A lot of pain and dehumanizing damage in the world takes place due to “technical rationality,” which Hannah Arendt referred to as the “banality of evil.” Here I discuss the baby formula shortage as an example of how “wicked problems” are caused by layers and layers of failures that can be traced back to a lack of fundamental responsibility. In our world, no one is responsible except for the discrete part they play in the overall machine whose inhuman, abstract, and often “CYA” formulations govern their responses and behavior. The evil of non-being comes through in the inertia of organizations and the inaction and conformity of lots of people over long periods of time. … More Baby Formula Shortage and Technocratic Evil
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Spencer Hess and Laurie Johnson talk about the “Spoils of Egypt” concept from Christian theology, how it has operated in the past, and what is keeping people from using it now. In the past, Christian theologians have often “plundered” secular theology for its riches, taking what was useful and true in light of Christian revelation, and leaving what was not. … More Dustbowl Diatribes 2: The Spoils of Egypt
In the wake of the most recent pandemic, it’s important to realize that the political effects of plague have been known and discussed for a long time. Thucydides has something to say about the political effects of the fear and suffering that come from disease. This episode in the history of the Peloponnesian War gives us plenty to think about regarding the destabilizing effects of pandemics, the pressures on and opportunities for politicians, and the fickle nature of the people–they’ll bounce right back even from plague and recommit themselves to imperial domination and mayhem. … More Pandemic Strikes Politics: On the Plague of Athens (Thucydidean Realism 4)
At the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, Athenian leader Pericles took the helm as first general and leader. His first two speeches exhort the Athenians to stay strong in war and praise Athens in the context of a funeral for the first to die. In his funeral speech, Pericles almost forgets the dead soldiers in his love panegyric to Athenian glory. The implications are discussed from the point of view of the general problem of state worship. … More Pericles’ Funeral Oration and State Worship: Thucydidean Realism (3)
This is always a hotly contested question, no matter the war. Thucydides teaches that the real cause was not the declaration of war by Sparta that officially started the Peloponnesian War, but the imbalance of power created by Athenian aggression over time relative to the Spartan reticence to act. Thucydides is teaching that wars are determined years in advance. It is the creation of the conditions of war that we need to look at to explain any given war. … More Who Started the War? Thucydidean Realism 2
I will be teaching a public class in six sessions again this summer. If you’re interested, go to the Eventbrite page. You can use the coupon code PPHQ to receive $25 off the $75 registration fee. This is my second public summer seminar. My first one covered the economic philosophy of distributism. Good news–reading is … More Summer Seminar 2022: Christian Anarchism
in a series on the Ancient Greek historian Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, with an emphasis on using Thucydidean realism to understand events in International relations. Thucydides begins his work with an “archeology,” a history of ancient times. Through it, we begin to see his take on human nature and the dynamics of power. I begin with a brief discussion of Hans Morgenthau’s “old fashioned realism.” … More Thucydidean Realism: The Emergence of Rivals (1)
Contributor Spencer Hess ends his series on Kaitlin B. Curtice’s Native, critiquing PMC smugness and inconsistency, concluding with a brief Marxian & Christian-Anarchist critique.
Can the PMC Control Capitalism? (ft Catherine Liu (Diet Soap): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAQ1INh9MQw
Klein Vs. Klein (The New Inquiry): https://thenewinquiry.com/klein-vs-klein/
How do we respond to the Russia-Ukraine war? Do we use it as yet another opportunity to signal our feelings and positions, but without any real commitment other than to our own narcissism? If we aren’t in the conflict, we have a certain luxury (or we think we have) to do so. But the existence of nuclear weapons should be a sobering factor that guides us as we try to find a resolution. In the shadow of the consecration of the world , and particularly Russia and Ukraine, to our Holy Mother Mary, Theotokos, Spencer and I dare to contemplate some enduring obstacles to peace-making. Consecration of Russia, Ukraine and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. … More The Unreality of War and the Nuclear Threat
Contributor Spencer Hess showcases extensive excerpts from T.J. Jackson Lears’ No Place of Grace, futher characterizing Therapeutic “culture.” … More T.J. Jackson Lears on “Evasive Banality”