Born on this day 100 years ago: the great political philosopher John Rawls.

A tremendously original talent in his field, he expanded interest in it to an extraordinary degree, increasing the size of the professional pie and creating opportunities for many scholars who followed.
Naturally, in the wake of all that job-creation, he is the object of great resentment among many of those who benefitted from it, who focus not on the increase in their absolute position relative to the counterfactual...
but on the loss of relative status of other ideas of which they imagine they would have been the counterfactual standard-bearers in the levelled-down discipline.
(I just know that this joke isn't going to land and I'm going to get a whole day of angry replies. Oh well.)

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More from @jtlevy

20 Feb
In the solo MCU movies, Iron Man fought an evil inventor and two evil inventors and an evil inventor. Thor fought the god-prince of Asgard and the god-king of Svartalfheim and the god-queen of Asgard. Cap fought a Nazi super-soldier and a Commie super-soldier.
Ant-Man fought a shrinking guy and Black Panther fought a member of the Wakandan royal family and Doctor Strange fought a different student of the Ancient One.
This isn't a new problem or unique to the MCU-- there's Zod, after all-- but that's a lot of a lot, don't you think?
The team movies have allowed for more "nothing we were ever trained for," as have the better MCU Netflix shows (think of Kilgrave, Kingpin). And, of course, Spidey's movies, because Spidey along with Batman has the most varied and interesting rogues gallery in comics.
Read 9 tweets
9 Jan
Ted Cruz, of the Cruz-Hawley insurrection caucus, takes exception to Biden's Goebbels comparison about the Cruz-Hawley Big Lie, telling @AOC "Unless they are genocidal, calling your political opponents Nazis is atrocious." Note that Biden didn't actually *call* him a Nazi.

In 2013, on the floor of the Senate, Cruz directly compared the fight against Obamacare to the fight against... Nazi Germany, accusing those who wouldn't join his vanity filibuster to defund it to Chamberlain-style appeasement.…

He didn't call Obama a Nazi, or call the critics of his vanity filibuster Nazi sympathizers, but it was as close to a Nazi comparison as Biden's was, prompting no less than John McCain to take exception.…

Read 4 tweets
9 Jan
“Better late than never” is usually true— and yet late is still *late,* not on time.

Everyone who is starting *now* to break with Trump, resign from his administration, enforce rules against him, or distance themselves from the Cruz-Hawley insurrection caucus is late.
It’s really very important that there be more to the Republican Party going forward than the Trump family and the Cruz-Hawley insurrection caucus.

It’s much, much better that McConnell made the speech he did than if he had joined the insurrection caucus.
It’s better that the insincere opportunists like Nikki Haley and Lindsey Graham are starting to signal “the winds are pointing in a non-Trumpy direction now. The path for opportunists does not lie with Trump, Trump Jr, or insurrection.
Read 10 tweets
7 Jan
I think I've revised my 25th Amendment view.

I still think that impeachment with a bar to future office-holding is preferable, and that this isn't really the kind of problem 25A is for, but...

@AeonSkoble @knowledgeprob
when I think about Trump's state of mind yesterday... I don't think he planned or intended for the mob to do what he did. I don't think he *opposed* it, or *cared,* but I also don't think he planned or intended it. Because I don't think he thinks in terms of consequences at all.
He just... does stuff. Whatever he feels like, to make himself feel like a winner and a tough guy.

Since, pace @dandrezner , he's never going to grow out of that, it's a genuine incapacity.
Read 6 tweets
5 Jan
My favorite reading of 2020 was the accidental pairing of Noel Malcolm's Useful Enemies: Islam and the Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450-1750 (OUP), and Mitchell Cohen, The Politics of Opera: A History from Monteverdi to Mozart (PUP.)
There are points of intersection-- Abduction From The Seraglio is, among other things, an important piece of the 18th-century shift in European perceptions of and interest in the Ottoman/ Muslim worlds-- but mostly...
they're just two different big, ambitious, paths through early modern European political and intellectual history, and reading them both in proximity to each other enriched what I learned from each.
Read 4 tweets
4 Jan
This shared bit of reasoning from Cotton (left) and the GOP House members (right) is interesting. On the one hand, it's silly: it turns an objection to Trump stealing the election into a complaint about Democrats or the "left." On the other hand...

1/ ImageImage
it shows an awareness that's mostly been absent from the last 4 years (5, if we count McConnell/ Garland) that Calvinball isn't a stable equilibrium, that procedural changes set new procedural precedents and will go on applying when the other side in power.
That recognition has become so rare from Trumpists like Cotton that it's actually startling to see. (The House members aren't as slavishly MAGA as Cotton is.)

The recognition is also the bare beginning of the possibility of rule-governed politics, and, thus, welcome.
Read 7 tweets

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