I have never understood what “Neo” is supposed to mean in the context of “NeoNazi”, other than an evocation of Hollywood depictions of “skin head” militiamen. A National Socialist is a National Socialist. Martin Heidegger, the greatest philosopher of the 20th century, was a National Socialist. I am not one, even if I have argued, rightly (in my October Stockholm speech), that National Socialist Germany was the only political regime to seriously consider the implications of mainstream scientific recognition and widespread cultivation of those latent human capacities hitherto marginalized as “paranormal.” To put my relationship to National Socialism in the language of the Left, since most of my accusers fancy themselves of that political persuasion, to call me a National Socialist is like calling someone a Stalinist simply because he is a Marxist. A Trotskyite would certainly be defamed by such an epithet, and would be rightly outraged to be subjected to that kind of slander. I am not any kind of nationalist.
Some important distinctions here: Jorjani stands to Nazism as Trotsky stands to Stalinism. The latter two both self-identify as Marxists, of course, but disagree about implementation of the revolution. So, too, the former two are both pan-Aryan racists and authoritaraians, but disagree about...well, apparently "nationalism." Onward:
It makes no more sense to equate my views with those of Richard Spencer (let alone Adolf Hitler) simply because he patted me on the back on stage for a minute than it does to claim that Barack Obama is a Wahhabi responsible for all of Saudi Arabia’s routinely inhuman barbarity because he knelt and kissed the Saudi King’s hand or sheepishly accepted a medal from him.
I commend Greenwald's take. Even if Russian hackers wanted Trump to win, so what? There's no evidence they had any effect on the outcome, which seems to be entirely due to about 100,000 formerly Democratic voters in three states (Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin) flipping to Trump, and the depressed turnout among African-American voters, who turned out in much larger numbers in 2012.
Some details here. This isn't as odd as it seems once one recalls that what attracted Trump to Mitt Romney as Secretary of State was that he "looked the part" (remember, this is an ignorant man, whose view of everything is through television). Tillerson looks the part, and he has two other virtues from Trump's point of view: a businessman and someone who is on friendly terms with Vladimir Putin growing out of past business dealings. I view the latter as a positive, since I still think reducing the risk of nuclear war with an unstable ignoramus in the White House is paramount. I also note that when Tillerson was head of the Boy Scouts of America, he was instrumental in lifting the ban on openly gay Scouts participating. Again, against my very low bar of expectations, this would probably be a salutary outcome. Hopefully he and Secretary of Defense Mattis will prevent Dopey Donald Chump from annihilating civilization.
Chomsky makes several apt points, I'll mention just two. First, the only predictable thing about Trump is that he's unpredictable. Second, it would be salutary if Trump were to reduce tension with Russia, and put an end to the military provocations by NATO and the US.
As well they should. Of course, this is all part of a concerted effort by libertarians and in some cases Ayn Rand fanatics to find a foothold in the universities. At least they care about "ideas" (in a fashion)!
UPDATE: Reader Bennett Gilbert sends along the abstract of Dr. Jorjani's dissertation:
Technological science has shattered the worldviews of all traditional cultures subjected to it, at times provoking reactionary religious responses that only underscore the traumatic force of this worldwide development. Yet, as I argue, this world-colonizing force is not neutral. The anticipatory projection and world-building characteristic of scientific theorization are grounded in a practical comportment, so that the essence of technology or Craft is ontologically prior to theoretical science. In other words, science is always already Technoscience. Moreover the theoretical concepts and methodologies involved in predictive calculation and in crafting frameworks that model and mold the world are derived from pre-conceptual ideas of an aesthetic character, namely Prometheus and Atlas—titanic gods with a Greek genealogy and a cosmopolitan promise.
Diabolically, this reveals itself through attention to what it is about Nature that eludes the grasp of theorization. The ideas or idealities foundational to Technoscience are not abstract, as the concepts derived from them are. Rather, they are spectral personae. The mathematical and geometric structure of scientific projections cannot model those phenomena that most strikingly manifest the spectrality of Nature. These so-called "paranormal" phenomena are perfectly normal in animals and even simpler organisms still guided by instinct. It is our hypertrophied technical intellect that has atrophied them, but they can be regained through a cultivation of intuition. Indeed, only aesthetic intuition can consciously recognize the specters of Technoscience and transform our hitherto unconscious relationship with them to one wherein we are superhumanly empowered by embodying them rather than experiencing them as alienating instrumental forces.
ANOTHER: Reader Christopher Faille writes with an apt observation: "The abstract of Jorjani's dissertation you sent along makes him seem, predictably enough, a bit like Heidegger. This Nature worship, technophobia, worshipful reversion to Greek myths ... this is the common coin of brown shirts when they're doing their best to be obscure, intellectual, and high-brow."
MORE INSIGHT INTO THE NEONAZI from this bizarre essay. (Thanks to Kathryn Pogin for the pointer.)
Many campuses are confronting issues related to the status of undocumented students, whose legal position may be threated in a Trump Administration. This letter from faculty to the U of Chicago Administration is illustrative of some of the concerns. A similar letter at Penn produced this response from University President Amy Gutmann. The good news is that Senator Lindsey Graham, a very conservative Senator from South Carolina, is already preparing legislation to protect these students whose status was protected by executive action by President Obama that Trump could repeal. He believes it will pass "overwhelmingly," which is hopeful.
I view this as a good development in an otherwise very bad situation, one that will reduce the risk of nuclear war. As a career military officer, he understands what nuclear weapons are, unlike Dopey Donald Chump ("DDC" for short), and his writings indicate a commitment primarily to maintaining combat-ready ground forces. (Mattis is also an opponent of torture, a supporter of the Iran nuclear deal, but a harsher critic of Putin than Trump.) DDC is clearly intimidated by military people, and so will hopefully do what he is told. The fact that Mattis doesn't watch TV and reads widely are also positives (and makes for an amusing contrast with DDC).
While sometimes unavoidable, anonymity in online posts should be used judiciously.
In what possible sense is anonymity "sometimes unavoidable"? One can either post using one's name or not. And what constitutes "judicious" usage of anonymity? Surely, for example, a blog like Feminist Philosophers with many pseudonymous posters operating for years under their pseudonyms--e.g., "Philodaria," "Monkey," "Magical Ersatz," "Lady Day," "Prof Manners"--are not using anonymity "judiciously" but continuously, effectively shielding themselves from being accountable for what they write. And such anonymity is clearly avoidable, as others (for example, the philosophers Anne Jacobson and Jennifer Saul) post under their own names at the very same blog.
(My real hope, I confess, is that he picks the retired Marine General James Mattis for Defense Secretary--this matters, because a career military officer like Mattis understands what nuclear weapons are, unlike Dopey Donald Chump.)
The former (by a "Pedro Pan" child who fled Cuba in the early 1960s) is devoid of evidence for its assertions, some of which are pretty obviously false, while the latter is mostly anecdotal, but from someone who less obviously has an axe to grind. Probably the truth is somewhere inbetween, though only if Cuba becomes a more "open" society will we be able to find out.
I'm on vacation in Turkey for a couple of days. I tried to read your blog from here, but it has been banned by the government.
Congratulations! I guess this means that it is really influential! I asked a friend to translate the text on the attached screenshot; it seems that the Turkish government is using the same type of firewall as the government of China.
It may be that Turkey is doing what China did a number of years ago, namely, blocking all "typepad" accounts. Comments are open if anyone has insight.
And here's the screen shot the philosopher in Turkey sent:
Various readers have sent this silly list of anti-American, anti-free speech faculty, or something like that. We've seen these lists before, and they fade away fairly quickly because, "Who cares?" The organizers of this one are especially stupid: when it first appeared, they had both my colleagues Eric Posner and Judge Richard Posner on the list--Eric for noting that private schools can regulate student speech, and maybe some schools should since their students are children; and Richard...well, there are so many possible reasons. But now they're gone from the list, I guess someone told the ding-dongs that, "Those guys are on the right," or something like that. Here's what I suggest: ignore it. It's a badge of honor to be on it, of course, but it's just a publicity stunt by pathetic right-wingers. And if you can't ignore it, self-nominate!
1. Undermining of democratic institutions. (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Conservative Supreme Court for a generation or more. loses to Undermining of democratic institutions. by 175–168
3. Emboldening of racists and bigots. loses to Undermining of democratic institutions. by 187–157, loses to Conservative Supreme Court for a generation or more. by 203–140
4. Persecution (legal and/or political) of Muslim-Americans. loses to Undermining of democratic institutions. by 208–124, loses to Emboldening of racists and bigots. by 205–113
5. Systematic corruption of government. loses to Undermining of democratic institutions. by 199–136, loses to Persecution (legal and/or political) of Muslim-Americans. by 167–163
6. Abridgment of freedom of the press. loses to Undermining of democratic institutions. by 231–94, loses to Systematic corruption of government. by 183–144
7. Financial crisis results from mismanagement and/or erratic behavior. loses to Undermining of democratic institutions. by 227–107, loses to Abridgment of freedom of the press. by 176–148
8. Tax and other giveaways to the rich and corporations. loses to Undermining of democratic institutions. by 221–126, loses to Financial crisis results from mismanagement and/or erratic behavior. by 169–164
9. Abridgment of freedom of speech. loses to Undermining of democratic institutions. by 241–83, loses to Tax and other giveaways to the rich and corporations. by 181–156
10. Persecution (legal and/or political) of Hispanics. loses to Undermining of democratic institutions. by 229–107, loses to Abridgment of freedom of speech. by 156–152
Most of these were probably on my "top ten" as well, and certainly #1 and #4 were in my top five (I think Hispanic citizens are at risk too, but Muslim-Americans are quite directly in the crosshairs of some of the more venal characters surrounding Trump). But I'm impressed by the optimism of my readers, since my #1 fear was annihilation of civilization in a nuclear holocaust--but that's just my sunny disposition at work, I guess. I am less worried about the Supreme Court: the super-legislature has a limited jurisdiction, and the damage it can do is usually short-lived, and remediable elsewhere.
Thoughts from readers? You're welcome to explain your own votes, note omissions from the survey, elaborate on your concerns etc.
This is very significant, and could actually help restore democracy to the United States (both parties gerrymander, but the Republicans have been more aggressive about it). (The theory of the case was developed and argued by one of my colleagues.) It is only because of gerrymandering that the Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives.
Will they pay attention? God knows, but it can't hurt to vote down the most wicked stuff. So vote! (And try to vote for some things as highly important: e.g., repealing the TPP agreement, improving veterans' healthcare, no more "regime-change" in foreign policy etc.)
UPDATE: A couple of readers note the absence of climate change from the list, which was an error of omission. I don't think it's the most serious issue, but I wish I had remembered to include it. I'll open a discussion of the results on Wednesday, so readers can mention other omissions.
You know we're falling through the looking-glass when the "blowhard and buffoon" Alan Dershowitz (as one of my liberal, Jewish and very pro-Israel colleagues called him) is cautioning people to be cautious about charges of anti-Semitism. This is a good takedown of Dershowitz's nonsense. All that said, I'm sure that if Bannon is an anti-Semite, he's kept it well under wraps, given the influence of Trump's son-in-law, an orthodox Jew. Bannon is a much bigger threat to Muslims in America than to Jews.
This seems like a plausible analysis. Shorter version: left-wing Jews are traitors to their race, Bannon admires a state defined by race/ethnicity (plus it's a good place to send the Jews when the time comes...).
This seems like a sober and accurate analysis, and echoes some of what Mearsheimer observed. Perhaps the most important observation is that he has actually been consistent over several decades in his thinking about certain issues related to foreign policy. The author is right that a total withdrawal of the U.S. from the world stage would cause great instability, political and economic, but a partial withdrawal (e.g., stop threatening Russia over Ukraine, stop trying to move NATO to Russia's border) would probably be salutary.
Unsurprisingly, some philosophy teachers think so, but that's just self-serving nonsense. Anyone who spends a little time studying philosophers under Nazism, including all the Kantians who came out for National Socialism, will realize right away that, to quote Nietzsche, philosophers "are all advocates who do not want to be called by that name, and for the most part even wily spokesmen for their prejudices which they baptize 'truths'" (Beyond Good and Evil, sec. 5)
(Thanks to Michael Swanson for the pointer.)
UPDATE: You can get a sense of the irrelevance of philosophers by looking at how some are rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic as a putative "response." I have a radical suggestion: how about philosophy teachers design their curriculum and syllabi with an eye to making sure students master the subject-matter? Altering the curriculum because of Trump is as pointless as altering it to pander to this or that supposed constituency.
ANOTHER: One adult philosopher has some more concrete suggestions (see Prof. Wolff's blog generally for others, as well as sensible analysis and commentary).
I apologize for doing less philosophy-related blogging lately, but the gallows does indeed "concentrate" one's mind. I will return to pertinent philosophy-related news, though given the catastrophe in the U.S., I have less appetite for commenting on the ridiculous American Philosophical Association, the posturing, preening wankers in our "profession," my stalkers etc. What we are up against now is deadly serious and frightening, notwithstanding the fact that there is no reason to think most Americans support Trump. That hardly matters. What matters is that Trump and his fascist allies are, or are about to be, in power. But I realize that we may survive this, and that students and faculty are still looking for information relevant to planning their academic affairs, and other readers are looking for interesting philosophy-related material and the like, so I will resume relevant posting and I am committed to finish the academic year 2016-17 with philosophy-related blogging. I will continue to offer some political news and commentary as well, but not as frequent as since the electoral catastrophe. Thanks for reading.
Continental Philosophy Farhang Erfani, a philosopher at American University, provides a useful set of links to news, events, interviews, reviews, videos, etc. related to "Continental philosophy" (broadly construed)