On Truth and PowerI’m grading papers for a new seminar I taught this past semester on Truth and Politics. It was one of the most exciting courses I’ve taught in a few years, with simply fantastic students who brought incredible passion and curiosity to perhaps the burning question of our moment. Structured around a close reading of Friedrich Nietzsche’s short but brilliant “How The True World Became a Fable," the students came to understand what Nietzsche means when he says that “truth is a lie,” or “truth is a woman,” or “truth is a fable.” Plato invented truth because of a distrust of opinion. Confronted with the trial and death of Socrates, Plato was convinced that political opinion in a democracy was dangerous, unstable, and irrational. What was needed was training of the best, those able to see beyond the shadows and deceptions of the human world, those who could step out of the cave of human affairs and focus their attention on the supersensual truths of the ideas. These philosophers claimed to know the rational truth, and from this they claimed the right to rule as philosopher kings. The question of the course became simply: If truth is a lie, is it a lie we should cherish and protect?
What’s the Point of Museums?Roger Berkowitz
There is a yearning for a truly non-biased and fully-inclusive museum. And since such a museum and such a show cannot exist, one group of curators have asked, "What's the Point of Museums?"
Racism and Institutional ChangeRoger Berkowitz
John McWhorter, very much like Corey Robin, also argues that the left needs to change its focus from questions of recognition to questions of power. For McWhorter, evidence of the mistake made by contemporary leftist politics is the language of “systematic racism.”
Capitalism and EmpathyRoger Berkowitz
For Corey Robin, the history of the last 300 years teaches us that the most important political struggles are about who can regulate the market. Whoever does so will determine where power rests. And that is the lesson Robin argues the present-day left is refusing to learn.
What we learnedThe midterm elections saw many crazy Trump-identified candidates lose, which dragged down the Republican Party and allowed the Democrats to hold the Senate. As of now, however, Republican candidates did win the popular vote. What is more, the Republicans continued to make strong inroads into core Democratic constituencies in Hispanic and Black voters, as well as college-educated white women in the suburbs.
Realists, Optimists, and RevisionistsRoger Berkowitz
As Ukraine consolidates its victories in the South, it is worth asking, when and how will this war end? Ivan Krastev asks this question and outlines three different positions, the realists, the optimists, and the revisionists.
An Aesthetic FindRoger Berkowitz
Of all of Hegel’s great works, only the Aesthetics has not yet existed in a complete form. That may change.
A Cultural BreakdownRoger Berkowitz
Political violence is on the rise. The attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband this week is only the latest example.
In June 2020, The New York Times published an op-ed in which Senator Tom Cotton argued in favor of using federal troops in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. In an essay published over two years after the controversy, the Washington Post's Erik Wemple writes that he and others should have defended the decision by the times.
Legally, The Whole Ballgame
On December 7th, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Moore v. Harper, a case that may very well influence the fate of the American Republic.