The American Way of Death

The American Way of Death

America is one the last of the states in the West to practice judicial killing. Although the pace of executions doesn’t match up with the rivers of blood unleashed by China, or ISIS, the practice of liquidating offenders, and the buoyant enthusiasm that surrounds it, combine to evince a distinctly macabre state of affairs. More»

The Charlie Ideology

The Charlie Ideology

Faster than you can say “manufacturing consent”, “Je suis Charlie” has become another “Yes we can!”, a slogan for the self-herding masses, an opiate for the iPhone generation. If that wasn’t clear when it became the Facebook meme of the decade, it sure as hell should be obvious now More»

No Comeback

No Comeback

When I saw the coupon in my social media feed, I just had to buy the new Sleater-Kinney album at Best Buy. It’s hard to imagine a more incongruous place to procure the return of those darlings of middle-aged — and usually white — music critics. But that’s why it felt so necessary. I needed to be reminded of the world the band had warned us about. More»

Latest entries
Pimping Climate Action

Pimping Climate Action

I’ve never been to a protest march that advertised in the New York City subway. That spent $220,000 on posters inviting Wall Street bankers to join a march to save the planet, according to one source. That claims you can change world history in an afternoon after walking the dog and eating brunch. More»

Torino and the Left

Torino and the Left

Squatters busted by the cops. Defiant asylum seekers sticking it to the man. Denunciations of capitalism, imperialism, and the bourgeoisie. In Italy, of course. It’s so dated-sounding, Hugo Chavez might as well have scripted it. Typically provincial leftists, still stuck in 20th century. At the very least, they could be blogging this stuff. Someone call Russia Today. More»

McDonald's Takes Europe

McDonald’s Takes Europe

There are reasons for Europeans to feel antipathy towards the United States, just as there were in previous decades. But expressing these sentiments is not as easy as it used to be. The bait-and-switch move that reliably substituted cultural targets for political ones is becoming harder to pull off. More»

Free of London

Free of London

In only a matter of days, Scotland will decide on its future. The Left seems to have lined up behind the Yes-side of the referendum on independence. What is the case for unionism here? Surely, there has to be a progressive angle. After all, the Union stood firm against the rising tide of fascism in the early decades of the twentieth century. What makes it unworthy of progressive politics, now? More»

No True Islam

No True Islam

Senior Muslim scholars are beginning to push back against Islamic State propaganda. Britain’s Faith Associates consultancy organized a four-minute video in July featuring many leading Sunni and Shia imams. More»

Leftist Religion Problem

Leftist Religion Problem

Watching the major powers in the Middle East maneuver has become increasingly painful for anyone who still believes that politics can sustain our better natures. Cynically self-serving, with callous disregard for the dignity of human life, their moves have helped to revive every conspiracy theory in the book and inspire plenty of new ones. This is a major problem, especially for the Left. More»

Israel and Philosophy, Part II

Israel and Philosophy, Part II

“So we’re not ‘against’ these people, and ‘for’ these other people. What are we really ‘for’? A more just political formation, one that would allow for equality at the level of citizenship,” Judith Butler concludes the second part of her conversation with Mark LeVine. “Religion may be extremely important, but I don’t think it should be a prerequisite for citizenship, and certainly not there.” More»

Designing Postwar Japan

Designing Postwar Japan

The debate was about who knew Japan better: the “Japan Crowd” or the “Lobby,” on the right, or the “New Dealers” in the SCAP. The story of the US Occupation from, 1945 to 1952, is the story of these camps’ shared assumptions about the limitations of the Japanese psyche. In the end,  the conservatives won, disproportionately influencing Japanese politics, and America’s imperial administration. More»

Hijacking the Arab Spring

Hijacking the Arab Spring

You’ve heard it before. Supporters of the Arab Spring always say that Islamists “hijacked the revolution.” The statement gets repeatedly invoked in reference to the crises in Libya and Syria, where the revolts ended up fostering the rise of extremist groups, who dominate the resistance, today. More»

The Paranoid Style

The Paranoid Style

There’s something of a cottage industry in the US, devoted to tying contemporary politics to their intellectual forebears. In some cases, it’s a matter of pure character assassination, as in the assertions from the far right that Barack Obama is some sort of  socialist. From the leftward side of the spectrum come claims that this or that politician is a devotee of the thought of that great seducer of the adolescent male mind, Ayn Rand. More»

Israel and Philosophy

Israel and Philosophy

Over the course of the past two decades, Judith Butler has become one of the world’s most important intellectual figures, inspiring controversy, not with the flamboyant generalizations of European counterparts like Slavoj Zizek and Alain Badiou, but with patient rhetorical analyses of both philosophical classics and contemporary political discourse. More»

Where There's a Will, There's a Way

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

It’s hard to believe that the American armed forces were once thought of as glorified vocational schools for men and women who had either finished high school or were finished with high school. Yet from the end of the Vietnam War until 9/11, the vast majority of volunteers could look forward to years of educational tedium, rather than armed struggle. This remains the case in Germany. More»