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CPS Hunger Games: 2017

Things are bad here in Chicago. They are bad less because of trumped up news about crime and policing (problems which most certainly exist), but because of a terrible ideological environment. The bad ideas circulating in our discursive air have fed a terrible political situation. The consequences lie heaviest on the arena of public education. Recent CPS revenue problems, and subsequent budget cuts, have fostered a real life, on-the-ground Hunger Games situation among our schools. Read more…

An Open Letter to Abortion Abolitionists

Dear Abortion Abolitionists,

In democracies, representative democracies, and constitutional republics, laws almost always follow culture. Based on the numbers in this piece, you’ve not succeeded in convincing citizens about your cause. You’ve not changed the culture. To do that, I’d concentrate on being well-rounded pro-lifers, and support the welfare state infrastructure needed to promote a healthy society, from conception to death, and maybe you’ll get the hearing you desire.

If all of that comes together, maybe you’ll reach the holy grail of an enshrined anti-abortion law. I’m skeptical of the possibility of that end, but I’m confident it won’t come any sooner.

Peace,
Tim

BLEG: Marxist Reading Groups

Can anyone direct me to some historiography on 19th-century Marxist reading groups? I’m interested in all English-speaking efforts, from say 1850-1900, to understand Marx and Marx and Engels. Even one solid, peer-reviewed article would help. I just need something to catalyze my thinking for an in-progress article. – TL

The Best Books I Read in 2016

Acting on a prompt from Andrew Seal at the USIH Blog, I submitted the following as a long comment there—which seems appropriate to reproduce here. Andy asked not about the best books published in 2016, but the best books we had read during the year—no matter when produced. I read: Read more…

Varieties of Civil Disobedience for the Age of Trump

This New Yorker piece by Jelani Cobb briefly surveys 1960s history to get at the necessity of conducting “democracy in the streets.” That period of history is worth revisiting for the reasons Cobb suggests. One thing Cobb doesn’t address, however, is the variable forms of protest and civil disobedience that might be utilized from the period.

What actions, tactics, and considerations might best help in resisting an administration whose party controls both houses of Congress? The same history Cobb cited is instructive. The Sixties suggest three to four forms of protest. At least one other tactic, from earlier periods, might also be helpful. These forms constitute distinct nodes, even while some overlap exists. Read more…

13th: A Brief Review

Yesterday I watched 13th—a new Netflix documentary on racism and mass incarceration (trailer here). What follows is a quick and dirty review. Read more…

Christopher Lasch: A Maddening Physician for Our Times

I’m reading Christopher Lasch’s 1995 essay collection, The Revolt of the The Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy. I’ve read Lasch in bits and pieces before, but never an entire book straight through. This first sustained encounter has been, in short, maddening. Read more…