This is hopeful. To be sure, there will still be tens of millions of benighted Americans, their minds clouded by religion or simple ignorance, who will remain loyal to the crazed ideology that is the current Republican Party, but without a formal organization, they will become irrelevant to electoral outcomes. And then the U.S. might return to the league of civilized nations, with Clintonites playing the role of acceptable Republicans and Sanderites becoming the opposing social democrats.
A nicely written essay by Zena Hitz (St. John's College, Annapolis). It offers an interesting defense of a decidedly Christian understanding of the "interiority" and "dignity" of humanistic reflection (also a Platonic one, though as Nietzsche said, "Christianity is Platonism for the people") against the neoliberal ("the humanities produce people who are useful for capitalism") and liberal ("the humanities make people good democratic citizens") defenses of humanistic study. As Nietzsche notes in the Genealogy, the "slave revolt" in morality made human beings interesting, giving them interior lives. And the humanities (here understood capaciously to include the cognitive sciences generally) are, when done well and seriously (e.g., not Badiou studies!), are precisely those that help one become a human being who is "interesting." That concern has no resonance for the neoliberal or liberal defenses of the humanities. Since our age is still neoliberal to its core, that means humanistic study is doomed in the neoliberal countries. But it will likely return elsewhere.
What do readers think of Prof. Hitz's interesting essay?
...which you can watch here. And if you'd like to know the truth about what's really going on with Supreme Court nomination battles, read this. (I'm not there, I'm at home working, since the faculty have been thrown out of their offices for the day!)
The Trustee Committee report, in full, is here. It has interesting details both about his accomplishments (including securing the right to vote for women, and the 8-hour workday), his willingness to appoint Jews and Catholics to the faculty, and, of course, his virulent anti-Black racism. I have not read the entire report, I should note. If anyone has time to read it all, comments are open.
The specter of the quasi-fascist narcissist looms over everything these days, even outside the U.S.--when I was recently in Rome and Calabria, discussion invariably turned to Trump (and also to the corrosive and destructive effect years and years of Berlusconi had on Italy). Nate Silver has a useful analysis of how things can, and are likely to, go awry for Trump at the convention. Unless the Repugs end up nominating Kasich, the so-called "moderate" (though he appears far to the right of Trump on some issues, assuming one can have any idea what Trump stands for), this is all good news for the Democrats. Cruz will be considerably easier to beat, even for Clinton, than Trump.
Since I know a good number of philosophy undergraduates and graduates think about law school, this piece in The New York Times by my co-blogger at the Law School Reports might be of interest, since it offers a more nuanced look at changes in employment in the legal sector over the last 15 years more or less.
...if she had lived to see this. Ruth told me years ago that Butler had great difficulty passing the logic requirement in the Yale PhD program in philosophy, and finally, Ruth took pity, and gave her a pass. I had the sense she later regretted that. On Butler, Martha Nussbaum got it right many years ago. Critical Theory has been in a downward spiral for a long time now, but that an obscurantist posturing faker like Butler should be deemed its heir...oy veh.
One thing that all these guys have in common is a desire to put themselves in charge of the reproductive rights of the entire female half of the country. Trump used to be pro-choice, but he “evolved” at some undisclosed point in the 21st century. Ted Cruz opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest. John Kasich is willing to allow a troubled teenager to get an abortion if she’s seduced by her father, but not if the seducer is the next-door neighbor. This is why Kasich’s the moderate.
Everybody knows you can’t believe in abortion rights and win the Republican nomination. But then the candidates ought to be eager to make family planning services accessible, right? The best way to reduce abortion is to limit unwanted pregnancies.
Ted Cruz made his position on contraception clear while campaigning in Iowa. It’s so charming that I am going to quote it in full: “Last I checked, we don’t have a rubber shortage in America. Look, when I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom; you put 50 cents in and voilà. So, yes, anyone who wants contraceptives can access them, but it’s an utterly made-up nonsense issue.”
Women whose family planning needs go beyond a vending machine will have to fend for themselves. Cruz is opposed to requiring employers to include contraception in their health care plans. He hates Planned Parenthood so much that he wanted to shut down the federal government to end its funding. Said government funding pays for contraceptives as well as myriad other health services, none involving abortion except for the part where the contraceptives help avoid unwanted pregnancies.
John Kasich isn’t much different. His state has been in a war against Planned Parenthood that has closed down health clinics, cutting off everything from family planning to programs for at-risk expectant mothers. Kasich has said that there are “many different entities” that can take care of the women who were cut adrift. Last year, legislators who supported the defunding put together a list of those entities. They turned out, on second glance, to include senior centers, dentist offices and a food bank....
The only Republican presidential candidate who has acknowledged the invaluable role Planned Parenthood plays is Donald Trump. (“Millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood.”) Of course, he’s also said that it should be defunded. (“I mean if you look at what’s going on with that, it’s terrible.”) And when asked if he would be willing to shut down the government in pursuit of the cause, Trump declined to answer “because I want to show unpredictability.”
...and how their convention could end (hopefully!) in chaos. Note this article was written before Rubio dropped out, so there are now even more "unbound" delgates going in. (Eric Schliesser points out, correctly, that Rubio has only "suspended" his campaign, so his delegates are not, yet anyway, "unbound." Suspension allows Rubio to finish paying off campaign debts, among other things, and may give him some leverage at the convention.)
From back in 2003. (The late Justice Scalia did better in a similar case.) Obama has never been very interested in the Supreme Court, i.e., he has never been intent on reshaping it into the liberal analogue of Scalia's court, so it is not surprising that he has chosen a "path of least (potential) resistance" nominee, who will be more like Justice Kennedy or Justice Breyer than like Justice Alito on the right or the late Justice Brennan on the "left."
This time I'll just leave it to the New York Times, which makes the right points. Note Sanders's strong support over Clinton among "independent" voters, who were allowed to participate in the Michigan primary. Rubio is toast, and stale toast at that! I guess it will come down to Trump v. Cruz, though hopefully Kasich will take Ohio away from Trump.
UPDATE: One nice thing about the Rubio disaster is it shows the limits of big money on the campaign: despite being preferred by many billionaires, Rubio is slowly going the way of Jeb Bush.
ANOTHER: The polling disaster in Michigan regarding the Democratic race. Polls have also been over-stating Trump's electoral support, but not by the order of magnitude by which they under-estimated Sanders's support in Michigan.
[W]orking-class white people who make up the bulk of Trump’s fan base show up in amazing numbers for the candidate, filling stadiums and airport hangars, but their views, by and large, do not appear in our prestige newspapers. On their opinion pages, these publications take care to represent demographic categories of nearly every kind, but “blue-collar” is one they persistently overlook. The views of working-class people are so foreign to that universe that when New York Times columnist Nick Kristof wanted to “engage” a Trump supporter last week, he made one up, along with this imaginary person’s responses to his questions....
Last week, I decided to watch several hours of Trump speeches for myself. I saw the man ramble and boast and threaten and even seem to gloat when protesters were ejected from the arenas in which he spoke. I was disgusted by these things, as I have been disgusted by Trump for 20 years. But I also noticed something surprising. In each of the speeches I watched, Trump spent a good part of his time talking about an entirely legitimate issue, one that could even be called left-wing.
Yes, Donald Trump talked about trade. In fact, to judge by how much time he spent talking about it, trade may be his single biggest concern – not white supremacy...
It seems to obsess him: the destructive free-trade deals our leaders have made, the many companies that have moved their production facilities to other lands, the phone calls he will make to those companies’ CEOs in order to threaten them with steep tariffs unless they move back to the US.
Trump embellished this vision with another favorite left-wing idea: under his leadership, the government would “start competitive bidding in the drug industry.” (“We don’t competitively bid!” he marveled – another true fact, a legendary boondoggle brought to you by the George W Bush administration.) Trump extended the critique to the military-industrial complex, describing how the government is forced to buy lousy but expensive airplanes thanks to the power of industry lobbyists....
Trade is an issue that polarizes Americans by socio-economic status. To the professional class, which encompasses the vast majority of our media figures, economists, Washington officials and Democratic power brokers, what they call “free trade” is something so obviously good and noble it doesn’t require explanation or inquiry or even thought. Republican and Democratic leaders alike agree on this, and no amount of facts can move them from their Econ 101 dream.
To the remaining 80 or 90% of America, trade means something very different. There’s a video going around on the internet these days that shows a room full of workers at a Carrier air conditioning plant in Indiana being told by an officer of the company that the factory is being moved to Monterrey, Mexico and that they’re all going to lose their jobs.
As I watched it, I thought of all the arguments over trade that we’ve had in this country since the early 1990s, all the sweet words from our economists about the scientifically proven benevolence of free trade, all the ways in which our newspapers mock people who say that treaties like the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement allow companies to move jobs to Mexico.
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)