Friday, February 5, 2021

democratic life involves perpetual renewal,
in small degrees



The point of transition to a new governmental era performs a constitutionally derivative act of re-Founding that idealizes citizen commitment to their part in making the new era real.

A normal response is that one doesn’t have the time to honor such promise.

That suits the capitalist world well, as its under-monetized demands of work time commonly deny folks freedom for a high degree of citizen presence—even denying folks time for good attention to reliable news, little time for self-directed learning, little time for enriching friendships and sustaining neighborhood, even denying us time for good family, good-enough parenting. (The capitalist world spends heavily to prevent legislation of fair minimum wages.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

people, nation, nationality, nationalism, transnationalism



Persons commonly use ‘people’ in the sense of ‘persons’, but a person isn’t primarily one of the people or a member of some people, understood as the people or a people. A person among persons is an individual among individuals. Indeed, the first recorded use of ‘people’ (i.e., the item of English) was a sense of “human beings not individually known or considered as individuals” (Merriam-Webster Unabridged).

Indigenous persons didn’t originally understand themselves as a people (i.e., one variety of a European general kind); rather, they were Navajo, Inuit, Mongolian, Persian, Gallic, or Angle, etc.: a self-determinative singularity, conceived as a distributed language family or regional version of The Family.

The English notion of people has its first known use in the 13th century, followed by first known use of ‘nation” in the 14th century, meaning the same as nationality, emergent through Middle English from the Latin ambiguity of ‘natio’: birth, race, people; and earlier Latin ‘gnatus’: to be born, like Latin ‘gignere’: to beget.

Monday, February 1, 2021

the challenge of humanistic union
for the confederated planet



A challenge of confederacy exists in the U.S. which traces back to the conception of our Constitution: states’ rights.

The admirable idea is that grassroots democracy calls for local freedom for shaping regional policy; regional freedom for national policy.

Great-scale frustrations of that are expressed in the European Union’s challenge to respect intra-E.U. sovereignties while trying to find a unifying basis for constitutionalizing a United States of Europe—an idea which may never be actualized, but an idea which is very integral to E.U. evolution.

The challenging idea of e pluribus unum—from the many, One—is also integral to the future of African union, and—more abstractly—for international associations strapped with sustaining and advancing manifold global dynamics (e.g., the WTO vs. China) fruitfully—with telic cohering, I like to say.

The G-7, the G-20, and the U.N. Security Council all face the challenge of constructiveness among sovereignties. Persons live with that challenge among friends, colleagues, and neighbors.

All in all, We want what expresses our flourishing, even Our evolving, durably.

Friday, August 28, 2020

for a world beyond throwaway words


This is part 2 of the project “being an American (with conceptual issues)

In pre-recorded presentations for the Democratic National Convention, the week of August 17, historian Jon Meacham, Michelle Obama, and Barack Obama were obviously not speaking spontaneously. Likewise for Joe Biden, the final night.

Yet, the engagement with us was more than wanting to be heard heart-
fully, more than assuring the viewer that they cared deeply about our politics; and that you should care about electing Biden.

Who took to heart the words they chose? Indeed, who will long remember the themes they invoked?

Thursday, May 14, 2020

“genius” on the street



Quote marks: so-called.

It’s certainly so-called in journalism. David Brooks did a column 11 years ago (I’m an obsessive archivist) that’s typical, titled “Genius: The Modern View.” He riffs off a couple of books about building expertise through practice and persistence, focusing especially on child development. Alas, you too can someday be called a “genius.”

Saturday, May 9, 2020

VE Day in a pandemic



Yesterday’s VE Day observance caused me to recall that American isolationism after WW-I led to the League of Nations failing. There’s an epochal lesson in that, re: the Trumpist withdrawal from collaborative global relations in the face of mounting severities: tipping points in climate risk, desperation-driven militarism, the current pandemic.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

originalism as phony approach to constitutionality



This week’s NYTimes Magazine article on juristic originalism, “How Will Trump’s Supreme Court Remake America?,” seems to provide a definitive context for thinking about Constitutional interpretation.

The title is misleading in that the article is not really concerned with consequences of the given SCOTUS bench, but rather with conceptual issues of originalism. Ms. Bazelon’s long article is a fabulous mix of anecdote, references to keynotes of legal theory (largely undiscussed, but made available in one set of links), emphasis of central themes of originalist controversy, and synopses of some past SCOTUS decisions. (Particularly interesting is that there is recently-available evidence which decisively undermines the gun libertarianism of the NRA: The Founders and their ratifying contemporaries had only military concerns in mind.)

I was eager to comment, but what can be useful in 1500 characters or less about a very elaborate discussion of legal hermeneutics?

So, I made my comment a diluted version of detailed dwelling with the article, which my eventual comments would implicitly trope or allegorize: I copied every fleeting phrase and paragraph segment that essentially pertained to the article’s examination of originalism, for and against, and grouped it all into 13 foci. Then, I posted a distilled version.