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The Logos Reader

Rational Radicalism and the Future of Politics

Stephen Bronner

Publication Year: 2006

The online publication Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture was launched in response to the atmosphere of triumphant conservatism and militarism that pervades American political culture in the aftermath of 9/11. Aiming to revitalize the moribund political left, several world-renowned intellectual figures congregated to form the journal’s core group of editors and writers. The mission of Logos is to promote “rational radicalism,” grounded in critical social theory and fully engaged with the most vital issues of our time. The Logos Reader: Rational Radicalism and the Future of Politics offers the best political writing published by the journal during its first three years. Compiled by founding editors Stephen Eric Bronner and Michael J. Thompson, these pieces critically examine globalization, the Iraq War, and the plight of the Middle East, while also illuminating the domestic concerns that dominate American discourse. Delivered in a direct, accessible manner, the analyses presented in The Logos Reader reflect the journal’s distinctly public purpose. The essays reveal both the practical and theoretical connections between distant military pursuits and domestic struggles for democracy and equality. The left’s leading intellectuals shed light on the most recent developments in the global war on terrorism while sharply criticizing right-wing justifications for restricted civil liberties, human rights violations, and rampant expansion of armaments. Similar attention is given to central domestic issues, such as the conservative right’s assault on the welfare state and the crusade of religious fundamentalists against civil rights protections for all citizens. Negotiating the vast terrain of current social problems, the contributors are united in their intent to question and ultimately constrain the excessive power wielded by dominant cultural, political, and economic institutions. This collection stakes out firm ideological ground and challenges authoritarian forces, clarifying the notion of rational radicalism as a liberating counterpoint to limiting worldviews and systems of oppression.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Front cover

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Copyright

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-

This book is the culmination of the combined efforts of many people whose only motivation was their commitment to Logos. Without each of them it would have been impossible to keep the journal afloat. Gregory Zucker has been a tireless...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

Logos was founded in the shadow of September 11, 2001, when the new millennium had barely begun. It was conceived as a journal, but also as part of a larger political and cultural project. A palpable chill had already pervaded the cultural climate...

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American Landscape

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pp. 9-16

Lying has always been part of politics. Traditionally, however, the lie was seen as a necessary evil that those in power should keep from their subjects. Even totalitarians tried to hide the brutal truths on which their regimes rested. This disparity gave critics and reformers their sense of purpose: to illuminate for citizens...

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How to Be an Intelligent Anti-American

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pp. 17-26

The original idea for this paper dates back to 1996. At that time, I was teaching in Cracow, Poland, in a summer institute on democracy and diversity. Since1992, I had been teaching a course on democratic culture, utilizing the political theory of both major Western thinkers, particularly Hannah Arendt, and major thinkers and political ...

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The Federal Marriage Amendment and the Attack on American Democracy

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pp. 27-38

For centuries there have been powerful voices to condemn homosexual conduct as immoral, but this Court’s obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate ...

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Fahrenheit 9/11: The Real Lowdown

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pp. 39-44

Agitprop, by any other name, is still agitprop. Even our heartiest approval of a refreshingly candid viewpoint within this dubious medium doesn’t change that fact. But so what? In the trumped-up second Persian Gulf war, didn’t the mainstream ...

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The Never-ending War on the Welfare State

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pp. 45-58

Commenting on the administration’s decision to create a new drug benefit for seniors, one highly respected liberal columnist recently observed that “political considerations seemed to be pushing George W. Bush further and further into the New Deal way ...

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Leo Strauss and the Rhetoric of the War on Terror

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pp. 59-74

A very curious piece appeared on the op-ed page of the New York Times on June7, 2003. Its author was Jenny Strauss Clay, a professor of classics at the University of Virginia, and the...

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Dual-Layered Time: Reflections on T.W. Adorno in the 1950s

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pp. 75-80

What seems to be trivial in retrospect could not be taken for granted by the time I joined the Institut f

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Anthony Giddens's Third Way: A Critique

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pp. 81-98

The story goes that Michael Harrington and Paul Jacobs, the socialists in an early War on Poverty task force, liked to end their policy memos by noting: “Of course, there is no real solution to the problem of poverty until we abolish the capitalist...

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How Dinesh Gets Over: The Unmeritorious Scholarship of Dinesh D'Souza

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pp. 99-116

For about a decade now, Dinesh D’Souza has been vexing serious left and liberal intellectuals. D’Souza’s meteoric rise—from Bombay Rotary Club exchange student at the University of Arizona in 1978 to media-renowned political“expert” and Rishwain Scholar at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution today—might be cast as one of the great immigrant success stories...

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A Mills Revival?

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pp. 117-140

Perhaps you know Foucault’s remark that despite the torrent of criticism directed against Hegel’s philosophical system, “Hegel prowls through the twentieth century.” Consigned to a kind of academic purgatory for the last three decades of the twentieth century, at a time ...

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The Price of Heavenly Peace: Tiananmen Square Fifteen Years Later

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pp. 141-148

Anyone who has walked along Chang’an Boulevard in Beijing in the last fifteen years cannot help but be transported back to the spring of 1989. The ground still elicits the images of the tens of thousands of students and workers who gathered there to demand democratic reform of the communist state.Even today, it is as if the square itself still vibrates with political meaning. This...

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But on a Quiet Day . . . A Tribute to Arundhati Roy

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pp. 149-164

Sometimes one feels like “tuning out.” Faced with the incessant noise of war-planes and propaganda machines, one sometimes feels like stopping up one’s ears in order to shut out the world. The impulse is particularly strong in the“developed,”...

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Flight from Van: Memories of an Armenian Genocide Survivor

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pp. 165-178

This story was told to me in the 1970s by my mother-in-law, Varsig Pazian Cholakian. I now regret that I did not record it in her own words, but at the time, she insisted that her English was not good enough and that I should write it down for her. Allowances should be made for the fact that these are the memories of a very young child and that many years elapsed between the...

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Dharma and the Bomb: Postmodern Critiques of Science and the Rise of Reactionary Modernism in India

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pp. 179-194

Amidst the headlines about nuclear war worries in South Asia, a little-noticed news item appeared on the BBC World News.1 The BBC reported on May 14,2002, that in the middle of the dangerous military buildup along the border with Pakistan, with careless talk of ...

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The Political Legacy of Edward Said

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pp. 195-200

In the fall of 2002, before the United States led the invasion of Iraq, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz ran an article by Akiva Eldar on a meeting held in Washington for some members of the Pentagon. The host was Richard Perle, then chair of the U.S. Defense ...

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Second Letter on Algeria (August 22, 1837)

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pp. 201-216

Suppose, Sir, for a moment that the emperor of China, landing on the shores of France and at the head of a powerful army, made himself master of our greatest cities and of our capital. And after having destroyed all of the public registers before even having given himself the pain of ...

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Who Are the Palestinians?

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pp. 217-226

Who are they, the Palestinians, and who has the right to speak for them? Oppressed nationalities find it difficult to get a hearing because those who pretend to represent them are often political adventurers who merely exploit them—whether for other powers’ imperialistic purposes ...

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The Power of Myths in Israeli Society: Historial Realities and Political Dogmatism

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pp. 227-232

Practically all peoples, nations, and societies have recourse to a treasury of legends, tales, or poetic fictions stemming from their more or less remote antiquity.These are mostly enacted by supernatural beings or by human heroes expressing, in terms of fable or story, interpretations of the world and idealized conceptions of life, and they sometimes serve, as well, as models and examples. Such...

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The Logic behind the Geneva Accord

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pp. 233-246

There are three ways in which the Geneva Accord differs from previous documents dealing with an Israeli–Palestinian settlement. First, this is a model fora permanent status agreement that puts an end to the conflict and to all mutual claims. Prior to the signing of the Geneva Accord ...

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West Bank Settlements Obstruct Peace: Israel's Empire State Building

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pp. 247-252

Why is it so hard to make peace in the Middle East? The greatest barrier is the Israeli settlements—these are both the motivation for and the engine of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. Three decades of objections from the United States and ...

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Orwell and Kafka in Israel--Palestine

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pp. 253-268

In the last two years, I have made three trips to Israel and occupied Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza Strip). Each trip represents a journey into an approximation of the literary nightmares of George Orwell and Franz Kafka...

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The Guiding Principles and the U.S. "Mandate" for Iraq: Twentieth-Century Colonialism and America's New Empire

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pp. 269-278

Late in 2001, the Council on Foreign Relations invited twenty-five academics,corporate executives, oil industry consultants, retired military men, and American diplomats to meet at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy on the oak-shaded campus of Rice University. Co-chaired by two former ...

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The Iraqi Conflict and Its Impact on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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pp. 279-282

There is a widespread belief in the Arab world—and in Western pro-Palestinian circles—that there is a strong Israeli connection to the invasion of Iraq and,more generally, to American policies in the Middle East. Such a conviction is based more on prejudice than on facts. It is widely assumed that the political interests of the United States and Israel are the same with regard to the Middle...

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Iraqnophobia versus Reality

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pp. 283-292

Incredibly, in less than eighteen months, the Bush administration has turned worldwide support for the United States following the September 11 attacks into the biggest foreign policy debacle since the Vietnam era. This administration’s policies on Iraq have bitterly divided NATO, the UN Security Council,the U.S. Congress, the European Union, and even the Arab League. It’s an old...

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Whither Independence? Iraq in Perspective: From Despotism to Occupation

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pp. 293-302

There has been nearly unanimous consensus among Iraqis that a new age of possible progress and prosperity has dawned on their battered and war-fatigued country with the downfall of Saddam Hussein on April 9, 2003. How-ever, much has tainted this rosy image, and much more could still mar the outcome. A principal factor has been the highly incompetent and nonchalant...

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September 11 and the Terror War: The Bush Legacy and the Risks of Unilaterialism

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pp. 303-322

On September 11, 2001, terrorists seized control of an American Airlines flight from Boston to Los Angeles and crashed it into the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City, followed by a second hijacking and collision into the other WTC tower minutes later. During the same hour, a third commandeered jet-liner hit the Pentagon, while a fourth hijacked plane, possibly destined for the...

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Europe as a Political Project

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pp. 323-330

In the 1980s, with several friends, I helped produce a program called “Europe-in-Formation” at the New York left-wing public radio station WBAI. This was a time well before the ultimate internal weakness of the Soviet Union became apparent and when a true or good or purified socialism remained a hope for many leftists. Our idea was that the model of a European Union, enlarging the...

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Multilateralism: For a New Political Enlightenment

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pp. 331-340

Even if the realization of this goal of abolishing war were always to remain just a pious wish, we still would not be deceiving ourselves by adopting the maxim of The war in Iraq, having been publicly declared as an example of our new foreign policy and its commitment to preemptive ...

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Globalism: The New Market Ideology

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pp. 341-352

In his celebrated address to a joint session of Congress nine days after the terrorist attacks on September 11, President George W. Bush made it abundantly clear that the deep sources of the new conflict between the “civilized world”and terrorism were to be found in neither religion nor culture but in political ideology. Referring to the radical network of terrorists and governments that...

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The Silence of Words and Political Dynamics in the World Risk Society

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pp. 353-368

September 11, 2001, will stand for many things in the history of humanity. Among these is the failure, the silence of language before such an event: war,crime, enemy, victory, and terror—the terms melt in the ...

Contributors

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pp. 369-372

Index

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pp. 373- 380


E-ISBN-13: 9780813171692
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813123684

Page Count: 392
Publication Year: 2006