Saturday, May 30, 2020

Joseph Koerner

Back to Sauerländer in 1996.

It was a mistake to use his own voice. Using an actor would have given it more distance, allowing us to hear the text he wrote performed to match the care in the writing. Art is artifice. He calls it a visual essay, but the images are illustrations: they augment the text rather than the other way around. It's a historical and autobiographic essay set to images and music. It was edited by a professional. I'm criticizing is as an artwork, the construction, crafting of an object, a thing of one sort of another, but the essay is lovely, and the result is moving. He's trying to do something.

Bosch and Bruegel: From Enemy Painting to Everyday Life

Colin Eisler told me years ago to stop doing what I was doing and "do what you want".
He'd become a nihilist; he knew the past was being forgotten and decided there was no use trying to be serious anymore.
The point is to work with what you have.

I would've liked to meet Sauerländer.  I'd like to meet Koerner.

Friday, May 29, 2020

"Weary from looting and arson, south Minneapolis asks: Where are the police?"
Just across the street, only the walls remained of the Hexagon Bar, a neighborhood bar that hosted bands on most weekend nights.
Now 64, Debbie Hedemark was born right down the street. Her mother used to go to the bar, where her sister worked.
“This is my bingo place where I play bingo. I’m not a drinker, but I come down to play bingo,” Hedemark said. “I love the place.”
Hedemark wonders why there are police lining up around the area where people had rioted and looted buildings Wednesday night instead of stopping people from burning down buildings.
“They have the cops all standing there right now, not letting nobody in there, but everything is gone there. Why are they there?” She said. “Why aren’t they following these people? Where are they going to attack next?”
Collins is author of the piece linked above.
I grew up in the ACLU, when it represented Nazis; before it picked sides on the 2nd Amendment and partnered with Wall Street. The office secretary would put my mother on the line when the Panthers or the NOI called. The secretary, my sometime babysitter, was arrested with her girlfriend who was on the FBI's most wanted list, but she was the secretary not a director. My mother thought bank robbery was stupid, but at least it was what she called "political action".

Spencer Coxe referred to the ACLU as a conservative organization. I've said that before. The rule of law is conservative.

Read the link on Coxe's name; the names people mentioned are white shoe Philadelphia lawyers in every way that phrase once meant. Henry W Sawyer III was the first man I ever knew with a bowler and a bumbershoot. One of the staff lawyers was a squash partner of Juan Carlos I. The contradictions of that scene were key.

The staff of the ACLU in those years was made up of lawyers from old families, retired businessmen, bored housewives, and recent law school grads and young radicals: between people who didn't need money and people who didn't want it. No one was interested in a career. I think even the young radicals realized that the organization they were a part of wasn't utopian. That's what gave the whole thing its spine.

The yuppies later brought the rot.
Higgins really is an idiot.
"The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear."

My point has always been that this is the crisis of modernity, that Baudelaire and others said the same thing decades earlier, applied to themselves and their own preoccupations; that it applies even more to Modernism as an ideology predicated on the fallacy that no statement can be used to reflect back on the author without undermining the argument itself; that formalism, the insistence on non-contradiction, requiring only that statements be true according to their own criteria, is the definition of decadence, the replacement of observation with rationalism, of art with with artifice. That's the relation of Wittgenstein and Weininger's Fin de siècle Vienna. I even used Quine as an epigraph for Bronzino. The Gramsci quote is a perfect description of Mannerism, the crisis period of the Counter-Reformation before the resolution and return to relative calm, and the final flowering of Catholic authority in the age of the bourgeois. But I've almost never used that quote. it's too obvious.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

"The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer."

Interestingly, Chekhov was convinced his works could never be successfully translated. They would make no sense, he thought, outside the family that was Russia. Dickens, who wished to extend his family everywhere, was happy with translations. His work was hugely successful in Naples, where family reigns supreme, and was held up as a positive example by the government of the newly united Italy in its drive to promote domestic values and national cohesion.

Were there other writers, I wondered, for whom this hierarchy of values held, novelists whose plots, one way or another, hinged around belonging and its attendant emotions, however differently they might come at it—just as Dickens and Chekhov come at it differently, and position themselves differently, though obviously obsessed by the same questions and construing life in the same way?

Over time, reading and rereading carefully, I found these authors who fit the description: Virginia Woolf, Natalia Ginzburg, Elsa Morante, George Eliot, Haruki Murakami, Graham Swift, François-René Chateaubriand. Many other lesser names, too, in genre fiction as well as literary. Many Italians, perhaps because I read a lot of Italian literature, or perhaps because the values of belonging are so powerful in Italian society. Dante, writing in exile, is obsessed with belonging; the deepest circle of hell is reserved for the treacherous, those who betrayed family and community.

On the other hand, I haven’t found a single American whose work I can place in this category. Does this tell me something about America? Or the limitations of my idea?
You must look through the surface of American art, and see the inner diabolism of the symbolic meaning. Otherwise it is all mere childishness. 
In America there are comparatively few who are rich enough to live without profession. Every profession requires an apprenticeship, which limits the time of instruction to the early years of life. At fifteen they enter upon their calling, and thus their education ends at the age when ours begins. Whatever is done afterwards is with a view to some special and lucrative object; a science is taken up as a matter of business, and the only branch of it which is attended to is such as admits of an immediate practical application.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

je suis Ahmed

Buppies vs the fratboy left [et al.]

Light skinned b'guppie, "avid birder", (Harvard, Marvel Comics) in the habit of carrying dog treats to entice dogs away from their owners for the "intransigent" act of letting them them off the leash, and recording them on his phone if they complain, meets yuppie woman who thinks all black men are scary.
Fang's "self-appointed guardians of idpol" confused the names of two journalists, Fang and Fong, who make similar arguments. Beaman and Seijo equate the right to plastic surgery with the right to education. Rad queer theory and vanguardist contempt for the working class, oblivious to the history of the demimonde. American optimism turns everything into a Disney fantasy, including Marx and de Sade.
Fang's an idiot. It can't simply be cowardice. But at least he doesn't write for Quillette.
I'm sure Christian Cooper, creator of the first gay Star Trek character, and the first named for a fascist,  would be happy to create a black gay Captain America or GI Joe.

All my sympathies to the families of George Floyd and Ahmed Merabet, who never went to Harvard or the École normale.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Uncle Tom, Oreo, Kapo. "He Toms from the heart"

White "progressives" now seeing the contradictions of black chip-on-my-shoulder assimilationism. Condescending pedants who always complained are crowing in vindication.
There have been a few times in my life when I was told, by black men, that I was black, or "not white". The 21 year old who used those words said them almost as a question, because he was surprised that he could say it. The last time it was a warning from a man about my age at the end of a long day. Before he left he punched me in the chest, hard, and pointed his finger in my face. "Stay black!" I smiled, and may have laughed. Compliments can be rescinded. It didn't give me the right self-identify as black. Even if I don't quite identify as white.

Israel was founded by European Jews who identified with Europe but claimed a right to "return" to Palestine. Decades after the acceptance of Liberal Zionism we now have Liberal Garveyism. But when I ask a Zionist Ashkenazi if he's Jewish or white more often than not the response is surprise. An immediate answer is rare.

The obvious, and forgotten, parallel to Israel is Liberia, also founded in conquest. The Christian descendants of immigrant ex-slaves ruled under a system founded in Jim Crow; African-Liberians didn't get the right to vote until the 1960s. And then we can talk about skin tone.

If racism is a fact then race is a fact. Self-hatred is a fact. Political facts are facts.

I'll say it again and again: language in use does not follow the law of non-contradiction. Pedantry is anti-political.

These idiots can't even realize they're making the old argument against affirmative action. It's all just another marker of slow change.

Whiteboy would never go after one of his Jewish identitarian friends like this. Meanwhile @sadvil goes for the easy layup.

Jones deleted the tweet. She realized the trap she'd set herself.

Fang retweets a liberal Zionist political scientist and libertarian-lite think-tanker linking a paper by a light-skinned Princeton professor and neoliberal think-tanker who claims like Deleuze to have created a concept, "agenda seeding", whereby minorities influence the behavior of majorities. Needless to say they seed with their own blood but they get better results if they act like saints. Once again social science discovers the obvious. And of course Fang and Grossman mock the "wokeness" that's the desired result among majorities to minorities' complaints. Grossman links to an article in the Jewish identitarian Tablet on white savior liberalism that ends with a quote from a Jewish defender of white identity politics. And Fang is a fan of Thomas Chatterton Williams, author of Yes, Blame Hip-Hop, Hegel at Georgetown, and Unlearning Race.
[T]his cheerful manifesto of the light-skinned and well placed, carries an atmosphere of gratitude for the acceptance France has promised Williams’s children. He has assured himself that in these times of tattoos, manipulations of the body, gender subversion, transition, transformations of the self, class fantasies, and cultural smugness, not much essentialism remains in definitions of blackness. We are saved already if we but knew it; we are already well, sound, and clear; we have only to recognize it.
And yet Williams was capable once of putting it as a question. Equal in Paris?
The satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo is one such thoroughly French institution. That is what you hear again and again if you criticize the content this paper trafficked in. “But you cannot understand Charlie Hebdo if you are not French”; “Charlie Hebdo has been a pillar of the French popular culture that shaped us; It is our tradition!” dozens of friends have insisted, as if somehow all traditions are noble and worthy of upholding. One of my oldest and kindest friends from Paris, a man with a beautifully aristocratic last name, made a point the other day that seems to have become one of the default rationales: “But Charlie Hebdo offended everyone the same. My grandmother, who is a practicing Catholic, will tell you they are harsher with the Pope than with anyone else.” While this may even be true, Anatole France had the right of it when he said, “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

...In the five years that I have lived in France, I have more than once been welcomed into well-furnished rooms where I have been left to silently puzzle over colonial detritus—Sambo-like dolls and figurines, thick-lipped, bug-eyed, disembodied brown porcelain heads—cavalierly displayed on illuminated shelves and marble tabletops. The first few times I saw these mementos I was jarred, though it is also possible for me to talk and laugh and drink in such spaces, because I am with friends, and I am comfortable in my status as an American who has made his home in Paris but is always free to leave. And yet, I would be lying if I denied that there is some small part of my consciousness still tender with ancestral ache, which cannot ever allow me to lose sight of these outlandish trophies and souvenirs. They seem to somehow comfort or amuse my hosts, reminding them of nothing at all or of some far less complicated and stressful past, and fit smartly in the décor alongside equestrian prints, layered “oriental” rugs, and grandfather’s antelope heads from Africa mounted on the wall.
Between Coates and Williams I'll take Coates. I'll always prefer honest contradiction, confusion and anger, to blithe superiority, snobbery and condescension.

"The greatest obstacle to success for middle-class blacks is not white racism but the allure of hip-hop culture."
N+1 has a thing for self-hating minorities/reactionaries:  Andrea Long ChuWesley Yang writes for Tablet, attacking identity politics. Even his critics, in this country, can't see the absurdity. Jews are white now. They don't have an identity politics. Amazing.
The first piece in The Souls of Yellow Folk, the collection of Wesley Yang’s journalism, goes in with a bang. “The Face of Seung-Hui Cho,” Yang’s 2008 essay on the mass shooter of Virginia Tech, is a remarkable attempt to trace the author’s kinship with a young man who, one year earlier, had killed thirty-two people and then killed himself. Outlining Cho’s abysmal, toxified, embittered half-life, Yang describes his own as well.
And we're back to Scott Aaronson and Aaron Swartz, who now finally has a tag.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Subaltern II, etc.

"Read this before you write about Hungarian democracy"
Why Western progressive media is to blame?
For essentially a decade now, the public discourse on Hungary has been trapped in an ever-repeating vicious circle. It’s a postmodern spectacle where each party tends to confirm their own narratives through the actions of the other. The screenplay goes something like this:
Orbán accuses Western liberals of attempting to take away Hungary’s sovereignty. Orbán infringes on the abstract ideals of liberal democracy. Orbán gets criticised for infringing upon said ideals. Orbán accuses Western liberals of attempting to take away Hungary’s sovereignty.
It’s a self-reinforcing process. Each op-ed published on prominent newspapers on the state of Hungarian democracy becomes propaganda material for the government. Their content confirms the median voter’s anxiety of losing grasp over their community to foreign powers. In a way, conservatives in Hungary want to “take back control”. Remind you of anything?

To someone unfamiliar with the intricacies of Eastern European history, this can easily seem absurd. “What is it about liberal democracy that would make one lose control? The whole point is to gain control over the government’s actions.” Such a reading misses three essential points, however.

a. Liberal democracy as a colonising force
On one hand, liberal democracy is not native to Hungary. It’s an exotic foreign good. An import that was extremely popular for a very long period nevertheless: for much of the three decades following the regime change in 1989, the Hungarian electorate was fairly enthusiastic with Western values. Orbán himself championed some sort of classical conservative-liberal stance in 2006, often criticising then Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány for his involvement with Russia and the wave of police violence that flared up in response to protests against his government.

But all foreign things eventually go out of fashion. Perhaps made worse by the painful hangover of unfulfilled expectations, Hungarians turned away from Western values. Liberal democracy came to be associated with the shock-therapy privatisation of the 90s, the political and fiscal crisis of 2006, and the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. Made worse by the mishandling of the Eurozone in subsequent years and the mass-migration of 2015, progressivism became synonymous with instability, unpredictability, and precarity. But most of all, it came to mean something alien. A colonising force.

b. The new privilege of national self-determination
We thus get to the second important factor in Hungary’s reluctance towards liberal values: sovereignty. This may escape many Western commentators, but national self-determination is a relatively new privilege for Eastern European countries. Perhaps there is no better way to put this than to use the words of Branko Milanovic:

When one draws the line from Estonia to Greece […], one notices that all currently existing countries along that axis were during the past several centuries (and in some cases, the past half-millennium), squeezed by the empires: German (or earlier by Prussia), Russian, Habsburg, and Ottoman. All these countries fought more or less continuously to free themselves from imperial pressure […] Their histories are practically nothing but unending struggles for national and religious emancipation […].

[The 1989 revolutions] were often interpreted as democratic revolutions. Thus the current “backsliding” of East European countries toward overt or covert authoritarianism is seen as a betrayal of democratic ideals or even, more broadly and extravagantly, of the ideals of the Enlightenment. […] This is however based on a misreading of the 1989 revolutions. If they are, as I believe they should be, seen as revolutions of national emancipation, simply as a latest unfolding of centuries-long struggle for freedom, and not as democratic revolutions per se, the attitudes toward migration and the so-called European values become fully intelligible.
remember, this is the new Branko talking, not the old one.
He approves the essay, and he still can't see the conflict.

Owen Paine, AKA Pinky, Poète maudit of economics (Maxspeak and Mark Thoma) replies
A liiberal - corporate elite

That is the self contradictory
Ever struggling duality
  Of the United States

Bourgeois hegemony here
As everywhere comes with internal struggles and outside challenges

Trump straddles away
Part back lash demagogue
Part corporate rustler
Prban is clever like PERON
He has a base among wage earners

And appears to be the guardian of.magyar self determination.
Against trans national corporate
 smuggled in as
Cosmo values
Like minority rights
And mushy features
Erasmusian  global values

Friday, May 15, 2020

Cruise what Edward?

Of course it produced responses. Some of these emerged at an extraordinary evening at a History Workshop conference in Oxford in December 1979. This was for some reason held in a dimly-lit ruined building, and had been set up as a discussion. It ended up however as an emotionally-charged event whose repercussions continued for months if not for years. Unfortunately the paper to which Edward was replying which had particularly annoyed him when he saw it a short time before the debate, seems to have been completely re-written for the published version. Nevertheless, the point to which he took particular exception is explained in his published reply - his categorisation as a ‘culturalist'. At the end of the evening a leading History Workshop character asked whether he would continue to publish relevant material. Edward replied that he thought he would not be publishing much of anything for a while, since he felt that his time would be taken up in trying to organise opposition to the sighting of cruise missiles in Britain. The answer was ‘cruise what Edward?’

As a definitive work of ‘theory’ the essay has many shortcomings. It is much more a defence of history than an exposition of an alternative to Althusser’s views of Marxism. Edward saw the dispute not only as a scholarly one, but as the tackling of a set of intellectual assumptions which in politics could be taken to justify Stalinism and the discredited methods of the old Communist parties. Readers of Althusser’s autobiography, a strangely haunting volume which is now available in English as well as French may feel that the gulf between the two writers lies not only in their different intellectual approaches but in their whole lives. Perhaps one may even use the despised word 'experience’?
Dorothy Thompson. The Introduction to The Poverty of Theory.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

we are the world

Idealism, solidarity, and the fantasies of intentional communities.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

repeat from last year, because Kathleen Stock [] is still struggling []with the relation of philosophy, rationalist formalism,  to empiricism and knowledge.
Philosopher Kathleen Stock, linking to Philosopher Holly Lawford-Smith on Twitter
If you’re tempted by the currently fashionable philosophical idea that working descriptive categories are a bit like clubs, and should be “expanded” or “ameliorated” for humane reasons, to be more “inclusive” of people who want to be counted, then see if this tests your resolve.
this is a real paper:
‘How dare you pretend to be disabled?’ The discounting of transabled people and their claims in disability movements and studies

Although the contours of the ‘disabled person’ category are questioned by anti-ableist activists, they remain rigid regarding transabled people (who want to become disabled). For anti-ableist activists, transabled people do not count as disabled. They are perceived to: be falsely disabled; steal resources from disabled people; and be disrespectful by denying, fetishizing, or appropriating marginalized realities. By combining critical discourse analysis, genealogy, and deconstruction, I examine these negative discourses to encourage alliances between anti-ableist activists and transabled people. Ideas developed in disability and trans studies reveal the limits of these discourses anchored in ableist and cisnormative* assumptions.
Blast from the past: when the Associate Editors of Hypatia defamed Rebecca Tuvel
Back in 2017
Tuvel's paper: In Defense of Transracialism

Stock supports Tuvel

If you accept that Tuvel's paper is reasonable then you have to accept that "transablism" is reasonable.

That's a problem for professional rationalists. When the rubber meets the road, Stock and Lawford-Smith, as women and feminists, go against their training. They won't admit it but they do. Leiter is so caught up in defending the profession, and so removed from the issues themselves, that he ties himself in knots.

Feminist philosophers do that as well, when they can twist their rationalizations towards what they want. Empiricism for philosophers is always the last option, only in a crisis, even if only a crisis of confidence 
From "Retroactive withdrawal of consent"  to "Trans men are men (but transwomen are not women)"
[deleted by Medium—account suspended— but still on her own site]
According to Lawford-Smith, trans men are men because they're aspiring to authority through their awareness of a man's world, while transwomen are playing at weakness they can't know. Political justification becomes the foundation of objective truth. And all of this ratiocination is necessary because we want to avoid "pathologizing".
Liberalism in its desperate optimism renders everything perverse.
As the article has circulated over the last few days, reaction has been strong, with many of those sharing the piece asking why it was published. 
A statement endorsed by 2,500 writers, editors and librarians (many of them at academic institutions) says the piece by Harris "calls into question the very identity of transgender people.
Daniel Harris. [calls for censorship discussed here. At some point before Sept. 2021 it was removed from the Antioch webpage. It's on JSTOR
And yet what is the actual difference between Michael Jackson whittling his nose down to a brittle sliver of bone and whitening  his skin with alpha hydroxy acid and arsenic in order to efface his blackness and the TG sanding down her brow bone and hacking off a sizeable chunk of her mandible in order to efface her gender? Why is the one decried as a racially reprehensible instance of self‑mutilation, self‑denial, and self‑loathing and the other extolled as a celebratory instance of self‑liberation? Why is it not only okay but valiant for Caitlyn Jenner to liberate her inner woman through rhinoplasties and  laryngeal shaves while it is deplorable and pathetic for Michael Jackson to liberate his inner Caucasian through bleaching and cleft chin augmentation? When Rachel Dolezal goes to the Palm Beach tanning salon for her weekly $30 dip, she is committing the unconscionable  crime of appropriating blackness (or, in her case, as the Gawker put it, not blackness but “Medium Brown Spray Tan”), but when Laverne  Cox, one of the breakoutperformers [sic] on the television show Orange Is the New Black, slaps on a transdermal estrogen patch, she is lauded as a hero and role model. All of the arguments against plastic surgery—that it is dangerous, even fatal, often botched, and symptomatic of either extreme body dysmorphia or a lamentable effort to accommodate  Hollywood’s chauvinistic ageism—can be leveled against those who transition from one sex to another. The trophy wife and the TG swim, it seems, in the same surgeon‑infested seas.
Drag, like all art forms, is conservative. It's the performance of overdetermined femininity, by men who wish they were women. Life is making lemonade from lemons.
"I've been up all night alone, wondering about my identity. Trying to look for an explanation for living this strange, stylized sexuality. Realization cuts feeling off. I try to explain my identity as being a male who has assumed the attitudes and somewhat the emotions of a female. I don't know what role to play."
Fascism is demanding we confirm that your art is our reality. I've said that before more than once. I'm not going to search to find where.

Self-reporting: "I'm a liberal"

Monday, May 11, 2020

CNN Feb 14
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the conservative nonprofit that is representing the plaintiffs, said in a statement CIAC's policy "robs female athletes of opportunities because of the physical advantages of males." 
"Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field," ADF attorney Christiana Holcomb said in a statement. "Forcing them to compete against boys isn't fair, shatters their dreams, and destroys their athletic opportunities."...

As examples, the lawsuit mentions two transgender athletes by name, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, who it says began competing in the 2017 track season and brought home "15 women's state championship titles."

"The more we are told that we don't belong and should be ashamed of who we are, the fewer opportunities we have to participate in sports at all," Miller said in a statement posted on the ACLU website.

"There is a long history of excluding Black girls from sports and policing our bodies," she said. "I am a runner and I will keep running and keep fighting for my existence, my community, and my rights." 
Miller and Yearwood, the suit says, took "more than 85 opportunities to participate in higher-level competitions from female track athletes" from 2017 to 2019.
In her statement also on the ACLU website, Yearwood said it's painful to see people "not only want to tear down my successes, but take down the laws and policies that protect people like me." 
The lawsuit repeatedly references the two as "male athletes."

"The language of the complaint, which deliberately misgenders transgender youth and demands that high school athletics be organized by chromosomes, is an assault on the basic dignity and humanity of our transgender people," Strangio said in ACLU's statement after the lawsuit....

According to CIAC's reference guide for its transgender policy, school districts should determine a student's participation on sports teams based on the student's gender identity and "daily life activities in the school and community at the time that sports eligibility is determined." 
Those rules, the guide says, are compliant both with state law and Title IX. 
The guide outlines that in a 2019 consultation with the Office for Civil Rights, part of the US Department of Education, a federal compliance officer confirmed that Title IX "supports transgender athletic opportunities with the gender of which a person identifies.
According to the ACLU, Roger Federer could "identify as" a woman and be allowed to play the Women's final at the US Open. And I read about these cases at The Daily Wire, home of Ben Shapiro.

ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio:
In a new project with Google, master photographer Annie Leiobivitz turns the camera and attention onto Strangio himself. Leibovitz shot the lawyer and activist in his home revealing what he calls a “vulnerable” part of himself. Here, we talk to Strangio about being shot by famed photographer, the cis gaze on trans bodies, and trans masculine representation.
Can you tell me a little about this project?
I feel so humbled to be a part of this project that's a partnership between Google and Annie Leibovitz. It takes the work of people who they consider to be changemakers in the world and looks at how we can look at people in the present and what folks are doing as a path toward disruption and change for the future.
A woman so consumed by self-hatred that she's willing to force all women to live according to her own fantasies.
We've been here before. It's called fascism.
And of course if you follow the links you'll end up here.

Stock, Leiter, Tuvel etc.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Corey Robin and Jodi Dean again.
previously. Connecting to this
Solidarity,  among members of a group is not a decision; it's a reflex. The decision would be to refuse it, to chose to be disloyal, forms of which will make you  a "rat", a "snitch", or a "scab".
"What's the difference between a religion and a cult?" My usual and immediate answer is "time". The question is usually treated as a one-liner and I doubt I'm the first to reply as I do. But another way to put it is to say that for most adherents religion isn't a choice. For most Catholics, Catholicism is not an "intentional community". It's one they're born into.  The working class is not an intentional community. Workers are in the community of workers whether they like it or not. Unions put limits on personal freedom because the only defense of workers is collective.  Bourgeois liberalism and leftism, especially the American versions is the politics of idealism and choice. Joseph Raz says we have a choice whether or not to have children, ignoring that children don't have a choice whether or not to have parents. His blinkered argument is an object lesson in the relation of methodological and cultural –ideological– individualism, as obvious and unexamined as the crossover from the optimism of science to the optimism in politics.

The best short discussion of US politics I've had recently was with my second generation Polish immigrant boss. Talking about healthcare, social democracy and why Sanders is an idiot. "Scandinavia isn't politics! It's culture!" He's fully in favor all every standard social democratic policy. He'd be happy in Norway. But his father moved to the US.

Right now millions are out of work and worried about food and liberals are worried about fake news. The right wing base is screaming to open the economy. Corey Robin –Princeton and Yale– brags about teaching at CUNY, and writes about communism (and the same damn book). Buppies in the NYT say the protests are about race. Self-interest still means wanting to feel good about yourself.
New tag for Piketty

Credit where credit is due.
Pulitzer Prize for "Commentary" has gone to...
...Bret Stephens, Thomas Friedman, Charles Krauthammer and, this year, Nikole Hannah-Jones.
Solidarity (repeats)

An outraged Davis, who has fought for justice in his sister's murder for years, had trouble calming himself and had to step out of the courtroom. He later told the Boston Globe he owed Judge Casper an apology for his behavior, yet was livid at the suggestion he was an informant: "I’d take a bullet before I’d ever incriminate anyone.”

Apparently, accusations of being a tattle-tale are worse than accusations of murder.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

The absurdity of Brian Leiter. Adding to the record.
Directory of "Philosophers in Industry" (i.e., outside academia)
Philosopher Marcus Arvan (Tampa) has created this useful resource "intended to help academic philosophers network outside of academia, given persistent shortages in academic jobs particularly in the COVID-19 era." There is information at the website about how to contact Professor Arvan to add a name.
Richard Marshall interviews Gavin Kerr (Maynooth)... 3:16 AM.
"Gaven Kerr is a Thomist from Belfast, Northern Ireland, a married father of three, and a Third Order Dominican. He teaches theology at Mary Immaculate College Limerick." 
etc. "Scientists" and theologians against "charlatans"
"Slave revolt" 
"The Case Against Free Speech" 
"...the supposed boundary between speculative metaphysics and natural science."
Jon Elster and The Holberg Prize 
Analytical Marxists and German Bankers

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

"None of this is how medicine is supposed to be practiced in the data-centric 21st century"
Sultana was running out of options, and she had to act quickly. She researched the anecdotal reports on treatments with potential against the coronavirus. One was a powerful anti-inflammatory drug often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system also goes into overdrive, attacking the body. She reasoned that Fiske might respond to this drug, called Actemra, which inhibits a particular cytokine called IL-6. Following promising results in China when the drug was used off-label in Covid-19 patients, the FDA had approved its use in U.S. clinical trials in March. (Reports from Italy using a similar drug, Kezvara, showed similar outcomes; it is now in global clinical trials.)
None of this is how medicine is supposed to be practiced in the data-centric 21st century, but Sultana and her colleagues across the world have found themselves flinging any plausible weapon at the virus.
Evidence-based garbage.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

repeat from 2003
Jack Balkin is still arguing with Larry Solum on the subject of Constitutional change.
Solum refers to himself as a "neoformalist" and lays out some principles as to what that description means. That's all well and good, but he's talking to others who are not neoformalists. And there are plenty of others of various other persuasions who are involved in debates on the same subject. In this case a neoformalist is debating a hybrid historicist textualist social constructivist liberal. Never mind how change should happen, how does it happen? What are the terms of the debate they are already having? We need a little less theorizing and a little more sociological observation. Balkin understands this; after all I think it fits in with his philosophy, but Solum seems not to, and is simply trying to invent ways to justify his moral conservatism with a veneer of logic. But if history is anything other than repitition, it's dialectics. As a simple matter of fact, Solum's ideals, even if they come and go in popularity, simply fail as a description of why they do so.
I think this is when I emailed Balkin telling him he was always far too polite, and he replied defending honey over vinegar.  11 years later we got "Why are Americans Originalist?" and Kill'em with Kindness, all too coy by half.

Now we get a symposium on this.
The Partisan Republic is the first book to unite a top down and bottom up account of constitutional change in the Founding era. The book focuses on the decline of the Founding generation's elitist vision of the Constitution and the rise of a more 'democratic' vision premised on the exclusion of women and non-whites. It incorporates recent scholarship on topics ranging from judicial review to popular constitutionalism to place judicial initiatives like Marbury vs Madison in a broader, socio-legal context. The book recognizes the role of constitutional outsiders as agents in shaping the law, making figures such as the Whiskey Rebels, Judith Sargent Murray, and James Forten part of a cast of characters that has traditionally been limited to white, male elites such as James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Marshall. Finally, it shows how the 'democratic' political party came to supplant the Supreme Court as the nation's pre-eminent constitutional institution.
Jud Campbell, sends us here.
Federalist 37  [Madison]
All new laws, though penned with the greatest technical skill, and passed on the fullest and most mature deliberation, are considered as more or less obscure and equivocal, until their meaning be liquidated and ascertained by a series of particular discussions and adjudications. Besides the obscurity arising from the complexity of objects, and the imperfection of the human faculties, the medium through which the conceptions of men are conveyed to each other adds a fresh embarrassment. The use of words is to express ideas. Perspicuity, therefore, requires not only that the ideas should be distinctly formed, but that they should be expressed by words distinctly and exclusively appropriate to them. But no language is so copious as to supply words and phrases for every complex idea, or so correct as not to include many equivocally denoting different ideas. Hence it must happen that however accurately objects may be discriminated in themselves, and however accurately the discrimination may be considered, the definition of them may be rendered inaccurate by the inaccuracy of the terms in which it is delivered. And this unavoidable inaccuracy must be greater or less, according to the complexity and novelty of the objects defined. When the Almighty himself condescends to address mankind in their own language, his meaning, luminous as it must be, is rendered dim and doubtful by the cloudy medium through which it is communicated.
We need a history of justice.

Friday, May 01, 2020

More of the same. Slobodian and Piketty again, and Jäger.
"Leftists have hitherto only tried to change the world in various ways; the point is to interpret it." etc.


I'd included a pic only of Jäger's tweet and Slobodian's reply but without the context an idiot might read the reply as criticism. The image is from a Twilight knockoff. Theater trumps philosophy, being at least the depiction of an act.
Nehru was a Brahmin. They'd never think of that, even as a joke. Postcolonial leadership in India as elsewhere came from the native elite. Every leader was both "subaltern" and "Brahmin".

You can't be working-class college professor. And "working-class intellectual" is contradictory because intellectuals would rather think than work, which is why they look to the drunken poets of the criminal class, the lumpenproletariat, who would never identify as "liberals". Back to Arendt and Brecht, Baudelaire and Liebling.
"Why did you choose the Corps Franc?"
"Because I understood," he said. 
And that's precisely what these idiots don't get. The decadent millenarianism of churchmen and academics has never been the anger of the working class. And if it's now part of the anger of the falling bourgeoisie in the west, it's not the anger of the aspirational bourgeois of immigrants, in the US and Europe, or the non-white bourgeoisie in the rest of the world. It's not the anger of the new black bourgeoisie. It's white narcissism, repeating a history of failure.

One more to return to the previous post. You can't understand the tweet reproduced below if you don't recognize that fascism is utopian.
William Gibson began with William Burroughs, not Orwell.
China Miéville and “Coffee table architectural favela porn.”