John Ganz Profile picture
working on a book about the early 90s / please subscribe to my substack UNPOPULAR FRONT https://t.co/VpkKhU1saS / don't get most notifications
29 Apr
my position on the culture wars stuff is basically this: yes, sometimes the rhetoric, cant and formulations routinely heard the left are reductive, idiotic, even demoralizing, but the political project of opposition to that seems to me so often of such little account
intellectually, so paranoid, so clannish, in obvious bad faith, or just obviously bigoted that it's difficult to take seriously. they've somehow made themselves more unappealing than even the worst excesses of progressive nonsense.
but nobody is covering themselves in glory here
Read 5 tweets
29 Apr
Part of the right wing is responding to the politically disastrous Trump presidency that activated and mobilized their opponents by doubling down on the same sort of desperate political idea
In his first post on liberal ascendancy, so hailed in RW intellectual as deeply insightful, Hanania posits right wing populism as a kind of rational response to liberal dominance but in the second post he concedes that liberals were activated by Trump
His posts are leavened with these pseudo-scientific ad hominems about the liberal character and so forth and self-congratulations about the more virtuous nature of conservatives, exactly emulating the worst aspects of liberal political analysis
Read 6 tweets
27 Apr
i think it's a kind of both, I think Carlson's extremely cynical and irresponsible and has shifted his positions and tone over the years to go along with the state of right wing discourse. But resentment, cynicism and irresponsibility are sort of an ideological position for him
In a speech at the NatCon conference Carlson said something to the effect of "my father told me you just have to accept what a nasty person you are at some age." This is temperamental but aided by the right wing acceptance of human wickedness as constitutive and unavoidable
What he really hates is to be brought to account in any kind of way, the pleasure in it is the irresponsibility, saying destructive or outrageous things and then self-righteously defying efforts to curb him. It's sort of adolescent, schoolboy rebellion stuff.
Read 6 tweets
21 Apr
Weber, Hegel, Marx, Freud essentially are all in agreement on this point: "There are a number of different types of guy." Hegel said it's actually one big guy, Marx said it's actually two big guys
Simone de Beauvoir, in her Ethics of Ambiguity, proposed that there were five types of guy and said they all had a lot of problems
i was corrected by a replier here (something I love) that there were actually 7 types of guy, but the last two arent so bad as the first 5 if i remember correctly
Read 4 tweets
19 Apr
one can easily imagine a Céline on twitter Image
"I am once again asking you to look to the history of French fascism as an important context for present politics" Image
this guy is an incel, it's all there
Read 4 tweets
18 Apr
i mean if public opinion was permanent and unchangeable there would be no point in campaigning or activism or for that matter writing about politics or policy
the opposition of public opinion might be a strategic consideration for politicians in this or that particular campaign but it is precisely what other political actors are trying to affect longterm
elections are only one part of democratic life
Read 6 tweets
18 Apr
i don't find it that difficult to balance the social norms around public health and what i want to do with my life now that im vaccinated and feel safe. i also hope not to wear a mask all the time soon, but can tolerate it for a bit longer
like i literally went to a restaurant and sat inside for the first time in a long time. it was pretty normal. i just followed their rules that made their employees feel safer about working now
i lower or take off my mask outdoors all the time. to smoke or just because i feel like it. nobody scolds you, everyone understands you are outside. these issues are like not that bad
Read 6 tweets
18 Apr
my take on "free speech" is that it causes, rather than resolves, social conflicts and that's fine and maybe even good, but the desire or civility and public peace and the desire for the widest ambit of freedom of expression are going to be in tension johnganz.substack.com/p/okay-lets-ta…
the demand for free speech and the demand for rational or civil speech are not really the same thing. free speech only really starts where civility ends
*for
Read 5 tweets
17 Apr
are we still doing Foucault? anybody wanna trot out of the parts of society must be defended where he's like "racism is good"?
Okay, before you get too excited, Foucault did not exactly say "Racism is good."
He just said the discourse of "race war" and "race struggle" was good Image
Read 4 tweets
15 Apr
reading something truly absurd
first of all this is truly disgusting
but this is.... also something
Read 5 tweets
14 Apr
YESSSS the odd lots with Slavoj Zizek is up lol
open.spotify.com/episode/38a3ug…
love the pro EU, anti visegrad groupstuff
very pro being tough on trump and supporters
Read 6 tweets
9 Apr
I think the important thing to understand about antisemitism as a political factor is that its not coterminous with "Jew hatred", it's a particular type of obsessive preoccupation and fantasy about the presence of an alien force in the national body
It's difficult to understand the type of politics being practiced by Tucker, Vance, Hawley et. al. without understanding the history of antisemitism. Jews were not just singled out as Jews, but filled a structural role as the cause of various maladies, liberalism, socialism, etc
Antisemitism was a synthesis of reactionary ideals and myths, it focused the tangled problems of society onto a single, identifiable enemy figure
Read 20 tweets
8 Apr
Yeah well look a minority elected Trump, an obvious moron, and majorities rejected him twice. I think there's proof of concept right there. Not to mention there are very few examples of dictators being acclaimed by democratic plebiscite, rather examples of parties finagling power
The whole aristocratic republican idea that democracy cant be trusted because it will lead to the rise of some kind of unscrupulous demagogue is probably one of the most discredited notions in political theory, we can see it's almost exactly wrong
Factions have recourse to desperate maneuvers for power, but democratic majorities contain with them many interests that have to be balanced and reconciled
Read 5 tweets
8 Apr
i dont know what "infrastructure" means or for that matter what any other word means, but i believe they should jam pack as much nonsense into every bill as humanly possible
lets commit $100 million to studying what the word infrastructure means, form a blue ribbon panel, organize art projects, you name it
i want every spending bill to be a veritable cornucopia of boondoggles and pork until every last citizen is sated
Read 4 tweets
8 Apr
i dont think one should tailor ones writing to the needs of political strategy, because it's pretentious to suppose what you write is of vital and immediate importance to the work of politics and also you end up subordinating intellectual life to imaginary chess moves
of course, there's writing that's explicitly about formulating political strategy and tactics, but it doesn't need to be the focus of every piece of analysis
because works of strategic political writing so rarely directly influence political considerations on a meaningful scale, they become just about political styles, what sort of affect and words and attitude to adopt in the pursuit of politics
Read 6 tweets
8 Apr
I don't really get this argument that says "oh it can't be fascism because no WW1" yes there's maybe not the kind of catastrophe that leads to the overwhelming strength and popularity of such movements, and there's no masses of brutalized men to staff paramilitaries, but
what else should you call a form politics that declares the nation is in some kind of terminal state of decline, is being dominated by alien non-citizens, and requires some kind of redemptive violence and strong leader to recover its former glory?
the idea that conditions need to be precisely the same for certain categories to obtain just makes any kind of categorization impossible, you might as well say well there's not really a left, because they dont literally sit on the left of the National Assembly in 1792
Read 11 tweets
7 Apr
People often say things "the American people are good, but the government and institutions are bad" I disagree, I believe the American people are bad, there is something wrong with all of them
The institutions are a reflection of us as a people, and we are bad
This is not to say "Oh America is the worst country on earth" blah blah, which isn't really a meaningful statement, usually thats just more about Americans trying to maintain their own innocence, which is what we are all about: being bad and pretending to not even know it
Read 4 tweets
7 Apr
Yes exactly, the American people love cheap oil, politicians lost elections over this stuff, they were often responding to political incentives. Also, like low oil prices are great for most of the country but not all regions. Louisiana had a boom time in the 1970s
This is the problem with the whole conspiratorial take on American politics and history: even in their most private counsels politicians are worried about public opinion
deceptive moves are taken to confuse public opinion, but most politicians know they are temporary expedients and eventually they need to deliver a tangible benefit to some constituency. that creates its own problems, where we do short term fixes of structural problems etc
Read 5 tweets
7 Apr
This has been declassified for 23 years, it's the NSC directive on the Persian Gulf crisis in 1991: the first words are "Access to Persian Gulf Oil..." Something about this quip annoys me because its like literally not even a secret
People are always knocking on the open door with this stuff, like "Oh the government is doing all this nefarious stuff" yeah they periodically admit it openly. Trump framed his philosophy of war in terms of "bombing the shit out of people" an "taking their oil"
the thing is, oil was not the *only* reason for the war, it was another justification that *sounded* rational, but the real reasons were about much hazier issues like "the us role in the world", when you "uncover" these "core motives" you often just learn very little
Read 6 tweets
6 Apr
i dont think an article in a magazine is gonna make me stop feeling anxious about antisemitism
alright maybe it distorts your judgment a little bit to fixate on it at the exclusion of all else but i think i come by that one honestly and im not gonna take particularly well to being chided about it
i don't know anything about the author, but one thing i will remark is that there seems to be a much different attitude towards these things among jews whose families came to the country post 1933 and those who came earlier
Read 5 tweets
6 Apr
did anybody else get the J&J vaccine? did you get the side effects real bad?
oh great pretty much everyone says its awful
so far so good!
Read 4 tweets