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

Leiter, 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 Don Rickles to Kipnis.

Leiter: 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 works by Michel Houellebecq.

As a coda... Here's George.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

"Ebony and Ivory" over the closing credits

Two in a row

"So was Mr. Rickles a bigot or a mensch? The truth, probably, is that he was both."
...It seems as if the liberal program of attempting to shame and berate people into being more open-minded and tolerant may have backfired. Listening to interviews with Donald Trump’s supporters during his once-implausible rise, I was struck by how many of them mentioned that they admire that “he’s not politically correct.” This was often a not-unbreakable code for saying he was a refreshingly unapologetic bigot. But it’s still worth noticing that apparently telling people they’re not allowed to say certain things or feel certain ways, that their opinions aren’t just incorrect but morally wrong, does not, after all, make them better people; it makes them hate your guts.

“You’re black, I’m white,” Mr. Rickles said to an audience member. “It’s the breaks.” This line is a direct ancestor of a Louis C. K. bit: “I’m not saying white people are better — I’m saying that being white is clearly better.” The comic duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, who have rhetorical dispensation to be funny about such things by virtue of being biracial, like to palpate the touchiest spots in the American racial psyche — playing two upscale yuppies trying out out-black each other at a soul food restaurant by ordering items like cellar doors and human feet, or slaves on the auction block getting increasingly touchy and peeved as they keep not selling. Laughter is a saner, more restorative response to the world’s injustice than self-righteous scolding.

Mr. Rickles’s show that night was weirdly schizoid, alternating between snapping epithets and waxing sentimental about how he loves to make people laugh, his deep love for his mother and Frank Sinatra. The official line was that Mr. Rickles’s pit-bull hostility was a stage persona; his real-life personality was legendarily warm and generous. Of course his insults would never have been funny if he’d actually meant them — his persona is a parody. (Contrast that with alt-right iconoclasts like Milo Yiannopoulos, who confuse authentic bigotry and cruelty with humor.) But all that anger, even if it’s an act, must come from somewhere.

So was Mr. Rickles a bigot or a mensch? The truth, probably, is that he was both. We all are, albeit most of us not in such cartoonishly binary form. Maybe trying to stifle and disown the former makes the latter more brittle and false, more of an act. And maybe it’s venting the former persona onstage, as it were, set off from real life by the quotation marks of humor, that allows us to be more genuinely decent.
It was inevitable that someone would come to play the role Key and Peele are playing.
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.”
"Short of making us listen to 'Ebony and Ivory' over the closing credits"
Black comedy for white people isn't new. Black comedy for white people, directed at white people, is.

Leiter contra Rickles
Not "freedom of speech," but "freedom of [specific kinds of] expression" 
Philosopher Robert Simpson (Monash) comments.
(Thanks to Jerry Dworkin for the pointer.)
I've mocked Leiter for his defense of hate speech laws, and I've mocked others for obliviousness to racism -Christakis et al. have never defended speech they themselves found offensive- but I never caught the obvious point that Leiter is the one academic pundit I know of who both opposes freedom of speech and mocks the fragility that follows from his preference.

Another older link from Leiter.
A year ago I received an invitation from the head of Counseling Services at a major university to join faculty and administrators for discussions about how to deal with the decline in resilience among students. At the first meeting, we learned that emergency calls to Counseling had more than doubled over the past five years. Students are increasingly seeking help for, and apparently having emotional crises over, problems of everyday life. Recent examples mentioned included a student who felt traumatized because her roommate had called her a “bitch” and two students who had sought counseling because they had seen a mouse in their off-campus apartment. The latter two also called the police, who kindly arrived and set a mousetrap for them.
The last paragraph on Rickles again
So was Mr. Rickles a bigot or a mensch? The truth, probably, is that he was both. We all are, albeit most of us not in such cartoonishly binary form. Maybe trying to stifle and disown the former makes the latter more brittle and false, more of an act. And maybe it’s venting the former persona onstage, as it were, set off from real life by the quotation marks of humor, that allows us to be more genuinely decent.
My old description and defense of "expressive" speech as honesty, not just as the best policy for speakers but also strengthening the resilience of an audience, requirements for the burdens of self-government. It's important not to be protected from knowledge of the world.

We live in bubbles that only others can burst. Arguments otherwise by comparison, are brittle and false.
Get Out, again