Quotable (#225)


As the forces of reaction outpace movements predicated on the ideal of progress, and as traditional norms of political competition are tossed aside, it’s clear that the internet and social media have succeeded in doing what many feared and some hoped they would. They have disrupted and destroyed institutional constraints on what can be said, when and where it can be said and who can say it. …

Gutenberg 2.0 (undeniably?).

Quotable (#198)

Jamelle Bouie on the dominion of tribalism:

Everyone agrees that American politics is more partisan and more polarized than it’s ever been. But not everyone grasps why that’s important. It’s not just Congress and the ability of our institutions to make progress and accomplish their goals. It’s also our elections. […] he folk theory of American democracy is that citizens deliberate on the issues and choose a candidate. That is false. The truth, as political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels describe in Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government, is that voters are tribalistic. Their political allegiances come first, and their positions and beliefs follow. We’ve seen this with Donald Trump. Support for free trade is a longstanding belief within the GOP, but Trump is a major opponent, slamming most of the trade deals of the past 30 years. You would think that this would depress his support among Republican voters. It didn’t. Instead, those voters changed their views of trade. Their beliefs followed their affiliations, not the other way around.

Bouie clearly doesn’t see this as a fundamental critique of democracy (which is amusing).

Sexual Politics

Via Nate Silver, the electoral implications of hypothetical solely-male and solely-female electorates in the US (2016):



Given the absence of a realistic geo-political segregation option, continuing tension can be safely anticipated. (There still has to be a way to break the place up that makes more sense, such as starting with the places that don’t change color when gender-flipped.)

Quotable (#189)

Agamben (2006):

Because they require constant reference to a state of exception, measures of security work towards a growing depoliticization of society. In the long run they are irreconcilable with democracy.

(Feature, not bug.)

Also this (previously):

In short, discipline wants to produce order, security wants to regulate disorder. Since measures of security can only function within a context of freedom of traffic, trade, and individual initiative, Foucault can show that the development of security accompanies the ideas of liberalism.

In combination, these two sentences provide almost everything political philosophy needs.