Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Social democracy is just as empty as neoliberalism

cruelty in Gibbon from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman)

Sure, it’s a good idea to be suspicious of naive ideas about the progress of the human race. However, there are always a few areas in which we can be pretty certain that progress has in fact occurred… Thanks to Pasteur I was not dead of rabies last summer, to give just one example.
Another example is surely the declining use of cruelty in human affairs. The most gut-wrenching scenes described today before judges in The Hague are fairly unimaginative atrocities compared with the standard operating procedure of most of the monarchs Gibbon discusses. Among other things, it was always unlucky to be the son, daughter, or close associate of a deposed ruler. It would be hard even to choose the cruellest incident related by Gibbon.
I realize this might seem like a dangerous claim to make after the century that just ended, but while industrial-scale death may be the most evil thing that’s ever happened, I think some of Gibbon’s scenes are far crueller in their gratuitous infliction of slow-paced humiliation and pain.

Part I: Fanon, Cone and Carter—On Imposed Narratives, Counter-Narratives and the Christian Narrative from Per Caritatem by Cynthia R. Nielsen

In the closing section of Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon emphasizes the need for the black person to be future-oriented and to actively reject the white-scripted narrative into which he was born while creatively carving out a new present and future.  For Fanon, this meant a willingness to employ violence and to risk his own life so that human beings would no longer “be enslaved on this earth”.[1] Yet, his vision also included a call to human solidarity, a call to blacks and whites and to all human beings to “move away from the inhuman voices of their respective ancestors so that a genuine communication can be born”.[2] [...]

If in fact colonialism and modern institutions of slavery are fueled by a desire to possess, destroy and re-make others in one’s own (white) image, and Christians who have supported these projects have been in grave error, is it possible to vindicate Christianity so that it might still be considered a valid option for the possibility of saving difference?  J. Kameron Carter believes it is possible and has recently made a case for rescuing Christianity from its perverse instantiations.

In part two, I shall discuss Carter’s reading of Maximus the Confessor.

Multilateralism from An und für sich by Adam Kotsko 

I’ve been writing a review of Hardt and Negri’s Commonwealth today, and a thought occurs to me: the fact that the Copenhagen climate talks produced little more than a token gesture seems to count as evidence that, as Hardt and Negri argue, multilateralism is just as dead as unilateralism. It’s difficult to imagine any kind of binding agreement being reached under any circumstances, but certainly a meeting among heads of state, various CEOs, and representatives of NGOs and religious groups seems more likely to produce meaningful results.

(Similarly, I wonder if one could take the depressing progress of health care reform as evidence that social democracy is just as empty as neoliberalism….)

Wayne Frair, Professor of Biology, The King's College, Briarcliff Manor New York 10510

I understand the essence of Dr. Lynn White's paper to consist of the following four main ideas:
1. Modern science is an extrapolation of Christian natural theology which realizes man's transcendency of and mastery over nature.
2. With the wedding of science and technology four generations ago man attained new powers over nature.
3. These powers are out of control and so we find ourselves in a serious ecological crisis.
4. The solution which is essentially religious involves:
a. recognition of the guilt of Christianity;
b. rejection of the Christian axiom that nature exists solely to serve man; and
c. realization of a more Franciscan position which taught a spiritual autonomy of all parts of nature.

Paul Samuelson and the State from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux

Here’s a letter that I sent earlier today to The Economist:
Mr Samuelson jumped to this conclusion about the need for regulation far too cavalierly.
Neither as a matter of logic nor of history do market imperfections necessitate government regulation.  Even on purely economic grounds, regulation might do more harm than good – a fact downplayed by Mr Samuelson.  Mr Samuelson’s healthy skepticism of dreamy ivory-tower notions of market efficiency was strangely accompanied by his own dreamy ivory-tower notions of government efficiency.
Donald J. Boudreaux

Origins of a Fable from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy

Certainly in the 1930s there was a stronger reserve among Cambridge, England, economists to what had become 19th-century ‘classical’ economics about the market (Mill, Manchester School, The Economist, and their stories about ‘laissez-faire) and early misattributions to Adam Smith, than was common among Chicago economists, whose enthusiasm for harmonious markets was quite explicit in house.

Interestingly, Samuelson remarked, in a sceptical tone, about the oral tradition at Chicago in the 1930s (he graduated there in 1935 – and moved to Cambridge, Mass. for his post-graduate degrees), that such ideas as the ‘invisible hand’ doctrine had limited explanatory power, especially after “two centuries of experience and thought”. (See: Samuelson’s Economics, 1st edition 1948, page 36 and 12th edition, 1985, page 41.)

Unfortunately, Cambridge, Mass. conquered Cambridge, England, on these matters with the fading of Keynesianism under the triumph of Monetarism from the 70s. Meanwhile, and afterwards, the invisible hand myth conquered the profession with the ruthless energy of the barbarian invasions of Rome in the 5th century.

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