May 19, 2013
For a profoundly revisionist take on the Florentine listen to this "Occupy interview" with John P. McCormick, Professor of Political Science from U Chicago, and author of Machiavellian Democracy. You can also read McCormick's brief article, "Defending the People from the Professors," which not only departs from the the Machiavellis of old, ( Straussians, neo-Republicans, and those who McCormick refers to as "self-proclaimed radicals,") but presents a Machiavelli for "democrats" for "theoretical insight, institutional inspiration, and spiritual fortification."
May 2, 2013
Every now and then the lefter-than-thou debate flames up where, as Matt Bruenig recently put it, "people ...do everything they can to throw bombs at left-wing projects that are successful." Obviously, an unfortunate debate insofar it divides ostensible comrades. But its also an understandable one not just because of the co-optation anxieties among the powerless. Indeed the ontological basis of The Left, its very basis of resistance, is up for grabs. Marx is dead. Hegel is dead. And Plato has been too difficult to locate. Thus Bruenig can posit, "The biggest challenge facing the left or any minority movement is convincing people to spend their time, energy, and other resources working with them." A problem undoubtedly but... "the biggest challenge?" There is no Grand Narrative to which leftists can appeal. There is no "false consciousness." Thus guidelines are constantly shifting, the goal posts continually prone to springing up unexpectedly to float in space. Thus the dissension, the disagreement, the fear, the breakup. The blame game, the purity game. Or, conversely, the success.
I am not an anarchist (a la David Graeber and his crowd) nor a statist but a melancholic/disenchanted/disgruntled democrat - a populist even - who acknowledges (at least at this point in time) the historical inevitability of a strong, centralized, power which is anti-democratic in both design and orientation. Hopefully, (and here, I guess I'm an idealist after all) this enormous state complex, (which these days interlock a few public and private actors at the top in ways that make it neo-fascist, absurdly violent, and indifferent,) can someday be made more democratic, more just, and more peaceful, at least as far as ordinary folk, the poor, and minority groups, are concerned. Please note I have no political ontology whatsoever to justify and sustain these hopes. And I realize they will almost certainly be losing battles in my lifetime. And so, like that of my comrades, they remain the inchoate dreams of people who continue stumbling along through a dystopia. In a word, we lefties, and we ordinary folk, are up fucking shit's creek.
May 1, 2013
From NYTimes comes
Here’s a fact that may not surprise you: the children of the rich perform better in school, on average, than children from middle-class or poor families. Students growing up in richer families have better grades and higher standardized test scores, on average, than poorer students; they also have higher rates of participation in extracurricular activities and school leadership positions, higher graduation rates and higher rates of college enrollment and completion.And,
Meanwhile, not only are the children of the rich doing better in school than even the children of the middle class, but the changing economy means that school success is increasingly necessary to future economic success, a worrisome mutual reinforcement of trends that is making our society more socially and economically immobile.
Read all about it here.
labels: making of an underclass