More on Where We Are

Hi All,

I’ve been taking a little break, and then working on a not-yet-finished piece, and hope to be back soon.

Best,

Phil


On Democracy and Legitimacy

Who am I, who is anyone, to say what is or is not a legitimate government, and what is or is not “really” democracy?

“Democracy,” after all, is what political theorists call a “contested term.” We can say it simply means “majority rule,” but that in itself doesn’t get us where we want to go. Literally, since majority rule in national states doesn’t exist anywhere in a pure form; certainly not in the United States; perhaps nowhere in the modern era. …


Where we are Now

“I think we are in rat’s alley, Where the dead men lost their bones.” T.S. Eliot

From a recent report: “Amid the mounting drama of the early summer, a moment of truth appears imminent. It is one that will reveal whether the American electorate is still capable of large-scale shifts in opinion, or whether the country is essentially locked into a schism for the foreseeable future, with roughly 53 percent of Americans on one side and 47 percent on the other.”

Here are some facts for an historical comparison. For the New Deal: in 1932 FDR…


Where We Are Now: A Prologue

Recently I came across the text for a long-ago talk I’d given on a panel at the American Political Science Association, the subject being a retrospective appreciation of Louis Hartz’s seminal work from the 1950’s, The Liberal Tradition in America. His argument there was that the U.S. was “born free,” and thus “born liberal”–Lockean by birth. Liberalism wasn’t in question here; it was always in some way the answer. His analysis had also been carried forward by Seymour Martin Lipset who, in his The First New Nation, argued–quite tendentiously–that the U.S. was founded on…


NOTE:

My Postscript (on Police) follows on the More on Police blog, but if you’ve already read the Blog, you wouldn’t know that. It’s interesting in its own right.


More on the Police

I’ve been collecting these randomly as they come to my attention, most often from the Times but. also from other sources. More or less in order of most to least recent, but that doesn’t really matter. Aside from occasional snide comments, I let them stand on their own.


Postscript on Police

Let’s look at a different kind of policing. It involves a hate group and a traffic stop. The group, the Sovereign Citizens movement, “has been growing at a fast pace since the late 2000s. According to one description, Sovereigns hold truly bizarre, complex, antigovernment beliefs that are rooted in racism and anti-Semitism. They believe they get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay taxes. They participate in protests against governments or use “paper terrorism” — filing bogus lawsuits and fake liens on properties — to…


Democracy?

“One may smile, and smile, and be a villain” said Hamlet of Claudius
“”The smiler with the knife under the cloak”–Chaucer, The Knight’s Tale

Conversely, from Shakespeare’s portrait of a malevolent Richard II to the sadistic cackle of the Wicked Witch of the West, or Ian Fleming’s Blofeld or Superman’s enemy Lex Luthor, literature is full of villains who don’t kid around, are without pretense. And in real-world politics especially, there’s often little to be gained by a false bonhommie. When Heinrich Himmler introduced the “Final Solution” by asking, “Who among us does not have his favorite Jew?,” …


From Color-Blindness to Anti-Racism: a Note on Critical Race Theory

According to a recent explanatory note on the latest (and as usual hysterically misrepresented) bête noire of the Radical Right, Critical Race Theory “argues that historical patterns of racism are ingrained in law and other modern institutions, and that the legacies of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow still create an uneven playing field for Black people and other people of color.”

The difference with “color blindness” as a series of practices help to define this conception further. The latter has two variants. The first, which we might call the “liberal,”…


More on the Police

I’ve been collecting these randomly as they come to my attention, most often from the Times but. also from other sources. More or less in order of most to least recent, but that doesn’t really matter. Aside from occasional snide comments, I let them stand on their own.

1. A mass resignation of police of Portland police officer’s from the Force’s “crowd control unit” “comes as Officer Cody Budworth was indicted on a fourth-degree assault charge after he allegedly hit Terri Jacobs, an independent photojournalist, in the face with a baton last summer after she had…

Philip Green

Emeritus Professor of Gov’t, Smith College, Visiting Professor, The New School, Editorial Board, The Nation, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Green_(author)

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