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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Trump’s parting electoral tantrum puts the exclamation mark on the fundamental flaw of democracy that his presidency has revealed: that a poorly informed electorate can willingly choose its own demise (even as it recites platitudes to the contrary). Two institutions are most implicated in this flaw: public education and the mass media. In well functioning […]

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Cross-posted from e2mc. Note that this post takes the Stoic strategy of preparing for the worst, so as to be pleasantly surprised when the worst fails to come to pass. Deep breath, Americanos. Let’s brace ourselves for what may be the messiest, most litigious and disruptive Interregnum in U.S. history. (“Interregnum” = the 79 day interval between […]

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Rather like the Airborne Toxic Event in Don Delillo’s 1980s novel White Noise, these days seem, to many of us, suffused with a kind of Generalized Floating Dread. I’ve picked this sense up from students, from colleagues, from friends and neighbors. It is as if there is a cloud of dark matter around us, whose […]

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Last night’s presidential debate was, in many ways, superfluous: if a U.S. citizen had not already made up their mind who they will vote for (or not already voted), it’s because they haven’t been paying attention. But there is one factor pollsters and predictors of every stripe have not gotten good at accounting for, which […]

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See how far you follow my line of thinking here: (1) Democracy (institutional and not just majoritarian/representational) is better than the alternatives. Let’s live with it (and defend it). (2) Democracy as practiced in the U.S. today is partial, compromised, and somewhat muzzled, but still better than the alternatives. Let’s fix it up. (3) Democracy, […]

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Here’s a back-of-the-envelope hypothesis on the “new media regime” and some open questions that follow from it. Two groups are faring best these days under the current (new) media regime.* The first is surveillance capitalists, who have developed ways to monetize and harvest new data technologies directly for the accumulation of wealth. (That covers the […]

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The Covid-19 situation in the United States, which has become the epicenter of new infections because of its flawed and chaotic response to the pandemic, is seen by some around the world as an emergency case of its own, requiring some sort of defensive response by countries that could become similarly infected. The Week‘s Ryan […]

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I’m reading Shoshana Zuboff’s widely lauded The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, which some have placed alongside Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century as essential reading for understanding today’s global economy. The big conceptual idea I find most useful in it is its insistence that we are in the midst of a “fourth great transformation” […]

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Yesterday was a perfect illustration of how exciting (and bewildering) it can be to read the U.S. national news. Here’s a multiple-choice quiz about it. Which of the following occurred yesterday?

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A casual comment on a minor article in a provincial newspaper in a faraway country (Ukraine) got me going on a response to what is, essentially, the white world’s default position on all things racial. (Social media comments, as a rule, aren’t indicative of anything, but this one is so symptomatic it’s worth examining.) The […]

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As I explain in Shadowing the Anthropocene, process-relational philosophy in a Peircian-Whiteheadian vein takes aesthetics to be first, ethics to be second, and logic (which, in our time, we need to think of also as eco-logic) to be third. This is not a temporal sequence, but a logical one: aesthetics is found in the response […]

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The “reopening” of the world’s economies, locally and nationally, piece by piece, after the sudden and massive stoppage of the entire economic system, is raising important questions about whether the system can be put back into motion selectively and into a more viable direction than it had been moving beforehand. Some observers have suggested, optimistically, […]

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