From The Point, a symposium on “What are intellectuals for?”, including Jon Baskin on D.C. think tanks, NYC magazines and the search for public intellect; Jesse McCarthy on American intellectuals and the black radical tradition; Anastasia Berg on “Cat Person” and the dark pleasures of empathy; Jonny Thakkar on being an arsehole, a defense; and Rachel Wiseman on Joseph Brodsky and the moral responsibility to be useless. The centrist grievance against “victim politics”: Moderate liberals and conservatives complain about the contemporary focus on suffering — but such activism is central to American democracy.

The free speech grifters: Why are some of the biggest public intellectuals so fixated with a small minority of liberal college students? The professor of piffle: The dangerous underside of Jordan Peterson’s crusade against the humanities. The ideas industry meets the intellectual dark web: What happens when thought leaders cannot exercise leadership? David Atkins on shaming the deplorable dark web. Michelle Goldberg on how the online Left fuels the Right: Trying to silence conservatives just makes them louder. This column will probably change your mind: New research shows op-eds really do persuade.


From the Center for the Study of Inequality, here are papers from a conference on the state of democracy in the United States. Threads: (1) “If we stay on the path we are on now, it ends in democratic decline and rule by people like Neil Gorsuch — potentially for the rest of our lives. I think Democrats need to take the risky bet” and (2) “The biggest threat to American democracy probably isn’t Trump, it is Neil Gorsuch”. Thread: “Forbearance doesn’t work if only one side plays”. Thread: “The idea that good policy is insulation against backlash is one of the hoariest pundit’s fallacies in American history, and so far it’s batting .000”.

“The Republicans are behaving like a party that believes it will never be held accountable”: Sean Illing interviews David Faris, author of It’s Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics. Mark Levin says “the Democrat Party is more dangerous than any foreign enemy”.


From the Atlantic, Peter Beinart on how Iran hawks are the new Iraq hawks: Many of the assumptions that guided America’s march to conflict in 2003 still dominate American foreign policy today; and on the days after the Iran deal: Prominent advocates for withdrawal grappled too little with the possibility that the president cannot pull this off. John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are headed for a clash. Clashing views on Iran reflect a new balance of power in the cabinet. America gets it wrong on Iran — again. Dealbreaker: Musa al-Gharbi on making our Iran policy counterproductive again. Trump has put America in the worst of all possible worlds.

U.S. president Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal marks the temporary suspension of the trans-Atlantic alliance — what now? Time for Europe to join the resistance. Will Trump attempt to bully the rest of the world into compliance? How racism could drive support for war with Iran. Trump’s Iran-deal exit has raised the risk of war, even faster than expected. The escalation between Iran and Israel has everything to do with Trump. “There is always a tweet”.


Laurie Ouellette (Minnesota): How the Other Half Lives: The Will to Document from Poverty to Precarity. What everyone gets wrong about LBJ’s Great Society: It wasn’t some radical left-wing pipedream — it was moderate; and it worked. There’s a third-world America that no one notices. The U.S. can no longer hide from its deep poverty problem. Why the UN is investigating extreme poverty in America, the world’s richest nation (and more and more). Come the recession, don’t count on that safety net. Gene Sperling on a tax proposal that could lift millions out of poverty. Woman who stopped buying coffee still suffering from intergenerational poverty.


Petra Gehring (TU Darmstadt): The Inverted Eye: Panopticon and Panopticism, Revisited. Adam Takacs (Eotvos Lorand): Biopolitics and Biopower: The Foucauldian Approach and Its Contemporary Relevance. Scott Hamilton (BSIA): Foucault’s End of History: The Temporality of Governmentality and its End in the Anthropocene. Samuel Bagg (McGill): Beyond the Search for the Subject: An Anti-Essentialist Ontology for Liberal Democracy. What led the French theorist of madness and sexuality to politics? Bruce Robbins reviews Foucault: The Birth of Power and Foucault’s Last Decade by Stuart Elden. Revisiting Bartky on Foucault: Alexandra Tadros on the production and discipline of femininity. Who are we today? Richard Marshall interviews Miguel de Beistegui on Foucault, Proust, Deleuze. Did Foucault reinvent his History of Sexuality through the prism of neoliberalism?


David Rondel (UNR): Richard Rorty on the American Left in the Era of Trump. Luara Ferracioli (Sydney): Liberal Citizenship and the Isolated Tribes of Brazil. “This is an extremely dangerous situation’”: Israel and Iran are getting closer to a full-blown war. Europe wants to save the Iran deal — but that might be impossible. Angela Merkel: Europe can no longer rely on US protection. George Will calls “repulsive” Pence worse than Trump. Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to run the CIA, is a thug. Dick Cheney: Restart enhanced interrogation programs. The myth of meritocracy is increasing inequality: Ed Grover interviews Jo Littler, author of Against Meritocracy: Culture, Power and Myths of Mobility.

The “Intellectual Dark Web,” explained: Henry Farrell on what Jordan Peterson has in common with the alt-Right. “Elites like to pretend there's a difference between Ben Shapiro and Bannon or Spencer. But the consumers of white supremacist propaganda know better”. The real “dangerous” ideas: The people challenging the political consensus are the ones you won’t hear about on television.


Ugo Pagano (Siena): Why Have Only Humans and Social Insects Evolved a Complex Division of Labor. Angie Pepper (Monreal): Political Liberalism, Human Cultures, and Nonhuman Lives. Cheryl Abbate (Colorado): Compassion and Animals: How to Foster Respect for Other Animals in a World Without Justice. Simon Fitzpatrick (John Carroll): Animal Morality: What is the Debate About? Duncan Purves and Nicolas Delon (NYU): Meaning in the Lives of Humans and Other Animals. David M. Pena-Guzman (SFSU): Can Nonhuman Animals Commit Suicide? How diverse personalities help animals survive: Macho bluebirds and timid coyotes — and timid bluebirds and macho coyotes — drive the success of their species.

From Between the Species, a special issue on Tom Regan and the animal rights movement. Will Kymlicka (Queen’s): Human Rights without Human Supremacism. Human rights are animal rights: Speciesism is analogous to homophobia, racism and misogyny, argues Peter Tatchell. Should chimpanzees be considered “persons”? The Philosophers’ Brief on Chimpanzee Personhood: Proposed brief by amici curiae philosophers in support of the petitioner-appellant, Court of Appeals, State of New York. When the law recognizes animals as people: Two states have taken steps towards treating animals as individuals, a shift in their legal rights that could have wide repercussions.


Zach Carter and Arthur Delaney on how the ACORN scandal seeded today’s nightmare politics. Trump excels at destruction, not deals. Mar-a-Lago isn’t the “Winter White House” — it’s just an embarrassing cash grab. Let them eat Trump Steaks: Paul Krugman on when petty cruelty becomes a principle of government. Pardoning Michael Cohen this early in the Mueller investigation could be trouble for Trump. Follow the money: Three billionaires paved way for Trump’s Iran deal withdrawal. Sheldon Adelson kicks in $30M to stop Democratic House takeover. Billionaires have too much political power. “Train wreck”: Lawyers for past presidents gawk at Trump legal chaos.

“This is happening in broad daylight. Right before our eyes. And nobody is doing anything about it”. White House admits Trump’s infrastructure promise isn’t happening. A taxonomy of Michael Cohen and potential Trump corruption. “People get subpoenas, shit gets real”: What John Edwards should teach the media about covering Trump. David Atkins on the petty bigotry of the Trump administration. Trump’s appointees pledged not to lobby after they leave — now they’re lobbying. Why Trump seems impervious to scandal — for now: Thomas Glasbergen on lessons from an 18th-century English rogue.

Which side are you on? It is educated voters who are making politics more polarized. Stop saying the Trump era is “not normal” or “not who we are” — we’ve been here before: Carlos Lozada reviews The Soul of America by Jon Meacham and Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America by James Fallows and Deborah Fallows. American democracy has faced worse threats than Donald Trump: Ezra Klein on how the golden age of American politics was illiberal, undemocratic, and bloody. The Donald Trump era in America is coming to a close. Trumpism is having its best week ever.


Philip Alston (BYU): Universal Basic Income as a Social Rights-Based Antidote to Growing Economic Insecurity. Marko Kovic (ZIPAR): The Universal Basic Income: Benefits, Pseudo-problems, and Real Problems. Basic income’s third wave: The drive toward a basic income isn’t new — it’s a 100-year-old movement that has gotten stronger each time inequality has returned to the public discussion. Money for nothing: Benjamin Cunningham reviews Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World by Rutger Bregman. The myth of the benevolent billionaire: Clio Chang reviews Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn by Chris Hughes (and more and more). John Quiggin on GMI+JG=Paid work as a choice for all.

Free money: Issie Lapowsky on the surprising effects of a basic income supplied by government. Kate McFarland on existing and upcoming BI-related experiments. Dylan Matthews on the amazing true socialist miracle of the Alaska Permanent Fund. Finland has second thoughts about giving free money to jobless people. Matthew Dimick (Buffalo): Better than Basic Income? Liberty, Equality, and the Regulation of Working Time. Before basic income, fix capitalism.


William Clare Roberts (McGill): What was Primitive Accumulation? Reconstructing the Origin of a Critical Concept. Divya Menon (SUNY-Stony Brook): On the Critical Dimensions of Marxian Political Economy. Marx this time: Stephan Hammel on the return of a Marxist political economy. Navigating Marx in the age of Trump: Davis Richardson interviews David Harvey, author of Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason (and more). Samuel Bowles on Marx and modern microeconomics (and a response). Why Marx’s philosophy but not his economics matters now: Richard Marshall interviews Peter Singer.

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