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America First, but there’s no “American People”

Most commentators and, I assume, most citizens, are still in the habit of referring to the “American people” as the protagonist in the election drama: will the American people go along with this, will the American people support that, will this alienate the American people, etc. This is a habit that must be broken […]

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The Left, Classical and Contemporary, and Sovereignty

In his latest “Civilization in Crisis” Chronicle, Eric Gans addresses, forcefully and generously, the theory of the left I have been advancing in these blog posts. Gans seems to find my definition (“obedience to the imperative to expose the products of discipline as stolen centrality”) to be relevant to the contemporary left but not […]

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Do we need truth? This may be the most interesting of many interesting questions raised by Eric Gans’s latest Chronicle, “Civilization in Crisis?”: “Today as at the first human scene, the primary purpose of symbols is not to tell the truth, but to permit human survival.” The truth may be necessary for certain scientific […]

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Power has always been a bit of a mystery for political thought—some people do what other people say—why? Maybe because they will be harmed if they don’t obey—but that just means that the person giving the command can also command others to harm the disobedient, which just pushes the question back another step. Maybe […]

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Sovereignty, Nomos and Parrhesia

Carl Schmitt took the Greek word “nomos,” usually translated as “law,” but in a broad sense including “norms,” to refer to an originary division of land, a partition, by its first inhabitants. Whether the land has been conquered, discovered, or shared with another people, the nomos grounds the community in a more or less […]

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