If immediately after turning off your television you didn’t feel like you were being quick-talked into buying a borderline “quasi-legal,” investment package that sounds too good to be true because it relies upon unspoken yet overly optimistic and highly theoretical “growth” projections, then perhaps Marco Rubio’s assertion that we need “less” philosophers is telling. If that is indeed the case, I also have some stock in Accu.so I’d like to sell. And as much as I’d rather sit in a closed room with Donald Trump for an undetermined amount of time, listening to him list different synonyms for the word “worst” as they can be used to describe what and how specific people, events, and contracts, have been the worst things in “history,” I have to give Fox moderator, Maria Bartiromo, credit for pressing Ted Cruz about his tax plan. Continue reading
Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s literary style separates yet unifies fiction and non-fiction literary genres in order to critique modern political discourse. It does this from the point of view of modern alienation in the voice of the Underground Man. By situating the novella in the space of pure imagination, Dostoyevsky encourages students of politics and literature to contemplate the origins of both modern political philosophy and it’s alienated other in terms of abstraction and imagination.
In January 2014, no doubt anticipating the upcoming presidential primaries, Senator and now presidential candidate Rand Paul published a statement on his website which boasted his co-sponsorship of the then recently introduced “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act.” Paul and other advocates of the bill have and continue to explicitly single out institutions, specifically Planned Parenthood, that both provide abortion services and accept government subsidies for patients in need of financial assistance. And the bill would do exactly what the title would have you believe, restrict government subsidies for health care which includes abortion services.
The recent Planned Parenthood “controversy” has offered GOP presidential candidates an opportunity for more of their incessant and borderline fraudulent moralizing. Presidential candidate Donald Trump described Planned Parenthood’s activities around abortion services and selling fetal tissue for research purposes as “disgraceful” and suggested that Republicans shutdown the government over PP funding.
Remember that kid you or someone close to you hung out with in and possibly shortly after high school that always had nice things–cars, bikes, clothes, etc? The kid probably always insisted that he/she paid for these things with their own, earned money yet barely if ever worked some shitty job. Furthermore, it was an obvious, open-secret among you and all your friends that their relatively well-off, above-middle-class parents were bankrolling their expensive tastes?
Apparently those kids grow up to run for public office. As it turns out, bankrolling your kids’ expensive habits, although frowned upon by anyone with a functioning work-ethic, is actually legal until little Frankie develops a taste for public power and needs money for campaigning. As it turns out, hitting up mom and dad for a brand new Dodge Charger complete with a special edition sport-package is one thing; doing so for money during a campaign for public office is illegal.
American federalism faces as many (if not more) challenges today as it did during the time of the founding. Certain critical topics, such as national security, are easily identifiable through study of the discursive practices surrounding American federalism. Others, while not directly (some might say explicitly) addressed during the Constitutional debates, still require detailed attention filtered though a lens sensitive to American federalism concerns—such as environmental protection and disaster relief. There are no easy solutions to any of these issues; thus, reliance on any a priori ideological formulas for action will certainly exacerbate the problems and frustrate both the American public and its government agencies, at all levels. This natural outgrowth of partisan-political discourse places party interest above that of the public and surely endangers the welfare of American citizens, jeopardizing the fruits of their labor, fueling mistrust in American political institutions, and compromising the integrity of the American republic anytime an unforeseen circumstance materializes.
∞Confusion thus ensues∞
“An ego thus educated has become ‘reasonable’; it no longer lets itself be governed by the pleasure principle, but obeys the reality principle, which also, at bottom, seeks to obtain pleasure, but pleasure which is assured through taking account of reality, even though it is pleasure postponed and diminished”
The cover of the March issue of National Geographic Magazine suggests that there is a “War on Science.” The title of the feature article asks “Why Do Many Reasonable Doubt Science?” I think the question should ask “why do so many unreasonable people doubt science.” Or what makes them believe they are even capable of the task. When reasonable people “doubt science” we don’t ask why(?). We call it the peer-review process, the healthy habit of scientific skepticism whereby scientists’ findings are meticulously put through the tests of rigor, of falsifiability and verification through reproducible results.
Indeed, in the article it is suggested that scientists even find a kind of professional pleasure in skepticism, in pointing out to their colleagues where their studies may have faltered. On the topic of “pleasure” Freud was one of the most famous to theorize that people (yes, even scientists) instinctually seek biological (material) and psychological (social.professional) pleasure and avoid pain therein. Thus it’s not unreasonable, in a Freudian sense, for scientists to find pleasure in their professional, critical role; some might argue that its even a crucial part of the “success” of science.
In 2001, the Bouncing Souls, a punk band from New Jersey you may or may not have heard of, put out their 5th studio album How I Spent My Summer Vacation. One of the hit tracks on the album in is number called “True Believers.” The song is a romance ballad about enduring comradery, built around shared belief, as we inevitably age and old friendships fade. The chorus, belted out over that familiar punk-rock chord triad,
We live our life in our own way,
Never really listened to what they say,
The kind of faith that doesn’t fade away
We are the true believers
We are the true believers
couldn’t fail to convince anyone of the benefits of being a True Believer. Continue reading
As Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to address Congress, we can expect him to succeed in convincing the U.S., again, that Iran is one to two years away from getting a nuclear weapon. At the risk of sounding cynical, as long as Iran is always one to two years away from getting a nuclear weapon, Netanyahu gets his $3 billion dollar check in U.S. aid, no questions asked. Netanyahu’s visit is conveniently timed to align with another round of U.S. and Iranian nuclear talks, which, according to analysts, are either likely to fail outright, or might as well fail.
Today the American Conservative posted an article describing the essence of the nuclear talks between the U.S. and Iran. It goes something like this: if negotiations with Iran fail, then we are left with two options. A) The world will have to get used to the idea of a nuclear armed Iran. B) Western forces (which would probably consist of only U.S. and Israel) will have to pursue a policy of regime change in Iran. Therein lies the self-fulfilling prophecy inherent in foreign policy realism. Iran’s only sure-fire bet against regime change, from outside and inside forces, is a nuclear arsenal. Iran, the U.S., and Israel all know that. Continue reading