Earlier this week, introducing his plan to reduce roadway deaths, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg declared that “every driver, passenger, and pedestrian should be certain that they’re going to arrive at their destination safely, every time.” This was anodyne rhetoric, and in the scheme of things, it probably actually was harmless. But harmless rhetoric can be revealing, and this statement revealed a continued erosion of our understanding that there are limits and tradeoffs involved in most facets–make that “every” facet–of political life. There is a way to reduce roadway deaths to zero. It is to reduce the speed limit to 5 … Continue reading A 5 mph Speed Limit?
Recent days in the Convention are most significant for the ongoing discussion of how, or whether, to count enslaved people toward representation in the lower House. But a side remark by Gouverneur Morris on July 11 deserves attention. Among the questions before the delegates was how to apportion representatives for the new states that were anticipated to the west. Morris remarked: Among other objections it must be apparent they [the new Western states] would not be able to furnish men equally enlightened, to share in the administration of our common interests. The Busy haunts of men not the remote wilderness, … Continue reading July 11: Gouverneur Morris, Aristotelian
I appreciate Laura Field’s thoughtful response to my argument for less politics. She suggests I understate the scale of problems society faces today. That may be the case. There is an equal danger in overstating them and, in particular, in overstating their relationship to politics. Laura correctly notes that my premise, and our disagreement, depends on what we mean by politics. She agrees we need less Trumpism but more engagement with problems like inequality and racism that made Trumpism possible. I certainly agree we need less Trumpism, against which I have been outspoken since he descended the gilded escalator in … Continue reading The Case for Less Politics: Thoughts on Laura Field’s Reply
Joseph M. Knippenberg is Professor of Politics at Oglethorpe University. His teaching and research interests include history of political philosophy, religion and politics, and contemporary liberal theory. Continue reading Citizenship or Followership? Democracy and Demagogy from an Aristotelian Perspective, by Joseph M. Knippenberg
Ben Kleinerman and George Thomas have eloquently said what most needs saying about yesterday’s unspeakable events. There is not yet enough distance to process them soberly. But a preliminary thought: The insurrectionists’ chant, and apparent self-justification, as they plowed through security barriers, scaled walls and smashed windows of the U.S. Capitol, was “Our House!” Never mind whether they act that way in their own homes. The question is: Whose house, exactly? This was an “our” contraposed to a “them”: real Americans versus traitors, with the latter category encompassing not only 81 million Americans who voted for Joe Biden but also, evidently, the millions more who … Continue reading Insurrections and Abstractions