Cleon, Trump, and the Goodness of Demagoguery: An Exchange

There are times that the exchanges in the comments section are sufficiently interesting as to become worthy of their own post. I thought this exchange is one of those. The exchange is between Fred Baumann, who wrote this essay for us previously, and Bernard Dobski about Dobski’s essay. It’s unfortunate that more of our intellectual debates don’t have this character: Baumann: “In view of the fact that Trump, in my view at least, attempted usurpation of power through the Eastman memo and the pressure on the Vice President not to register the legally certified results of a national election, associating … Continue reading Cleon, Trump, and the Goodness of Demagoguery: An Exchange

Can Demagoguery be Good Sometimes? A Republican Defense of Trump

Bernard J. Dobski, Jr. is a Professor of Political Science at Assumption University in Worcester, MA where he teaches classes on political philosophy, American foreign policy, and international relations. He has published on classical political philosophy, Shakespeare and is currently … Continue reading Can Demagoguery be Good Sometimes? A Republican Defense of Trump

Partisanship, the Big Lie, and January 6th

Jeff claims that Jeff Isaac’s essay rebuts my arguments regarding Biden’s speech. It seems to me that his essay actually illustrates, rather than rebuts, my claims. Both Jeffs seem to appreciate and admire the speech. Jeff Isaac calls it “terrific” in that it “renew[ed] the fight to defend democracy.” As I said in my previous post, I too want to defend democracy. The question is, however, how we go about doing that. Isaac wants to fight for the Constitution, but, for him, continuing that fight apparently means fighting the entire Republican party. He writes: “The most important of aspect of … Continue reading Partisanship, the Big Lie, and January 6th

The Partisanship of Biden’s January 6th Speech

George: I agree with almost everything you say here about what Biden should have done with yesterday’s speech. I just don’t agree that Biden’s speech accomplished that. The attempt to build a coalition of constitutional patriots must include the acceptance of party differences. Biden’s speech was more aggressively partisan that that. He was not merely a constitutional partisan; he became a partisan of the Democratic party. He equated Republican politics now regarding, for instance, the federalization of elections with January 6th. I think there are reasons to oppose the federalization of elections that have nothing to do with January 6th. … Continue reading The Partisanship of Biden’s January 6th Speech

More on January 6th

The January 6 Committee continues to uncover extraordinarily valuable information. It is putting together a comprehensive picture of the disturbing events that led up to that day. And Liz Cheney has been exquisite. She has been clear that the attack on the Capitol was part of a larger effort by President Trump to overturn the election. She’s made the case that he was attempting to hinder Congress in carrying out its constitutional duties in an effort to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. Watch her here. And here.  She’s also clear-eyed that Trump’s elections lies continue to be a threat to the future … Continue reading More on January 6th

Politics and Moral Neutrality

Just recently I came across this essay connecting Max Weber’s essays “Science as a Vocation” and “Politics as a Vocation” to Trump’s impeachment. According to Zaretsky, civil servants both in Weber’s time and in our own have worked with the “imperative of vocation,” even or especially when, in the words of Weber, “an absolutely immeasurable factor” like the Kaiser in Weber’s time or Trump in our own act unpredictably and without thought. They must be, Zaretsky argues, “devoted to their calling” or their vocation even in the midst of the “absolutely immeasurable factor”of a leader like Trump or the Kaiser. … Continue reading Politics and Moral Neutrality