American politics, then and now and other essays

American Politics, Then & Now: And Other Essays
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Justice is a state of affairs as well as a state of relief, elation, jubilation. And political advocacy, at its best, involves the passionate expression of strongly felt sentiments and experiences. But not all emotions should necessarily be welcome in politics.

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Hate and fear, for example, drive exclusionary behaviour. They often result in rash and unfair decision-making.

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Perhaps love should be a part of politics. Might it not have a better role to play than hate and fear? For some, this shows that love is an empty value in politics: an emotion so malleable as to be meaningless. In All About Love: New Visions , the American feminist bell hooks says that men writing about love rarely draw on its practice, and even then tend to focus on the receipt of love, instead of the giving of love or the absence of love. Bearing these points in mind as a male writer, I want to begin not with some abstract pronouncements about love, but with some reflections on my own personal feelings of love.

When I think of love, I call to mind the kind, caring glow of my mother. I remember the tone in her voice that seemed constant in my years growing up: a register of concern, somewhere between sympathy and pain. I think of her steady presence, in person and other ways, exemplified in a Skype call where she listened, unwavering, as my voice quivered with fear and stumbling self-doubt. It carries me to the moment when my twin brother held my hand, hour after hour, the day after serious surgery.

The infantile style in American politics

I think of an attempt to be present for a close friend in times of struggle and need, through listening, acceptance, affirmation. I bring to mind spontaneous, unflinching outpourings of affection through words and touch. I have felt unloved when people from whom I have expected love have been distant, detached or disconnected.

Out of these experiences of the practice of love, it is possible to outline what love might be. Instead, what I am interested in, like hooks, is the verb: what it means to love.

American Politics, Then & Now

It is clear to me, from my experiences, that love involves a deep concern, that love is related to a steady state of support, that love is a force transmitted outwards from one person to another, that love is bounded by relationships in which there are expectations of presence and security. Love, in sum, is a deep sense of warmth directed towards another. And warmth can take more specific forms, such as affection, attention, care, and concern.

Love is between and beyond feeling and emotion. One way of expressing this is to say that love is a feature of the spirit: in other words, that loving is spiritual.

American Politics: Then and Now

In my experience, politics means many things: the chaotic clamouring of politicians in a debating chamber; the organising, arguing, laughing in some small room a night before a protest; the subtle power play between two people in a conversation, jostling verbally for a particular decision to be made. In essence, though, politics is the set of activities, often undertaken collectively, that relate to how power should be exercised and disciplined.

How, then, are love and politics related? Some indigenous traditions have for centuries explored how love, or something akin to it, can play a part in collective decision-making. Religious traditions have prized the practice of love in everyday ethics. Activists have referred to love in placards and slogans — for example, in organising to oppose war, support marriage equality, or fight for human rights. Socialist and anti-colonial thinkers have also developed the idea of love as an animating political force over the 19th and 20th centuries. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.

The point is to make love a lodestar in politics, which takes us towards a politics of other people. Put another way, the capacity to practise love — to direct a deep sense of warmth towards another — should be a character trait that is valued in politics. We should then also come to see the securing of love as a fundamental aim of what is done in politics. This general politics of love — which aims for love as an end-goal in politics — leaves room for different visions of love.

The project of strengthening a general politics of love involves building up the power of the rhetoric of love, in the same way that, arguably, the neoliberal economic project has involved building up the power of ideas of individualism, freedom and efficiency. The main purpose of a general politics of love is to make love a lodestar — a starting point or standard — in political discussions. A general politics of love connects politics to everyday felt experiences.

It reminds us that the personal is political, as feminism has long emphasised. It takes us in the direction of an other-regarding politics: a politics of other people. D espite these advantages, however, a general politics of love is not enough. To avoid these problems, a general politics of love must connect with radical politics. The logic of radical politics has at least three interlocking elements that are relevant here. First, it pays attention to history and context. Our societies lack love because of the structure of the economy, which harnesses exploitation and greed while also taking away the time that people need for truly loving relationships.

Societies lack love because of an unequal social structure that leaves people wounded, lonely and distant from each other in supposed communities. And they lack love because of the patriarchal, white-supremacist and related oppressive forces that create conditions of violence, insecurity and distrust. Second, a radical logic understands the preconditions that need to be realised to give meaningful effect to values. A radical politics of love does not just exhort people to offer warmth to all, but accepts that some steps need to be taken before love is possible. Survivors of sexual violence, or those affected by white supremacy, cannot be expected to turn spontaneously into ciphers of love.

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Still, there are certain bigger trends we know are going to continue and others that show no signs of reversing. The anti-slavery struggle". Trump rejected the Republican establishment and called for massive reform, but instead of bolting the party he co-opted its apparatus and secured its nomination. It remains to be seen, for example, whether Donald Trump will push forward on some of his highest-profile campaign priorities, such as constructing a wall on the U. Two years after an election that seemed to portend a new era of comity, American politics has resumed what now appears to be its permanent condition of polarization, quite possibly worsened by widening rifts within the two major parties. In terms of presidential style, Roosevelt introduced "charisma" into the political equation. Lewis, Charles Short.

Thirdly, being radical involves turning abstract commitments into positive action. One particularly promising application of a radical politics of love is through what Davis describes in Are Prisons Obsolete? They elaborate those sciences—morals, politics, and criticism—for which the Treatise of Human Nature lays a foundation.

It was not simply a desire for fame that led Hume to abandon the Treatise and seek a wider audience for his thought. He acted in the belief that commerce between men of letters and men of the world worked to the benefit of both. Hume thought that philosophy itself was a great loser when it remained shut up in colleges and cells and secluded from the world and good company. Eugene F. Book Cover. Miller, ed. First Pub. Liberty Fund, Inc.

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American Politics, Then & Now: And Other Essays [James Q. Wilson] on Amazon. com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. James Q. Wilson is one of America's. James Q. Wilson is one of AmericaOs most distinguished public policy scholars. This quintessential volume brings together decades of his writing and thinking.

Date Comments Publication date details: Part I: Copyright Portions of this edited edition are under copyright. Table of Contents. Foreword, by Eugene F. Miller Editors Note, by Eugene F. FIRST Miller 1 October An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding appeared for the first time under this title in the edition of Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. Earlier it had been published several times, beginning in , under the title Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding.

An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals was first published in Hume wrote the Dialogues about but decided to withhold publication during his lifetime.

The return of history

When Strahan declined to act, the nephew made arrangements for the publication of the Dialogues in See John B. Chappell, ed. See, for example, Essential Works of David Hume, ed. John W. Charles W. Frederick M. Henry D. Aiken New York: Hafner, Volumes 1 and 2, Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, ; Volumes 3 and 4, ; Volumes 5 and 6 in preparation.

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This edition has a Foreword by William B. John Home, A Sketch of the character of Mr. Though contrary to what Hume himself says about his mature writings as well as to what other interpreters have said about his abilities, this view was a rather common one at the turn of the century. Peter H. Abstract nouns are sometimes printed the same way for emphasis or to indicate divisions in the argument e. Since these peculiarities of capitalization may be relevant to the interpretation of the text, they have been preserved in the present edition.

He has revised the texts and added notes to the standard Selby-Bigge editions of the Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding, and Concerning the Principles of Morals, 3rd ed.