Saturday, April 25, 2020

As I said I'm seeing more and more of this shit in the US. Vanguardism into fascism,  and Slobodian is too naive and stupid to know what the fuck it means.

Final OverdriveⒶ
#anarchism #xenofeminism #autistic Storm the Heavens and Conquer Death. Destroy the State, Pronouns: he/him Age:31 *DATA EXPUNGED* Individualist anarchist.
"Storm the Heavens and Conquer Death." "Individualist anarchist." I had to google "xenofeminism".
Laboria Cuboniks@Xenofeminism
If nature is unjust, change nature.
LSE blog: Repurpose your Desire: Xenofeminism and Millennial Politics.
Xenofeminism. Helen Hester. Polity Press. 2018.
What if you don’t like what you want? Two takes on the politics of desire have turned heads on academic social media in early 2018. Andrea Long Chu, writing for n+1 with admirable boldness, makes the case that the gender experience of trans women like her rests not on identity but on desire. As such, Chu argues, it is not only painful and remains at best half-fulfilled – ‘your breasts may never come in, your voice may never pass, your parents may never call back’ – but it is also bound to defy political ideals. In this instance, trans women’s embodiment of an originally patriarchal aesthetics of femininity clashes with radical feminist demands (whether of the 1970s or 2010s) to abolish the same. Making the point that desire generally arrives unbidden, her conclusion is that ‘nothing good comes of forcing [it] to conform to political principle’. Partially in response to Chu, Amia Srinivasan in the London Review of Books cautiously pursues digital culture’s sexual politics to the example of dating apps and sites. She points out how apparently innocuous ‘personal preference’ categories police romantic and sexual encounters to algorithmically reproduce the mechanisms of domination and exclusion inherent in misogyny, racism, ableism and transphobia. In the face of how technoculture cuts desire down to size, Srinivasan concludes that while there can never be an obligation to desire anyone in particular – ‘nobody wants a mercy fuck’ – there may be a ‘duty to transfigure, as best we can, our desires’.

Two contrasting arguments, they are both based on the acknowledgement of quite how political the personal is; they only differ in their response. Taken together, they also figure as academic instances of what a Janus-faced millennial culture does best, and what is often misunderstood as ‘snowflake’ hypocrisy by a baby-boomer commentariat. For one, there is the remarkable new prevalence of cultural criticism as part of popular culture as such (as opposed to an earlier model of ‘applying’ critical insights to a pop culture separate to them). ‘Wokeness’, whatever its pitfalls, at the very least means that it has become cool to assess your individual social position against the hierarchical structures to which everyone is tied, and this is manifest, on- and offline, in calling out others as much as in ‘checking’ your own privilege. For all that, there is little bra-burning going on and no hair shirts in sight; instead, many reserve just what Chu demands in an interview for The Point podcast: ‘the right to desire what is bad for you’.

Instances are diverse. The ‘slutwalks’ of 2011 were an early sign of a generation of cis and trans women insisting very publicly on the right to wear high femme clothes and make-up alongside the scars of their patriarchal sexist significations. A recent edited collection by Rhian E. Jones and Eli Davies marks the mood in its title: Under My Thumb: Songs that Hate Women and the Women who Love Them.
The last made "Vogue Books of the Year 2017".

Andrea Long Chu, On Liking Women.
The truth is, I have never been able to differentiate liking women from wanting to be like them. For years, the former desire held the latter in its mouth, like a capsule too dangerous to swallow.
On Liking... Jews, or Colored people...

because sadly the obvious is unthinkable.
"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!
repeat, "slutwalks"
“It is Christmas Eve, and she is about to receive the gift that has been her dream 
since childhood: death by a sexual maniac"
The quote is Louise Brooks' description of Lulu's end. Brooks was honest.
Liberalism turns every conflict it can't resolve into an aspect of its optimism: the pessimistic acceptance of greed became an optimistic philosophy of science and law, and now the sympathetic understanding of self-disgust has become the celebration of freedom, even the freedom to be a slave.
"In the course of the year 1838, the peaceful island of Barbados was rocked by a strange and bloody revolt. About two hundred Negroes of both sexes, all of whom had recently been emancipated by the Proclamations of March, came one morning to beg their former master, a certain Glenelg, to take them back into bondage. An Anabaptist minister, acting as spokesman for the group, read out a list of grievances which he had compiled and recorded in a notebook. Then the discussion began. But Glenelg, either from timidity or because he was scrupulous, or simply afraid of the law, refused to be swayed. At which point he was at first mildly jostled, then set upon and massacred, together with his family, by the Negroes, who that same evening repaired to their cabins, their palavers, their labors, and customary rituals. Swift action on the part of Governor MacGregor succeeded in suppressing the matter, and the emancipation pursued its course. As for the notebook of grievances it has never been recovered."
And searching for an ending, I find Robin and Leiter. Perfect.

More vanguardism/fascist kitsch, from Slobodian.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Second, social-democratic parties did not deal equitably with higher education. In 1945, only a small minority of people went to college. But that changed quickly in succeeding decades, as much of the postwar generation flooded into universities across the world. The proportion of young people attending universities only continued to climb as the years passed. Yet instead of directing a commensurate share of resources towards higher education, and distributing them equitably, social-democratic countries generally did the opposite. Most of them did not boost state funding at anything like the necessary scale, and continued to direct disproportionate resources and benefits to schools serving the richest students, or to allow private parties to do so. This is obviously the case in the United States, but not only there. In France, the elite grandes écoles "benefit from public financing two to three times as high per student as in the [normal] universities," Piketty writes. Something similar holds in the U.K. and Germany. 
This was intertwined with a broader resurgence of "neo-proprietarian" ideology across the entire developed world, as libertarian and neoliberal economists advanced an updated version of the Gilded Age economic program that led to the Great Depression and the Second World War. The new moral backing of this resurgence was meritocracy — the idea that the wealthy and educated deserved their elite status by virtue of their superior brain power and work ethic — and many nominally social-democratic parties, above all the U.S. Democratic Party, were infected with and eventually pushed it as hard or harder than right-wing parties. The policy agenda included various proprietarian-inflected trade deals, deregulation, and tax cuts that did indeed undermine the basis of social-democratic systems.

All this profoundly changed the class structure of political parties across the developed world. In the 1950s, parties of the left had a giant advantage among the working class and did less well among better-educated and richer voters, while parties of the right did the opposite. But gradually, left parties took up a greater and greater share of the highly-educated, and made some inroads into higher-income and wealthier voters, while right parties simultaneously started to pick up the working class. Where elites used to be largely housed in right-wing parties, the system that began to take hold around 1980 had multiple elites — the highest-income and wealthiest voters in the right-wing parties, and the best-educated in the left-wing parties.

Piketty argues that this is because "parties of the left totally changed in nature and adopted completely new platforms." As a result, "the less educationally advantaged classes came to believe that the parties of the left now favor the newly advantaged educated classes and their children over people of more modest backgrounds."

Piketty rightly disagrees with American political scientists who have argued that the rightward movement of the American working class is entirely driven by ex nihilo bigotry and mindless identity politics. He does not deny that bigotry (especially the anti-immigrant variety) indeed has political traction in many countries. But blaming the rise of the extreme right on the rancid beliefs of the working classes fails to explain the universality and gradualness of the voting shift. Between 1960 and 2019, left parties slowly went from losing the top 10 percent most highly-educated voters, often by a huge margin, to winning them, in the U.S., U.K., Sweden, France, Germany, Norway, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, Holland, Australia, and New Zealand. The margins vary but the trend is inexorable and consistent. These countries have wildly varying politics around immigration and racism, but all were subject to the neo-proprietarian global economic order.

As Piketty notes, the racism hypothesis also excuses left party elites for bad decisions: "It is obviously very convenient for the elites to explain everything by stigmatizing the supposed racism of the less advantaged." And on the other hand, if the working classes were really fervent adherents of xenophobic politics, one would expect them to vote in large numbers for right-wing parties. In reality, "The fact that [their turnout] is very low clearly shows that many less-advantaged voters are not satisfied with the choices presented to them," he writes.
Quinn Slobodian and Mirowski were two of the editors of Nine Lives of Neoliberalism.
Slobidian blocked me on twitter for reminding him that intellectual history is not synonymous with history. The French, most of them, have a sense of irony that American academics will never get.
It's good that Americans are reading Piketty now and not Bourdieu.
But if “using rare words and tropes in place of common words and phrases” is a strategy of “deliberate transgression” of the norms of clear prose characteristic of the dominant classes and is opposed to “the hyper-correction strategies of pretentious outsiders,” then Bourdieu is a master strategist. Words such as lexis, allodoxia, chiastic, askesis, espace hodologique, hysteresis, and of course habitus (and, indeed, hysteresis of habitus) are scattered throughout the text. That a work of social science should—”unlike the sometimes illuminating intuitions of the essay”—require an effort on the part of the reader is fair enough. Here, however, reality disappears into the hypertrophied rhetoric of the Ecole Normale.
Graph from Piketty
Piketty explains the obvious.
I wrote a book called "If you're an Egalitarian How Come You're so Rich?" And the final chapter discusses fourteen reasons people give for not giving away their money when they're rich but they profess belief in equality, twelve of which are, well, rubbish. I think there are two reasonable answers that a person who doesn't give too much of it away can give and one of them has to do with the burden of depressing yourself below the level of your peer group with whom you're shared a certain way of life; and in particular, depriving your children of things that the children around them favor. 
No crab-faced alien can be blamed for transforming me from a slacker in a black dress into what I am today. According to sociologist Annette Lareau, I’m a product of my social class.
24/7 nanny coverage means hiring three full-time (8 hour shift) nannies, down to two when your kid is able to sleep through night regularly. Having a nanny on shift does not mean you never interact with the kid. It can mean that while your playing outside he or she is doing the kid’s laundry. It means that when a colleague returns your calls while your playing or feeding your child, you can take the call without yelling for your spouse to stop what she’s doing to watch your child. I’ve seen the stress-levels that dual professional couples with dual-nannies display around the house. It’s a lot less than the stress-levels at mine, where there are no nannies.
He also explains Buppie neoliberalism.

Capitalism in fact is expanding exponentially.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

A repeat from 2017, because I'm seeing more and more of this stupidity in the US.

In the end it all dovetails. Everything I've watched for 40 years: curdled idealism and mannerist fragility; engineers' anti-humanism; academic theorizing and the celebration of autistic reason; preadolescent sexuality in adolescence and adulthood, from Weininger to Scott Aaronson.

"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."

The world is just a barrel-organ which the Lord God turns Himself.
We all have to dance to the tune which is already on the drum.

Living in a silent film...

The explicitly left slides into the explicitly right. A hundred years ago they understood.
"...he told me that even if he were to give me an answer, I would not understand it."

Fascism is a symptom and a sensibility. Vanguardism is romantic pedantry in modernity.

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been in contact via intermediaries with Curtis Yarvin, Politico Magazine reported this week. Yarvin, a software engineer and blogger, writes under the name Mencius Moldbug. His anti-egalitarian arguments have formed the basis for a movement called “neoreaction.”

The main thrust of Yarvin’s thinking is that democracy is a bust; rule by the people doesn’t work, and doesn’t lead to good governance. He has described it as an “ineffective and destructive” form of government, which he associates with “war, tyranny, destruction and poverty.” Yarvin’s ideas, along with those of the English philosopher Nick Land, have provided a structure of political theory for parts of the white-nationalist movement calling itself the alt-right. The alt-right can be seen as a political movement; neoreaction, which adherents refer to as NRx, is a philosophy. At the core of that philosophy is a rejection of democracy and an embrace of autocratic rule.
The first weeks of the Trump presidency have brought as much focus on the White House’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, as on the new president himself. But if Bannon has been the driving force behind the frenzy of activity in the White House, less attention has been paid to the network of political philosophers who have shaped his thinking and who now enjoy a direct line to the White House.

They are not mainstream thinkers, but their writings help to explain the commotion that has defined the Trump administration’s early days. They include a Lebanese-American author known for his theories about hard-to-predict events; an obscure Silicon Valley computer scientist whose online political tracts herald a “Dark Enlightenment”; and a former Wall Street executive who urged Donald Trump’s election in anonymous manifestos by likening the trajectory of the country to that of a hijacked airplane—and who now works for the National Security Council.

Bannon, described by one associate as “the most well-read person in Washington,” is known for recommending books to colleagues and friends, according to multiple people who have worked alongside him. He is a voracious reader who devours works of history and political theory “in like an hour,” said a former associate whom Bannon urged to read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. “He’s like the Rain Man of nationalism.”
Land was our Nietzsche – with the same baiting of the so-called progressive tendencies, the same bizarre mixture of the reactionary and the futuristic, and a writing style that updates nineteenth century aphorisms into what Kodwo Eshun called “text at sample velocity.” Speed— in the abstract and the chemical sense— was crucial here: telegraphic tech-punk provocations replacing the conspicuous cogitation of so much post-structuralist continentalism, with its implication that the more laborious and agonised the writing, the more thought must be going on.... 
What, then, is Land’s philosophy about?

In a nutshell: Deleuze and Guattari’s machinic desire remorselessly stripped of all Bergsonian vitalism, and made backwards-compatiblewith Freud’s death drive and Schopenhauer’s Will. The Hegelian-Marxist motor of history is then transplanted into this pulsional nihilism: the idiotic autonomic Will no longer circulating idiotically on the spot, but upgraded into a drive, and guided by a quasi-teleological artificial intelligence attractor that draws terrestrial history over a series of intensive thresholds that have no eschatological point of consummation, and that reach empirical termination only contingently if and when its material substrate burns out. This is Hegelian-Marxist historical materialism inverted: Capital will not be ultimately unmasked as exploited labour power; rather, humans are the meat puppet of Capital, their identities and self-understandings are simulations that can and will be ultimately be sloughed off.
This summer, I seriously considered withdrawing from any involvement in politics. Exhausted through overwork, incapable of productive activity, I found myself drifting through social networks, feeling my depression and exhaustion increasing.

‘Left-wing’ Twitter can often be a miserable, dispiriting zone. Earlier this year, there were some high-profile twitterstorms, in which particular left-identifying figures were ‘called out’ and condemned. What these figures had said was sometimes objectionable; but nevertheless, the way in which they were personally vilified and hounded left a horrible residue: the stench of bad conscience and witch-hunting moralism. The reason I didn’t speak out on any of these incidents, I’m ashamed to say, was fear. The bullies were in another part of the playground. I didn’t want to attract their attention to me.
Last week the writer Mark Fisher took his own life. His on/off struggle with depression was something he wrote about with courageous candour in articles and in his landmark book Capitalist Realism: is There No Alternative? Fisher argued that the pandemic of mental anguish that afflicts our time cannot be properly understood, or healed, if viewed as a private problem suffered by damaged individuals. Rather, it was the symptom of a heartless and hopeless politics: precarious employment and flexible work patterns, the erosion of class solidarity and its institutions such as unions, and the relentless message from mainstream political parties and media alike that “there is no alternative” to managerial capitalism. That this is as good as it gets – so deal with it.

Finally the depression that Fisher, 48, had dissected acutely and fought against doggedly got the better of him. He left behind a wife and young son, a close-knit network of friends, allies, colleagues and students, and an ever-widening readership, all of whom were waiting always to hear what he had to say next.
Mark Fisher memorial fund launched in wake of music writer’s death 
The collection has been set up to raise money for Mark’s wife, Zoë and his young son, George.

A memorial fund for Mark Fisher, the influential music writer and theorist who died last Friday (January 13), has been launched by a group of his colleagues, comrades and friends.

Fisher, who contributed regularly to FACT in the magazine’s early years, used his K-Punk blog as a platform for examining mainstream and underground music from a cultural theorist’s perspective. In 2009, he published Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?, on Zero books was also a founder member of Warwick University’s Cybernetic Culture Research Unit.

The collection has been set up to raise money for Mark’s wife, Zoë and his young son, George, “in the hope that it will allow them space to grieve and come to terms with their loss, and reduce the number of things they have to deal with at this devastating time.”

You can donate to the memorial fund via YouCaring.

Musicians, writers, theorists and colleagues have been paying tribute in the days since his death, with Fisher’s friend and comrade Simon Reynolds describing him as “a cult figure,” and “the most original and provocative writer about popular culture – and its interface with the political – of the last fifteen years.”

Owen Hatherley, whose book – Militant Modernism – came out on Zero Books in 2009, recalled his “last happy memory” of Fisher at a Zero Books event in Zagreb around five years ago, while music writer David Stubbs, writing for The Quietus, called Fisher’s Capitalist Realism “his most vital text,” and “among the most vital political texts of the 21st century.”

Music writer Adam Harper, whose blog Rouge’s Foam was inspired by K-Punkrecalled the first time he met Fisher in 2010, writing: “Mark isn’t just the figure behind every significant thing I’ve done as a critic. His theory is now deeply embedded in who I am and what I say.”

Verso author Juliet Jacques called Fisher “a rare example of a popular British academic,” on the Verso blog, urging readers to return to Mark’s work.

Read next: Mark Fisher on The Pop Group’s enduring radicalism
A wasted life dedicated to an illusion, and a final selfish act abandoning a wife and child. A life lived in a bubble, the present tense, his own experience, repeating others' mistakes, out of "fandom".
Although the nineteenth-century philosopher G.W.F. Hegel is known as a defender of bourgeois society and so of what came to be known after him as capitalism, I think the evidence suggests that his answer to these questions is far more negative than is widely recognized, and this in a distinctive sense that remains relevant today. I want to try to explain this counterintuitive claim. Hegel, of course, writing in Germany in the early nineteenth century, had no idea of the full scope of the industrial capitalism to come, but he certainly saw that a largely agricultural and artisanal/craft/predominantly homebound economy was changing into a wage-labor economy, and his worries about that alone are apposite. What makes him especially worth returning to in our present circumstances, however, is that while material inequalities and the resulting systematic unfairness were important to him, Hegel’s principal focus was on the experiences of ourselves and others inherent in the ordinary life required by such a productive system. These issues are often misleadingly marginalized as “psychological,” but as recent events have shown, they are crucial to the possibility of the social bonds without which no society can survive.
File under Drift.
More discovery of the obvious. Capitalism and technocracy destroyed bourgeois society. And Hegel was a still a "writer" in a way that later generations of moralizing pseudoscience disdained.
Robert Pippen is a lightweight, but that doesn't make him wrong. It's just another sign of confusion and slow change.

The source for the link to Pippin, Anton Jäger, the author of "It might take awhile before history starts again"
It seems almost impossible to write a ‘history of the present’ when the present itself has become so diffuse. Much like how the Marxist theory of history felt obsolete in an age after history, the unfolding corona crisis is always one step ahead of us in its awesome abstractions: 50% cut in GDP, 30% unemployment, 5 trillion dollar stimulus, 15 million jobs lost. ‘History’ is clearly taking place, but maybe we barely remember what ‘history’ means anymore.
The writing at the newest[?] vanguardist hipster rag quotes but doesn't name sources. It's all insider baseball. But don't confuse Damage with Salvage, “coffee table architectural favela porn.”

History never stops. And the history of the present is a bourgeois fantasy of an avant-garde outside of time and place, 19th century rhetoric made into 20th century pseudoscience. "I'm not bourgeois!" is "value free science!" from the "left".
Jäger characterizes the modern state as “hard and hollow,"... 
Jäger may indeed be correct that the modern conception of populism descends from McCarthy-era suspicion of popular opinion,...
"Hard and hollow", an empty stahlhartes Gehause. It doesn't even begin with Weber, or the crushing of the Peasants' War

Without minimizing in the slightest the conservative weight of German authoritarian institutions or the bitterness of the liberal opposition to them during the 19th century, an historical view into any period of modern German history must still acknowledge that the external posture of German liberalism has ever been qualified by its distinctive internal structure. The juxtaposition—indeed, even the connection—of one conception of liberty that could be realized only within the authoritarian state and of another that could be realized only in an absolute realm beyond all states is a commonly remarked German phenomenon. It has been traced back to Luther and up to Hitler. My problem is to show what the connection between these two apparently antithetical conceptions has been and how it has grown. 


Jumping ahead, "nonsite": Adolph Reed, Robert Smithson and Michael Fried. I should have at least noted the reference. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Chomsky and Mehdi Hasan etc.


Chomsky is being attacked by idiot fantasists. I'm with Chomsky, not Hasan.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Earnest left-liberal blah blah Ryan Cooper says "This is good"
The biggest difference between Gornick’s Communists and today’s socialists, of course, is that—for better and worse—there is no Communist Party, and no world power backing it. The Communists “came from everywhere,” as Gornick puts it, not because they all had socialist parents or grew up in the radical milieu of the Jewish Lower East Side, though many did. They came from everywhere because they lived through a world-historical moment—the Depression—and the Party, itself the product of the world-historical Russian Revolution, was there waiting for them. As Belle Rothman tells Gornick, “Life came in on us, and we were bashed over the head, and we struggled to our knees and to our feet, and when we were standing there was the Communist Party.” CP membership more than tripled over the course of the 1930s, from 18,000 to over 65,000, and peaked at 85,000. 
But the CP dwindled, the Soviet Union collapsed, the unions were broken. By the time the Great Recession bashed today’s socialists over the head, there was nothing there. It has taken nearly a decade to build an organization, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), that comes anywhere close to approaching the CP in numbers—DSA currently has around 50,000 members—though it is not really comparable in most other senses.
pathetic, tragic, or farce. I'm not sure what to say. She didn't recognize Gornick's name. She probably wouldn't recognize Michael Harrington.

I'll never forget the Debs-Thomas dinner for Major Owens and Sam Meyers in 1987. Getting drunk with auto mechanics and secretaries, laughing in the face of idiots from the DSA, one of whom I recognized from high school. He went to Yale. He was manning the youth table. My girlfriend was on the executive committee of Meyers' Local 259. She was a secretary/assistant to the film curator at the Whitney, and the shop steward. She was a first generation college grad, but she went on for a PhD. A couple of years after she left, they voted to decertify the union.

The author, Alyssa Battistoni, on twitter: "we are truly entering a golden age of Romance content......keep an eye out for pieces by @AriBrostoff, @sophiepinkhmmm, @CoreyRobin, @micahuetricht, @dtortorici, and more I'm sure" One of the tagged replies, tagging Jodi Dean.

"Jodi Dean, the college professor as intellectual self-pitying Goth",  and Robin.

In the end it all dovetails...

Klub Kids

Le Guin on "content"

I need a tag for the hive.
Now I have one.

We had a lot of fun at that party, beginning with the ride in, picked up at our apartment on the South Side by another member of the executive committee, a Puerto Rican woman in her 50s in an Oldsmobile driven by a man who my girlfriend had explained was "a friend". Her husband was at home, or somewhere, but her friend was a great guy, and they both liked to drink. And she hated Victor Potamkin.

All the anti-Koch politicos were there. Rangel was there. Dinkins spoke; Harrington spoke. I remember my reaction not the words. Both were boring, Dinkins out of political tact and weakness, Harrington because he was earnest and out of his depth. The long-time UAW lawyers spoke with camaraderie and humor. The Jesuitical dissimulation of lawyers is a kind of honesty. Owens was great. Before he was a politician he was a librarian. He loved libraries and books, the public good.

Meyers was a creature from another era. He was stentorian and comic. He acknowledged with theatrical forbearance that some of his people had voted for Reagan but said they would come to regret it. He launched into a speech that he must have been giving for years, stories that everyone from the union had heard dozens of times, and which they were ready out of a similar forbearance to go through again, especially the bits timed to make the politicos and newbies blanch.  "I remember in 1945!... The first shop I was sent to organize, way out in Flatbush.  I walked in and the first man I saw was this SIX FOOT SPADE...!" He held the pause long enough to hear the uninitiated shuffle in their seats. "AND THAT MAN WAS BROTHER JOHN JOHNSON!!" A tall black man rose slowly, shaking his head, looking at the ground, smiling. He raised his head and a hand to the room and stood as Meyers continued the story. Next up was Brother Pete Papadopoulos, later the woman who'd given us a ride to the party. Last up was my girlfriend. "WE GOT ART HISTORIANS NOW!" Everyone had a story told. The romance was real but faded. The friendships were still there.

If I'm telling stories I should talk about the night at dinner in the early 70s when my father found out to his chagrin that he was a hero to the local CP. The son of an old friend was in town and staying at the party office. They had places to crash. My father called at the end of dinner and the kid on the line interrogated him: "Who are you? What do you want?" My father gave his name.  "Oh,Yes sir! Yes, Mr Edenbaum. I'll get him sir." Sitting at the table I watched my father move the phone away from his ear, incredulous.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

If he deletes it the text will stay on the page.

A few days ago Philip Mirowski opened up a draft of a paper for comments. I'd already made mine before I read the above.

"Democracy, Expertise and the Post-Truth Era: An Inquiry into the Contemporary Politics of STS Version 1.1"
It's a draft and I won't copy his words, but he begins with a quote.
One part of the US vote was a loud vote against expertise. Clinton became, among other things, a symbol for technocracy... Views and debates within STS about the nature of expertise seem oddly irrelevant in this context. The differences between accounts of expertise in realist terms (Collins and Evans, 2002), as institutionally constituted parts of larger regimes (Jasanoff, 2004) or as discrete networks (Eyal, 2013), while stark for readers of this journal, are subtle given the wholesale rejection of expertise by voters and the more selective rejection of expertise being continued in some announced appointments. It seems that optimism about the coexistence of democracy and expertise may be misplaced... (Sismondo, 2017)
The whole thing is a joke. No discussion of what the supposed "experts" achieved, or failed to. No reporting of fact. The history of ideas is rationalism built on priors and hot air. Nothing on the record of Volcker and Rubinomics, Greenspan/Ayn Rand, Krugman, Rodrik and Deaton, Tyler Cowen and Tom Nichols. As for "democracy" I brought up my old standbys: Latour is a neoliberal Catholic and The Church is a monarchy;  Feyerabend belongs with de Man and Robbe-Grillet; democracy is relativist as to truth but strict as to form; lawyers are orators not philosophers. "I began to find myself in a dangerous situation as an advocate. I came to believe in the truth of what I was saying." etc. Weber and Kafka. The absurdity of thinking of science as intellectual as opposed to technical. Engineers themselves aren't considered intellectuals, but engineering is seen as a model for intellectual activity, "creating concepts" etc. Game designers are seen as intellectuals, builders of virtual worlds, like philosophers' possible worlds. Science fiction is fantasy. Fantasy is not observation. From my comments:
Science is empiricism. The current wave of "science denial" is a backlash against rationalist bullshit claiming to be science. Shiller and Fama won the non-Nobel prize in economics in the same year for making diametrically opposed arguments. "Teach the conflict"? Angus Deaton won for discovering what they teach in every introduction to systems engineering: efficiency and stability are in inverse proportion. Or as they teach you in kindergarten: don't put all your eggs in one basket.
I should have included Schrader

"The Post-Truth Era." And when exactly was the "Era of Truth"?
What Exactly is neoliberalism? etc.

new tag for Video Games

Monday, April 06, 2020

Vermeule is back.
Last time he was defending the kidnapping of Jewish children, and now it's atheists, sending conservatives to the camps, and this.

He has a tag now; so do the Posners. I trolled Vermeule and his old writing partner on twitter awhile ago asking if they were still friends.

I'd forgotten Vermeule at Crooked Timber. They never end up looking good.

repeat from 2011, a comment at Concurring Opinions
Balkin is acting as an advocate, as lawyers do. He’s engaged in an argument with Posner, Vermeule and their ilk. But his logic or his faith force him to fudge his history to defend his vision of democracy, which allows Vermeule to counter as a hardened realist and blablabla [blablabla]. I find myself more and more envious of Canada and the living tree doctrine, which renders all this irrelevant. 
Our relation to the Constitution is like our relation to Don Giovanni. And every time Peter Sellars has a new production set in Trump Tower or Las Vegas, we set about arguing whether he made the thing fresh or somehow screwed it up. The only difference between the two debates is I suppose the matters of life and death, or justice and tyranny: the baggage of politics. I love baggage; thinking about baggage takes up a good part of my life. But treating politics as baggage, as vulgar, has its advantages. I see no need to waft about in discussions of faith and redemption; fascism is fascism, why pussyfoot around it? Posner and Vermeule defend what lovers of democracy abhor, what else is there to say? They claim to find support for this in the Constitution but Christian kings found support for the Crusades in the Bible. They claim to defend reason. My response is simple. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it: “That authoritarianism has become normative may be a scientific fact, but that does not make authoritarianism itself a scientific truth.”
Balkin is arguing from the past and about the future, but somehow the present is lacking.
…in a hospital tent at the clearing station I came across a man with a French flag wrapped around his waist; the medics discovered it when they cut his shirt away. He was a hard-looking, blondish chap with a mouthful of gold teeth and a face adorned by a cross-shaped knife scar—the croix de vache with which procurers sometimes mark business rivals. An interesting collection of obscene tattooing showed on the parts of him that the flag did not cover. Outwardly he was not a sentimental type.
"Where are you from?" I asked him.
"Belleville," he said. Belleville is a part of Paris not distinguished for its elegance.
"What did you do in civilian life?" I inquired.
That made him grin. "I lived on my income," he said.
"Why did you choose the Corps Franc?"
"Because I understood," he said.


Peter Navarro: “... I'm a social scientist. I have a Ph.D."
cf.  Jon Elster
Jon Schwarz: The Democratic Party Must Harness the Legitimate Rage of Americans. Otherwise, the Right Will Use It With Horrifying Results.
It’s tough to be optimistic that today’s liberals can replicate Roosevelt’s success. The corporate-managerial-legal class that operates the Democratic Party fears anger and sees it as illegitimate as the basis for action. Having beaten back the threat of the Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren presidential candidacies, both fueled by strong populist emotion, they dream of a technocratic politics purified of messy, fickle human feelings.

But the American right specializes in the politics of anger. If the Democrats refuse to harness the legitimate rage of Americans and direct it at those responsible for our predicament, the right will make this anger its own and will win.
The piece has everything: The Democratic Party, The New Deal, John Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath, populism, fascism, technocracy, everything but the word "socialism". It's popular anger and practical politics. It's not radical, not utopian. It's bourgeois to the core.

Sanders and Warren fucked up. Their egos were too big to work together. Change comes from outside and below. The states are leading: Newsom, Inslee, Beshear, (who defeated the "progressive" candidate) followed by journalists with no interest in neutrality.

Yale epidemiologist vs NYT journalist. Empiricism vs Rationalism.

"This is journalistic malpractice. If we don't have scale-up of testing, we will be in lock-down for months & months. There is no debate on this, why frame it like there is one?"

The journalist replies "you’re picking the wrong fight, move along"

The Philosopher: "When academics veer towards activism, perhaps in quest of bureaucratically mandated 'impact', there's often a rise in hyperbole and a corresponding decline in credibility."
Looking through the archives. So confused.

"Lawyers are the rule of law" Joe Jamail. Politics is vulgar.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

When my father’s father’s father had a difficult task to accomplish, he went to a certain place in the forest, lit a fire, and immersed himself in silent prayer. And what he had to do was done. 
When my father’s father was faced with the same task, he went to the same place and said: "We no longer know how to light the fire, but we still know the prayer." And what he had to do was done. 
Later, when my father was faced with the same task, he too went to the forest and said: "We no longer know how to light the fire. We no longer know the mysteries of prayer. But we still know the exact place in the forest where it took place. And that should suffice." And it did suffice. 
But when I was faced with the same task, I stayed at home and I said: "We no longer know how to light the fire. We no longer know the prayer. We don’t even know where the place in the forest is. But we still know how to tell the story."

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

David Weinberger, of the Berkman Center, 2017
If you give people a choice among an infinite supply of media, argues Sunstein, they will gravitate toward content that confirms their existing opinions. Let people connect with whomever they want, and they will connect with those who share their views. Their conversations will then reinforce their beliefs — and, worse, drive them to more extreme versions of those beliefs. They will, in short, form echo chambers. 
The internet satisfies those conditions: it gives us access to a galactic selection of content and enables us to find others who share our beliefs, down to our micro-preferences. For Sunstein, this explains why our culture has become so much more fragmented and polarized. 
According to him, nothing less than the fate of the republic hangs on recognizing and forestalling this danger. At its heart, he argues, the United States is an experiment in deliberative democracy: “[T]he framers’ greatest and most original contribution to political theory,” he writes, was the idea that “heterogeneity, far from being an obstacle, would be a creative force, improving deliberation and producing better outcomes.” Deliberative democracy thus requires that people who disagree be able to talk with one another, constructively and openly, in this way collectively discovering which beliefs are worth holding. Echo chambers, he worries, polarize us to the point that we are unable to have those conversations, and they thus pose a severe threat to democracy itself.
John Quiggin 2008
I’m really, truly, not going to talk about Jonah Goldberg. Instead, I’m going to talk about Cass Sunstein and his idea, reprised in Republic 2.0 that the Internet poses a threat to democracy by virtue of it’s capacity to allow us to avoid information we don’t like. Conservatives are increasingly seeking only conservative views, liberals are seeking only liberal views, and never the twain shall meet.
Sunstein argues that the echo chamber effect tends to reinforce existing views and produce a poisonous partisan divide. 
It seems to me that exactly the opposite is true. The partisan divide in the US is being reinforced because people are more exposed to the other side than before.

Before the Internet, the average liberal or social democrat was largely insulated, on a day-to-day basis, from the kinds of views represented by Free Republic or Little Green Footballs. Similarly, unless we sought out rightwing magazines we were insulated to a large extent from commentators like Goldberg, Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter. Now we can see them minute-to-minute and it’s obvious that the idea of treating them as part of a legitimate discussion is absurd. 
Quiggin reminds me of Jonah Goldberg's imaginary Pauline Kael, who famously said that Nixon couldn’t have won because she didn’t know anybody who voted for him. And that's understating it. Quiggin is defending the ignorance of Martin Luther King's white moderate.  "I suppose I live a sheltered life." And in 2008 Goldberg's opinions on Israel were just slightly to the right of Crooked Timber.

I always thought Sunstein's point was obvious, especially for any culture founded on individualist liberalism. It's that culture that's given us Facebook and surveillance capitalism and personalized marketing, the virtual store where the displays are changed and items moved to the front to fit your last purchases. Newsfeeds work the same way, reinforcing biases, from narrowcasting to microcasting to the narcissism where the world is reduced to a mirror.

Liberal technocrats see the problem not as lack of information but its excess, and the answer to anger in content moderation, censorship, and limits on speech.

Back to Henry: repeats. You really can't make this shit up.
Liberalism of the small-l kind goes together with a strong emphasis on free speech. The implicit assumption is that we will all be better off in a world where everyone can say whatever they want, to whoever they want, even if it is inconvenient, or wrong minded, or crazy.
"small-l". No, son. And I'll add another name to my list of idiots. I got my fill of her on twitter.

Kate Klonick The New Governors: The People, Rules, and Processes Governing Online Speech
...This Article argues that to best understand online speech, we must abandon traditional doctrinal and regulatory analogies and understand these private content platforms as systems of governance. These platforms are now responsible for shaping and allowing participation in our new digital and democratic culture, yet they have little direct accountability to their users. Future intervention, if any, must take into account how and why these platforms regulate online speech in order to strike a balance between preserving the democratizing forces of the internet and protecting the generative power of our New Governors.
Facebook and Google are functional monopolies, so the high priests are arguing that the techlords need their guidance. The simplest answer is avoided, because the powerful love their own power.

Ban Targeted Advertising
As Mark Zuckerberg testifies to Congress about Facebook's privacy failures, here's a wholesale solution for politicians to consider.
Tech Companies Are Destroying Democracy and the Free Press
Ad revenue that used to support journalism is now captured by Google and Facebook, and some of that money supports and spreads fake news.
The problem isn't too much information but that there's not enough of it. And it's not about "fake" news.  "Real" news is a myth. The people who are conned will believe anything that confirms their worse suspicions and their anger. What made them so paranoid?

I grew up reading The NY Times. When I looked at the paper I saw the decisions of the editors, made for and in the name of a subset of the American public. It was the "paper of record". All the News That's Fit to Print, is a statement of authority. When I go to the library and look through a catalogue I see the record of the decisions of a wider subset and a wider authority. It would bother me if the library catalogue were ordered 'just for me', a subset of one. That's now the model of news and information for the majority, and it's seen as normal. And the liberal technocratic response to the new yellow press is to see it as more confirmation of their own status. Stoller and Dayan are middle class supporters of the middling middle class; they write from self-interest and empiricism not neutrality and rationalism, like Duncan Black but not as lazy and with less snobbery.
Elite liberals can't talk to the conservative base without admitting their own responsibility for disaster. The 'left' can't communicate beyond its base because that would mean to end of its idealism. A popular left can only be a movement reflecting the interests of its members. That their adoring middle class base is so central to Sanders and Warren is part of the problem. Again and again: the distinction between solidarity as idea and fact.
Meanwhile, a small group of senior aides had been pushing Sanders for months to go harder on Biden. 
The problem: Sanders actually liked him. Personally, they got along better than he ever did with Hillary Clinton, aides have said. (The former vice president falls into an exclusive category for the Vermont senator: the people who were nice to Sanders before he mattered, as two aides put it recently.) Back in January, it was the candidate’s decision to personally apologize to Biden after one of his surrogates, Zephyr Teachout, wrote an op-ed about Biden’s “corruption problem.”
Dayen: "The Zephyr situation was when you knew that Sanders wasn't willing to do everything it takes."
Attacking Biden would have kept his base happy, but it wouldn't have expanded it.  

I’m just going to cut and paste comments from this story at the Huffington Post on white working class people dying of despair. Keep in mind, the suicide, alcohol, and drug abuse is causing deaths at the level of the AIDS epidemic at its height. This sentiment is common, I just picked comments from one thread on one article. 
“Sorry, not sorry. These people are not worthy of any sympathy. They have run around for decades bitching about poor minorities not “working hard enough,” or that their situation is “their own fault.” Well guess what? It’s not so great when it’s you now, is it? Bunch of deplorables, and if they die quicker than the rest of us that just means the country will be better off in the long run.”
The HuffPo article links to a dead NYT link, an AP article still up elsewhere. The source is Case and Deaton. Deaton: master of the obvious.

Stoller blocked me for reminding him too often how casually he's been consorting with fascists. If this were the UK he'd be a Brexiter, without quite being willing to call it "Lexit". He's a nationalist, an updated cold war liberal, and a Zionist. He's always been a self-important ass. Dayan's a reporter with no pretense; his anger is basic and grounded in experience. Stoller is an "intellectual".

I've always read right wing sites, and I trolled them as much as I trolled the 'left'. I was banned as I was blocked on twitter. I used to tell earnest liberals they should read more, but I always got one answer: "I'm on the web to talk to friends." I'm still following right wing sites and watching the anger that no one left or liberal wants to face directly.

"They are not intellectuals, but occasionally dream that they will be. That is their secret ambition." And 60 years later they got their wish.

Liberalism is a disaster. America has always been a disaster.
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 PeliculasBingo 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. 


Jumping forward, to August, on the same subject, and Balkin's "information fiduciaries". 
adding this, years later:  "First Things First: Online Advertising Practices and Their Effects on Platform Speech"