Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Fact: as recently as 18 September Israel refused a request from the IAEA to open its nuclear plants to inspection."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency last week passed a resolution urging Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as her neighbors all have. But Obama has refused to even acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons. He was asked about this at his first presidential news conference by Helen Thomas -- if he knew of any country in the Mideast that had nuclear weapons, an obvious reference to Israel. Obama responded that he didn't want to 'speculate.'
More of the same from Helena Cobban. Read the links too.

Israel and Saudi Arabia are the rogue states of the Mideast. They reinforce each other out of desperation and the US supports both out of a mixture of ideology and short-sighted assumptions of self-interest. In our relations with Israel add guilt, easy moralism, moral cowardice and blackmail. And the Saudi kingdom is still the major source of funding for Al Qaeda.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Every once in a while I go back to the essay discussed below
As Michael Slote (1984) has rightly pointed out, “ordinary moral thinking seems to involve an asymmetry regarding what an agent is permitted to do to himself and what he is permitted to do to others.” For one, agents are permitted to sacrifice their own greater good in order to secure a lesser net benefit for others, but not permitted to sacrifice someone else’s greater good in order to secure a lesser net benefit for others. For another, whereas it seems morally permissible to allow yourself to suffer unnecessarily, it seems morally impermissible to allow someone else to suffer unnecessarily. To make this a bit more concrete, consider the following illustrations. First, whereas it seems morally permissible to cut off my right arm in order to save someone else’s pinky finger, it seems morally wrong to cut off someone else’s right arm (even with his or her consent) in order to save yet another person’s pinky finger. Second, whereas it seems imprudent but not immoral of me to negligently leave thumbtacks on the ground where only I tread, it seems wrong of me to negligently leave thumbtacks on the ground where others tread.
The first essay I ever read in contemporary academic philosophy. The absurd ideological refusal to consider data in any form. It took me half a paragraph until I thought of military command structure. Common sense morality is the morality of equals. Self-other asymmetry is a function of the need for community and social cohesion. The community trains, indoctrinates, builds the individual. The army is based on strict utilitarianism and on formalized social relations and taboos -no fraternization- to limit the emotional trauma that can result from sending other human beings to their death. The fact that trauma can occur demonstrates that military ethics and military esthetics are hand in glove. Or flesh in skin.

As I've said dozens of times a military in service to a republic is an authoritarian order in service to a free society. In order for it to work there has to be not only a willingness to follow civilian leadership but a respect for that leadership, a respect for something other than military utilitarianism. More than an understanding it requires an attachment.
Make it Bloody Fucking Obvious Vol. 88

"People say that Andy said he was a machine. But he didn't. He said he wanted to be a machine and that's not the same thing at all."

Callie Angell bought me the subscription to the Journal of Philosophy when she served as secretary on the board of trustees.

Callie Angell

Friday, September 25, 2009

D Davies, two comments responding to Jon Pike
I, in fact, don’t think that there are “tragic dilemmas”, if this is to mean anything other than that there are situations in which one wants to have one’s cake but also (tragedia!) to eat it. There are questions of fact, upon which it is possible to be right and to be wrong, and with the perspective of six years, it is actually pretty easy to see who was right and who was wrong. I must confess that all this talk about “tragic dilemmas” looks an awful lot like relativism to me, and I know how much you hate that.
"However, one mark of crass consequentialism is to ignore the possibility of tragic dilemmas, yes?"
A “tragic dilemma”, as I understand it, is a situation in which consequentialism gives a clear answer about which alternative is better, but the answer in question is unpalatable. I don’t see why, in such a situation, consequentialism should be described as “crass” rather than, say, “jolly sensible”.
[I didn't realize at the time how off he was. I should have been much tougher. A tragic dilemma is the choice between food for your children or cancer medicine for your wife.]

My comments Deleted by admin
D2: “Firstly, I still maintain that “tragic dilemma” is exactly as I describe it, and consequentialism is correct here; psychological feelings of regret don’t actually indicate any important underlying moral reality, and as far as I can see, your argument here consists of the epithet “crass” and nothing else.”
That’s a defense of morally logical sociopathy. A good general should not be cavalier about sending 10,000 men to their deaths even if its the logical thing to do. Measure twice, cut once; remember the stakes. He should know the panic and fear of battle not as idea but as memory. And it would do Brad Delong and Dani Rodrik a world of good to work in a factory for a year, not as supervisors but on the line, doing the same thing, making the same motions like clockwork 50 minutes out of every hour 7 hours out of every day of the working week. Sympathetic understanding has a purpose and experience is a heuristic.

None of this is a defense of the Decents, but there’s no reason to be crass. Sometimes you choose to let people die. Sometimes if your oldest friend the junkie is begging you for help for the 12th time, you walk away and leave them to die, or save himself. Or you tell the population of a country that your people may sympathize but the world being what it is, your county can not intervene. On the extreme of sensibility it makes no sense to mourn the lives of those you never had the chance to save because you became a violinist and not a heart surgeon. Playing sad songs won’t help. The opposite of the crass is not the maudlin. Most people going for sainthood are narcissists or adrenaline junkies, but some of them do important work.
 I’m with Conor in #'s 105 and 110

D2: "A good general should not be cavalier about sending 10,000 men to their deaths even if its the logical thing to do" 
I just don’t agree, stripped of the aesthetic terms like “cavalier”. We judge generals on what they achieve, and at what cost, not on how they felt about it at the time.

(or more comprehensibly, perhaps, you might worry about a general who didn’t emote sufficiently about sending 10,000 people to their deaths, but it would be because you would be worried that he might make a bad decision in another circumstance where it wasn’t the right thing to do[1] . Having an extra moral evaluation of the general based on his subjective feelings being appropriate or not is aesthetics, not ethics).

[1] I think it’s a lot less confusing to say “the right thing to do” when the context is consequentialism – “logical” seems to bring in all sorts of irrelevant implications.
“aesthetics, not ethics.” 
Ethics is the aesthetics of social activity. I posted this next bit in a comment at CT 5 years ago: 
A few years ago I was unlucky enough to get a shard of steel in my eye twice in one year. Both times I went to NY Eye and Ear Hospital to have the splinters removed. The second time the procedure was performed by a resident under the supervision of an attending surgeon. The resident was a young and attractive woman, born in this country. The surgeon was an eastern European immigrant. The young woman was intelligent and professional, but emotionally somewhat blank. She spoke without affect. She did what she needed to and then went to her supervisor to get him to sign off. He asked her if she was sure she’d removed everything. She seemed a little surprised at the question, and he decided to reexamine me himself. “It’s his eye” he reminded her, and then explained that what she assumed to be a rust stain might still contain particles that could cause future damage. He repeated the procedure, and I went home. 
To the attending surgeon I was a person and to the resident I was an idea. When he asked her that question I know he had felt an empathetic shiver for what might happen to me if she had been wrong. How do you measure that shiver? How do you define its worth? How can it be taught?
 That’s not aesthetics.

To Kevin Donoghue,
 [his comment removed as well]
An actual robot instead of someone who acted like one, would not be morally culpable for the mistake. That’s actually why liberals try to invent mechanisms to solve problems. Harry Brighouse and G.A Cohen both search for ideas that serve the function of removing the weight of moral responsibility. "The problem, for Cohen, is that we lack such technology.” 
I think the problem is that such logic leads to (reinforces) the ethics and aesthetics of the human pseudo-machine. The young doctor’s sensibility, her aesthetic, preceded whatever ideas she had about her proper role. Liberals tend to think in terms of rules and laws rather than obligations, since obligations are sloppy and contradictory, but this leads to an atrophying of the actual sense of obligation. “It’s fine that I’m greedy, the rules keep me in check!” It’s binary; a real machine ethic. And in the long run its numbing to both the imagination and the intellect.
 All totally ancillary to the thread but I think at this point that’s David Kane vs pretty much everyone.

Quoting H. Brighouse as linked above
"The problem, for Cohen, is that we lack such technology. We should not pretend that we have such a technology, but nor should we pretend that the search for it is futile, or that the lack of it means that the organizing principles of our own society are more appealing than they, in fact, are."
Before such "technology" there needs to be trust. Laws are non-contradictory hard points in a linguistic and social field of contradictory/non-mutually exclusive obligation. Those obligations, not rules of behavior, are primary. Reading "Legitimate Parental Partiality" was a strange experience, in the same way reading Daniel Davies' responses here were. As I wrote above: "To the attending surgeon I was a person and to the resident I was an idea. When he asked her that question I know he had felt an empathetic shiver for what might happen to me if she had been wrong. How do you measure that shiver? How do you define its worth? How can it be taught?"

How do you measure the full function and complexity of intimacy not as idea but as sense? The word does not even appear in the Brighouse's paper. And the opposition 'freedom vs equality' makes no sense to me since its founded on an individualism I find abhorrent. The terms as I was raised to understand them are 'Freedom vs obligation.' To what degree are we constituted as social beings, as in fact a collective? A community of vibrant, dynamic, stability is the result of multiple overlapping, conflicting social obligations, negotiated verbally, silently, intellectually, physically, by adults. This exists first in action, in performance, not in idea. The experience of bonds is not synonymous with the idea of them. If it were we wouldn't need Tolstoy. The young doctor was incapable of performing engaging or even imagining a "thick description" of her own life or her relation to me, her patient. G.A. Cohen allowed himself social relations in his life of master and servant that I would not accept. And he chose to act in such a way so as not to give his children a more complete understanding of this society but a leg up to success in it on its own terms. He rationalized behavior I was raised never to accept. Cohen's actions are the byproduct of his mode of thought, the young doctor's actions likewise. Mode as sensibility and as primary. 
Laws and ideas are the necessary, practical, vulgarization of the complexities of experience. I do not think I've misunderstood Cohen or Brighouse or anyone else in saying they are focusing on the oversimplification and calling it the root.
Also of course on crassness and generals: as I've said often the military is run on an ethic of authoritarian piety not republican virtue. So in a sense it's a general's duty to be crass. And that's why fraternizing -friendship- is forbidden across ranks. Formalized distant relations are an emotional and therefore a practical requirement. An example of a mechanism based on realism not idealism. A military sensibility is a military requirement but needs to be held in check by civilian control. Either way the check on "partiality" is not reason but another and conflicting partiality, either of someone else in an opposing role -cf. prosecution and defense- or in the same person. A fully functioning mature moral agent is the agent of a divided consciousness and a consciousness manifest as a form of individual experience not "understood" as "idea." You could say that to some degree a person in the military is required to be less than a fully functioning moral agent, but at the same time he is or should be required not only to follow civilian command but to respect it. And respect is understanding.
Notes on notes. sloppy.
2017, a career soldier explains what Oxbridge philosophers cannot. 
So you want to be a career soldier? Good for you. But remember that the longer you stay in uniform, the less you will really understand about the country you protect. Democracy is the antithesis of the military life; it’s chaotic, dishonest, disorganized, and at the same time glorious, exhilarating and free — which you are not.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Smart run-down of the response to the Goldstone report @ Arabist

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The results are interesting regarding Ahmadinejad but not entirely unexpected, unless you trust the NY Times, Tehran Bureau, USAID, and the American "Reality Based" community of idiots. The preference for restored diplomatic relations is not surprising at all; I'd be surprised if it were the reverse.

Link from AA

Kehinde Wiley at Deitch, Emory Douglas at The New Museum
The poster matches one from the family archive I gave to MoMA.

Players vs Slackers again. That is, slacker culture as represented by the culture of and around The New Museum and Deitch and players by the black representation of blackness in relation to that. Also popular and commercial culture in relation to self-styled serious culture and entertainment in relation to art, and LA/Miami in relation to New York, or at least Manhattan. From there it gets much more complex and the allegiances twisted since the slackers and the Panthers are defined by a modernist sense of sincerity and seriousness. But the slackers have all the indulgence but none of the risk. They got no skin in the game. Modernism as hope vs Modernism as nostalgia, the latter not even as memory.

What makes Wiley's photographs interesting is the performance of the men. In the one picture where his sensibility is unaccompanied, a reclining nude facing away, all that's left is reference and pretension. In the works face forward it's the faces and then the figures that hold the page, as some actors hold the screen.
Both Wiley and Douglas are overpowered by their collaborators, Wiley perhaps against his plan, but all are overshadowed by something else.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Again elsewhere
The right to curiosity is more important than the right to speech. It's a better more solid foundation to the law, even though it covers the same relation.
But the argument Fish is making, or merely reporting, is more complex than its adherents know. It's not curiosity they're bothered by but specifically "unbounded" curiosity. They would say that curiosity needs to be framed and that they are arguing in defense of a frame. Examining their fears (religious arguments are all based on a concern for community) you can understand their logic. And you can take it even further: isn't all curiosity framed? History re-contextualizes our assumptions, "framing" them better than we could or did. Our grandchildren will see frames where we saw freedom.

And what about that sort of enquiry that engages framing in its processes? Learning the violin is enquiry framed by the cultural knowledge of the instrument. Learning to write "well" requires a form of curiosity about language, about the frame itself. The narcissism of Ayn Rand is evidenced in her lack of interest in the frame and consequently she's a lousy writer. The same arguments, morally simplistic or not, made by a better writer would have made a better book.
Fish is hazy/lazy in his presentation because he's aware of the problem, like the priests, but also doesn't know how to phrase it in a way that would satisfy [his own?] secularism. So I'll do that for him. Is curiosity best represented by the desire to invent new musical instruments, therefore new individual things, marking their maker at least in his own imagination as similarly distinct, or by learning to play any instrument well? Is curiosity best represented by the inventor or the musician? The inventor is the one theologians worry about. The danger of individualism is that it produces a herd of independent minds, each preoccupied with "self-expression," but inarticulate. And if expression is connected to machine knowledge then that articulateness is asocial; the primary relation is between a person and a mechanism, not between one person and another. The problematics are all there in the present and in American history. Observer or inventor? What's the model for secularism in the 21st century?
How do we recognize difference? How do we recognize individuality? If everyone's an individual how can we even compare. Slackers vs Players. Slackers as inarticulate individualists, players as articulate performers, playful conformists. Who the fuck do you think I take more seriously? Individualists are all alike.
So fucking obvious.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thus the Renaissance conception of humanitas had a two-fold aspect from the outset. The new interest in the human being was based both on a revival of the classical antithesis between humanitas and barbartias, or feritas, and on a survival of the mediaeval antithesis between humanitas and divinitas. When Marsilio Ficino defines man as a “rational soul participating in the intellect of God, but operating in a body,” he defines him as the one being that is both autonomous and finite. And Pico’s famous ‘speech’ ‘On the Dignity of Man’ is anything but a document of paganism. Pico says that God placed man in the center of the universe so that he might be conscious of where he stands, and therefore free to decide ‘where to turn.’ He does not say that man is the center of the universe, not even in the sense commonly attributed to the classical phrase, “man the measure of all things.”

It is from this ambivalent conception of humanitas that humanism was born. It is not so much a movement as an attitude which can be defined as the conviction of the dignity of man, based on both the insistence on human values (rationality and freedom) and the acceptance of human limitations (fallibility and frailty); from this two postulates result responsibility and tolerance.

…The humanist, then, rejects authority. But he respects tradition.

Erwin Panofsky, “The History of Art as a Humanistic Discipline" in Meaning in the Visual Arts
“Humanism- Most generally any philosophy concerned to emphasize human welfare and dignity, and optimistic about the powers of unaided human understanding.”
Simon Blackburn, The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy

Blackburn goes on to discuss the Renaissance, but not well. He’s wrong on the history, but then history isn’t really his concern. Panofsky was a historian and a secularist. And he was a cosmopolitan. Blackburn is not.

Friday, September 18, 2009

"GalaBiR" is back.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"If the anthropocratic civilization of the Renaissance is headed, as it seems to be, for a 'Middle Ages in reverse'... " Panofsky

Note taking SE:
But Calvino specifically did not offer a thick account of anything. He was a conceptualist, he created a clean model of a thick account. As with Scialabba, a defense of the idea of literature is not literature. Calvino, like Borges, like Kafka, is a writer for model makers, not for writers. As Mann said of Kafka: "Almost too perfect."
The timing as well. "Machines are clean, people are dirty." See below, from yesterday. The proof of literature is in the performance, not the idea. Diderot's Paradox was recommended to me years ago by a French art collector, but I only looked for it recently. My mistake. He's a modeler too, a smart one, but a failed performer. Connect the transition from Calvino's early collection The Watcher and Other Stories, to his later fantasies, and the same from The Bicycle Thief to Miracle in Milan: the modernist/formalist escape from politics, ideology contra ideology. To see the world as a Platonist is to pretend to be outside it, knowing without perception. We only know the ideal through the fiction of its presence. etc. etc. The transition, the narrative arc, from the intellectualism of idea to the intellectualism of thought as activity in context and time, continues apace. It's amusing that every time I make a comment, the person who deletes it, whether Henry F. or Bertram or whoever else, actually drops by for a visit. And some of the other comments on the threads are actually pretty good: struggling to come to terms with the obvious.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Drop Dobbs
It's stupid.

It's wrong because its a mistake; it's attacking the person not the ideas. Better for people to go on his show, or invite him on theirs -Maddow, Olberman- on the condition that he reciprocate. Humiliate him in public. Actually, TV liberals are better than pundits. Maddow has Buchanan on her show. But the people behind Drop Dobbs are also those who write about the right wing without being willing to engage them personally. Right wing sites should be flooded with responses from the nominal left, but they aren't. Every liberal pundit should be demanding debates on any subject at any time, on republican turf. but they don't. Are they afraid of losing? Of catching a contagious disease? If the public faces of the right are intellectual cowards holding opinions without facts. why not force them to fight or run, and show them for what they are?

The liberal elite is more interested in ideas than people. If communism required that everyone join the priesthood, and conservatism is founded on the inevitability of moral failure (and concomitantly its celebration), modern liberalism as idea is founded on the search for rational mechanisms that remove us from moral responsibility entirely, replacing god and language with a logical machine. Machines are clean, people are dirty.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

bread and circuses

Duncan Black
There are certain ethical boundaries, mostly obvious, that one doesn't want to cross. Journalists shouldn't be tasked to write puff pieces about major advertisers, for example. But there's nothing wrong with journalists thinking about and being acquainted with what the marketing side thinks sells, either to readers or advertisers. There's nothing wrong with trying to give the people what they want. Now I'm not confident that doing so will necessarily make for a product that I think is better, but I also don't think there's any reason to cling to recently established norms which are neither appealing to readers nor particularly helpful with respect to informing them.
There's something wrong with wanting decisions made for you. There's something wrong with wanting to be told who to vote for by your priest or your newspaper. Mine, from elsewhere:
And in fact technocracy is founded not on adversarialism but collaboration. The contemporary drive for the professionalization of every field of knowledge, and of the press, is founded on collaboration; as if it’s all for the best if we all serve one cause, whichever cause that may be. The principle of divided government is based on the realist assumption that each branch will defend it’s own prerogatives, its own self-interest, and that the result will be dynamic tension. But what if self-interest is founded in servility instead of pride? There’s a logic to that too. Is servility a model of behavior for citizens of a republic?
Successful democracy requires that we as individuals temper our own interests with those of our peers, but not that we cave to them. At the same time it requires that the assumption regarding the interests of the masses (meaning all of us in our vulgarity) is that we're greedy for gossip and dirt: that we want to know what others don't want us to. Successful democracy requires both self-interest in the vulgar sense and personal integrity, which are related but not identical. Integrity is connected with pride, which is not indifference to others but an expression of an interest in how others see you. No society democratic or other can demand integrity, and the press like the academy is now in the position of serving its own self-importance, while reinforcing popular passivity.
Cultivate sophistication and let the serious take care of itself.
As I've said a thousand times, Atrios, serious and unsophisticated, continues in a long line of American know-nothings. But he's stumbling towards something more complex.

The expressions on the faces of the nobles.
Rubens and assistants, Wolf and Fox Hunt, ca. 1615–21, oil on canvas
96 5/8" x 148 1/8" (245.4 x 376.2), Metropolitan Museum, NY
"What's the schedule today?"
"Varnish on Philip IV... More work on the Hippo in #3. And Jan, you're behind on the fox hunt... Jan?"
"He called in. He's sick"
"Oh Jesus, the old man's gonna be pissed. Send someone down to Snyders', maybe he can give us a hand...
"On it."
"...Lazy fuck"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Joshua Reynolds, The Honorable Henry Fane, with Inigo Jones and Charles Blair, 1761-66, 100 1/4" x 142" (254.6 x 360.7) Fane seated between Jones on the left and Blair, standing.

The best British painter is Holbein and the best composer is Handel. The golden age of British painting can't compare with the art of the continental Renaissance. When I ask American art historians for the name of the most important artist in any medium from any period in the English speaking world they never mention Shakespeare, but when I correct them they don't argue. Specialization is myopia.

I've begun to enjoy things I didn't used to: prosaic qualities in painting. I love that I recognize the overfed arrogance in these characters. They're so recognizably British -buffoons, schmucks, both, or something in between: Boris Johnson. I like them but I pay more attention to the women, mostly actresses or similar who married well. And if they're smug or self satisfied they've earned it, one way or another.

Gainsborough, Frances Duncombe, and Grace Dalrymple Elliott (details).
Both at the Frick. The Reynolds is at the Met.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

As usual, the Republicans lead
"The member of Congress who yelled that the president was a liar during the speech was Rep. Joe Wilson (R) of South Carolina... I can't think of anything like it in recent history."
And if you could we'd all be much better off.

It's not a question of bias or lack of bias but of intelligence and stupidity. The heckler this time is an idiot. A Democratic Representative calling Bush a liar, if he'd later backed it up, would have been doing the right thing and the smart thing.
JMM still believes in the ideal of The Best and the Brightest. He's an expert who hates incompetents. but believes his own lies..

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Ideas are not "things"

"Scialabba is mostly talking about literary intellectuals, who don’t overlap all that much with economists."

"The concept of 'civil society' was in the ascendancy after 1989 and was everywhere in the social sciences and political talk by the late 1990s. Livesey’s book argues that the idea has roots in the defeated provincial elites of Scotland and Ireland, as a way for them 'to enjoy liberty without directly participating in the empire’s governance' "

"Civil Society" is not civil society. Oxford is not Sweden: the idea of socialism is not the fact of it. Does the focus on the mean and the mediocre act as reinforcement for the values of the mean and mediocre? If you're a realist about others are you free then to be a realist about yourself? The social sciences should be on guard against the confusion of ideas with facts. Scholars and experts should be willing to ask themselves at any given time what they value, and by and large of course they aren't.

Literature as art is the discussion of values as manifest in actions. That the actions are fictional is irrelevant.

Those who engage culture are always one step behind those who produce it, but at their best they're able to interpret what others only precisely represent. This is the reciprocal relation of artist and critic. Bright people who neither make culture by vocation—since we all do by default—nor choose to follow it, lag behind in understanding both the world and themselves: in a culture of bureaucracy functioning blankly but well. Remember that CT reads Scialabba out of affection and pity. An ex-member of Opus Dei and a fan of Edge.org he's the sort of conflicted romantic bureaucrats feel safe around. He's a melancholic version of themselves. He defends intellectuals who read fiction, not the people who write it.

The idea of socialism is not socialism, the idea of civil society is not civil society, the idea of literature is not literature.

"W. Street"

"W Street was founded to promote meaningful American leadership to end racial conflicts peacefully and diplomatically."

W Street is staffed and advised only by whites.

-"We have to learn to deal with the Blacks even if we don't like them much"
-"We have to learn to deal with the Jews even if we don't like them much"
-"We have to learn to deal with the Arabs even if we don't like them much"

Which of the above was posted on a popular liberal website (later removed without acknowledgment) by a new employee of Media Matters for America?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

And again: a pox on both your houses.
Looking for "mechanisms" or fat old men in Hawaiian shirts with degrees in mathematics to manage the habitual méconnaissance of others.

Thinking to the rule is both the founding principle and mirror image of teaching to the test. The weaknesses commonly acknowledged in the latter are all there in the former: unacknowledged. Why?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Addendum to the post before last. [here]
What's really offensive about Brighouse is that he shares his premisses with Thatcher, but he takes them in the opposite direction. She once famously said "there's no such thing as society" and Brighouse would agree, but add that therefore government is all there is to bring moral order to anarchy: outside of written law all is chaos. His reference to a common understanding of the conflict "between the family and equality" reminds me again that academics are now technically expert at manipulating preconceived notions, but willfully devoid of imagination.

If Brighouse would look again at social life itself instead of Rawls' or whomever else's books, he would notice that the conflict is not between family and equality but between obligation to family, obligation to community and beyond that, obligation codified in law to the state. He begins by collapsing family and the individual and then eliminates community altogether.

Brighouse' is the socialism as idea of bookish Public School boys in a country of yobs, which has nothing at all to do with the socialism as fact of Scandinavian moral imperatives commanded first not by law and the state but by opinions and the people at large. The moral/linguistic structure in which Brighouse operates is a direct product of the British class system; and unwilling or unable as he is to contextualize the perceptual roots of his logical fantasies he's clueless. I can't begin to describe how stupid this is. And all in all as far as the British Isles are concerned, if not Stockholm, I'm with the yobs.
Liberal Zionists point approvingly, to Avnery, probably for the first time. Helena Cobban and others, as linked below, do not agree.