Monday, December 09, 2019

"Why Liberalism Failed", by Patrick Deneen, argues for localism

Joseph Hogan of The Nation interviews author Patrick Deneen, author of “Why Liberalism Failed”, Yale University Press, 2019, 264 pages.  The Nation article is “The Problems with Liberalism, a QA with Patrick Deneen”, a professor of political science at Notre Dame.

The gist of the Nation piece seems to be that Deneen believes liberalism allows over-individualistic but sometimes not really competitive young people to throw off the idea of any loyalty to the communities that they came from, with no real sense of purpose to replace it. 

He seems to be advocating a return to localism, where everyone is socialized in an immediate community physically and doesn’t expect to move out into the world without being effective within a natural family first.

This could easily slip into a ehtno-alt-right “blood and soil” if you aren’t careful.
Economic Invincibility has a video review of the book here (which is where I first heard about the book) and covers similar points.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Peter Bergen has a new book: "Trump and his Generals: The Cost of Chaos", just as North Korea starts sabre-rattling again

Time Magazine has published a chapter of Peter Bergen’s news book “Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos”, from Penguin Press (400 pages), available Dec. 10.
At best, it becomes erratic, unpredictable, volatile, without any quantum entanglement regulating it.
Vox has an interview by Alex Ward, “Trump once suggested that all of Seoul’s 10 million residents move to avoid North Korean threat”. It’s interesting that Steve Bannon even admits that there is no way the US can get away with attacking North Korea pre-emptively, and Trump’s statements in 2017 (“little rocket man” v. "dotard") were indeed asking for it. 
Mysteriously, things calmed down after the Winter Olympics in February 2018.
We saw the summits, and Trump buttering up Kim, and admitting at least once that he had to.
And now Kim threatens a “Christmas present” at the end of the year just as impeachment is probably brought against Trump (as Pelosi announced today and discussed on CNN this evening.)  More missile or nuclear tests, to say the least.  Activity at one of the North Korean missile sites reported on CNN this evening.
It’s truly shocking how dismissive he was at the beginning about Korea.  Oh, yes, he never served in the military.

Update: Dec. 10

Trump called for evacuation of Seoul in early 2018, but Mattis simply ignored it (Guardian). 

Monday, December 02, 2019

Time: "How America's Elites Lost their Grip"

Here’s a guilty conscience, Time essay, “How America’s Elites Lost their Grip”, by Anand Giridharadas.
Tim Pool blew up at actor Mark Ruffalo on Twitter when Ruffalo railed against capitalism and linked to this story. “Prove you mean it” Pool ordered, as if Ruffalo were the rich young ruler in Matthew.
The article quotes the normally moderate Pete Buttigieg as decrying “neo-liberalism”.
Late in the article, Abnand admonishes me:  Remember, I don’t join “other people’s causes” very often or march in their demonstrations or protests.
“If there is one thing that could hasten the end of the age of capital and accelerate the coming of an age of reform, it is a vigorous new culture of joining in American life. Not clicking, not liking, not retweeting, not TikTokking, not screaming at MSNBC/Fox, but actually joining: political movements and civic organizations with memberships so vast that politicians cannot ignore them. The age of capital has been facilitated by a remarkable solidarity among the ultra-fortunate. Putting that period in the museum will take other, broader solidarities.

Friday, November 29, 2019

AAUP: "A Tale of Two Arguments About Free Speech on Campus"

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) offers a long article by Michael C. Bahrent, “A Tale of Two Arguments About Free Speech on Campus”, link
The article talks about the alarm risen by a group called FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The article develops the idea that the current generation of professors and students don’t value free speech they way people did around the time of Y2K. 

They see personalized speech is more useful to the already well-off, who generally don’t like to “take action” and have no shame in demonstrating. Furthermore, the distraction of individualistic speech makes it very difficult for campuses to become inclusive of groups of previously less desired people.

There is also a way the political climate on a typical campus compounds this.

The Left is demanding relief from a hypercritical attitude that classifies individuals as simply winners and losers and tries to justify a superficially meritocratic hierarchy. Yet, within the intersectional groups the Left tries to form, they would find they have to set up their own hierarchies.
But they insist it makes some sense, that if you can shut down all speech that simply seems critical of someone for not being as competitive sexually as someone else, you could stop bullying and sequences that have horrific results.  In their view, my own William and Mary expulsion was the result of this talk, rather than from morally legitimate claims I could myself become a mooch on the larger group.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A word of "Warning" and the effectiveness of anonymous speech (well, whistleblowing)

“Anonymous” says that he or she (“they”) remains anonymous as the author of “A Warning” (published by Twelve) so that readers may focus on the content and not the personhood .  Alexander Hamilton and James Madison remained anonymous for part of the time leading to ratification of the Constitution, they said, CBS News  story. The author may reveal their identity in January. 

“A threat to America,” according to a senior Trump administration official.

The book says, “everyone is chief of staff except the chief of staff” and speculates that Pence might get dumped.

The president is reported to have considered naming illegal migrants as “unlawful combatants” for Guantanomo Bay.

My own book would have had no political impact (on gays in the military back in the 90s) had I remained anonymous “to protect the family.”

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Richard Stengel's "Information Wars": He would weaken platform immunity and Section 230

Today, Fareed Zakaria, on Global Public Square on CNN, interviewed Richard Stengel, author of “Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It”, 2019, Atlantic Monthly Press, 368 pages, Amazon.

Zakaria described hate speech laws in Germany to the United States today. You can be prosecuted for displaying Naza items in Germany.  Private platforms may censor you but the First Amendment makes it impossible to make it illegal.

Stengel says that if you travel around the world, people find it remarkable that in the US hate speech is tolerated.  Why are people allowed to burn the Koran in public in the U.S.?

The answer is partly that the U.S. embraces individualism more than other countries. The U.S. officially is less interested in protecting people as members of groups as for the limitations they may feel.
Stengel also suggested that social media platforms should be held responsible for hosting hate speech and that Section 230 should be much reduced. He also suggested that we need to teach media literacy in schools, and noted the Pizzagate scandal in 2016 as an example of American gullibility. 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Article in conservative magazine resembles Damore's, causes ruckus at Indiana University when a professor tweets a link to it

I’m going to treat this as a “booklet” because of its topicality.

An Indiana University business professor drew demands for his firing after he tweeted this UNZ article about campus environments by Lance Welton, “Are Women Destroying Academia? Probably

It says that the article is 1500 words long, but it doesn’t look it.

The article suggests that males are more likely to be geniuses because of male instability and inpredictability and dependence on logical processing with less attention to feelings or agreeableness. 

 But Welton is right in that students need to learn to deal with other people’s ideas even if they could be threatening.  I’ve seem this my whole life.

Maybe, that sounds like James Damore’s ideas, but in this case the particular professor who wrote the tweet has more issues with homophobia, reportedly. Furthermore, Damore suggested inclusiveness of everyone on an individual basis, simply not quota-consciouesness. 

When I was in grad school at KU in the mid 1960s a female student finished and went on to a PhD program at the University of Illinois.
It’s true that some of the spectacular science fair type achievements have been from young males (Jack and Luke Andraka, Taylor Wilson, John Fish) but I’m not sure if I have a real sample and have looked at the female accomplishments.  I may be biased in simply hanging around or paying attention more to people who appeal to me personally.