I understand ‘genocide’ to mean the attempt to erase a people, that is, to create an appearance that the subject people do not exist either within a particular territory or universally. This certainly applied to Nazi treatment of the Jews in the Holocaust. It applies now to Israeli treatment of Palestinians—Israel even insists on calling the latter ‘Arabs’ in an effort to erase even their identity. And it applies to Chinese treatment of Uyghurs.
In his defense of an authoritarian system of social organization, Gerhard Lenski noted, correctly I fear, that human altruism diminishes with social distance. Thus, we are much more likely to give up our own lives to protect, in descending order, our families, our friends, our comrades, our communities, and our countries.
When we ask someone if s/he would sacrifice her or his own life to save five others, for example, they would likely answer most honestly if they first asked who those others are. Read more
See update for August 22, 2020, at end of post
It’s been a hell of a year so far, it isn’t even half over yet, and on top of all that, it is an election year, in which a delusional raging narcissist-in-chief faces an ostensible challenge from the neoliberal (so-called “Democratic”) party, which demonstrates its own relative lack of interest in actually winning with an astonishingly weak presumptive nominee. Against a pandemic, white supremacist protests against the lockdown meant to limit the contagion, a recession, and anti-racism protests, all crises which Donald Trump has at least exacerbated, and for which we ought therefore to have some considerable interest in removing him, the election does indeed seem minor.
It’s even more minor than it seems.
See update for June 21, 2020, at end of post.
Referring to our delusional raging narcissist-in-chief and his ill-advised rally in Tulsa, Stormy Daniels tweets,
Jason Okundaye argues for abolishing ‘whiteness’ as a category. So um, first, ‘abolition’ in an earlier context referred to abolishing prisons. Second, in the present context, it refers to the possibility of abolishing the police and/or criminal injustice systems (I support the abolition of all of the above, and Okundaye does not even actually mention them), but: Read more
See update for June 20, 2020, at end of post
On June 13, 2020, I praised Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto’s support for a measure that would enable the police to back off from many social problems. The proposal sounds like it falls, at a minimal level, under the rubric of the “defund the police” movement, which Amanda Arnold explains in The Cut and Zak Cheney-Rice explains in New York. And it’s a good idea within the realm of politics as the art of the possible. Read more
Fig. 1. Photograph via CNN, June 8, 2020, fair use. The photographer is not identified.
Those congressional leaders (figure 1) should simply have worn red. And Nana Efua Mumford uses the word to describe what Congressional leaders did with those stoles when they kneeled that I suspected applied: appropriation. Read more
I shouldn’t have to say this but even people calling themselves historians cling to this bullshit. From the Washington Post in a story on a movement to remove statues honoring Confederate heroes: Read more
I have some doubts about yesterday’s unemployment report which unexpectedly showed the headline unemployment rate dropping. Doubts, in fact, that make me suspect what some might call a “dead cat bounce.”
Some will look at unemployment, smack their foreheads and declare, “No Wonder!” This, they will say, of course, is the cause of so much current unrest. And as it appears to be receding, perhaps even inspiring the V-shaped recovery that the Trump administration appears to be relying on, perhaps we can relax about that unrest.