Saturday, December 29, 2012

Corey Brettschneider: When the State Speaks, What Should It Say?

The book is here
How should a liberal democracy respond to hate groups and others that oppose the ideal of free and equal citizenship? The democratic state faces the hard choice of either protecting the rights of hate groups and allowing their views to spread, or banning their views and violating citizens' rights to freedoms of expression, association, and religion. Avoiding the familiar yet problematic responses to these issues, political theorist Corey Brettschneider proposes a new approach called value democracy. The theory of value democracy argues that the state should protect the right to express illiberal beliefs, but the state should also engage in democratic persuasion when it speaks through its various expressive capacities: publicly criticizing, and giving reasons to reject, hate-based or other discriminatory viewpoints.
Schools in a republic should teach the values of a republic. How is that new, except to those who imagine themselves practitioners of a value free science of politics? The accusation that liberals are "unwilling to take their own side in a fight" has never been applied to those who actually made the effort.  Another academic reinvention of the wheel, in the slow return to an acceptance of the role of individuals as members, and products, of a society.  More of the same

Brettschneider debates the relation of the the Catholic Church to the Westboro Baptist Church, as if any churches logically should be tax exempt.
With respect to the Catholic Church, I am not convinced that either its views on homosexuality or its position on female priests clearly opposes free and equal citizenship. The granting of non-profit status should be at issue only when there is no ambiguity as to whether a group opposes the ideals of free and equal citizenship. In the case of Westboro, there is clear opposition, since that church argues that gays deserve death. By contrast, a plausible argument can be made for the case that the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish groups do not oppose free and equal citizenship. [pdf p. 6 (790)]
Written by a man, and I have to assume he's straight.

Corey Robin
The latest issue of Hamas is now online, and it’s fantastic. I’m a contributing editor, so I’m biased. But I know I’m not alone in saying it’s one of the newest, freshest magazines around.
The theories of schoolteachers standing in for the thought of sophisticated people.  Jacobin marks the same transitions marked everywhere in contemporary culture, but it looks inward and backward, with the future as fantasy, rather than outward and forward with the future as subject.

The transitions in the Middle East and in Islam are historically extremely significant.  The thought of the ascendant world bourgeoisie is richer and more dynamic than the theorizing of the old western white intellectual elite, as the thought of American comedians and scriptwriters is more interesting than the philosophies of American academics who would call themselves intellectuals. Jacobin, like N+1 is provincial by comparison to both the New Yorker and Jadaliyya. Both picked the wrong time to feel proudly superior.

Zizek has written for Jacobin. He's written for Abercrombie and Fitch.  Repeats:  Jadaliyya on Zizek. Not to be too hard on him.  As with most people others look to for advice, his fans are worse than he is and his enemies by and large are worse than that.

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