Meditations on the Politics of Limited Knowledge

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Taking Ownership of Our Democracy – 2020 and Beyond

In Current Events, Economics, Political Theory, Politics on June 13, 2019 at 2:41 pm

Looking out at the Democratic primary field for the 2020 presidential election, I am hopeful for what may come out of debate over the most urgent, rational, achievable policies and the most viable means of saving the democratic project and advancing it into the future. I lay out some thoughts here on what I would like to see prioritized by a Democratic president elected in 2020.

While I am happy to see leftward movement in the party, I believe we need to think seriously about an agenda that is more socialist than even leftist social democrats by tackling distribution of wealth and ownership, and at the same time less statist by centralizing decision-making power only to the extent necessary for each challenge we face.

Bernie powerfully lays out the stakes in recent speech on his vision of “democratic socialism” as an extension of the unfinished work of FDR’s New Deal. Worth watching and keeping in mind throughout primary.

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Ideas Have Consequences: The Education of Paul Krugman

In Current Events, Economics, Politics on March 9, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Paul Krugman fumed as he read audacious remarks the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs made in testimony before the United State’s Congress:

Dimon had commented that financial crises were just things that happened every few years; Blankfein had compared the crisis to an act of God, like a hurricane. Krugman was curious to know whether these giants of Wall Street understood what they’d done wrong.

But only gradually has Krugman himself come to understand what can go wrong when reductive economic thinking is applied to the real world — and even he has a way to go. An excellent profile by Larissa MacFarquhar in the March 1, 2010, issue of The New Yorker (citations to hardcopy pages follow), traces Krugman’s own consciousness of politically embedded economic knowledge in a way that reveals much about the epistemic stance of the discipline vis-à-vis practical action in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Political Knowledge in an Era of Ungovernability: Obama, GOP and Tea Baggers

In Current Events, Politics on February 20, 2010 at 3:26 pm

“I’m not a pundit. I’m just a President…” And indeed Obama was when he met with members of the House of Representatives Republican Caucus on January 29. Obama’s televised Q&A with House GOP (transcript) proved to be a model for professional and productive political discourse with Obama at the top of his game as a knowledgeable, respectful, thoughtful, charismatic leader.

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Murmurs about religious wingnuttery

In Current Events, Politics, Religion, Science on August 31, 2009 at 2:56 pm

This blog will routinely draw attention to – and of course comment upon and connect to a larger project – contemporary conflicts in American politics in which religion/religious belief complicates, distorts or otherwise influences the public sphere. This week: anti-Obama Christian terrorists; Missouri loves company… as long as you’re not Charles Darwin…

Wingnut threats against – excuse me, prayers for divine decapitation of – Obama. You’ve seen the gun-toting freedom fighters showing up at Obama events in recent days. There are plenty of issues to unpack here, gun control, libertarian extremism, etc. But we need to consider the role that religion plays and should play (what deference, constitutional projection, etc) when these whack-jobs say things like “I don’t care how God does it” when the “it” is the immanent death of our constitutionally legitimate, democratically elected, stand-up citizen-leader we call President Barack Obama. Read the rest of this entry »