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Showing posts from January 24, 2016

trump and white euphemism culture

In the advent of Donald Trump, I have been thinking, we are seeing both the result and the decline of White Euphemism culture. White Euphemism culture accompanied the liquidation of traditional liberal-left policies in the post-Cold War era. As the mass incarceration of blacks and hispanics got into high gear, and as the precarious economic gains of black household either stagnate or collapsed, the governing class promoted a politics of linguistic civil rights. Reading the Ferguson Report (a small paperback that nobody included on the "Books we Love" list last year, putting in question, I think, the notion that books should be loved, or that the love of books actually maps the effect of books) one notices that - as Rand Paul, of all people, remarked in the debate - the predominantly black population is not only poor, but is subject to an enormous machinery of fines and petty imprisonments that is exactly the same as the Jim Crow era. And Ferguson is hardly alone. Go to a

adventures in subpar parenting

While Adam Smith was propounding the elements of capitalist anthropology – that it is in the nature of humans to truck and barter – Rousseau was imagining teaching a child different elements altogether. Rousseau’s Emile might break his furniture and his window – but he must bear the consequences of broken furniture and cold winds. “It is better that he should have a cold”, Rousseau says, “than be crazy.” Fou – by fou Rousseau meant, be like other children of his century. Notice, though, that there is no substitution here – no trucking and bartering. There is no – if you break your chair, you can’t have dinner. Because this introduces both an equivalence – furniture/dinner – and a mode of thinking in which all objects dissolve into substitutes in an exchange. Now, myself, I have always been impressed with the idea of ‘deal-less’ childrearing. Although I’m definitely not going to leave a window broken, I do like making it clear that there are natural implications for action, rather

The electability argument doesn't say what you think it says, Paul Krugman

I have a strong distrust of electability arguments, because they are usually made by people who are not making an observation, but beating the drums for a cause. In fact, it is a mathematical truth, in the modern American system, that one of the candidates from either the Republican or Democratic party will win the election. It is another truth that the GOP or Dem candidate will have won the majority of the primaries. Is it, however, true that the person who wins the primarie s in a party isn't always the most electable in the general? What that means, what that should mean, is not that the candidate who lost the primaries could lose less the general, but that the candidate who lost the primaries could have won the general. Personally, I think this is totally unlikely. The argument of electability is usually manipulated by Democratic centrists, and they usually pick McGovern for their punching bag. The problem is evident, however. For if Mcgovern was a uniquely bad choice, what the

Neurath, Krugman and prediction

“Imagine sailors who, far out at sea, transform the shape of their clumsy vessel from a more circular to a more fishlike one. They make use of some drifting timber, besides the timber of the old structure, to modify the skeleton and the hull of their vessel. But they cannot put the ship in dock in order to start from scratch. During their work they stay on the old structure and deal with heavy gales and thundering waves. In transforming their ship they take care that dangerous leakages do not occur. A new ship grows out of the old one, step by step -- and while they are still building, the sailors may already be thinking of a new structure, and they will not always agree with one another. The whole business will go on in a way we cannot even anticipate today. That is our fate.” This is a famous passage from Otto Neurath, the socialist and logical positivist. It is grounded in Neurath’s sense that prediction is a network effect – that it exists as a hypothesis in a network of other