounts to no less than a major shift in our political space is a sad sign of the times we live in. But it is also a new confirmation of old Hegel’s claim that, sometimes, naïve outspokenness is the most devastating and cunning of all strategies.
Sam Kriss replies
Kriss' about page includes blurbs from various people, praise or criticism.
"Swiftian. A joy.”
Peter Hitchens 
“Far too odd to easily classify.”
Nick Land
In the end it all dovetails

New tag for Zizek.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Earnest idealists, narcissistic idealists, pedants, teenagers, reactionaries, ruled by reflexes that come to the right conclusion X% of the time. Americans who take themselves seriously are the most incurious, loyal to their ides fixes.

Tell me again, leftists, about your abounding concern for women. Please tell me about the need to empower young girls and provide them with opportunities. Please tell me all about your 'pro-woman' stances and policies. Then, if you could, kindly explain how this story fits into all of that.
A mustachioed boy who "identifies as a girl" heroically won gold in the 100 meter dash and 200 meter dash for the Connecticut high school girl’s state championships last week.
Two very serious American left or left-liberal journalists commented yesterday on US politics and foreign policy. One said that politics was getting more international because Americans are now paying more attention to elections in France and the UK, while in Europe lefty "backbenchers" are now in the front. The other praised Corbyn for paying attention to foreign policy while Sanders does not. I reminded them that people in other countries have no choice about whether or not to follow American politics and for Americans foreign policy is still mostly a profession, a luxury, or a hobby for pedants. As for the rest, in Europe even the nativists are internationalist.

American journalists are still know-nothings who think of themselves as intellectuals. The best are immigrants or exiles from the UK. American literary culture is still provincial, because always in the shadow of utility.  To have the equivalent to the British crossover from press to politics in the US Joan Didion would be a Republican senator from California, and Norman Mailer would be our bumbling left wing Boris Johnson.


Monday, June 05, 2017

Iowa, Tel-Aviv, Haifa, and Chicago.

"Justifying Academic Freedom: Mill and Marcuse Revisited," revised version now on-line...

...here. The last version benefitted from talks and workshops at Iowa, Tel-Aviv, Haifa, and Chicago. The abstract:
I argue that the core of genuinely academic freedom ought to be freedom in research and teaching, subject to disciplinary standards of expertise. I discuss the law in the United States, Germany, and England, and express doubts about the American view that distinctively academic freedom ought to encompass "extramural" speech on matters of public importance (speakers should be protected from employment repercussions for such speech, but not because of their freedom qua academics).

I treat freedom of academic expression as a subset of general freedom of expression, focusing on the Millian argument that freedom of expression maximizes discovery of the truth, one regularly invoked by defenders of academic freedom. Marcuse argued against Mill (in 1965) that "indiscriminate" toleration of expression would not maximize discovery of the truth. I show that Marcuse agreed with Mill that free expression is only truth- and utility-maximizing if certain background conditions obtain: thus Mill argues that the British colony in India would be better off with "benevolent despotism" than Millian liberty of expression, given that its inhabitants purportedly lacked the maturity and education requisite for expression to be utility-maximizing. Marcuse agrees with Mill that the background conditions are essential, but has an empirical disagreement with him about what those are and when they obtain: Mill finds them wanting in colonial India, Marcuse finds them wanting in capitalist America.

Perhaps surprisingly, Marcuse believes that "indiscriminate" toleration of expression should be the norm governing academic discussions, despite his doubts about the utility-maximizing value of free expression in capitalist America. Why think that? Here is a reason: where disciplinary standards of expertise govern debate, the discovery of truth really is more likely, but only under conditions of "indiscriminate" freedom of argument, i.e., academic freedom. This freedom is not truly "indiscriminate": its boundaries are set by disciplinary competence, which raises an additional question I try to address.
The last sentence, not quoted on the blog
In sum, the libertarians (Mill and Popper) and the Marxists (Marcuse) can agree that academic freedom is justified, at least when universities are genuine sites of scientific expertise and open debate.
Freedom for me but not for thee; the anti-humanist, fallacious, scholastic unity of the humanities and science.

Brian Leiter once touted David Enoch as a "leading legal philosopher"...
I'll be totally honest with you: this has been extremely upsetting. There's an awful lot of people who don't agree with the BDS movement.
The third may not quite fit except that Thom Yorke is seen as an intellectual, while Roger Waters, for all the history of Pink Floyd, is still a rock star.

I'll add this to the Charlie Hebdo tag. Seems appropriate.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

I fixed a few things.

Have the patience to make it through the first 2 and a half minutes. If the next section bores you, jump to 5:30. If that bores you, give up. Click full screen to read the subtitles, and if you watch the whole thing be warned that later the subtitles conflict with the audio.

I don't know why I'd assume people get the jokes, but the piece is meaningless without them.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

This week, the prestigious Journal of Political Philosophy published a series of articles under the heading “Black Lives Matter.” One problem: All the authors published in the series are white. 
I need a new tag for Shark Jumping.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A pop star, not a PhD.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Cognitive dissonance or change over time?

Banality, Boredom, Brian Leiter, Culture, Determinism, Make it Idiot-Proof, Mannerism and The Gothic, Naturalism, Pedants and Children, Philosophy, Politics, Utopia and Intentional Communities,

Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Feminist Philosophers"
Retroactive withdrawal of consent? 
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa continues his excellent, thoughtful series on the new Kipnis book with a discussion of nonconsensual sex.
Kipnis often describes sexual assault allegations in these terms. She says that there was a consensual sexual encounter, and then, months or years later, someone “retroactively withdraws” consent, converting what had previously been a permissible sexual encounter into an assault. Her language suggests a kind of “backwards causation”—one can reach back into history and create rapes that weren’t there by removing the consent. The implication: this absurd metaphysics is being embraced by campus activists, demonstrating both their intellectual depravity and their danger.
But why is Kipnis so confident that, in these cases, there was consent in the first place? After all, there is such a thing as a nonconsensual sexual encounter where the victim doesn’t think of it as such at the time, or doesn’t decide to report it at the time. There is such a thing as being coerced, manipulated, or bullied into a sexual relationship. When this happens, one is quite likely to keep quiet about it at first, either for fear of repercussions, or out of failure to understand what has happened.
Read on! [link to Ichikawa]
My comment on Ichikawa's post. I'm surprised it made it.
You either have agency or you don't. You either accept the responsibilities of citizenship in the community governed by laws, or you don't.

That's the simple way to describe it. The complex way to describe it is to accept that democracy and self-government are based on illusions, that people are rulers and ruled, dom and sub, slave and master, that love takes many forms and "moral responsibility" deserves to be subject of mockery.
That's the logic of De Sade and the sexual political underground.

"The color is black, the material is leather, the seduction is beauty, the justification is honesty, the aim is ecstasy, the fantasy is death."

If politics is a discussion of shared public life, this is anti-politics, nihilism in the name of moral honesty, against the moralism of lies. But beware: if no one is responsible for anything it's left for the strong to rule as they will. The strong may be puritan- "No one is responsible for anything, with the exception of myself and my equally enlightened friends" - or fascist.

It's amusingly perverse how the philosophy of the anti-bourgeois underground, reactionary, individualist, decadent, sexually wild, emotionally hot and cold, denying anything beyond intimate experience, and therefore opposed to political reforms- Genet opposed prison reforms because prison made him the man he was- has found a home in the academy, made vanilla: non-contradictory.

The best answer to the Dolezal absurdity is an absurd film by a comedian, a man who is exactly the mixed race person Dolezal fantasized of becoming. Get Out [etc.] is the honest answer to Tuvel, just as De Sade and Candy Dar... [etc.]

Wanting to be something is not being it. [etc....  etc.]

Wanting people to see you as you see yourself is one thing. Demanding that people see you as you see yourself and the state putting your demands as law, is fascism.

Tell me about transgirls and Title IX, about transwomen feminists opposed to abortion (if you don't know any you will soon enough).
...You've undermined Enlightenment humanism in the name of what you imagine is your own enlightenment.

In the war between philosophers and comedians, comedians always win. Idealists become fascists. Comedians are empiricists.
Two more made it

The second. "If people aren't responsible what's the result?"
With a link.
“Extraordinarily talented”: the remarks of a judge about an Oxford University student on trial for stabbing her boyfriend with a bread knife. Perhaps more extraordinary is the fact that Lavinia Woodward, the aspiring surgeon turned assailant, is likely to avoid a prison sentence because of this academic prowess.
She is not the first elite student whose abilities in the school room have atoned for their crimes: last year, Ivy League educated Brock Turner served just three months for sexually assaulting a woman. As a promising university swimmer, the judge expressed concern that a long sentence would have a “severe impact” on his life. It should hardly need pointing out that sexual assault and knife attacks have a tendency of doing that to their victims – regardless of their past and future merits.

So is this the rise of punishment by merit? Only those with the least talent and potential should suffer the inconvenience of paying for their crimes. Perhaps the black man from Bromley, recently sentenced to ten years in prison for a brutal stabbing, and another man in Whitehaven, sentenced to an indefinite hospital order for a stabbing in a pub, have far less going for them than the talented Lavinia Woodward.
Repeats from 2013. "Beyond Blame"
Moral responsibility and drug dealers, bankers, politicians, and college professors: if we remove it from one group we remove it from all.  But as usual in arguments such as the one above, the free will of the managerial class of philosophers and technocrats is somehow beyond biology: "Determinism for thee but not for me" is still the rule. 
Equality under law, but some are more equal than others.
I said it more than once: "Law is a blunt instrument", a necessary crudity for times of crisis.

The dangers of "subjectivism". etc. etc.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

"Comment removed" Responding to Leiter's.
Academic philosophers want to have polite conversations according to polite rules, while discussing as often as not, unfortunately, issues that affect the lives of human beings. Brian Leiter once touted David Enoch as a "leading legal philosopher" in his country. And that may be true. But outside academic philosophy, where ideas are judged [only] for internal consistency, it becomes worth asking what other reasons Enoch, an Israeli Jew and Zionist, would choose to promote what he himself refers to as a "robust moral realism", that serves to defend a state built on conquest. Should a Palestinian follow Enoch's own formal criteria, or is s/he permitted just to laugh?

Hypothetical: A philosopher publishes a paper arguing that Jewish immigrants to Palestine should be able to be counted as Palestinian. The essay is an act of erasure. Should the responses be polite?
I repeat myself in these discussions because no one responds. I'll do it again:

"Transracialism": Will a white person who wants to become black be eligible for support under affirmative action policies? And how do you imagine "actual" minorities would respond?
Transgenderism: Will transgirls now be able to sue under title IX? Will the anti-abortion opinions of a transwoman with a penis hold equal weight with those of a woman with a uterus?
The article being debated here is absurd. Like most philosophy that claims to deal in worldly issues, it deals in fantasy.

Leiter makes a habit of mocking references to "the other", but his mockery deserves mockery in return. All that's clear in the debate up to now is that blacks as a group get the benefit of knee-jerk sympathy from (mostly white) liberals that women as a group do not. The thought that black people should have a role in their own self-definition, that Eminem had to show respect to get it, while Dolezal used bronzer and lied, seems clear to many. But somehow the same does not apply to women. Having a uterus, bleeding once a month, the experience of the female body, means nothing. There the rule seems to be "I am what I claim to be", and all other opinion and observation is irrelevant. Self-reporting is all! So this is not a discussion of the biologically intersex or children of mixed parentage. I'll end with some history. History after all, is another form of context deemed irrelevant by much "serious" philosophy

De Sade:
"...if only you knew this fantasy's charms, if only you could understand what one experiences from the sweet illusion of being no more than a woman! incredible inconsistency I one abhors that sex, yet one wishes to imitate it! Ah! how sweet it is to succeed, ... 
Candy Darling:
"I've been up all night alone, wondering about my identity. Trying to look for an explanation for living this strange, stylized sexuality. Realization cuts feeling off. I try to explain my identity as being a male who has assumed the attitudes and somewhat the emotions of a female. I don't know what role to play." 
The end result of claiming “to see the other in myself” is the denial of the existence of the other. Leiter's universalism and the universalism of right-thinking liberals end the same way.
I'm wondering if I linked to Daniel Harris' piece before, or to the response.

The fetish for happiness, for demand for resolution of all conflicts, external and internal, the denial of the possibility of tragedy, the liberal institutionalization of narcissism, while denying the possibility that it could exist. Cafe revolutionaries, liberal Zionists, transsexuals, the popular triumph of wishful thinking. The absolute triumph of course is fascism.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

updated twice.

I googled to to see how many had made the obvious connection. Not many.
see the ratio of likes to retweets. And previous

The source of my comment below...

De Sade
"Ah, Therese!" he exclaimed one day, full of enthusiasm, "if only you knew this fantasy's charms, if only you could understand what one experiences from the sweet illusion of being no more than a woman! incredible inconsistency I one abhors that sex, yet one wishes to imitate it! Ah! how sweet it is to succeed, ... 
and Candy Darling
"I've been up all night alone, wondering about my identity. Trying to look for an explanation for living this strange, stylized sexuality. Realization cuts feeling off. I try to explain my identity as being a male who has assumed the attitudes and somewhat the emotions of a female. I don't know what role to play."
Two lines I wrote elsewhere that are worth keeping.
-Blacks as a group get the benefit of knee-jerk sympathy from liberals that women as a group do not.
-The end result of claiming “to see the other in myself” is the denial of the existence of the other.
Never take anybody at their word. That's called "self-reporting".

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

35 years shouting into the void. I'm so tired of predicting the future, or describing the present before everyone else begins to figure it out.

Princeton University Press: Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy
In today’s new economy—in which “good” jobs are typically knowledge or technology based—many well-educated and culturally savvy young men are instead choosing to pursue traditionally low-status manual labor occupations as careers. Masters of Craft looks at the renaissance of four such trades: bartending, distilling, barbering, and butchering.
so bored
It’s called post-humanism, or pre-humanism redux....the boy at Starbucks with a coffee bean tattooed on his forearm, a member of the "Barista tribe." 
It’s the public proclamation of loyalty to a subculture; documenting the need to belong; atomization and the rise of pathologically over-determined imagined communities etc.
 etc. etc. It’s the sociality of baroque individualism.

We now have food geeks as well as science geeks, all with the moral philosophy of Asperger’s patients: so fixated on their mania for [tube amps/Pouilly-Fuissé/Ducati two-stroke engines] that you’d be a fool not to hire them for your [high-end audio store/restaurant/Soho motorcycle salon]. Why be a well rounded adult when you can be an eternal [pre]adolescent and expert, and a happy cog and servant?
 Lawyers are craftsmen
I'm probably going to have to spend some time with The Craftsman, if only at the bookstore, but I get the sense that Sennett doesn't quite get the point.

Craft isn't a value. It's simply how we communicate with each other. You can either accept that, as practicing lawyers, screenwriters for HBO, and the girl you didn't go home with last night do, or like Brian Leiter, John Rawls, Brad DeLong, and the vast majority of the Anglo-American academic intellectual apparat, you can pretend. From the blurb:
Sennett expands previous notions of crafts and craftsmen and apprises us of the surprising extent to which we can learn about ourselves through the labor of making physical things.
Making physical things is not the point. Understanding that we are physical beings is the point.
If the intellectual model of fine art remains intellectual design (and the logic of original intent) the popular model is now theatrical design. There’s a relation: the children of conceptualists have returned to an art-making process the only way they could, as furniture makers. There’s a similar culture of “crafting” in academia, of grad school knitting circles, economist coffee connoisseurs, philosopher illustrators and wood carvers. None of this amounts to much, or won’t until the preoccupations outpace the ideas. The best example, going back to the beginnings of conceptual art, is Adrian Piper, who's had careers both as an artist and an academic philosopher. But her best, most tortured, work documents the sleep of reason, undermining all of her ideological pretensions. Her work is the poetry of confused rage. The new culture of crafting by comparison is another form of naïve decadence. For crafters, knitting circles are the closest they’ll come to hammering out scenarios for The Wire.
Recently, again, experts have become critical of expertise, philosophers critical of philosophy, but they miss the point. They’re unwilling to see themselves as part of a process that preceded their “discovery’ of the flaws in past assumptions. 
Philosophers who recognize themselves as orators become no more than sad ex-priests. The “postmodern” defense of bad writing and of theory as art doesn’t work as a defense of poetry or of lawyers, whose role hasn’t changed that much over the last 2000 years. Social scientists refuse to see themselves as tradespeople even as historians have never quibbled over whether their field can be called an art. The members of the Frankfurt School were exemplars of bureaucratic reason, the most famous of them so horrified of the implications that he called desperately and pathetically for unreason as the only possible response. Adorno was either unwilling or incapable of the empiricism, directed inwardly and outwardly, that might have allowed him see just how much both he and his “beloved institute” were products of the same forces that made the things he claimed to oppose. The rise of a self-conscious geek culture, the proud celebration of the preadolescent imagination in adulthood, came in earnest ten years after the publication of One Dimensional Man and the release of Dr. Strangelove, the title character an amalgam of Werner von Braun and the ur-geek von Neumann. “If you say why not bomb tomorrow, I say, why not today? If you say today at 5 o’clock, I say why not one o’clock?
The discovery of experience
The difference between Law and lawyers, philosophers and comedians
Change is slow but inevitable. Academics are the last to know.

Monday, May 01, 2017

From Leiter
Open letter to Hypatia
To Hypatia Editor, Sally Scholz, and the broader Hypatia community:
As scholars who have long viewed Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy as a valuable resource for our communities, we write to request the retraction of a recent article, entitled, “In Defense of Transracialism.” Its continued availability causes further harm, as does an initial post by the journal admitting only that the article “sparks dialogue.” Our concerns reach beyond mere scholarly disagreement; we can only conclude that there has been a failure in the review process, and one that painfully reflects a lack of engagement beyond white and cisgender privilege. ...
To our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy,
We, the members of Hypatia’s Board of Associate Editors, extend our profound apology to our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy, especially transfeminists, queer feminists, and feminists of color, for the harms that the publication of the article on transracialism has caused. ...
repeats, and...
Modernism was the fantasy of writing with the assumption that from then on there would be only reading with and no reading against. To read tale against teller or to read against the grain would be gross error. Rebellion against this has always taken the form of the rebellion of youth against their parents, with the more sympathetic elders caught in the middle, trying to justify the revolt while trying to make it fit with what they know and what they are. So we get the obscurantist poeticizing of Derrida -the philosopher magistrate as wise old fool- and the blandness of Rorty and Nussbaum, struggling to find a way beyond technocracy while being mocked for the attempt by professional technocrats and lionized by amateur enthusiasts. The model of the Continental philosopher was as Pope and Antipope combined, a philosophical self that could contain an other, in a sense obviating the need for actual democracy. And now that Continental and Anglo-American philosophy are joining out of necessity and the need for survival, we see parallels in Bruno Latour's Collective and David Chalmers' Extended Mind
The logical moralizing of Oxbridge critics of freedom of speech dovetails with the emotional moralizing of politically correct liberalism, all predicated on the same assumptions of one's own enlightenment.
I'll try again. Why no defense of Dolezal? If she hadn't tried to hide her background but still made the same claims, would anyone take her seriously? Eminem doesn't claim to be black. Why should a man be accepted as "being" a woman?
earlier in the same run.

"Maybe it's time to bring back the binary"

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The fascist logic of Zionism, always obvious.

From A Holocaust Reader, edited by Lucy Dawidowicz
Reprinted in Lenni Brenner's 51 Documents

The situation of the Jews in Germans has, through the events and through the legislation of the most recent time, undergone a development which makes a fundamental clarification of the problem desirable and necessary. We consider it all obligation of the Jews to assist in the untangling of the problem. May we therefore be permitted to present our views, which, in our opinion, make possible a solution in keeping kith the principles of the new German State of National Awakening and which at the same time might signify for Jews a new ordering of the conditions of their existence. These view, are based on an interpretation of the historical development al the position of the Jews in Germany, which, by way of introduction, may be briefly outlined here.


          Historical Summary 
The emancipation of the Jews, begun at the end of the 18th, beginning of the 19th century, was based on the idea that the Jewish question could be solved by having the nation-state absorb the Jews living in its midst. This view, deriving from the ideas of the French Revolution, discerned only the individual, the single human being freely suspended in space, without regarding the ties of blood and history or spiritual distinctiveness. Accordingly, the liberal state demanded of the Jew, assimilation into the non-Jewish environment. Baptism and mixed marriage were encouraged in political and economic life. Thus it happened that innumerable persons of Jewish origin had the chance to occupy important positions and to come forward as representatives of German culture and German life, without having their belonging to Jewry become visible.

Thus arose a state of affairs which in political discussion today is termed "debasement of Germandom" or "Jewification."

The Jews at first did not even recognize this difficulty, because they believed in an individualistic and legalistic solution of the Jewish question. Zionism (since 1897) was the first to disclose to the Jews, the nature of the Jewish question. Zionist insight also enabled Jews to understand anti-Semitism, which they had fought until then only apologetically. The unsolved Jewish question was recognized as the basic cause of anti-Semitism; hence, a constructive solution of the Jewish question had to be found. To this end the benevolent support of the non-Jewish world was sought.


Zionism has no illusions about the difficulty of the Jewish condition, which consists above all in an abnormal occupational pattern and in the fault of an intellectual and moral posture not rooted in one's own tradition. Zionism recognized decades ago that as a result of the assimilationist trend. symptoms of deterioration were bound to appear, which it seeks to overcome by carrying out its challenge to transform Jewish life completely.

It is our opinion that an answer to the Jewish question truly satisfying to the national state can be brought about only with the collaboration of the Jewish movement that aims at a social, cultural, and moral renewal of Jewry—indeed, that such a national renewal must first create the decisive social and spiritual premises for all solutions.

Zionism believes that a rebirth of national life, such as is occurring in German life through adhesion to Christian and national values, must also take place in the Jewish national group. For the Jew, too, origin, religion. community of fate and group consciousness must be of decisive significance in the shaping of his life. This means that the egotistical individualism which arose in the liberal era must be overcome by public spiritedness and by willingness to accept responsibility.


Our conception of the nature of Jewry and of our true position among the European peoples allows us to frame proposals on the regulation of the situation of the Jews in the new German state Which are not considerations based on accidental constellations of interests, but which pave the way for a real solution of the Jewish question that will satisfy the German state. In this we are not concerned with the interest, of individual Jews who have lost their economic and social position, as a result of Germany's profound transformation. What we are concerned with is the creation of an opportunity for the existence for the whole group, while preserving our honor. which is our most precious possession. On the foundation of the new state, which has established the principle of race, we wish so to fit our community into the total structure so that for us too, in the sphere assigned to us, fruitful activity for the Fatherland is possible. 
We believe it is precisely the new Germany that can, through bold resoluteness in the handling of the Jewish question, take a decisive step toward overcoming a problem which, in truth, will have to be dealt with by most European peoples—including those whose foreign-policy statements today deny the existence of any such problem in their own midst. 
          Relationship to the German People 
Our acknowledgment of Jewish nationality provides for a dear and sincere relationship to the German people and its national and racial realities. Precisely because we do not wish to falsify these fundamentals, because we, too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group and reject any trespasses of the cultural domain, we—having been brought up in the German language and German culture—can show an interest in the works and values of German culture with admiration and internal sympathy. Only fidelity to their own kind and their own culture gives Jews the inner strength that prevents insult to the respect for the national sentiments and the imponderables of German nationality; and rootedness in one's own spirituality protects the Jew from becoming the rootless critic of the national foundations of German essence. The national distancing which the state desires would thus be brought about easily as the result of an organic development. 
Thus, a self-conscious Jewry here described, in whose name we speak, can find a place in the structure of the German state, because it is inwardly unembarrassed, free from the resentment which assimilated Jews must feel at the determination that they belong to Jewry, to the Jewish race and past. We believe in the possibility of an honest relationship of loyalty between a group-conscious Jewry and the German state. 

This presentation would be incomplete, were we not to add some remarks on the important problem of Jewish emigration. The situation of the Jews among the nations and their recurrent elimi-nation from professional categories and economic means of liveli-hood, as well a, desire for a normalization of living conditions, force many Jew, to emigrate. 
Zionism wishes to shape Jewish emigration to Palestine in such a way that a reduction of pressure on the Jewish position in Germany will result. 
Zionism has not been satisfied merely to set forth a theoretical conception of the Jewish question, but at the practical level has initiated a normalization of Jewish life through the founding of a new national settlement of Jews in Palestine, their ancient home-land. There about 230,000 Jews have already to date been settled in a normally stratified community. The basis of Jewish settlement is agriculture. All kinds of labor—in agriculture, manual trades, and industry—are performed by Jewish workers, who are inspired by a new, idealistic wotic. ethic. The Palestine movement has always been encouraged by the German Government; it is a fact that the significance of Palestine for German Jewry is constantly growing. 
For its practical aims. Zionism hopes to be able to win the col-laboration even of a government fundamentally hostile to Jews, because in dealing with the Jewish question not sentimentalities are involved but a real problem whose solution interests all peoples, and at the present moment especially the German people. 
The realization of Zionism could only be hurt by resentment of Jews abroad against the German development. Boycott propaganda—such as is currently being carried on against Germany in many ways—is in essence un-Zionist, because Zionism wants not to do battle but to convince and to build.

          Foreign Policy Consequences 
We believe that the proposed regulation of the Jewish question suggested here would entail important advantages for the German people, which would be felt also beyond German borders. The idea of nationhood, so important for the German people scattered through the whole world (Germandom abroad), would undergo a decisive deepening and strengthening by a statesmanlike action on the part of the new Germany. 
Millions of Jews live as national minorities in various countries. During the negotiations about the protection of minorities, at the end of the war, formulas and arguments prepared by Jewish national movements were widely accepted by all states;[1] they led to provisions on the basis of which German minorities, like others, assert their rights today. If consideration is given to the strong community of interests among national minorities, which has repeatedly found expression and which certainly would figure in quite another way if the position of the Jews in Germany is to be regulated through recognition of their special character, the politi-cal situation of a portion of the German people all over the world can arrive at an emphatic advancement. This advancement would consist not only of ideological reinforcement of the validity of the principles of nationality proclaimed by the Reich Chancellor in his address of May 17 [2], but could also take the form of direct cooperation among minorities in different countries. 
We are not blind to the fact that a Jewish question exists and will continue to exist. From the abnormal situation of the Jews severe disadvantages result for them, but also scarcely tolerable conditions for other peoples. Our observations, presented herewith, rest on the conviction that, in solving the Jewish problem according to its own lights, the German Government will have full understanding for a candid and dear Jewish posture that harmonizes with the interests of the state.

1. During the peace negotiations after the First World War, regarding the forma-tion of new European states, Jewish delegations convinced European political leaders that the rights of racial, religious, and linguistic minorities would best be protected by a formal obligation embodied in the individual peace treaties of the new states. Consequently, provisions guaranteeing minority, or group, cultural rights, in addition to individual civic rights, were incorporated into the treaties with Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Rumania, and Yugoslavia. 
2. The reference is to a passage in Hitler's "Peace" speech in the Reichstag on May 17, i933, in which he said: "Our boundless love for and loyalty to our own national traditions make us respect the national claims of others."

Thursday, April 20, 2017

From the post following the one linked below.
Among the weirder allegations I've seen on Facebook as to why philosophers shouldn't read the book is that Kipnis doesn't understand the difference between sex and rape. This is an absurd fabrication, and was not, of course, supported with any textual evidence. But it is a good indication that Hellie is on to something here about how desperate some of those involved in the initial witchhunt are feeling about the world at large now knowing how reckless some vocal members of the "profession" were.
"profession" in scare quotes. I'm not sure Leiter understands the implication.

From Rickles to Kipnis
NY Times on the Kipnis book
This is a rather apt appraisal:
Kipnis has now written a book, “Unwanted Advances,” about feminism, relationship statecraft and the shadow world of Title IX investigations. It is invigorating and irritating, astute and facile, rigorous and flippant, fair-minded and score-settling, practical and hyperbolic, and maybe a dozen other neurotically contradictory things. Above all else, though, “Unwanted Advances” is necessary. Argue with the author, by all means. But few people have taken on the excesses of university culture with the brio that Kipnis has.
What is significant about the book for the academic community in philosophy is that--its occasional glibness and fascination with its own meta-narrative about alleged "sexual paranoia" on campus aside--it sets out in compelling detail two recent injustices against now-former members of the community of employed philosophers, David Barnett and Peter Ludlow. It was always clear, at least to me, that Barnett had been wrongfully treated; the Ludlow case was less clear to me, at least until I read this book and had an opportunity to read the depositions in the lawsuit brought by the undergraduate.
Kipnis has a BFA from The San Francisco Art Institute, an MFA from The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and is a veteran of the Whitney ISP.  The first is famous as a free-for-all, the second as a center for "conceptual art", art as philosophical/political illustration, in the 70s, and the third along the same lines, mixing puritanical politics and careerism in an art world finishing school. 30 years ago a visiting artist guest speaker was attacked for casting sculptures in bronze, considered a male medium.

I used George Kuchar for the SFAI link; this fits too (I thought I'd written more about him) and this one as well.

You have to feel a little sorry these days for professors married to their former students. They used to be respectable citizens —leaders in their fields, department chairs, maybe even a dean or two—and now they’re abusers of power avant la lettre. I suspect you can barely throw a stone on most campuses around the country without hitting a few of these neo-miscreants. Who knows what coercions they deployed back in the day to corral those students into submission; at least that’s the fear evinced by today’s new campus dating policies. And think how their kids must feel! A friend of mine is the offspring of such a coupling—does she look at her father a little differently now, I wonder.
In 1992 I was chairman of the History Department at New York University—where I was also the only unmarried straight male under sixty. A combustible blend: prominently displayed on the board outside my office was the location and phone number of the university’s Sexual Harassment Center. History was a fast-feminizing profession, with a graduate community primed for signs of discrimination—or worse. Physical contact constituted a presumption of malevolent intention; a closed door was proof positive.

Shortly after I took office, a second-year graduate student came by. A former professional ballerina interested in Eastern Europe, she had been encouraged to work with me. I was not teaching that semester, so could have advised her to return another time. Instead, I invited her in. After a closed-door discussion of Hungarian economic reforms, I suggested a course of independent study—beginning the following evening at a local restaurant. A few sessions later, in a fit of bravado, I invited her to the premiere of Oleanna—David Mamet’s lame dramatization of sexual harassment on a college campus.

How to explain such self-destructive behavior? What delusional universe was mine, to suppose that I alone could pass untouched by the punitive prudery of the hour—that the bell of sexual correctness would not toll for me? I knew my Foucault as well as anyone and was familiar with Firestone, Millett, Brownmiller, Faludi, e tutte quante.1 To say that the girl had irresistible eyes and that my intentions were…unclear would avail me nothing. My excuse? Please Sir, I’m from the ‘60s.

...So how did I elude the harassment police, who surely were on my tail as I surreptitiously dated my bright-eyed ballerina?

Reader: I married her.
Leiter quoting the NYT again
...invigorating and irritating, astute and facile, rigorous and flippant, fair-minded and score-settling, practical and hyperbolic, and maybe a dozen other neurotically contradictory things. Above all else, though, “Unwanted Advances” is necessary.
As opposed to the vast number of books written by "professional philosophers" that are both un-contradictory and unnecessary.

I've assumed the worst about Ludlow because I assume the worst about academic pedants. That applies to his accuser just as easily. Kipnis on the other hand is a bit of a libertine. That's where she got her start. The politics of libertinism is problematic at best, at worst of course it's fascist.
As an aside, I'll add that Adam Lindemann in June is showing new paintings by Michel Houellebecq).

As a coda... Here's George.