Girard in contemporary politics (insightfully explored):
In one of his seminars, Thiel made the political stakes of his concern with scapegoating more explicit, making reference to Occupy Wall Street: “The 99% vs. the 1% is the modern articulation of this classic scapegoating mechanism. It is all minus one versus the one.” The central task of controlling what Girard calls the “victimage mechanism,” for “founders” like him, is to deflect collective violence from themselves. Gawker, on the other hand, seemed to specialize in identifying targets for that violence, or at least for collective online vituperation – and those targets often belonged to the capitalist “founder” class, although many debated whether Gawker at times abandoned its proclaimed commitment to “punching up.” Crushing Gawker was not simply an attack on a particular organ of scapegoating that had offended Thiel, but an attempt to disarm a certain politicization of scapegoating in a digital world given over to it.
(The entire piece is excellent.)
I’m starting to like them:
Now we have to separate and end this marriage which was arranged and forced from the beginning, and has never, except when the outside world intruded and threatened destruction, shown any real cohesion. Let’s call an end to the 50 state experiment so we can salvage the ideals upon which the original constitutional republic was based. Separation will let us do a better job at it. A roughly 50-50 state split will do it, or we can start by cutting the Confederacy loose. […] We can continue to flounder around in a miasma of pain and incomprehensibility, or we can work towards reclaiming the Declaration and Constitution from the fascists. A friend recently mentioned that the South won the Civil War, and we’re only now recognizing that fact. […] It’s time, America.
Net neutrality is apparently in the cross-hairs of the incoming US administration. Hamilton might be back, but this looks like a clear win for classical liberalism (and the Silicon Valley sociopolitical agenda).
President-elect Donald Trump has appointed two outspoken opponents of net neutrality rules to oversee the Federal Communications Commission’s transition from Democratic to Republican control. […] The appointees announced yesterday are Jeffrey Eisenach and Mark Jamison. Eisenach is director of the Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), while Jamison is a visiting fellow at the same institution. Eisenach previously worked on behalf of Verizon and other telecoms as a consultant, and Jamison used to manage regulatory policy at Sprint. […] Eisenach and Jamison aren’t necessarily candidates for FCC chairman, but they will help set the commission’s direction and could help Trump choose FCC leadership. Their views on net neutrality match those of Trump, who opposed the net neutrality rules passed under current Chairman Tom Wheeler. …
Good catch. He doesn’t exactly quote the MAP, but he gets comically close.
So the world’s first Left Accelerationist regime was destroyed in a frog-cataclysm. One for the history books.
Peter Burfeind on religious disappointment:
Christianity’s decline in the West gave way not to atheism, but to political expressions of faith, particularly totalitarianism.
Everyone’s seeing that now.
Oh, wait …
Trump made big gains among blacks. He made big gains among Latinos. He made big gains among Asians. The only major racial group where he didn’t get a gain of greater than 5% was white people. I want to repeat that: the group where Trump’s message resonated least over what we would predict from a generic Republican was the white population.
(UF full-sentence emphasis.)
Scott Alexander is so sane it’s actually annoying.
Badiou is not amused:
I don’t say that there is nothing at all on this [Left] side. We know new riots, new occupation of places, new mobilisation, new ecological determination and so on. So, it’s not the absence of all forms of resistance, protestation — no, I don’t say that. But the lack of another strategic way, that is, something which is at the same level as the contemporary conviction that capitalism is the only way possible. The lack of the strength of the affirmation of another way. And the lack of what I name an Idea, a great Idea. A great Idea which is the possibility of unification, global unification, strategic unification of all forms of resistance and invention. An Idea is a sort of mediation between the individual subject and the collective historical and political task, and it’s the possibility of action across and with very different subjectivities, but under the same Idea in some sense. […] … the general and strategic domination of globalized capitalism, the decomposition of classical political oligarchy, the popular disorientation and frustration, and the lack of another strategic way — compose in my opinion the crisis of today. We can define the contemporary world in the term of a global crisis which is not reducible to the economic crisis of the last years, which is much more, I think, a subjective crisis, because of the destiny of human beings is more and more unclear for themselves.
Anybody interested in the racial dynamics of Trump-era American culture and politics should find much of interest in this. It might be the closest thing to an insightful center-ground perspective on what has been happening to be turned up yet.
Kevin Williamson targets the cultural obstacles to federalism on the left:
The problem is that while conservatives see “Live and Let Live” as a useful if imperfect instrument of civil peace, progressives view “Live and Let Live” as a distinct moral evil. It is less important to them that California is allowed to be California than that Texas should be forbidden to be Texas.
Greenwald on the recent awkwardness:
… opinion-making elites were so clustered, so incestuous, so far removed from the people who would decide this election — so contemptuous of them — that they were not only incapable of seeing the trends toward Trump but were unwittingly accelerating those trends with their own condescending, self-glorifying behavior.