Those Stalinist students!

The way in which we sentimentalize the most average experiences exemplifies what Marxists call false consciousness. Many complaints about Princetonians objecting to Woodrow Wilson tut-tut about what campus protest was really like, man. Corey Robin doesn’t believe it. To listen to the critics of these Princeton students, you would think that until these students came… More Those Stalinist students!

Democratic myopia

Charles Pierce: There are a couple of lessons that the Democratic Party can take from yet another ass-kicking, this in a freakish off off-year election. (The results in Virginia, where Democrats hoped to overturn the state senate, were particularly painful, and not much of a testimony to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s influence.) The first one is… More Democratic myopia

GOP extremism: most fundamental campaign issue

I quote Charles Pierce so often because he’s one of the few columnists with a historical sense to match his prose. Often the historical sense is the saucer on which the tea cup of his prose cools (he steeps his sentences in Mencken and Thompson). I’d think, as he argues, that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz would be… More GOP extremism: most fundamental campaign issue

‘Our long term project must be the destruction of the state’

In a coda to a NYT Magazine essay about the corporatism of the American university, Fredrik deBoer writes: The central quandary for today’s left is that we need to use the state for various essential functions, such as providing free public education and preventing racist housing discrimination, while recognizing that our long term project must… More ‘Our long term project must be the destruction of the state’

Centrism: ‘anti-ideology’

Mike Konczal could have written this piece in 2011 but being Cassandra is a drag: Centrists position themselves as anti-ideology, representing a responsible compromise between liberals and conservatives. The word conjures sobriety and restraint, caution and moderation—all of which sound compelling in uncertain economic times. We live in uncertain economic times. When competence and centrism… More Centrism: ‘anti-ideology’

‘We invite you to luxuriate in secrecy’

On the centenary of Orson Welles’ birth, I thought it appropriate to mention the least heralded part of his career: the political activist, columnist, and radio personality whose liberalism, according to a new biography, drove him out of an increasingly mad United States during the McCarthy years. Setting aside the histrionics in the last third,… More ‘We invite you to luxuriate in secrecy’

The differences are the differences

So, uh, please note the difference between HRC and Bernie Sanders’ donors: The most notable difference is the Vermont senator’s reliance on the old FDR coalition: unions like the UAW, the Teamsters, and United Steelworkers. It’s Walter Mondale running against Gary Hart. Does anyone remember when the commentariat considered “Atari Democrats” a legitimate moniker? What… More The differences are the differences

Reclaiming the left

The political terrain since Teflon Ron and heir Bill Clinton has shifted rightwards so gradually that what once seemed bedrock Democratic philosophy looks like lunacy through the Coke bottle lens of the Beltway commentariat. Actually, I’ve heard little chatter about Bernie Sanders outside liberal blogs. This must mean the chattering class has decided he hasn’t… More Reclaiming the left